PBR CO-FOUNDER CUSTER TO BE INDUCTED INTO PRORODEO HALL OF FAME

Cody Custer, who still serves as a chute boss at select PBR events, came out of retirement for one day in 2015 for the Unfinished Business event. Photo: Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com

 

 

By: Justin Felisko March 29, 2017@ 05:46:00 PM

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cody Custer, a PBR co-founder and Ring of Honor member, will be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in August.
  • Custer won the PRCA championship in 1992, the same year he joined 19 other cowboys in forming the PBR. 
  • Custer was humbled by the honor, and is glad he left an impression in the sport that has been his passion for most of his life.

IN THIS ARTICLE

 

PUEBLO, Colo. – PBR co-founder and 2003 Ring of Honor inductee Cody Custer picked up his cell phone on Tuesday and was surprised to hear his good friend, and 1991 World Champion bareback rider, Clint Corey on the other end of the phone.

Custer figured Corey was thinking about putting on a rodeo and bull riding school in August when Corey asked if Custer was free in August.

Low and behold, Custer will be unavailable for any bull riding school on Aug. 5.

25 years after winning the 1992 PRCA bull riding championship, Custer is being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame as a member of the 2017 induction class.

“I didn’t really have a whole lot of words,” Custer said when he realized what Corey, a 2004 Hall of Fame inductee, was calling about. “I was a little emotional. My world title and all that stuff is stuff I worked for. This is different. This is recognition from peers and stuff. It means a lot.”

Custer will be inducted alongside 11-time PRCA Announcer of the Year Randy Corley, the late 1954 All-Around champion Buck Rutherford, 1960 Saddle Bronc Riding champion Enoch Walker, 1974 Steer Wrestling champion Tommy Puryear, 1984 Team Roping champion Mike Beers and 22-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in three events Bob Ragsdale.

Also voted in by the selection committee were four-time bareback horse of the year, Christensen Bros.’ Smith & Velvet, and the committee for the Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days.

“This is a big deal,” Custer said. “Guys that were my heroes and stuff like that. There are some people in that hall I never met, but I knew their names. I respect the history of the sport. At this point, it is just icing on the cake. It isn’t something I didn’t even expect.”

Custer first joined the PRCA in 1985 and went on to qualify for the NFR from 1987-92, and again in 1998-99.

The now 51-year-old won the PRCA title in 1992, the same year in which he joined 19 other cowboys in investing $1,000 to form the PBR.

“Winning the world title in 1992 is what you are going for and working for,” Custer said. “When I talk to those kids today, it is about that mentality. I always had that goal in the back of the mind, but I had to be told if I changed my focus I could be a World Champion. My mindset changed in about 1990 and started doing things different and thinking different.”

Custer, who still serves as a chute boss at select PBR events, famously rode Red Wolf for 95.5 points at the 1998 PBR World Finals.

1998 was the first of two consecutive years in which he qualified for both the World Finals and the NFR.

“When we went off to start the PBR we were all still rodeoing,” Custer said. “We were all committed to the sport. Bull riding happen to be the one that could stand by itself.

“Bottom-line is it is still a competition between animal and man. I respect the whole sport.”

Long before Custer was competing alongside legends of the sport such as nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, PBR Director of Livestock Cody LambertJim Sharp and Tuff Hedeman, the Flagstaff, Arizona, native was a 9-year-old boy burying his head inside the ProRodeo Sports News learning about previous legendary cowboys.

“It is just a different world now,” Custer said. “You have all of the cell phones. We didn’t have that. I just read pages and pages of the Sports News. I knew everything about those guys.”

Custer made sure to call his parents and his wife, Stacey, on Tuesday immediately once he received the news.

“They sacrificed a lot for us as kids to take us to rodeos and allow us to do things,” Custer said. “They got the car repoed one time because we went to a junior rodeo one time. I don’t advise doing that, but that is the kind of people they are. I have to give them some credit. On the other side, my wife never questioned why I did what I did. Even me getting on that bull two years ago at Unfinished Business.

“Then there are guys that have helped me with my riding. I don’t know. There are so many people. There is no way to nail it down to one person or group of people to thank.”

It may have been a long time coming for Custer, but to be inducted many years later brings with it a lot of exciting circumstances.

Custer’s son, Brett, just purchased his PRCA permit this year and is an aspiring bull rider with PBR goals for his future.

This year is also the 10-year anniversary of when Cody’s eldest son, Aaron, and nephew Marty Custer nominated him for the hall in 2007.

“It probably holds a little more prestige in my heart,” Cody said. “I am just in a different place in my life 10 years later.”

If that isn’t enough, Custer also holds a special affection for Smith & Velvet, the bareback horse being inducted with him this year. 

Custer’s father worked for the Christensen Brothers when the Custers’ moved to Oregon for three years in 1977.

Cody was a multiple discipline rodeo athlete, including a talented bareback rider, before focusing primarily on bull riding.

“My aspirations to be bareback rider was more than any other event,” Custer said. “It is pretty cool to be inducted at the same time as that horse. It is something special.”

In 1980, Custer remembers spending three weeks traveling the rodeo trail with Jack Ward and T.J. Walter as a curious teenager with rodeo dreams.

“I realized that this is what I wanted to do,” Custer said. “I haven’t quit driving since.”

He may decide to fly to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the induction ceremony, but Custer’s rodeo career has reached a penultimate stop.

“It is 25 years after I won the world,” Custer humbly concluded. “That is pretty cool. It is a deal that has been a long time since I was really a competitor in the PRCA. I am really thankful to the committee. I will thank them at the induction.

“It is a really cool deal.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.

ProRodeo Hall of Fame announces 2017 induction class

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

 



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Randy Corley, an 11-time PRCA Announcer of the Year, joins five world champions to headline the 12-member 2017 induction class for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, which was announced Tuesday.


Corley, along with gold buckle winners including the late Buck Rutherford (all-around, 1954), Enoch Walker (saddle bronc riding, 1960), Tommy Puryear (steer wrestling, 1974), Mike Beers (team roping, 1984) and Cody Custer (bull riding, 1992), will be enshrined with rodeo notable Bob Ragsdale, a 22-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in three events.

Also, voted in by the selection committee were four-time bareback horse of the year, Christensen Bros.’ Smith & Velvet, and the committee for the Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days.

For the first time in the history of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, barrel racers from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) will be amongst the class of inductees. Their inaugural class will be Wanda Harper Bush, Charmayne James and a joint PRCA/WPRA equine inductee – Star Plaudit “Red.” The class will be inducted Aug. 5 at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“It’s something that’s pretty awesome beyond anything I can say,” Corley said. “Right now, I’m kind of in shock. This is quite an honor, and I do not take this lightly – I can tell you that. Nothing can be any better than reaching this pinnacle, other than taking care of every rodeo that I will continue to do. They are all the reasons I’m in the Hall of Fame.”

Corley has been selected PRCA Announcer of the Year 11 times (1984, 1990-96, 1998, 2003 and 2011). He has also been an announcer at the National Finals Rodeo 15 times (1985-86, 1992, 1994-96, 2007-08, 2010-16).

Puryear qualified for the NFR nine times, eight of which were consecutive, from 1971-78, and then in 1983. The Texas bulldogger also won the gold buckle in 1974 and the NFR average title in 1976. 

“It’s really got me kind of speechless, and I’m normally not totally speechless,” Puryear said. “I can’t believe it – I know several of those people (the other 2017 inductees), and knew them well. I even knew the bucking horse well, too, and it’s kind of a coincidence Ogden is there because it’s one of my favorite rodeos – it’s set up well and fit me well.” 

Puryear first joined the PRCA in 1970, and now, 47 years later, he’s being recognized as one of the best steer wrestlers in PRCA history.

“Most of those guys down there (in the Hall of Fame) were my heroes – people I’d read about,” Puryear said. “The first rodeo I went to, I was too bashful to even say hi to them – it was unbelievable being around them.”

Rutherford was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame more than half a century after he was topping the world standings across four events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and bull riding. 

The Oklahoma cowboy was in the Top 5 for the world standings 11 times between 1949-57, and was the 1954 all-around world champion and the first cowboy to ever win more than $40,000 in a single year (approximately $362,235 in 2017 dollars according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Although he never won an individual event championship, he placed second in the bareback riding standings the same year he won the all-around title. 

Rutherford twice finished third in the bull riding world standings (1951 and 1954).
Shortly after the 1952 season closed, Rutherford was in a serious car wreck and suffered a life-threatening skull fracture and was unconscious for 15 days. After several months of hospitalization, Rutherford recovered and returned to rodeo to win the all-around title.

His rodeo earnings fell flat after a bad spill slipped a disk in his back in November 1958. He then retired from rodeo and resumed ranching in his hometown until his death at 58 years old on April 28, 1988.

Walker, who won both the 1960 saddle bronc riding world championship and NFR average title, took to the skies in his ascent to ProRodeo fame – qualifying for 10 NFRs during his 20-year tenure with the Rodeo Cowboys Association.

In 1960, the 28-year-old cowboy had been knocking on the door of a gold buckle for years, placing third in 1957, second in 1958 and third again in 1959. 

Walker entered the 1960 season with a plan for earning the gold buckle that literally took flight. He teamed up with Paul Templeton, who flew him from one rodeo to the next when his rodeo road trips got too hectic. 

Walker arrived at the NFR in Dallas, Texas, leading the pack with $20,832 earned that season by placing 126 times at 56 rodeos and winning 21 rodeos throughout 1960, including Salinas, Calif., and Fort Worth, Texas.   

He rode all 10 horses at the NFR in Dallas, placing on five of them – winning the NFR and the world title. 

Beers, a heeler, won his world championship while roping with header Dee Pickett, who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2003. Beers qualified for the NFR 23 times in team roping (1980-95, 1997-98, 2000-03, 2007).

“This is like winning the world,” Beers said. “You hear about all these guys like Larry Mahan, Ty Murray, Dee Pickett, Leo Camarillo, Clay O’Brien Cooper and Jake Barnes, and to be put in a category with those guys is a great honor.”

Custer’s eight trips to the NFR and 1992 bull riding world championship win landed him in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. 

“It wasn’t a call I wasn’t waiting on or expecting – it’s one of those deals I thought about it, but you don’t sit on your hands and wait,” Custer said. “I was overwhelmed and a bit emotional, and didn’t have much to say.”

Custer first joined the PRCA in 1985 and went on to qualify for the NFR from 1987-92, and again in 1998-99. He remained an active competitor through 2002. 

“I was just a kid from Arizona who had big dreams to do something in rodeo,” Custer said. “Fortunately for me, I had a Cinderella-type career, and in the middle of it you take it for granted – this kind of recognition means a lot to me – as much or more than winning the world title.”

For most of his adult life, Robert (Bob) Reuel Ragsdale has served the sport of rodeo as a competitor and as an ambassador. On Tuesday, the cowboy they call “Rags” added “Hall of Famer” to his one-of-a-kind résumé.

“Well, it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Ragsdale said with a laugh. “But it’s something anybody that’s ever rodeoed dreams about. You never think that it could really happen.” 

Ragsdale, a 22-time NFR qualifier in steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping, recognized he will forever be cemented into history among the legends of the sport he holds so dear.

“To be able to be there with all the world’s champions – I’ve done a lot of different things in the PRCA and RCA – but to be nominated and go into the Hall is unbelievable,” he said.

Ragsdale became the first and only left-handed roper to qualify for the NFR for 15 consecutive years from 1961-75. He also served as both the Vice President and President of the Rodeo Cowboys Association in the early ‘70s, and is credited as the one to propose the association include “Professional” to the organization’s formal title. 
Bareback horse Smith & Velvet was the definition of a late bloomer.

The horse, which was honored as the PRCA’s top bareback horse four times (1977, as Mr. Smith, and then 1979-80 and 1982, as Smith & Velvet), didn’t become an award-winning bucker until he was into his 20s.

“When I first started bucking him, he would be good for five or six seconds, and then he would spin and stop,” said Bobby Christensen, owner of Smith & Velvet. “A lot of people told me to get rid of him, but instead I turned him out for a few years. I entered him in Oakdale, Calif., and he bucked off World Champion Jack Ward. From then on, I knew I had a good horse, and he took off from there.”

Smith & Velvet died in 1983 in a tragic car accident that killed many of Christensen’s prized NFR horses.

He says the horse was the pride and joy of his rodeo company.

“He went to 25-30 rodeos per year, and was the bread and butter of our company for many years,” Christensen said.

The Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days will celebrate its 83rd year of existence in 2017.
The event has come a long way since its inception in 1934, when Ogden City Mayor Harman W. Peery organized a Western festival to boost the spirits of the locals and entice tourists to visit the city.

“This rodeo was started right after the Great Depression because the community needed it,” said Dave Halverson, the rodeo’s director. “We’ve been in the Top 5 of the best large outdoor rodeo category several times in the past 10 years, and the fans here grab onto that.”

The Ogden Pioneer Days is more than just a rodeo, it’s an event. It includes concerts, parades, farmer’s markets, and, of course, the rodeo at historic Ogden Pioneer Stadium.

“We’re the largest celebration in the state of Utah,” Halverson said. “I know our whole committee and the community will be very excited about being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“You just do what you do, and you hope that someday you get that call. But we don’t do this for notoriety, we do it for the community and the state of Utah.”

This year’s Ogden Pioneer Days will take place July 20-24.

On the WPRA side, Bush was multi-talented, becoming the most decorated cowgirl in the history of the WPRA (formerly the Girls Rodeo Association). 

When the GRA first formed in 1948, Bush was one of the first to sign-up. All totaled, she won 32 world titles – nine all-around (1952, 1957-58, 1962-65, 1968-69), two barrel racing (1952-53), two cutting (1966, 1969), one flag race (1969), 11 calf roping (1951-56, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966-67) and seven ribbon roping titles (1951, 1953-54, 1956-59). She finished as reserve world champion in the barrel racing three separate times.
While Bush’s barrel racing world titles came before the NFR began, she qualified seven times (1959-60, 1962-65, and 1974) for the NFR during her career. 

“That is awesome and really great. We are really proud she will be honored in this way,” said Shanna Bush, Wanda’s daughter, who qualified for the NFR in 1984. “She would be very honored and humbled. She would be very glad to be a part of the Cowboys Association (PRCA) because she always worked for that to be the case. She always wanted them to get along and to better themselves by being associated with each other. This is a very special honor.”

Bush will be inducted posthumously, having passed away Dec. 29, 2015.

Although she had to wait 22 years to join her legendary horse Scamper in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, James is ecstatic to be a part of this historic class.

“I am thrilled to be going in as part of the inaugural class and what this represents for all barrel racers,” said James, who now makes her home in Boerne, Texas. “To be going in with Wanda is very exciting. Wanda was such a pioneer for our sport. Throughout my entire career her presence and forging through on issues with barrel racing was there and evident, and why we are where we are today. 

“Scamper has just been waiting for me and I was fine with that as he really deserved the honor. This news made my entire day.”

James, who grew up in Clayton, N.M., the home of the very first barrel racing National Finals Rodeo in 1959, won the first of 10 consecutive world titles at the youthful age of 14 in 1984. 

James was the first WPRA member to wear the coveted No. 1 back number in 1987, and became the first barrel racer to cross the $1 million record in career earnings. In addition to the 10 consecutive world titles (1984-1993), James and Scamper won the NFR average title six times (1984, 1986-87, 1989-90 and 1993). In 1996, Scamper became the first and only barrel horse (until 2017) to be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. 

James would add a cherry on top of her illustrious career returning to the top of the sport aboard Cruiser (Cruisin on Six) in 2002, winning her 11th world title and seventh NFR average title.

Bringing symbolism to this new chapter in the history of the PRCA and WPRA is best summed up with the induction the horse known as Star Plaudit “Red.”

Star Plaudit holds a very unique record in the world of professional rodeo, one that is not likely to ever be duplicated. The bay gelding won two world championships in the sport in a single year and contributed to a third, at the age of 12. 

In 1962, Red, as he was affectionately known, carried his owner Sherry (Combs) Johnson to the GRA world title in the barrel racing. The horse also helped close family friend Tom Nesmith to the RCA world title in the steer wrestling, as well as the RCA all-around championship.

Johnson credits the steer wrestling with teaching Red how to run hard through the pattern. 

"Lord, that is a blessing and a dream come true for him and I,” Johnson said of Red being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. “He was a horse of a lifetime, and what he accomplished will never be done again. I had the pleasure of riding him and he had such a big heart. This is just such a wonderful honor.”

Red passed away at the age of 22.

Rodeo Houston Super Shoot Out Results

FIVE CHAMPIONS LEFT STANDING AFTER THE RODEOHOUSTON SUPER SHOOTOUT: NORTH AMERICA’S CHAMPIONS®, PRESENTED BY CROWN ROYAL — MARCH 26, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Champions from the top rodeos in the U.S. and Canada gathered in NRG Stadium, Sunday, March 26, to compete in the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout: North America’s Champions for their chance to win $25,000 and bragging rights as the best of the best.

 

With a total purse of $250,000, the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout is one of the richest one-day rodeo events in the world. Each rodeo athlete competed as an individual as well as with a team. Each champion received a $25,000 payout, and the winning team received a $12,500 payout. The teams consisted of the champion athletes from the following eight rodeos: Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, National Western Stock Show, Reno Rodeo, Rodeo Austin, RODEOHOUSTON, and San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. 

 

Tonight’s high point team was Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. The winning team consisted of bareback rider Tim O’Connell, steer wrestler Matt Reeves, saddle bronc rider Jake Wright, barrel racer Ivey Conrado and bull rider Riker Carter. 

 

BAREBACK RIDING

 

Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa, claimed the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout Bareback Riding Championship title with a 90-point ride. O’Connell said the competition in the Shootout is of high caliber, so he knew he needed to ride well coming into tonight’s contest.

“We compete against eight standouts in each event and ride the best bucking broncs in the sport,” O’Connell said. “With the best-of-the-best here, you have to step up your game. It makes for a special day.”

 

Top Four

Tim O’Connell: Zwingle, Iowa — $25,000

Jake Brown: Cleveland, Texas — $10,000

Orin Larsen: Inglis, Manitoba, Canada— $5,500

Clayton Biglow: Clements, California — $3,500

 

STEER WRESTLING

Sterling Lambert of Fallon, Nevada, wrestled his steer in 5 seconds flat to win the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout Steer Wrestling Championship. He left the arena with the Champion title and $25,000 — the most he said he has ever won at one rodeo.

 

“The atmosphere at RODEOHOUSTON is amazing and we are treated so well,” Lambert said. “I competed against the best bulldoggers out there, so winning feels amazing.”

 

Top Four

Sterling Lambert: Fallon, Nevada — $25,000

Dakota Eldridge: Elko, Nevada — $10,000

Matt Reeves: Cross Plains, Texas — $5,500

Baylor Roche: Tremonton, Utah — $3,500

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

A 90-point ride in the Super Shootout Saddle Bronc Riding secured the win for Taos Muncy of Corona, New Mexico. Muncy said he battled an injury for the last six months, so this championship is more than just another win. It is his way of restarting his rodeo career. 

 

“I have been hurt, so to get this win is a relief,” Muncy said. “Since this is such a prestigious rodeo, the win means so much more. I’m excited to be back.”

 

Top Four

Taos Muncy: Corona, New Mexico — $25,000

Zeke Thurston: Big Valley, Alberta, Canada — $10,000

Clay Elliott: Nanton, Alberta, Canada – $5,500

Jacobs Crawley: Boerne, Texas – $3,500

 

BARREL RACING

Ivy Conrado of Hudson, Colorado, won the Super Shootout Barrel Racing Championship with a 14.27 second run, even though her stirrup fell off going into the first barrel. Conrado said that when she looks at her Championship belt buckle, she will always remember that moment. 

 

“The Super Shootout is a prestigious rodeo because you get to compete against other champions,” Conrado said. “I love that because I don’t ever want a handout. I want to compete against the best.”

 

Top Four

Ivy Conrado: Hudson, Colorado — $25,000

Pamela Capper: Cheney, Washington — $10,000

Abby Penson: Blossom, Texas — $5,500

Stevi Hillman: Weatherford, Texas — $3,500

 

BULL RIDING

A first-time rider at RODEOHOUSTON, Riker Carter of Stone, Idaho, captured the Bull Riding Super Shootout Championship. Carter said the crowd motivated him and this win is the biggest win of his career.

 

“This place is better than any place I’ve ever been before,” Carter said. “When the people here are cheering as loud as they are, I can barely here the buzzer. It’s an amazing feeling.”

 

Top Four

Riker Carter: Stone, Idaho — $25,000

Sage Steel Kimzey: Strong City, Oklahoma — $6,333

Markus Mariluch: Daingerfield, Texas — $6,333

Neil Holmes: Cleveland, Texas — $6,333

 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news.

Aus-ome effort captures first Austin title

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

A beautiful shot of our Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer and exhibitor Jagger Horn from Abilene FFA at today's Youth Auction!



AUSTIN, Texas – Tanner Aus had come painfully close to his first Rodeo Austin win a few years back. On Saturday night, he made sure that he’d be collecting the coveted branding iron that goes to each champion.

The 26-year-old bareback rider scored the win in the final round with an 89-point trip on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Hollywood Hills. He earned $9,400 for that ride, as well as the branding iron, which he was most excited about.

“One year, they told me I had split the win and they had me in the arena with the branding iron, but it turned out I was a point off the win,” Aus said with a smile. “That makes this win even sweeter, because I think about this rodeo all the time.

“This is the cap to the winter season, and Austin is a rodeo that has always seemed to treat me well. I’ve been second here twice, and to finally come out of here with a ‘W’ is great. I got my hands on one of those branding irons, and that’s awesome.”

Aus also won the first round with an 86.5-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s What Happens, which brought his total winnings in Austin to $12,562.

He admitted the large payday for winning Austin was in the back of his mind.

“When you’re focused on the task at hand, you don’t really think about the money as much, but you know it’s there,” he said.

Aus was third in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings entering the weekend, and should move somewhere close to the top.

“I haven’t been paying much attention to the standings, because it’s always a grind this time of year,” he said. “We get on a lot of horses down here in Texas during the winter, and I’m very thankful for the position I’m currently in.

“I drew really well – I got on three Beutler horses. I just snuck into the finals in the eighth and last spot. But I knew I had drawn a horse that would test me and that was good enough to win the short round on.”

The Granite Falls, Minn., native has been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER the past two years, finishing sixth and fifth in the world in 2015 and 2016.

He’s been on quite a hot streak the past several months, which included winning three rounds at the 2016 WNFR.

“It’s been a blessing, and I’m very thankful,” Aus said. “It’s mostly attributed to the time I’m not rodeoing – when I’m at home and in the gym. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see that leads to being successful in the arena.”

Other winners at the $516,154 rodeo were steer wrestler Tommy Cook (3.9 seconds), team ropers Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor (4.0 seconds), saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston (89 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane), tie-down roper Marty Yates (8.5 seconds), barrel racer Tammy Fischer (15.41 seconds) and bull rider Tyler Taylor (there were no qualified rides in the finals, and Taylor won by having the best two-head score of any cowboy).

For more coverage of Rodeo Austin, check out the April 14 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

 

Rodeo Austin
Austin, Texas, March 11-25

Bareback riding: First round: 1. Tanner Aus, 86.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's What Happens, $3,162; 2. Steven Dent, 85, $2,828; 3. Evan Jayne, 84, $2,495; 4. Mason Clements, 82.5, $2,163; 5. Jake Vold, 82, $1,830; 6. (tie) Casey Colletti, Buck Lunak and Tilden Hooper, 81.5, $1,165 each; 9. (tie) Jamie Howlett, Mike Solberg, Justin Pollmiller and Jake Brown, 81, $166. Semifinal: 1. Jake Brown, 87.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Molly Brown, $4,935; 2. R.C. Landingham, 87, $4,113; 3. Mason Clements, 86, $3,126; 4. Chad Rutherford, 83.5, $2,139; 5. Evan Jayne, 83, $1,316; 6. Justin Pollmiller, 82.5, $823. Finals: 1. Tanner Aus, 89 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Hollywood Hills, $9,400; 2. Mason Clements, 79.5, $7,050; 3. Mike Solberg, 79, $4,700; 4. (tie) Jake Brown and Evan Jayne, 77, $1,175 each.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Baylor Roche, 3.5 seconds, $5,090; 2. Timmy Sparing, 3.7, $4,554; 3. (tie) Cody Cabral and Josh Peek, 3.8, $3,751 each; 5. (tie) Jacob Talley and Tommy Cook, 3.9, $2,679 each; 7. (tie) Trevor Knowles and Cole Edge, 4.0, $1,607 each; 9. T.J. Hall, 4.1, $804; 10. (tie) Ty Erickson and Justin Shaffer, 4.2, $134. Semifinal: 1. Jacob Talley, 3.2 seconds, $4,935; 2. Cody Cabral, 3.3, $4,113; 3. Tyler Pearson, 3.4, $3,126; 4. Tommy Cook, 3.7, $2,139; 5. Baylor Roche, 3.9, $1,316; 6. Cole Edge, 4.3, $823. Finals: 1. Tommy Cook, 3.9 seconds, $9,400; 2. Ty Erickson, 4.2, $7,050; 3. Baylor Roche, 4.4, $4,700; 4. Cole Edge, 13.0, $2,350.

Team roping: First round: 1. Rowdy Rieken/Ace Pearce, 3.8 seconds, $5,037 each; 2. (tie) Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz and Clayton Hansen/Joseph Harrison, 3.9, $4,241 each; 4. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.3, $3,446; 5. Spencer Mitchell/Wyatt Cox, 4.4, $2,915; 6. (tie) Casey Gattis/Seth Smithson and Will Clark/Tanner Ward, 4.5, $2,120 each; 8. (tie) Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp and Kelsey Parchman/Kinney Harrell, 4.6, $1,060 each; 10. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.7, $265. Semifinal: 1. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 4.3 seconds, $4,935 each; 2. (tie) Rowdy Rieken/Ace Pearce and Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 4.6, $3,619 each; 4. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.8, $2,139; 5. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.9, $1,316; 6. Lance Brooks/Dillon Wingereid, 5.0, $823. Finals: 1. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 4.0 seconds, $9,400 each; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.6, $7,050; 3. Will Clark/Tanner Ward, 9.4, $4,700; 4. Lance Brooks/Dillon Wingereid, 11.0, $2,350.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Hardy Braden, 87 points on Rafter G Rodeo's Charlie's Angel, $4,958; 2. Cody DeMoss, 86.5, $4,458; 3. Clay Elliott, 86, $3,934; 4. (tie) Shade Etbauer and Allen Boore, 84, $3,147 each; 6. Sterling Crawley, 83, $2,360; 7. Luke Butterfield, 82, $1,836; 8. (tie) Call Marr and Taos Muncy, 81.5, $1,049 each; 10. (tie) Roper Kiesner, Tyrell Smith, Rusty Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 81, $66 each. Semifinal: 1. Zeke Thurston, 85.5 points on Andrews Rodeo's Sand Box, $4,935; 2. Hardy Braden, 85, $4,113; 3. Clay Elliott, 84, $3,126; 4. Troy Crowser, 83.5, $2,139; 5. Allen Boore, 83, $1,316; 6. Rusty Wright, 81.5, $823. Finals: 1. Zeke Thurston, 89 points on Andrews Rodeo's Fire Lane, $9,400; 2. Rusty Wright, 88, $7,050; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 84, $4,700; 4. Troy Crowser, 82.5, $2,350. 

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. (tie) Cory Solomon and Justin Maass, 8.2 seconds, $4,721 each; 3. Justin Smith, 8.3, $3,933; 4. (tie) Tuf Cooper, Marty Yates and Tyler Milligan, 8.5, $2,885 each; 7. (tie) Jordan Ketscher and Taylor Santos, 8.6, $1,574 each; 9. Lane Livingston, 8.9, $787; 10. (tie) Adam Gray and Landon McClaugherty, 9.0, $131 each. Semifinal: 1. (tie) Marty Yates, J.C. Malone and Cory Solomon, 8.6 seconds, $4,058 each; 4. Justin Maass, 9.1, $2,139; 5. Jordan Ketscher, 9.2, $1,316; 6. (tie) Taylor Santos, Chris Demases and Landon McClaugherty, 9.9, $274 each. Finals: 1. Marty Yates, 8.5 seconds, $9,400; 2. J.C. Malone, 8.7, $7,050; 3. Justin Maass, 9.4, $4,700; 4. Chris Demases, 9.6, $2,350.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Tillar Murray, 15.37 seconds, $5,090; 2. Tiany Schuster, 15.40, $4,554; 3. Brittany Kelly, 15.41, $4,019; 4. Jill Welsh, 15.48, $3,483 5. Ari-Anna Flynn, 15.50, $2,947; 6. Carlee Pierce, 15.54, $2,411; 7. (tie) Cayla Small and Rachel Rule, 15.63, $1,607 each; 9. Kimmie Wall, 15.65, $804; 10. (tie) Carley Richardson and Cassidy Kruse, 15.66, $134 each. Semifinal: 1. Tillar Murray, 15.33 seconds, $4,935; 2. Ari-Anna Flynn, 15.43, $4,113; 3. Taylor Smith, 15.58, $3,126; 4. Tiany Schuster, 15.61, $2,139; 5. Kimmie Wall, 15.67, $1,316; 6. Tammy Fischer, 15.68, $823. Finals: 1. Tammy Fischer, 15.41 seconds, $9,400; 2. Tillar Murray, 15.43, $7,050; 3. Tiany Schuster, 15.51, $4,700; 4. Ari-Anna Flynn, 15.65, $2,350.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Ty Wallace, 90 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s American Blood, $5,144; 2. (tie) Garrett Smith, Bayle Worden and Aaron Pass, 88, $4,061 each; 5. Jeff Bertus, 86, $2,978; 6. Roscoe Jarboe, 85.5, $2,436; 7. Sage Kimzey, 85, $1,895; 8. Trey Benton III, 84.5, $1,354; 9. Reid Barker, 82, $812; 10. (tie) Koby Radley, Jesse Petri and Tyler Taylor, 81.5, $90. Semifinal: 1. (tie) Jeff Bertus, on Andrews Rodeo's Lil Dip, and Tyler Taylor, on Andrews Rodeo's Thor, 82 points, $4,524 each; 3. Sage Kimzey, 81, $3,126; 4. Jesse Petri, 79.5, $2,139; 5. Reid Barker, 78, $1,316; 6. John Pitts, 76, $823.  Finals: No qualified rides.

Total payoff: $516,154. Stock contractor: Beutler & Son Rodeo. Sub-contractors: Rocky Mountain Rodeo, Rafter G Rodeo, JK Rodeo, Powder River Rodeo, D & H Cattle, Andrews Rodeo and Dakota Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Dollie Riddle. Officials: Glenn Sullivan, Wade Berry and Mike Todd. Timers: Missy Swartz and Ti Ada Wise. Announcers: Randy Corley and Wayne Brooks. Bullfighters: Evan Allard, Nathan Harp and Weston Rutkowski. Clown/barrelman: Justin Rumford. Flankmen: Jim Kenney, Rhett Beutler, Glenn Southwick and Carroll Gilstrap. Chute bosses: Brent Sutton, Bennie Beutler and Matt Scott. Pickup men: Matt Scott, Brent Sutton and Shandon Stalls. Photographer: Kirt Steinke. Music directors: Ben Bendele III and Charlie Rogers Barks. 

 

 

 

 

Roche captures first-round win at Rodeo Austin

 

AUSTIN, Texas – Things keep rolling along smoothly for steer wrestler Baylor Roche.

Just over a month after Roche won the San Angelo (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo, the Tremonton, Utah, cowboy is earning more money at Rodeo Austin.

Roche clocked a 3.5-second run to win the first round at Rodeo Austin at the Travis County Expo Center.

“That was a good run,” said Roche, who clocked his time on March 21. “I actually had run that steer at San Antonio and won the third round (in Bracket 2) with him. I knew exactly what to do and caught him in a good spot and made a good run on him in Austin. That steer has made me some money.”

For his performance in Austin – so far – Roche has earned $5,090. The same steer he won the round on in Austin helped Roche earn $9,742 in San Angelo.

“I was riding Josh Peek’s horse, Ace, when I made that run,” said Roche, who also rode Ace to win San Angelo with a 3.0-second run. “I’ve used that horse at various places throughout the year, and we are getting along great.”

Roche is scheduled to compete in the semifinals tonight (March 23) at Rodeo Austin. The semis consist of 16 cowboys and then the Top 8 finishers in the semifinals advance to Saturday’s finals.

“Now, Austin is like three one-headers for us, and you just need to stay in the top few guys and hopefully in the end, you win first,” Roche said.

Prior to winning the first round in Austin, Roche was seventh in the March 20 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $22,957.

“This year has been good, and a little bit crazy,” Roche said. “I’ve been trying to get on horses that are up at the same time as me, and luckily Josh (Peek) has been up with me at a lot different places – so has Jacob Shofner with his horse, Two Guns (2013 AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year). I rode Two Guns at San Antonio.”

Roche qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER the last two years in a row. He placed ninth and 15th in the world standings, respectively.

This past December, Roche arrived at the WNFR in 10th place and left in 15th after placing in just two rounds and winning $25,231 in Las Vegas.

“Coming off not having a very good Finals, that fueled me to try and really step it up this year and get something going fast,” Roche said.

Rodeo Houston Championship Round Results

TOP ATHLETES LEAVE NRG STADIUM WITH 2017 CHAMPION TITLES AND $50,000 — MARCH 25, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — When the dust settled in NRG Stadium Saturday, March 25, eight athletes were named champions and awarded $50,000 in the RODEOHOUSTON® Super Series Championship.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

With a wave to the crowd and a tip of his hat, Caleb Smidt captured the 2017 Tie-Down Roping Championship title with a 7.4-second run, tying the NRG Stadium record. Smidt said getting a big win so close to home is a special moment for him and his family. 

 

“I have a lot of family here, and my wife’s family is here,” Smidt said. “We are so close to home, so a win like this means a lot with so many special people around me. It’s awesome.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Caleb Smidt: Belleville, Texas — $58,500 

Sterling Smith: Stephenville, Texas — $25,375 

Tuf Cooper: Decatur, Texas — $15,250 

Hunter Herrin: Apache, Oklahoma — $11,500 

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Jake Vold of Airdire, Alberta, Canada, won the RODEOHOUSTON Bareback Riding Championship title with a 90-point ride. Vold may have lost his hat during the ride, but he left the arena with the Championship buckle and $50,000. When Vold checked the scoreboard, he was confident that he could win the title. 

 

“When I saw 90 points, I thought I had a pretty good shot,” Vold said. “I’ve wanted [to win] this rodeo so bad, and to finally win the Championship here makes you feel like the best guy out there.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Jake Vold: Airdire, Alberta, Canada — $56,000 

RC Landingham: Vina, California — $23,375 

JR Vezain: Cowley, Wyoming — $14,250 

Ty Breuer: Mandan, North Dakota — $11,500 

 

TEAM ROPING Team Ropers Zac Small and Levi Lord tied the 4.1-second arena record and are leaving RODEOHOUSTON with $110,000 and a Championship title. Although they have not roped together very long, Lord said they make a great pair.

 

“Zack always gets a great lead, and he makes my job easy,” Lord said. “I always know he will do his job and everything will come together. That happened tonight, and it feels pretty amazing.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Zack Small: Welch, Oklahoma; and Levi Lord: Sturgis, South Dakota — $110,000

Erich Rogers: Round Rock, Arizona; and Cory Petska: Marana, Arizona — $38,666

Charly Crawford: Stephenville, Texas; and Walt Woodard: Stephenville, Texas — $37,166

Adam Rose: Willard, Missouri; and Byron Wilkerson: Deming, New Mexico — $32,666

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

After a wild 92-point ride, Saddle Bronc Riding Champion Cody Demoss left the arena with $50,000, a smile and a tip of his hat. He won his first RODEOHOUSTON Championship in 2003, which was the first year the Rodeo was held in NRG Stadium. Demoss said it took dedication to win again, 14 years later. 

 

When Demoss got off his bronc, he said hearing the roar of the crowd was a feeling he would never forget.

 

“Riding a bronc that is really bucking is the best feeling in the world,” Demoss said, “So, getting off that bronc and hearing the roar of the crowd, it gave me chills.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Cody Demoss: Heflin, Louisiana — $56,438 

Clay Elliott: Nanton, Alberta, Canada — $26,375 

Isacc Diaz: Desdemona, Texas – $15,500 

Cort Sheer: Elsmere, Nebraska – $14,500 

 

STEER WRESTLING

As the last athlete to qualify for the shootout in Steer Wrestling, Tyler Waguespack became a first-time RODEOHOUSTON champion with a time of 4.7 seconds. Waguespack said he has always been a big fan of RODEOHOUSTON, and this moment is a dream come true. 

 

“I grew up watching RODEOHOUSTON, and I’ve always dreamed of being here,” Waguespack said. “It’s an amazing rodeo with a big stage. I always enjoy coming to the Rodeo, and this win makes it even more special.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Tyler Waguespack: Gonzales, Louisiana — $56,500 

Tyler Pearson: Louisville, Mississippi — $27,000 

Kyle Irwin: Robertsdale, Alabama — $14,250 

Trevor Knowles: Mount Vernon, Oregon — $10,000 

 

BARREL RACING

Kassie Mowry of Dublin, Texas, wiped tears from her eyes as she accepted the RODEOHOUSTON Barrel Racing Championship belt buckle. Mowry said that she could really hear the arena cheering her on as she headed into the home stretch.

 

Mowry said that RODEOHOUSTON is the most prestigious rodeo she has ever competed at and that she is honored to have the RODEOHOUSTON Barrel Racing Championship title by her name.

 

“This is the biggest rodeo win I have ever had,” Mowry said. “I will never forget this win.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings)

Kassie Mowry: Dublin, Texas — $60,000 

Kathy Grimes: Medical Lake, Washington — $28,000 

Carly Richardson: Pampa, Texas — $14,750 

Nellie Williams-Miller: Cottonwood, California — $11,250 

 

BULL RIDING

A 90-point ride secured Bull Rider Garrett Smith’s Championship title at RODEOHOUSTON. Smith said he cannot believe his name will be in the champion category with many other rodeo greats.

 

“I grew up watching the Rodeo,” Smith said. “It’s a legendary rodeo. The past champions are incredible, and to be in that category — It hasn’t soaked in yet.”

 

Top Four (total 2017 RODEOHOUSTON winnings) 

Garrett Smith: Rexburg, Idaho — $53,375 

Scottie Knapp: Albuquerque, New Mexico — $23,875 

Trey Benton III: Rock Island, Texas — $13,750 

Cole Melancon: Hull, Texas — $12,250 

 

Rodeo Houston Rewind

 

ATHLETES PLAY THEIR HAND IN THE RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES WILD CARD ROUND FOR A SHOT AT $50,000 — MARCH 24, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — After surviving the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Wild Card, the final 16 contestants advance to the Championship, Saturday, March 25.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Hunter Herrin of Apache, Oklahoma, won the Wild Card Tie-Down Roping event to advance to the Championship Round. Herrin said that he is confident in his preparation going into the Championship Round, but that the draw has a big influence on performance.

 

“Doing well in the Championship comes down to the draw,” Herrin said. “You have to draw well, and rope even better.”

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Hunter Herrin: Apache, Oklahoma — $6,000 

Cory Solomon: Prairie View, Texas — $6,000 

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Orin Larson of Inglis, Manitoba, Canada, was the last to ride in the Wild Card Bareback event where he secured his spot in the Championship. Larson said he is thankful for the many chances he received to qualify for the final.

 

“The way RODEOHOUSTON is set up is very forgiving and we get many chances to qualify,” Inglis said. “I am thankful and fortunate to have another chance to ride.”

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Orin Larsen: Inglis, Manitoba, Canada — $6,375 

Clayton Biglow: Clements, California — $5,750

 

TEAM ROPING

Team ropers Dustin Bird of Cut Bank, Montana, and Russell Cardoza of Terrebonne, Oregon, had the fastest run in the Wild Card with a time of 4.5 seconds. Cardoza said that he is thankful for the chance to compete in the Championship and has confidence in his partner. 

 

“The win tonight in the Wild Card gave us a chance to compete for the $50,000,” Cardoza said. “I’m glad to have Bird heading for me going into the Championship, he’s pretty fast.”

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Dustin Bird: Cut Bank, Montana; and Russell Cardoza: Terrebonne, Oregon — $14,000

Jake Cooper: Monument, New Mexico; and Dustin Davis: Terrell, Texas — $9,000

 

SADDLE BRONC Clay Elliot’s 85-point ride earned him the Wild Card win and a spot in the Championship. Elliot said consistency is key to success in the Championship Round.

 

“Every rodeo has different circumstances,” Elliot said. “I just try to do the same thing each time and find consistency in each ride.”

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date):

 

Clay Elliott: Nanton, Alberta, Canada — $6,375 

Cody Demoss: Heflin, Louisiana — $6,438 

 

STEER WRESTLING

Steer wrestler Tyler Pearson won the Wild Card and is one ride closer to the $50,000. Pearson said his family is his inspiration to do well in the Championship Round.

 

“A win for me in the Championship is a win for our family,” Pearson said.

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Tyler Pearson: Louisville, Mississippi — $7,000 

Ty Erickson: Helena, Montana — $7,500 

 

BARREL RACING

Jana Bean snagged a spot in the Championship lineup with her Wild Card win in Barrel Racing. Bean said the crowd tonight had a big impact on her success.

 

“The crowd here at RODEOHOUSTON is very supportive,” Bean said. “Everybody from committee members to fans make the experience great.”

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Jana Bean: Ft. Hancock, Texas— $6,750 

Kathy Grimes: Medical Lake, Washington — $8,000 

 

BULL RIDING

The last to ride in the Wild Card, Ty Wallace, earned the final spot in the Championship in Bull Riding. Wallace said everyone has a great shot at winning and that he is thankful for the support from his fellow competitors.

 

“It’s anybody’s ball game,” Wallace said. “All these guys are like family and we always cheer for each other.”

 

Advancing to Championship (winnings to date): 

Ty Wallace: Collbran, Colorado — $6,375 

Scottie Knapp: Albuquerque, New Mexico — $3,875 

 

The top two from each event in the Wild Card advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings.

 

 

 

 

SEMIFINAL WINNERS EARN ONE-WAY TICKETS TO THE RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP — MARCH 23, 2016 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — RODEOHOUSTON Semifinal 2 contestants advance to the Super Series Championship set for Saturday, March 25.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Veteran tie-down roper Fred Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, took home the Semifinal 2 win. Whitfield, 49, who won the event in 2000 and 2013, said that it feels great to be here at RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“This is my hometown rodeo,” Whitfield said. “I’m out here competing against guys half my age, so a win in the final would be the icing on the cake for me.”

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Fred Whitfield: Hockley, Texas — $7,250

Sterling Smith: Stephenville, Texas — $5,375

Stran Smith: Childress, Texas — $3,750

Riley Pruitt: Gering, Nebraska — $4,750

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Mason Clements of Santaquin, Utah, won both the Super Series I and Semifinal 2 rounds in Bareback Riding. Clements said that he is ready to take care of business in the Championship Round.

 

“Winning both of my rides has my confidence sky-high,” Clements said. “I’m so motivated and ready to win in the Championship.”

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Mason Clements: Santaquin, Utah — $8,500

Tyler Nelson: Victor, Idaho — $6,500

Bobby Mote: Stephenville, Texas — $4,833

JR Vezain: Cowley, Wyoming — $4,250

 

TEAM ROPING

Erich Rogers and Corey Petska, five-year team roping partners, claimed the Semifinal 2 Team Roping win.  Rogers said that he and Petska are friends in and out of the arena and that he is confident in their ability to work as a team.

 

“The atmosphere in the arena is intense and there are a lot of good ropers out there,” Rogers said, “but we work together well and don’t plan on changing anything going into the Championship.” 

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Erich Rogers: Round Rock, Arizona; and Cory Petska: Marana, Arizona — $15,000

Riley Minor: Ellensburg, Washington; and Brady Minor: Ellensburg, Washington — $15,000

Chad Masters: Cedar Hill, Tennessee; and Travis Graves: Bluff Dale, Texas — $9,000

Pace Freed: Bluff Dale, Texas; and Trey Yates: Pueblo, Colorado — $9,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, Texas, had the top Saddle Bronc took the win in Semifinal 2 and secured his spot in the Super Series Championship. He is proud to represent Texas at RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“Being a bronc rider from Texas isn’t that common,” Crawley said. “I’m trying to bring bronc riding back to Texas.”

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Jacobs Crawley: Boerne, Texas — $11,500

Jake Watson: Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia, Canada — $4,500

Tyrel Larsen: Inglis, Manitoba, Canada — $5,000

Wade Sundell: Boxholm, Iowa — $4,875

 

STEER WRESTLING

Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana, wrestled his steer in 4.2 seconds to win Semifinal 2 in Steer Wrestling. Waguespack is confident in the horse taking him to the Championship.

 

“I know that Cadillac is going to do his job in the Championship,” Waguespack said. “Now, I’ve just got to do mine.”

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Tyler Waguespack: Gonzales, Louisiana — $6,500

Clayton Hass: Weatherford, Texas — $6,500

KC Jones: Decatur, Texas — $5,250

Kyle Irwin: Robertsdale, Alabama — $4,250

 

BARREL RACING

Kassie Mowry of Dublin, Texas, is headed to the Championship in Barrel Racing.  Mowry’s time of 14.01 put her in the chase for $50,000.

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Kassie Mowry: Dublin, Texas — $10,000

Stevi Hillman: Weatherford, Texas — $8,000

Carley Richardson: Pampa, Texas — $4,750

Brenda Mays: Terrebonne, Oregon — $3,750

 

BULL RIDING

Brennon Eldred of Sulphur, Oklahoma, took home the Semifinal 2 Bull Riding win with a 90-point ride. This is Eldred’s third time to compete at RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“I feed off the atmosphere here at RODEOHOUSTON,” Eldred said. “If you can get on bulls, this is the place to do it.” 

 

Advancing to Championship Round (winnings to date):

Brennon Eldred: Sulphur, Oklahoma — $10,500

Trey Benton III: Rock Island, Texas — $6,000

Cole Melancon: Hull, Texas — $4,500

Garrett Smith: Rexberg, Idaho — $3,375

 

The top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship on Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete in the Wild Card Round, Friday, March 24, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings.

Successful Sale At The 2017 Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Canvas Auction

Defending GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Kirk Sutherland (L) is all smiles as he and 2017 Calgary Stampede Queen Meagan Peters wait for the iopening bid of the 2017 Calgary STampede Chuckwagon Canvas Auction
Photo By Ed Wittchen

Courtesy WPCA.com

Courtesy WPCA.com

It looks like the Calgary economy is on the rebound as the 2017 Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon Canvas Auction has to be looked upon as a success. It was the 9th highest total in the 39 year history of the event, bringing in over 2.4 million dollars.

$1,985,000.00 was bid on the 29 drivers that will compete on the 2017 World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA)  Pro Tour, with $437,500.00 bid on the remaining 7 drivers who will compete on the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) circuit in 2017.

A total of $2,422,500.00 was bid on the 36 participating wagons. It was the 7th consecutive year the Calgary Auction crossed over the 2 million dollar mark. Twelve-time GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Kelly Sutherland, who will be making his final appearance at the big show, received the high bid of $110,000.00, $10,000.00 down from 2017's top of $120,000.00 for Kurt Bensmiller. The median bid on all 36 wagons was $66,250.00, up $11,250.00 from the median bid of $55,000.00 in 2016; the low bid was $40,000.00, up $2,500.00 from the low bid of 2016 as well.

The next chuckwagon auction will be on Thursday,April 6, 2017 at the Grey Eagle Casino for the bulk of the WPCA Pro Tour.

Billy Melville

DriverSponsorAmount Bid

Kelly SutherlandFriends of the King$110,000.00

Jason GlassFriends of Glass Racing$95,000.00

Rick FraserDirect Horizontal Drilling$95,000.00

Kurt BensmillerWest Industrial Ltd.$87,500.00

Kris Mollevisitlethbridge.com$87,500.00

Kirk SutherlandCam Clark Ford$82,500.00

Luke TournierExpress Employment Professionals$82,500.00

Vern NolinDenton's$80,000.00

Mark SutherlandThe Cowboy's Casino Posse$80,000.00

Chad HardenMNP/Image Distributors$80,000.00

Jamie LaboucaneRogers Communications$80,000.00

Layne MacGillivrayLaFarge Canada$77,500.00

Gary GorstPainted Pony Petroleum Ltd.$75,000.00

Mitch SutherlandGhostpine Environmental Services Ltd.$70,000.00

Logan GorstBD&P Put the Boots to Hunger$70,000.00

Troy DorchesterCARSTAR Collision & Glass Service$70,000.00

Chance BensmillerFriends of the Mavericks$70,000.00

Chanse VigenThe Mavericks Chuckwagon Team$67,500.00

Codey McCurrachiON Secured Networks$65,000.00

Colt CosgraveHigh River Autoplex & RV$65,000.00

Barry HodgsonRoadtrek Motorhomes$65,000.00

Evan SalmondWheeler's Transport (2001) Ltd.$60,000.00

Doug IrvineB & R Eckel's Transport Ltd.$60,000.00

Chad Fikesimons$60,000.00

Jordie FikeHorsepower Inc.$57,500.00

Cody RidsdaleDreamcatcher Log Homes$57,500.00

Roger MooreConstruction Group$55,000.00

John WaltersShaw GMC Chevrolet Buick$50,000.00

Obrey MotowyloHomes By Us/Eagle Builders$50,000.00

Mike VigenDriving Force$50,000.00

Troy FladThe Mavericks Chuckwagon Team$47,500.00

Dustin GorstCentury Casino$45,000.00

Ray MitsuingHeart Lake Group$45,000.00

Dallas DyckManteo Group of Companies/Friends of The Brakeman $45,000.00

Todd BaptisteManteo Group of Companies/Friends of The Brakeman $45,000.00

Darcy FladThe Legends$40,000.00

      

 Total Amount Bid$2,422,500.00

   

 Average Bid$67,291.67

   

 Median Bid$66,250.00

   

 High Bid$110,000.00

   

 Low Bid$40,000.00

   

 2016 Total$2,299,500.00

   

 Difference Over 2016$123,000.00

Calgary Stampede chuckwagon tarp auction drives to a wire-beater win

CP, THE CANADIAN PRESS
More from CP, The Canadian Press

Published on: March 23, 2017 | Last Updated: March 23, 2017 9:12 PM MDT

Chuckwagon driver Kelly Sutherland poses for a photo during his last Stampede Canvas Auction at the Boyce Theatre in Calgary, Alta., on Thursday March 23, 2017. Leah Hennel/Postmedia LEAH HENNEL LEAH HENNEL / LEAH HENNEL/POSTMEDIA

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

CALGARY — It came right down to the wire but the annual Calgary Stampede chuckwagon canvas auction on Thursday night just edged out the total raised a year ago.

Bidders pledged just over $2.4 million for the right to advertise on tarps on the 36 chuckwagons that will compete in 10 days of racing July 7-16 at the Stampede.

The auction, considered a bellwether for Alberta’s oilpatch mood, raised just under $2.3 million last year, the worst showing since 2010 when it brought in $1.97 million.

The record year was 2012, when bidders pledged just over $4 million.

Dave Sibbald, president of the Calgary Stampede board of directors, said the tarp auction’s success bodes well for what is billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth this summer.

“I think it’s a really good lead indicator, as it always has (been),” he said.

“I mean, we’re up over last year, we’re starting to see the economy come around and this is very positive news as we start to enter into our ad campaigns and our launch.”

The top bid of $110,000 on Thursday bought rights on the wagon driven by 12-time champion Kelly Sutherland, 65, the sentimental favourite because he is retiring after this year’s event.

“I said if we raised the same amount of money as last year we’d be very lucky, because I think a lot of companies even this time last year were just thinking it would be short-lived,” Sutherland said.

“To me it’s 2018 and 2019 before we turn the corner.”

RELATED

Two-time winner Kurt Bensmiller bought his own wagon for $95,000 at the auction, the same price he paid last year, and plans to resell it to a group of advertisers who will split up the rights.

“With the economy, everyone is struggling,” Bensmiller said.

“They’re cutting corners and trying to take care of their families and their business. It is what it is. You can’t sugarcoat what’s going on in Western Canada.”

The auction takes place as crude prices have been lingering below the US$50 per barrel mark, though nearly US$10 above what they were at this time last year.

Rodeo Houston Super Series Results

ATHLETES ADVANCE TO THE SEMIFINALS DURING RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES V CHAMPIONSHIP — MARCH 21, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — RODEOHOUSTON Super Series V champion athletes advance to the Semifinal rounds set for Wednesday, March 22, and Thursday, March 23.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Oklahoma, took home the title of Super Series V Tie-Down Roping Champion. Jarrett said he enjoys competing at RODEOHOUSTON, and plans to keep the same strategy for the Semifinals to make sure he remains consistent.

 

“[RODEOHOUSTON] always has a good atmosphere,” Jarrett said. “I won’t do anything different to prepare. I will just keep doing what I’m doing.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Ryan Jarrett: Comanche, Oklahoma — $6,500

Matt Shiozawa: Chubbuck, Idaho — $5,750

Riley Pruitt: Gering, Nebraska — $4,000

Reese Riemer: Stinnett, Texas — $1,500

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Steven Dent of Mullen, Nebraska, won the Super Series V Bareback Riding Champion title. Dent said his goal coming into the Rodeo was to advance to the Semifinals. Now that he achieved his goal, he does not plan to change his routine for the Semifinals. 

 

“This was my goal coming in — to advance,” Dent said. “Winning was just a bonus. This is what I do for a living, so I’m just going to keep doing what is working.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Steven Dent: Mullen, Nebraska— $5,375

Chad Rutherford: Itasca, Texas — $4,625

JR Vezain: Cowley, Wyoming — $3,875

RC Landingham: Vina, California — $2,500

 

TEAM ROPING Brothers Riley and Brady Minor of Ellensburg, Washington, claimed the title of Super Series V Team Roping Champions. Riley said that it feels really good to have a chance at winning $50,000. 

 

“We’ve been to this Rodeo eight or nine times and have had quite a bit of success,” Riley Minor said. “Maybe this will be the year we do it.

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Riley Minor: Ellensburg, Washington, and Brady Minor: Ellensburg, Washington — $12,000

Dustin Bird: Cut Bank, Montana, and Russell Cardoza: Terrebonne, Oregon — $8,000

Kaleb Driggers: Stephenville, Texas, and Junior Nogueira: Burleson, Texas — $6,000

Jake Cooper: Monument, New Mexico, and Dustin Davis: Terrell, Texas — $6,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

Roper Kiesner of Ripley, Oklahoma, took home the Super Series V Saddle Bronc Riding Champion title. This is Kiesner’s first time competing at RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“I wasn’t even supposed to be here because I was on the alternate list,” Kiesner said. “Getting the call to come to Houston and then winning tonight, it’s a dream come true.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Roper Kiesner: Ripley, Oklahoma — $5,375

Wade Sundell: Boxholm, Iowa — $4,125

Audy Reed: Spearman, Texas — $3,500

Clay Elliott: Nanton, Alberta, Canada — $3,375

 

STEER WRESTLING

Dakota Eldridge of Elko, Nevada, won the Super Series V Steer Wrestling Championship. Eldridge is seeking a back-to-back title, as he is the reigning RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Steer Wrestling Champion. 

 

“I’m excited,” Eldridge said. “It would mean a lot to win again. My RODEOHOUSTON buckle is pretty special and it would be great to follow it with another win.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Dakota Eldridge: Elko, Nevada — $3,750

Trevor Knowles: Mount Vernon, Oregon — $3,000

Kyle Irwin: Robertsdale, Alabama — $3,000

Tanner Milan: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada — $3,000

 

BARREL RACING

Sydni Blanchard of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had the fastest time during the last two rounds of Super Series V, and won the Super Series V Barrel Racing Championship. Blanchard said she loves RODEOHOUSTON because it is the largest rodeo she competes in all year.

 

“This rodeo can really give us barrel racers a head start going into the season,” Blanchard said. “The atmosphere in the arena is great. I’m trying to take it all in while I’m here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Sydni Blanchard: Albuquerque, New Mexico — $6,000

Nellie Williams-Miller: Cottonwood, California — $5,000

Carley Richardson: Pampa, Texas — $3,750

Nancy Csabay: Taber, Alberta, Canada — $2,750

 

BULL RIDING

Eli Vastbinder of Athens, Texas, was named the Super Series V Bull Riding Champion during his RODEOHOUSTON debut. Vastbinder, who was on the alternate list at first, said that he’s watched RODEOHOUSTON since he was a kid. 

 

“Pulling up, it was a pretty cool feeling,” Vastbinder said. “I grew up watching old films of RODEOHOUSTON and really consider it an honor to be here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Eli Vastbinder: Athens, Texas — $6,250

Parker Breding: Edgar, Montana — $3,000

Joe Frost: Randlett, Utah — $2,875

Tim Bingham: Honeyville, Utah — $2,500

 

The top four from each event, from each Super Series advanced to a Semifinal Round. The top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two Semifinals will compete in the Wild Card Round, Friday, March 24, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RODEOHOUSTON Super Series continues through March 25, with the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

TOUGH SPORT, TOUGHER COWBOYS AT RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES IV CHAMPIONSHIP — MARCH 18, 2016 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —RODEOHOUSTON Super Series IV Champions advance to the Semifinals set for March 22 and 23, 2017.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Oklahoma native Bryson Sechrist earned the 2017 Super Series IV Tie-Down Roping Champion title in a close match. Sechrist said he owes some of the credit to luck.

“I’m pretty excited,” Sechrist said. “This is what I wanted to do coming in, and I got lucky and did it.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Bryson Sechrist: Apache, Oklahoma — $3,750

Blane Cox: Cameron, Texas — $3,000

Hunter Herrin: Apache, Oklahoma — $3,000

Sterling Smith: Stephenville, Texas — $2,875

BAREBACK RIDING

 

Super Series IV Bareback Riding Champion Jessy Davis has competed at RODEOHOUSTON for 10 years. He said he chose to ride bareback after trying out bulls for a while but decided to stick with the wild and flamboyant bareback event. Davis said his horse for this round almost caused a problem.

 

“The horse was a little more than I was expecting today,” Davis said. “It [the ride] was a blur, but it worked out pretty good.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Jessy Davis: Power, Montana — $4,875

Tyler Nelson: Victor, Idaho — $4,000

Ty Breuer: Mandan, North Dakota — $4,000

Clayton Biglow: Clements, California — $3,375

 

TEAM ROPING Longtime friends Erich Rogers and Cory Petska started roping together five years ago, and are the 2017 Super Series IV Team Roping Champions. Petska said RODEOHOUSTON is a great rodeo because of the fans and the committees.

“It’s exciting to be in front of these fans,” Petska said. “I’m happy to be here, and thankful for the committee who makes this happen.”

Rogers said he is always ready for the next round of RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“This is a prestigious rodeo,” Rogers said. “I wish they could have one of these every month of the year.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Erich Rogers: Round Rock, Arizona; and Cory Petska: Marana, Arizona — $9,000

Kolton Schmidt: Barrhead, Alberta, Canada; and Shay Carroll: Hico, Texas — $7,500

Billy Bob Brown: Carbon, Texas; and Logan Medlin: Tatum, New Mexico — $7,000

Trevor Brazile: Decatur, Texas; and Patrick Smith: Lipan, Texas — $7,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

During his seventh visit to RODEOHOUSTON, Cort Scheer picked up the title of Super Series IV Saddle Bronc Riding Champion. Scheer said it is not just the horses or the competition he loves about RODEOHOUSTON — it’s the crowd. 

“This crowd is probably one of the loudest crowds you ever ride in front of,” Scheer said. “It’s just a great time. The hospitality around here is unbelievable — second to none.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Cort Scheer: Elsmere, Nebraska — $6,000

Chuck Schmidt: Keldron, South Dakota — $4,750

Tyrell Smith: Sand Coulee, Montana — $3,000

Jesse Wright: Milford, Utah — $2,875

 

STEER WRESTLING

Nick Guy traveled from Strasburg, Colorado, with a goal to win the largest rodeo in the world. After tonight, he’s one step closer by winning the Super Series IV Steer Wrestling Championship. It was a three-way tie for first place, but Guy had the fastest time for the round and secured the win.

 

“It’s not necessarily the competing that takes a toll,” Guy said. “It’s the hundreds of miles behind the wheel, fast food and being away from family. It’s a lifestyle you acquire. It’s not for everybody, that’s for sure.” 

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Nick Guy: Strasburg, Colorado — $4,000

Tyler Pearson: Louisville, Mississippi — $4,000

Todd Suhn: Weatherford, Texas — $4,000

Tyler Waguespack: Gonzales, Louisiana — $3,500

 

BARREL RACING

Although she is more used to training the horses than riding them, Kassie Mowry earned the title of Super Series IV Barrel Racing Champion. Mowry said she is excited to make it so far in such tough competition.

“This is the top of the food chain in the rodeo world,” Mowry said. “This rodeo means everything.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Kassie Mowry: Dublin, Texas — $7,000

Ivy Conrado: Hudson, Colorado — $6,000

Sherry Cervi: Marana, Arizona — $3,000

Rachel Dice: Byron, California — $2,000

 

BULL RIDING

Native Texan Bayle Worden was named the Super Series IV Bull Riding Champion. He advances to the Semifinals with $5,500 after the third round. Worden said this is an adrenaline rush for him, and he enjoys the RODEOHOUSTON crowd. 

 

“Especially here, you make a good ride, and you look up and you got all these people screaming for you,” Worden said. “It’s something else. It’s pretty awesome. It gets your blood pumping.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Bayle Worden: Cooper, Texas — $5,500

Trey Benton III: Rock Island, Texas — $4,500

Jeff Askey: Athens, Texas — $3,000

Trevor Reiste: Linden, Iowa — $2,000

 

The top four in each event from each Super Series will advance to a Semifinal Round. Then, the top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete Friday, March 24, in the Wild Card Round, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RODEOHOUSTON Super Series continues through March 25, with the RODEOHOUSTON® Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

 

Rodeo Houston Super Series 4 Recap

 

TOUGH SPORT, TOUGHER COWBOYS AT RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES IV CHAMPIONSHIP — MARCH 18, 2016 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —RODEOHOUSTON Super Series IV Champions advance to the Semifinals set for March 22 and 23, 2017.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Oklahoma native Bryson Sechrist earned the 2017 Super Series IV Tie-Down Roping Champion title in a close match. Sechrist said he owes some of the credit to luck.

“I’m pretty excited,” Sechrist said. “This is what I wanted to do coming in, and I got lucky and did it.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Bryson Sechrist: Apache, Oklahoma — $3,750

Blane Cox: Cameron, Texas — $3,000

Hunter Herrin: Apache, Oklahoma — $3,000

Sterling Smith: Stephenville, Texas — $2,875

BAREBACK RIDING

 

Super Series IV Bareback Riding Champion Jessy Davis has competed at RODEOHOUSTON for 10 years. He said he chose to ride bareback after trying out bulls for a while but decided to stick with the wild and flamboyant bareback event. Davis said his horse for this round almost caused a problem.

 

“The horse was a little more than I was expecting today,” Davis said. “It [the ride] was a blur, but it worked out pretty good.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Jessy Davis: Power, Montana — $4,875

Tyler Nelson: Victor, Idaho — $4,000

Ty Breuer: Mandan, North Dakota — $4,000

Clayton Biglow: Clements, California — $3,375

 

TEAM ROPING Longtime friends Erich Rogers and Cory Petska started roping together five years ago, and are the 2017 Super Series IV Team Roping Champions. Petska said RODEOHOUSTON is a great rodeo because of the fans and the committees.

“It’s exciting to be in front of these fans,” Petska said. “I’m happy to be here, and thankful for the committee who makes this happen.”

Rogers said he is always ready for the next round of RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“This is a prestigious rodeo,” Rogers said. “I wish they could have one of these every month of the year.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Erich Rogers: Round Rock, Arizona; and Cory Petska: Marana, Arizona — $9,000

Kolton Schmidt: Barrhead, Alberta, Canada; and Shay Carroll: Hico, Texas — $7,500

Billy Bob Brown: Carbon, Texas; and Logan Medlin: Tatum, New Mexico — $7,000

Trevor Brazile: Decatur, Texas; and Patrick Smith: Lipan, Texas — $7,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

During his seventh visit to RODEOHOUSTON, Cort Scheer picked up the title of Super Series IV Saddle Bronc Riding Champion. Scheer said it is not just the horses or the competition he loves about RODEOHOUSTON — it’s the crowd. 

“This crowd is probably one of the loudest crowds you ever ride in front of,” Scheer said. “It’s just a great time. The hospitality around here is unbelievable — second to none.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Cort Scheer: Elsmere, Nebraska — $6,000

Chuck Schmidt: Keldron, South Dakota — $4,750

Tyrell Smith: Sand Coulee, Montana — $3,000

Jesse Wright: Milford, Utah — $2,875

 

STEER WRESTLING

Nick Guy traveled from Strasburg, Colorado, with a goal to win the largest rodeo in the world. After tonight, he’s one step closer by winning the Super Series IV Steer Wrestling Championship. It was a three-way tie for first place, but Guy had the fastest time for the round and secured the win.

 

“It’s not necessarily the competing that takes a toll,” Guy said. “It’s the hundreds of miles behind the wheel, fast food and being away from family. It’s a lifestyle you acquire. It’s not for everybody, that’s for sure.” 

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Nick Guy: Strasburg, Colorado — $4,000

Tyler Pearson: Louisville, Mississippi — $4,000

Todd Suhn: Weatherford, Texas — $4,000

Tyler Waguespack: Gonzales, Louisiana — $3,500

 

BARREL RACING

Although she is more used to training the horses than riding them, Kassie Mowry earned the title of Super Series IV Barrel Racing Champion. Mowry said she is excited to make it so far in such tough competition.

“This is the top of the food chain in the rodeo world,” Mowry said. “This rodeo means everything.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Kassie Mowry: Dublin, Texas — $7,000

Ivy Conrado: Hudson, Colorado — $6,000

Sherry Cervi: Marana, Arizona — $3,000

Rachel Dice: Byron, California — $2,000

 

BULL RIDING

Native Texan Bayle Worden was named the Super Series IV Bull Riding Champion. He advances to the Semifinals with $5,500 after the third round. Worden said this is an adrenaline rush for him, and he enjoys the RODEOHOUSTON crowd. 

 

“Especially here, you make a good ride, and you look up and you got all these people screaming for you,” Worden said. “It’s something else. It’s pretty awesome. It gets your blood pumping.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Bayle Worden: Cooper, Texas — $5,500

Trey Benton III: Rock Island, Texas — $4,500

Jeff Askey: Athens, Texas — $3,000

Trevor Reiste: Linden, Iowa — $2,000

 

The top four in each event from each Super Series will advance to a Semifinal Round. Then, the top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete Friday, March 24, in the Wild Card Round, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RODEOHOUSTON Super Series continues through March 25, with the RODEOHOUSTON® Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2017 Show

Rodeo Houston Super Series Three Recap

 

CHAMPIONS ADVANCE TO THE SEMIFINALS IN RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES III — MARCH 15, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — In another round of dust flying action, rodeo athletes filled RodeoHouston® Super Series Semifinal spots during the Super Series III Championship, Wednesday, March 15. The Semifinals are set for March 22 and 23, 2017.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

In the battle for the Tie-Down Roping Championship title, Texas-native Scott Kormos took home the win in Super Series III. The married dad of three has competed at RodeoHouston for 13 years. 

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Scott Kormos: Wortham, Texas — $5,750
Cory Solomon: Prairie View, Texas — $ 4,000

Cody McCartney: Temperance, Michigan — $3,000

Westyn Hughes: Caldwell, Texas — $3,000

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Super Series III Bareback Riding Champion, Will Lowe, gets to see another round of RodeoHouston and a shot at the $50,000. After a tough ride, Lowe said he is looking forward to another opportunity to ride in Houston.

 

“I wish I had ridden a little better, but that’s how it goes,” Lowe said. “I got through it and I get another chance.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Will Lowe: Canyon, Texas — $5,500
Clint Laye: Pocatello, Idaho — $ 4,875

Orin Larsen: Inglis, Manitoba, Canada — $3,375

Jake Vold: Airdrie, Alberta, Canada — $3,000

 

TEAM ROPING

Coleman Procter and Billie Saebens have a long history of growing up and roping together, and tonight, they added another milestone to their friendship — winning the RodeoHouston Super Series III Team Roping Championship. 

 

Saebens said he is proud of his team’s performance, and is looking forward to the next round.

 

“We had some good steers,” Saebens said. “My partner did a good job, and we got one step closer.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Coleman Proctor: Pryor, Oklahoma; and Billie Saebens: Nowata, Oklahoma — $9,500
Zac Small: Welch, Oklahoma; and Levi Lord: Sturgis, South Dakota — $ 8,000

Clay Smith: Bowie, Texas; and Paul Eaves: Milsap, Texas — $8,000

Chad Masters: Cedar Hill, Tennessee; and Travis Graves: Bluff Dale, Texas — $6,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

Jacobs Crawley won all three rounds of RodeoHouston Super Series III, securing the title of Super Series III Saddle Bronc Riding Champion. His 91 point ride in round three made him the highest scoring rough stock rider in the series, thus far.

 

“I grew up rodeoing, ever since I can remember and it grew into something I loved,” Crawley said. “There are more aspects about rodeo than just the event; it’s travelling, seeing new things, being your own boss. It’s an adventure going across the country and doing something you love.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Jacobs Crawley: Boerne, Texas — $9,000
Cody Demoss: Heflin, Louisiana — $4,438

Ryder Wright: Milford, Utah — $3,750

Luke Butterfield: Ponoka, Alberta, Canada — $2,188

 

STEER WRESTLING

Ty Erickson took home the Steer Wrestling Champion Title in RodeoHouston Super Series III. Erickson said it took some luck to come out on top for this series. 

 

“It’s important,” Erickson said. “But at this level everyone is so good, it really depends on the steer and the day.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Ty Erickson: Helena, Montana — $6,000
Clayton Hass: Weatherford, Texas — $5,250

Shane Frey: Marlow, Oklahoma — $4,000

JD Struxness: Appleton, Minnesota — $3,500

 

BARREL RACING

Stevi Hillman and her horse, Truck, raced their way to the Semifinals by winning the 2017 RodeoHouston Super Series III Championship. Hillman said most of the credit goes to Truck. 

 

“I’m so excited,” Hillman said. “I am beyond proud of my horse, he has earned his spot here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Stevi Hillman: Weatherford, Texas — $6,000
Jana Bean: Ft. Hancock, Texas — $ 3,750

Brenda Mays: Terrebonne, Oregon — $3,000

Pamela Capper: Cheney, Washington — $3,000

 

BULL RIDING

The first bullrider to ride all three bulls in the 2017 RodeoHouston Super Series, and one of only two riders to make it to the eight second buzzer tonight, Brennon Eldred rightfully earned a spot in the Semifinals. However, the Super Series III Bull Riding Champion, said sucess is not all about the bulls drawn or physical abilities.

 

“Bull riding is 99 percent mental,” Eldred said. “Once you learn how to control your mind, then you’ve got it beat.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Brennon Eldred: Sulphur, Oklahoma — $7,500

Cody Teel: Kountze, Texas — $3,500

Cole Melancon: Hull, Texas — $3,000

Sage Steele Kimzey: Strong City, Oklahoma — $2,000

 

The top four from each event in each Super Series will advance to a Semifinal Round. The top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RodeoHouston Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete in the Wild Card Round, Friday, March 24, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RodeoHouston Super Series continues through March 25, with the RodeoHouston Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2017 Show runs March 7 – 26.

Remembering WPRA Barrel Racer Nancy Hunter

RODEOHOUSTON Facebook Page

RODEOHOUSTON is sad to hear of the passing of a true champion. Barrel Racer Nancy Hunter was a three-time #RODEOHOUSTON champion. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy’s family and the rodeo community.

Prayers for Hunter Family on the Passing of Nancy 

MONDAY, 13 MARCH 2017

Story Courtesy WPRA.com 

Story Courtesy WPRA.com 

 

By Ann Bleiker

The WPRA said goodbye to one of their own on Sunday, March 12, after Nancy Hunter lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. Hunter, 59, of Neola, Utah, was diagnosed with cancer on August 18, 2016.

Hunter qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014 and again in 2015, finishing the year's ranked fourth and 10th, respectively in the final year-end standings. She won the fifth round at her final NFR in a time of 13.62 seconds.



In 2015, Hunter also captured the barrel racing title at RodeoHouston for the third consecutive time and qualified for the NFR after competing in just 26 rodeos. Nancy's husband, Fred, was right beside her during her barrel racing career serving as her main coach and support system. Nancy spent many years working as a registered nurse in the emergency room.



As her son, Wyatt, wrote on Facebook "Her passionate approach to the arena of life left an influence on immeasurable amounts of people. As she ran through the pattern of this mortality she met the challenges and tough times head on never shrinking from her path and always keeping in mind that with the greatest of trials there will always be the success at the end. This morning Nancy rounded the third barrel and ran home to that God who gave her life, with her head held high knowing she had done all the Lord had commanded her to do."

The WPRA sends their condolences to Team Hunter.

Remembering A Rodeo Legend: Harry Vold, The Duke Of The Chutes

PRORODEO.COM QUOTE OF THE WEEK
            “Harry just had a way with people. He was spectacular to be around. He was humble, and great to talk to, and he was a unique man. It’s a big loss to our rodeo industry.”
            ­­­– Seven-time Wrangler National Rodeo qualifier Josh Peek on his good friend Harry Vold, who passed away Monday.

CNFR: College National Finals Rodeo Facebook Photo

This is how we choose to remember him, watching the rodeo with CNFR competitors. There will never be another "Duke of the Chutes." We are proud of the affiliation that Harry Vold had with college rodeo and that the legacy lives on. We can never thank you enough. Sending love and prayers to the Vold family and know that our loss is heaven's gain.

Ponoka Stampede  Facebook Page

Ponoka Cowboy, Rodeo Legend, Stock Contractor, Gentlemen & Friend, Harry Vold passed away in his sleep this morning peacefully at 93 years old. The "Duke of The Chutes" will be remembered forever. Nobody enjoyed rodeo more than Harry, he dedicated his entire life to the sport. A memorial service will take place at 1pm on March 20th at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, CO. Rest peacefully and watch over us Cowboy! Our hearts are with the entire Vold family

Rodeo world remembers Harry Vold



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Duke of the Chutes was remembered in grand fashion Monday.

An estimated crowd of 600 people paid tribute to ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Harry Vold during an emotional memorial service at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s courtyard. The memorial service was emceed by veteran ProRodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus.

Vold passed away March 13 at the age of 93 in his sleep at his home in Avondale, Colo.

“This was a great tribute to what a good person he was and that he was a great friend to other people,” said Kirsten Vold, Harry’s daughter, who will continue to run her father’s rodeo company. “This was wonderful. I also think how great it is that all these people get to see each other who normally don’t get to see each other for many years.”

Harry Vold is one of only two stock contractors to provide animals for every National Finals Rodeo, which has been held annually since 1959.

Vold, while operating the Harry Vold Rodeo Company, was chosen PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year 11 times (1982, 1987-96), which is tied for the most selections with Stace Smith ProRodeos.

Jerry Nelson, who runs Frontier Rodeo Company and has been selected PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year the past two years, took a moment Monday to talk about Vold.

“I think we’re all going to miss him,” Nelson said. “We’re going to miss his point of view and miss his tips and just miss talking to him. I loved calling him on the phone and saying, ‘Hey, Harry, what do you think about this? Or what do you think about that?’ I wouldn’t be in the rodeo business if it wasn’t for him selling me those mares like he did years ago; I would call him all the time and talk to him. I’m going to miss him, and there will not be another Harry Vold.”

Harry Vold: Jan. 29, 1924 – March 13, 2017



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The rodeo world lost a legend Monday.

ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Harry Vold passed away March 13. He was 93.
Vold, who was known as the “Duke of the Chutes” passed away in his sleep at his home in Avondale, Colo.

“My dad enjoyed rodeo more than anyone I know,” said Kirsten Vold, Harry’s daughter. “The PRCA meant a lot to him. He dedicated his life to the sport of rodeo and he believed in everything those four letters (PRCA) stood for. He passed away in his sleep like every good cowboy should.”

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. (MT) March 20 at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., 101 Pro Rodeo Drive.



Vold, while operating the Harry Vold Rodeo Company, was chosen PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year 11 times (1982, 1987-96), which is tied for the most selections with Stace Smith ProRodeos.



Vold is one of only two stock contractors to provide animals for every National Finals Rodeo, which has been held annually since 1959.

“He’s made a lot of friends and done a lot of things in rodeo,” Kirsten said. “I would say he had no regrets with how he spent his life because there’s nothing he would have rather have done than spend it in a rodeo arena on the back of a black horse, and he got to do that for many, many years.”

Vold was born Jan. 29, 1924, in Edmonton, Alberta. Vold tried his hand at bareback and saddle bronc riding, but he never had any ambition to be a full-time rodeo cowboy. 

His interest was in the horse business and auctioneering, then in rodeo. His early exposure to stock contracting came with some of the greatest names in the business – Leo Cremer, Lynn Beutler and Harry Knight.



Vold’s breeding program, primarily with bucking horses, has led to seven animals being voted top bucking stock of the year – two of which have been repeat winners. Over the years, Vold stock has appeared at every major rodeo in the United States, and several in Canada.



“My philosophy is to put on the very best quality rodeo with top stock and top cowboys –  wholesome family entertainment,” Harry once said.

Vold was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1994 and was named Legend of ProRodeo in 2009.

“I would hope people would remember that he was a true, loyal and honest friend,” said Kirsten, who will continue to run her father’s rodeo company.

Joe Frost heats up in Florida

PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

PRCA (ProRodeo.com)



ARCADIA, Fla. – Joe Frost traveled 2,285 miles to compete at the Arcadia All-Fla Championship Rodeo, and it was worth the long flight.

The 24-year-old Randlett, Utah, bull rider covered Frontier Rodeo’s Back Down for 86 points to win the title and earn a check for $4,258.

“I try to never think about the expenses or traveling, because that’s just part of the job we do,” Frost said. “In my mind, it doesn’t matter if I’m rodeoing in my back yard or getting on a plane for four hours – I make it just about bull riding and not stress about money, because that doesn’t do you any good.”

He didn’t need to stress about his performance in Arcadia. In fact, the ride he made on Back Down not only led to a big check, but also a bit of revenge.

“I got bucked off that bull in Spanish Fork (Utah) last year, and he bucked my brother Josh off at a college rodeo,” Frost said. “So, that was a good one to have again and get him rode – I got some revenge for the family.

“He’s a bull who’s better out of the right-hand delivery, and he’s really fast and a guy has to be moving and hustling or he’ll get ahead of you in a hurry. Winning this makes me feel better that I wasted a chance at $4-5,000 the first time I saw that bull.”

This was Frost’s second trip to Arcadia, as he earned a sixth-place check at the rodeo last year.

“I really like that rodeo – they have a good crowd and (Eight-time World Champion) Donnie Gay is helping announce, and he always adds a little flavor to it,” Frost said. “It’s exciting when you make a good ride with him rambling in the background.”

Surprisingly, this is Frost’s first victory of the 2017 season. Still, he entered the weekend sixth in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings on the strength of plenty of second- and third-place finishes.

“It’s about consistency and being able to ride every different kind of bull you face,” he said. “I’d rather be second at three rodeos than first at one and buck off at the other two. The name of the game is winning as much money as you can, but it’s nice to get a win now and then.”

Frost, who has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER the past three years, missed three months of action last April through June with a blood clot. He’s finished in the top six of the world each of the past three seasons, and is now hoping to have a season full of health.

“I’d like to think the sky is the limit, but I’ve never been able to go a full year, and have always had injuries,” he said. “But my goal is to be the world champion, and to stay fresh and go to as many rodeos as I can.”

Other winners at the $100,266 rodeo were all-around cowboy Nelson Wyatt ($2,759 in tie-down roping and team roping), bareback rider Orin Larsen (87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Times Up), steer wrestler Kyle Irwin (4.2 seconds), team ropers Nelson Wyatt/Brad Culpepper (5.5 seconds), saddle bronc rider Clay Elliott (87.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Memphis King), tie-down roper Zeb Chapman (9.8 seconds) and barrel racer Taylor Carver (17.31 seconds).

Arcadia All-Fla Championship Rodeo

 

Arcadia, Fla., March 9-12

 

All-around cowboy: Nelson Wyatt, $2,759, tie-down roping and team roping.

 

Bareback riding: 1. Orin Larsen, 87 points on Frontier Rodeo's Times Up, $3,955; 2. Tim O'Connell, 85.5, $3,032; 3. (tie) Ty Taypotat, Clayton Biglow and Mason Clements, 85, $1,538 each; 6. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Chad Rutherford, 83, $593 each; 8. Tanner Phipps, 81, $396. 

 

Steer wrestling: 1. Kyle Irwin, 4.2 seconds, $1,924; 2. (tie) Kamry Dymmek and Lane Chipley, 4.9, $1,548 each; 4. Clint Thomas, 5.1, $1,171; 5. Bob Rohrer, 5.3, $920; 6. (tie) Gary Gilbert and James Davis, 6.0, $544 each; 8. Cody Miller, 6.1, $167. 

 

Team roping: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Brad Culpepper, 5.5 seconds, $2,759 each; 2. (tie) Travis Dorman/Bradley Massey and Jack Andrews/Rodney Melton, 6.0, $2,219 each; 4. Casey Hilley/Mark Gentry, 6.4, $1,680; 5. Hayden Grant/John Hudson, 6.5, $1,320; 6. Cody Reed/Chad Harper, 6.6, $960; 7. Kaston Peavy/Jason Garcia, 6.9, $600; 8. (tie) Rob Toth/Blaine Courson and Nelson Linares/Spunk Sasser, 7.2, $120 each. 

 

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Clay Elliott, 87.5 points on Frontier Rodeo's Memphis King, $4,174; 2. Tyler Corrington, 84, $3,200; 3. Jake Watson, 83.5, $2,365; 4. Hardy Braden, 83, $1,530; 5. Wyatt Casper, 82.5, $974; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Audy Reed, 81.5, $626 each; 8. (tie) Bradley Harter and Cort Scheer, 80, $209 each. 

 

Tie-down roping: 1. Zeb Chapman, 9.8 seconds, $2,292; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 10.0, $1,993; 3. Trent Creager, 10.1, $1,694; 4. Tyler Milligan, 10.3, $1,395; 5. Lane Bateman, 10.7, $1,096; 6. Polo Bacque II, 10.9, $797; 7. Bradley Chance Hays, 11.3, $498; 8. Tim Pharr, 11.5, $199. 

 

Barrel racing: 1. Taylor Carver, 17.31 seconds, $2,311; 2. Brittney Drawdy, 17.34, $1,964; 3. Kassidy Lantis, 17.37, $1,617; 4. Ericka Nelson, 17.47, $1,386; 5. Sally Young, 17.55, $1,155; 6. Patricia Waters, 17.57, $809; 7. Jodi Jansen, 17.62, $578; 8. Margo Crowther, 17.66, $462; 9. Kelley Carrington, 17.67, $404; 10. Tracy Haberlandt, 17.69, $347; 11. Lori Bowden, 17.70, $289; 12. Mandy Amos, 17.76, $231. 

 

Bull riding: 1. Joe Frost, 86 points on Frontier Rodeo's Back Down, $4,258; 2. Corby Sturdivant, 84, $3,265; 3. Boudreaux Campbell, 83, $2,413; 4. Reagan Avery, 80.5, $1,561; 5. Lance Daniel, 80, $994; 6. Guthrie Murray, 77.5, $710; 7. Jade Nixon, 76.5, $568; 8. (tie) Gray Essary III and Josh Frost, 76, $213 each. 

 

Total payoff: $100,266. Stock contractor: Frontier Rodeo. Sub-contractor: Silver Creek Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Lauranne Smith. Timers: Jen Jeanes and Terri Gay. Announcers: Don Gay and Greg Simas. Specialty act: Keith Isley. Bullfighters: Darran Robertson and Blue Jeanes. Clown/barrelman: Keith Isley. Flankmen: Heath Stewart and Matt Williams. Chute boss: Heath Stewart. Pickup men: Jason Bottoms, Too Tall Calhoun, Rex Bugbee and Ryan Bestol. Photographer: Mike Rastelli. Music director: Mark Evans.

For more coverage of the Arcadia All-Fla Championship Rodeo, check out the March 31 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Arcadia set to get a new $7 million rodeo arena



This weekend’s Arcadia All-Fla Championship Rodeo will be the last in its historic facility as construction is underway for a new $7 million, 7,796-seat covered arena.

This is the third time the 89-year-old Arcadia rodeo has moved since it began.

“We have outgrown our current location,” said Don Hall, president of the Arcadia Rodeo Committee. “It’s a good problem to have.”

The new arena can fit about 1,600 more spectators than the current one and will have two barns with 100 stalls. The long-term plan is to expand to 300 stalls, Hall said. 

In addition to more seating, the individual seats will be twice as wide. Before, seats were nine inches wide, and the new bleachers will allow for 18 inches of space per person. 

“Some buy two seats so they can get more room,” Hall said. 

Although the arena will be new, the current bucking chutes and roping boxes will be installed at the new site. 

Most of the current arena was built in the 1950s, but some was rebuilt following Hurricane Charley in 2004, and discussion for the new facility began shortly after.

“The rest of the structure took a beating and has some twisted components – the wind completely twisted some of the I-beams,” Hall said. 

 “I never had a doubt (that a new arena would happen). I always say time and patience are your warriors; and if you have the time and patience, you will prevail – if you’re persistent, it will happen.” 

The biggest difference fans and competitors will notice is the roof covering the entire arena and grandstands. 

“We are limited in Florida because it’s so hot in the summer, you can’t do anything in the heat,” Hall said. “The Fourth of July rodeo used to be the biggest rodeo, but nobody would come because of the heat.” 

The tricky part about covering an arena is keeping the support beams out of the way, and Arcadia’s new setup won’t have any poles – but it will have a state-of-the-art skylight system to eliminate shadows that can be troublesome for barrel racers and photographers. 

A groundbreaking ceremony for the arena was held in January at the location of the new arena, roughly two-and-a-half miles down the road from the rodeo’s current spot, which will remain in use through October. 

The new facility, Mosaic Arena, is named after one of its biggest donors, the Mosaic Company Foundation. Nearly half of the total construction cost is covered by a grant from the foundation and other donors. 

Efforts are underway to raise another $2 million for the new arena, but the arena will still open in the fall, even without the $2 million. 

The Mosaic Arena is adjacent to the Turner Agri-Civic Center and will work with the county-owned and operated center. 

The Arcadia All-Fla Rodeo’s economic impact is huge for the DeSoto County’s 30,000 residents. It’s estimated that 94 percent of the rodeo’s patrons are from outside of the county. The 2014 rodeo attracted 16,000 visitors and generated about $1 million in economic benefits to the area.

“It’s such an economic driver for the community,” Hall said. “We don’t have the population or the draw that Orlando and Kissimmee have, so we have to make an effort to pull people in – but we have very loyal fans.”

Fundraising is an integral part of the Arcadia rodeo’s roots. The rodeo began in 1928 when the local American Legion wanted to raise money for a new building, and the rodeo continued ever since. 

Although the rodeo is celebrating its 89th year in 2017, this is the 58th year it has been held at its current facility. From 1938-50, it was held at Ed Welles’ arena – the grandfather of William Welles IV, who went on to become the association’s president. 

The Florida Cowboy Museum will have a 2,000-square-foot space inside the arena named after William Welles IV – a former president of the Arcadia rodeo association who died in 2013.

“Any time you move, it’s a difficult decision because we have a lot of history here and we’re doing the best we can to preserve it with an atmosphere that’s similar,” Hall said. 
The doors and gates are slated to open in mid-November. 

Donations may be made at www.arcadiarodeo.com or by calling 1.800.749.7633.
“When it’s done, I’ll be ready to do a backflip – don’t think I can make it, but I can try,” Hall said.  

Rodeo Houston Recap March 10th, 11th & 12th

 

RODEOHOUSTON is sad to hear of the passing of a true champion. Barrel Racer Nancy Hunter was a three-time #RODEOHOUSTON champion. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy’s family and the rodeo community.

 

74,259 in paid-rodeo attendance for Alan Jackson's 23rd #RODEOHOUSTON performance!

RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES II CHAMPIONS SADDLE UP FOR SEMIFINALS — MARCH 12, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — After a thrilling RODEOHOUSTON® Super Series II, 32 cowboys and cowgirls advance to the Semifinals set for March 22 and 23, 2017.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Fred Whitfield earned the title of 2017 Super Series II Champion in Tie-Down Roping. Whitfield said that in addition to not liking the calf he drew, he also decided to change horses for this series.

 

“I rode this one [horse] this morning and it felt good,” Whitfield said. “I thought I’d try her out, and it worked for the best.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Fred Whitfield: Hockley, Texas — $4,750 Tyson Durfey: Weatherford, Texas — $3,750

Chase Williams: Stephenville, Texas — $3,500

Ace Slone: Cuero, Texas — $3,000

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Bill Tutor is the 2017 Super Series II Bareback Riding Champion. Tutor said the horse he was matched with helped contribute to his success in this series.

 

“I couldn’t have drawn any better,” Tutor said. “When you match the horse that you’re equivalent to or better, that’s the best feeling, and that’s why you ride.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Bill Tutor: Huntsville, Texas — $6,000 Shane O’Connell: Rapid City, South Dakota — $4,000

Kyle Brennecke: Stephenville, Texas — $3,500

Evan Jayne: Glen Rose, Texas — $3,000

 

TEAM ROPING Team roping partners Joel Bach and Dalton Pearce, walked away with $10,000 and the Super Series II Team Roping Championship title.  Bach said he is proud to be following in his father’s footsteps. 

 

“I was raised around rodeo,” Bach said. “My dad did team roping, and this is me carrying on the family tradition.”

 

This rodeo is the first time Bach and Pearce roped together, and this is Pearce’s first ride at RODEOHOUSTON.

 

“I’ve never been here before,” Pearce said. “[I like] the way contestants are treated by the committee and people here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Joel Bach: Mount Vernon, Texas; and Dalton Pearce: San Luis Obispo, California — $10,000

Pace Freed: Bluff Dale, Texas; and Trey Yates: Pueblo, Colorado — $7,500

Adam Rose: Willard, Missouri; and Bryon Wilkerson: Deming, New Mexico — $6,000

Spencer Mitchell: Williams, California; and Wyatt Cos: Arroyo Grande, California — $5,500

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

After coming off an injury, Super Series II Saddle Bronc Riding Champion, Taos Muncy, said advancing to the Semifinals means a lot, especially considering how he started.

 

“I’ve been rodeoing my whole life, but I started riding saddle broncs as a broke college kid,” Muncy said. “I started winning money so I stuck with it.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Taos Muncy: Corona, New Mexico — $5,000

Tyrell Larsen: Inglis, Manitoba, Canada — $4,000

Isaac Diaz: Desdemona, Texas — $3,500

Rusty Wright: Milford, Utah — $3,000

 

STEER WRESTLING

Super Series II Steer Wrestling Champion, Josh Peek, said he is thankful and blessed to win at RODEOHOUSTON. However, Peek said winning is not his favorite part of steer wrestling. 

 

“I love the camaraderie of the cowboys more than anything,” Peek said. “Everybody’s pulling for everybody here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Josh Peek: Pueblo, Colorado — $4,000

Stockton Graves: Alva, Oklahoma — $3,750

Baylor Roche: Tremonton, Utah — $3,583

Seth Brockman: Wheatland, Wyoming — $3,583

 

BARREL RACING

With three fast runs in Super Series II, Kelly Tovar took home the title of Barrel Racing Champion, and said she is excited beyond words.

“[The love of barrel racing] gets in your blood and it stays there,” Tovar said. “You love it, all of us here do. If we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t be here because it is a lot of hard work.” 

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Kelly Tovar: Rockdale, Texas — $5,000

Britta Thiel: Belle Fourche, South Dakota — $3,000

Cassidy Kruse: Gillette, Wyoming — $3,000

Tiany Schuster: Krum, Texas — $3,000

 

BULL RIDING

Super Series II Bull Riding Champion and Houston native, Neil Holmes, said there is no rodeo event he would rather compete in other than bull riding.

 

“If I did anything else, I couldn’t prove how tough I am,” Holmes said. “Riding bulls is like holding on to a one-ton pick-up with one hand while driving 60 miles per hour down the highway.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Neil Holmes: Cleveland, Texas — $6,000

Ty Wallace: Collbran, Colorado — $3,375

Dalan Duncan: Ballard, Utah — $2,375

Scottie Knapp: Albuquerque, New Mexico— $1,500

 

The top four from each event, from each Super Series will advance to a Semifinal Round. The top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete in the Wild Card Round, Friday, March 24, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RODEOHOUSTON Super Series continues through March 21, with the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2017 Show runs March 7 – 26. 

 

Rodeo Houston Recap - March 9th

Alicia Keys  71,000 strong tonight #RodeoHouston

 

CHAMPIONS RODE THEIR WAY TO THE TOP DURING RODEOHOUSTON® SUPER SERIES I — MARCH 9, 2017 — HOUSTON — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — It was a wild night in NRG Stadium as cowboys and cowgirls battled it out during the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series I Championship. The athletes competed for the top four spots in each event to advance to the Semifinals on March 22 and 23.

 

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Caleb Smidt of Bellville, Texas, snagged the title of the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series I Tie-Down Roping Champion. Smidt said he is working hard to prepare himself for the Semifinal Round.

“I’m feeling great,” Smidt said. “I’m going to practice at my house and continue to work hard, stay healthy and most importantly stay prepared.”

 

Advancing to a Semifinal Round:

Caleb Smidt: Bellville, Texas — $7,000

Tuf Cooper: Decatur, Texas — $ 3,750

Stran Smith: Childress, Texas — $2,750

Marcos Costa: Childress, Texas — $2,750

 

BAREBACK RIDING

Mason Clements took home the Super Series I Bareback Riding Champion title. Clements expressed his gratitude and said he was going to continue to compete and stay hungry for the next round.

“I’m very happy with the results,” Clements said. “Without a good horse under me, I wouldn’t be able to do what I can do. I’m very thankful. ”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Mason Clements: Santaquin, Utah — $6,000

Richie Champion: The Woodlands, Texas — $ 5,083

Bobby Mote: Stephenville, Texas — $3,833

Blake Smith: Zap, North Dakota — $3,000

 

TEAM ROPING Ryan Reed and Dugan Kelly are the Super Series I Team Roping Champions. Reed and Kelly performed well together in the moments when it counted the most.

 

“Everything about it is great,” Kelly said. “It makes you feel like a professional athlete when you ride in this arena.”

Reed showed enthusiasm after their win and said this was something he had been looking forward to for a long time.

“It’s my first time here,” Reed said. “It has been my dream since a little kid to rope here.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Ryan Reed: Whitman, Arizona; and Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, California — $12,000

Jojo Lemond: Andrews, Texas; and Quinn Kesler, Holden, Utah — $8,000

Charly Crawford: Stephenville, Texas; and Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas — $7,500

Colby Lovell: Madisonville, Texas; and Justin Davis, Cottonwood, California — $6,000

 

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

Layton Green took home the win at RODEOHOUSTON Super Series I in the Saddle Bronc Riding event. Green said that although he resides in Houston, this particular one is still his favorite to compete in.

“It’s a fun rodeo,” Green said. “You don’t have to travel a lot and you can stay in one spot and hang with your friends.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Layton Green: Meeting Creek, Alberta, Canada — $6,000

Coburn Bradshaw: Milford, Utah — $5,750

Hardy Braden: Welch, Oklahoma— $3,000

Jake Watson: Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia, Canada — $2,000

 

STEER WRESTLING

KC Jones of Decatur, Texas, won the Super Series I Steer Wrestling Championship. Jones was excited about his win because he said RODEOHOUSTON is his favorite rodeo to attend, and to do well here means a lot.

“This is special because it’s the first time riding that mare,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of her, so to come to one of the biggest rodeos in the world and have good results means a lot.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

KC Jones: Decatur, Texas — $4,000

Casey Martin: Sulfur, Louisiana — $3,750

Cody Cassidy: Donalda, Alberta, Canada — $3,000

Gary Gilbert: Boyd, Texas, — $2,750

 

BARREL RACING

It was a close race between Colorado native Sammi Bessert and Kathy Grimes, of Medical Lake, Washington, but it was Bessert who was named the Super Series I Barrel Racing Champion.

“I love running my horse here,” Bessert said. “They treat us so good here and they do such a great job.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Sammi Bessert: Grand Junction, Colorado — $6,000

Kathy Grimes: Medical Lake, Washington — $6,000

Taylor Langdon: Aubrey, Texas — $4,000

Kelli Collier: Hereford, Texas — $2,500

 

BULL RIDING

Garrett Smith from Rexburg, Idaho, was named the Super Series I Bull Riding Champion. Smith was proud of his win and said there is nothing he loves more than performing in the rodeo.

“This place is amazing,” Smith said. “There’s not a better rodeo. It’s what we love. It’s what we’re trained to do and I guess we are just stuck with it.”

 

Advancing to Semifinal Round:

Garrett Smith: Rexburg, Idaho — $3,000

Clayton Savage: Yoder, Wyoming — $3,000

Aaron Pass: Kaufman, Texas — $2,500

Cain Smith: Adams, Oregon — $2,500

 

The top four from each event, from each Super Series will advance to a Semifinal Round. The top four from each event in the Semifinal rounds will advance to the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Championship, Saturday, March 25. The remaining six from each event in the two semifinals will compete in the Wild Card Round, Friday, March 24, where the top two from each event will advance to the Championship. Each event champion will walk away with a $50,000 payout, in addition to previous winnings. The RODEOHOUSTON Super Series continues through March 25, with the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout: North America’s Champions® presented by Crown Royal, on Sunday, March 26.

 

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2017 Show runs March 7 – 26.

Tuf Cooper...Rodeo Heartthrob

Tuf Cooper. Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle

Maggie Gordon, Houston Chronicle 

Fans can't get enough of this Texas cowboy

They call him The Justin Bieber of Rodeo.

He must hate that.

But if he does, Tuf Cooper has the good sense and media training not to mention it. Instead he smiles wide and laughs quietly.

"This is something I'm very blessed to have," he says. "People want to meet me and have their picture taken with me. It's a very unreal thing."

Cooper speaks with the kind of practiced humility you'd expect from a Backstreet Boy or an up-and-coming country singer. All "aw shucks," and "yes ma'am," he has the mannerisms of a quintessential heartthrob. And it doesn't hurt that he's handsome: Tall and muscular with a strong jaw and kind eyes.

"I'm the biggest Tuf fan ever," says Karlie Marek, 13, a moment after meeting Cooper for the first time at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's Fan Zone, where competitors sign autographs after their go in the ring.

Marek and a friend waited in line behind dozens of other teenage – and some twentysomething – girls and women, plus about a handful of men, to get a photo with Cooper.

When it came her turn, Marek pushed her friend on the back of the shoulder blades, scooting her out of the frame.

"I want it to be just me and Tuf," she told her friend.

That happens a lot.

"I first heard of Tuf last year," says Marek. "And at first I thought, 'Oh, he's so cute.' But then I looked at his stats, and he's actually really good. So that's a nice bonus."

At the age of 27, Cooper has already qualified for the world finals in Las Vegas five times, and has thrice been named world champ. It runs in his family. His older brothers, Clint and Clif, are also tie-down ropers, and his father, Roy Cooper, is an eight-time world champion.

But in Houston, the fans are less interested in seeing Cooper's resume than his wide smile and tan face.

"Yeah, he's really good at what he does," Becca Howard, 20, says as she stands in line waiting for an autograph on Wednesday night.

"But he is," she pauses, slaps her heart on her chest. "Beautiful."

She knows. She's seen him up close, maybe 20 times.

"I meet him everywhere, and he's signed a lot of things for me," she says. Phone cases, a couple pairs of boots, her jacket, and more autograph books than she can remember. But she keeps coming back for another peek.

Cooper's fan line is unlike anything else at the rodeo. Cowboys often report to the Fan Zone in NRG Stadium after they finish their competition for the evening, signing autographs for an average of about 20 minutes.

Not Tuf Cooper. The first night he competed in Houston this year, he stayed for an hour and a half, as the line to meet him grew so long it had to curve and bend three times, alienating other rodeogoers trying to find the nacho line.

While all the other cowboys in the Fan Zone sit down on folding chairs behind a pair of long tables, designed for fans to wind through, Cooper holds court in the center. And many fans – most even – ignore the other cowboys, beelining for Cooper for a chance at a selfie.

"We only get crowds like this when this guy shows up," says Babu Khan, the manager in charge of the Fan Zone for the past five years. Wednesday, he estimated about 250 people waited for a chance to meet Cooper.

"Since I've been doing this, it's only Tuf Cooper that's this big," says Khan. "And he gets bigger every year."

That's not to say this is the first time there's been a cowboy with this kind of draw. Before Justin Bieber, there was Justin Timberlake, right?

Before Tuf Cooper hit the cowboy world with his billboard good looks, there was Stran Smith. Square-jawed, with piercing blue eyes, the 2008 world champion used to be the one commanding long, serpentine lines of wide-eyed fans, holding autograph books wide for his signature. But 25 years into his career, Smith's married and doesn't command the attention from young women he once did.

It's fitting that the torch was passed from Smith to Cooper, since their textbook good looks are so similar: Smith is Cooper's maternal uncle, after all.

Even now, Smith is still gorgeous. But it's in a second-husband kind of way, whereas Cooper still has that starter husband appeal.

"He's my boyfriend," says Jessica Robinson, 20, as she waits to meet him.

She cruises right by Smith, who's seated in the line of cowboys off to the side, with Cooper in the center. Robinson takes a selfie with him, and though she'd planned to ask him to sign her boot, she gets flustered in Cooper's presence and decides to just leave with a photo.

Cooper calmly waits for Robinson to get her pose just right and together they smile. He learned this patience from Smith, and his father, he says.

"They told me, you might be on your 10th day there signing autographs, and you might get tired. But to that fan that just walks up and asks for an autograph, that's probably their first time to ever ask," he says. "So you need to treat that last one like you treated the first one. Maybe my feet get tired, or I get beat up by the horse, but there are 500 fans up there that want to take a picture and want to meet you. And that's not the kind  of thing that lasts forever."

About a half an hour after he arrives at the table, Smith quietly gets up from his chair and turns to leave – back to the bowels of the arena with the other competitors. But Cooper tucks one hand in his pocket, turns on his "aw shucks" smile and keeps going, one smartphone snapshot after another, until he's done.

 

How to meet the Justin Bieber of Rodeo

Tuf Cooper's coming back for the semifinals

Maggie Gordon|March 10, 2017

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston ChronicleIMAGE 1 OF 15Tie-down roper Tuf Cooper is surrounded by a group of fans and was asked for selfies while leaving the fan zone after his Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Super Series 1 Round 2 competition at NRG Stadium 

image.jpg

Tuf Cooper, known as "The Justin Bieber of Rodeo," commanded long lines at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's autograph stations earlier this week, as hordes of young women waited hours to catch a glimpse of him.

 

But if you didn't get to meet him and see that smile in person during his first super series here in Houston, don't worry. You'll have a second chance.

After winning his event on opening night Tuesday, and coming in fourth Wednesday, Cooper earned enough money to land in the semifinals. With $3,750 in winnings, RodeoHouston announced Friday that Cooper will be returning for a chance to become Houston's champion tie-down roper. You can catch him at the semifinals Wednesday, March 22.

 

In the meantime, read more about Cooper-- hero to teenage girls (and apparently, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who visited him on the dirt Wednesday night) here.

Lessons Learned: The State of ProRodeo

 

The question of how to move forward to keep rodeo alive in the 21st century is as burning as ever, and the challenges are just as great.

Depending on who you ask, rodeo got its start in a dusty field in Prescott, Ariz., in 1888 or in the sagebrush of Deer Trail, Colo., in 1869. Since then, cowboys and cowgirls have been on a quest to form a more perfect union of sorts between competitors, fans, stock contractors and the inevitable administrators and other role players who go along with running a successful organization. And much like the ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union in these 50 states, it hasn’t been easy. 

Rodeo, at its core, is one of the last holdouts of the Old West. In a world where kids know how to swipe their iPads long before they’d ever think to do a chore let alone swing a rope, rodeo is struggling to figure out how to stay relevant. 

With the recent rise and subsequent stumble of the Elite Rodeo Athletes and the cowboys’ return to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, perhaps now is as good a time as ever to revisit where the sport can grow and what the industry is doing right to make that growth possible.

Team ropers Trevor Brazile (right) and Ryan Motes (left), who were once instrumental in forming the Elite Rodeo Athletes, are back in PRCA competition for 2017. Tony Garritano (center) was ousted from ERA leadership in June 2016. | Photo courtesy ERA

Numbers game

There’s no getting around it: there are fewer cowboys trying to make a living traveling up and down the road than there were 20 years ago. PRCA membership declined to 4,782 in 2015* from its peak of 7,403 in 1999—a 35-percent decrease. The number of PRCA-sanctioned rodeos dropped from its peak of 798 in 1991 to 624 by 2015—a 21-percent decline. The 1990s also saw a larger number of cowboys competing on their permits to try to become cardholders, peaking at 4,197 in 1997 and dropping to 1,784 in 2015, representing a 57-percent drop.

“Economically, the problems we are aware of are that it’s a pretty tough way to make a living,” PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman said. “The people who really want to be in it are in it, and the people who want to dabble in it are not involved. I can tell you we certainly need to be recruiting out of the Little Britches, high school and college ranks so that we continue to build the future.”

While overall prize money is up since the membership peak in 1999 from $31,062,127 to $46,349,782, when those numbers are adjusted for inflation, payout is up about $1.2 million, or 2.6 percent over 16 years.  

Compare that to the growth rate in other sports, like tennis and golf, said Randy Bernard, the man behind RFD-TV’s The American and current consultant for the Elite Rodeo Athletes. 

“The first rodeo ever was Prescott in 1889, and the payout was $860,” Bernard said. “The U.S. Open in golf wasn’t established for seven years after that, and it paid out only $335. The US Open in tennis was established in 1881 and had no prize money until 1961. But they understood the power in developing stars and understanding their fan base. Payout at the U.S. Open in golf has compounded annually at 8.9 percent a year. Their total prize money today is $7,846,000. Look at tennis. Tennis understood the power of having participants. If you think you’re good enough, you can qualify for the U.S. Open. Today, the annual prize money at the U.S. Open in tennis is $27 million. If the sport would have done a great job of building stars and awareness and keeping excitement levels up and keeping with television, that payout at Prescott could be $12,955,000 had it compounded annually at the same rate as golf. But today it pays $252,000.”

Looking even further back, and not including payout at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the top 24 rodeos ranked by prize money in 1981 paid out some $3,452,721, which, adjusted for inflation, comes to $9,944,748 in 2016 dollars. In 1990, the top 24 rodeos paid out $4,406,682—adjusted for inflation that’s $8,432,020. The ’90s saw gains in membership and number of rodeos nationwide, and the payout of the top 24 rodeos reflected that. In 2000, with rodeo still reeling from a successful decade, rodeo paid cowboys and cowgirls $7,066,790, adjusted for inflation coming to $10,060,825.89. And in 2015, the top 24 rodeos paid $11,311,795, with a slight adjustment for inflation making it $11,325,369 in 2016. Those are a lot of numbers to take in, but what that means is that cowboys trying to make the WNFR saw a bump of $1,380,621, or about 12 percent, in 34 years, at their top-tier rodeos. 

These figures don’t include the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls division, and they obviously don’t account for the new money available to cowboys at Professional Bull Riders’ events, big jackpot ropings and CINCH rodeos, among other big-money events.

The WNFR paid $4.42 million in 1999, when the PRCA membership was at its peak, and adjusted for inflation that’s $6.4 million. The PRCA paid out $10 million at the WNFR this year, and even Stressman says that’s not enough for rodeo’s best athletes. 

“If you look at the Wrangler National Finals as far as the payout, it sounds like that’s a lot of money,” Stressman said. “Tyler Waguespack wins $218,000 or so and wins the Top Gun and a new pickup. Is $300,000 enough for the top guy? Absolutely not. It’s just not sufficient for the best in his class. The best of the best, the most highly decorated cowboy in history is in the $400,000 range annually. I’ve got to believe that someone who sits at the end of the bench for the Denver Nuggets makes that.”

To be precise, 23-time World Champ Trevor Brazile holds the top nine single-season earnings records, ranging from $329,924 in 2006 to $518,011 in 2015. Brazile has earned $6,079,528 in his ProRodeo career—while Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer in the same timeframe, has earned $110,061,012 in professional prize money. 

So when Brazile and fellow (former) ERA athletes branched off in 2016 to start the new association, they did so with the hopes that the payouts would increase and the expenses would decrease. In its first year, though, the ERA paid out $1 million in Dallas at its world championship, a drop from the $3 million initially promoted. 

Challenges 

When 80 top cowboys and cowgirls set off in 2016 with their own solution to help build rodeo’s payout and prominence with the ERA, they sought to make superstars out of the sport’s best while bringing a high-end production to fans in person and on Fox Sports 2. But organizers quickly ran into road bumps filling seats and garnering sponsorship. 

 “I was surprised to see how few people actually know even the most well-known cowboys and cowgirls outside of die-hard rodeo fans,” Bobby Mote, four-time world champion bareback rider and interim-ERA president said. “Rodeo has been sold as entertainment only—not as athlete personalities. For that reason, today you couldn’t go to a major market and promote a rodeo with any of the most well-known athletes. Unless there is an effort to promote the best in the sport, then a rodeo has a better chance of selling tickets with a monkey riding a dog than Trevor Brazile or Fallon Taylor.”

That problem is one the PRCA has long-understood, Stressman said, and that affects rodeo committees’ ability to charge a higher price for tickets, which would increase their payouts.

“We don’t have the opportunity to expand the ticket pricing,” Stressman said. “Even the NFR, look at the pricing at the NFR. The most expensive front-row ticket is a $300 seat per night. Sure that sounds like a lot of money, but you can probably go to a rodeo and buy a $6 or $7 general admission ticket to get in and see the same events you see at the Wrangler National Finals, but the ticket pricing doesn’t reflect that. Your community sets your ticket pricing. Say we have a 3,800-seat venue, you set the ticket pricing at $6. It doesn’t take long to do that math. Then you find out what that transfers into as far as paying the production costs of the rodeo, and then putting the added money in for the cowboys. Sponsorship is a part of that—but local sponsorships don’t bring in a ton of money for the committees. Sometimes it just doesn’t pencil very well to keep increasing the payouts.”

The ERA started on the foundation that by promising the biggest names in rodeo, the association could command a higher price for admission. Tickets at the ERA Rodeo in Nampa, Idaho, started at $20 and went up to $77, while the Snake River Stampede, also in Nampa, Idaho, sells tickets starting at $9.25 and topping out at $34.50. That didn’t work, and the ERA didn’t get the numbers they needed to make the model work. 

“I do still feel like rodeo should be more than a $10 circus ticket,” said Brazile. ”Whether it was ready for it all at once, I don’t know. When you have to sell a sport like a circus, something is fundamentally wrong because then you’re telling me there’s no difference between an ERA rodeo, a PRCA rodeo or a county fair anywhere in Texas. Maybe we need to do things as an industry to fix that. We need to do it progressively, not all at once.”

While cowboys like Brazile and Mote found themselves entrenched in day-to-day operations of the ERA’s eight-rodeo schedule in 2016, doing so in the PRCA is a different ball game with the grueling 75-or-so rodeos needed to qualify for the WNFR. Trying to rodeo full-time and participate in the PRCA operation comes with its own challenges, Stressman said. 

“The athletes don’t have time to be part of the solution sometimes because this industry is so interesting as far as the number of events they have to go to in order to qualify for the Finals,” Stressman said. “These are the full-time guys trying to get to the Wrangler National Finals. They don’t have any choice but to rodeo, rodeo, rodeo…And it’s hard on them. And if anybody thinks we don’t recognize that—we do recognize that.”

Mote, who took over running the ERA June 13, 2016, when the cowboys and cowgirls fired their management team, has learned a lot about what it takes to change rodeo from the inside out, and agrees that cowboys managing an association presents challenges.

“I’m just tired of hearing people complain without coming up with a solution,” Mote said. “When I rodeoed, I was one of them. There are people in leadership in the PRCA, who, if they had support, the whole association would benefit. Everyone has their own agenda, and it makes it hard when you’re in leadership. It makes it hard to get out front and take the arrows if nobody is willing to support you and follow you. You look at the list of men and women who have been behind change and who have been willing to make sacrifices for the greater good, they’ve gone above and beyond.”

Cowboys and cowgirls in the ERA showed up days before an event to help promote the rodeo in each city, and Mote said he was proud of the athletes’ involvement, proving that there are enough leaders in rodeo to try to make positive change. 

But that positive change was hard to create with a divided industry—a critical lesson everyone involved learned in 2016.

“They shouldn’t have tried to alienate the PRCA,” Bernard said. “It’s where your legacy and heritage is. There’s no way you can start it and create enemies from the start. All boats rise on a high tide. They should have been going to PRCA rodeos. The first thing I asked them to do was to tell the cowboys to rodeo and be relevant or nobody will remember who they are in five years.”

“In hindsight, I wish so many things would have been done differently,” Brazile added. “Hindsight, I wish we’d have had a deal made with the PRCA Board of Directors so we weren’t put in this position.”        

And the ERA representatives weren’t alone.

“Somebody asked me the other day, if I had a clean slate, what I would do differently,” Stressman said. “This showed us that there’s some opportunity in working together.”

The ERA further alienated competitors and fans when they decided who could and couldn’t compete at their rodeos, Bernard said.

“They needed a great qualification system to allow anybody who thought they were the best to get in,” Bernard said. “They had done themselves no justice not having a ladder for competitors to reach the top.”

The ERA also had problems with leadership, Mote added, that affected the association’s ability to change quickly. 

“We didn’t have enough leadership of substance that the industry had confidence in,” Mote said. “What’s good for one group another group doesn’t like, and it all goes back to people’s personal agendas.”

Unity

The ERA will not have any rodeos in 2017, and instead will spend the year under new ownership re-examining its structure and its approach to growing the sport. So with most of professional rodeo coming back together under the PRCA’s umbrella, leaders are looking at how and where the sport should move forward. 

“Our goal is to bring rodeo together rather than fraction it,” Mote said. “The former (ERA) management had it in their minds that they were going to take over and make people make a choice. I don’t think you can do it that way, and it’s not healthy and proven not to work. Whatever happens moving forward, my goal in five years is that the industry is unified.”  

To move forward to best serve the association’s membership, Stressman believes rodeo must figure out a system of tiers to serve everyone from the weekend warrior to the WNFR cowboys. 

 

 

“How do we tier rodeo?” Stressman said. “How do we make the tiers best for the whole operation? You can’t lose the people in the middle. You have to be very careful as to how you start tiering it. We’ve only been talking about it for 80 years, but I do think that tiering is mandatory.”

Two-time world champion heeler Walt Woodard, who has held a PRCA card since 1975, agrees that the PRCA has to walk that line. 

“When you have a meeting for the best guys in the world, they want 40 rodeos just for us,” Woodard said. “But when you make decisions for rodeo, it has to be for everyone. The general membership—the circuit guy—doesn’t like being excluded from the elite rodeos. He can’t go to San Juan (Capistrano) or San Antonio. If you want to have rodeos for the best in the world, that’s not a realistic thing that benefits all of the rodeos. The PRCA has started to have rodeos with the circuit guy in mind. Now the circuit finals money counts (toward the PRCA world standings). A circuit guy places in a few rounds and wins the average at his circuit finals, and now all of a sudden he has $7,000 won. Then he goes to the All-American and gets tapped off and wins $15,000 there. Now he has $23,000 won. People think those rodeos can’t count, but you can’t exclude them from San Juan and San Antone and not give them something back. The PRCA is making decisions for all of the contestants. That’s how you build the circuits and make them better.” 

Each tier of rodeo needs to be aware of different, yet important goals, Bernard said. 

“There’s a huge place for small, medium and large rodeos,” Bernard said. “Each one has such different, specific goals that need to be looked at. Small and medium rodeos should focus on significant community involvement and be helping the community in positive ways.” 

Rodeo needs to work harder to tap into its grassroot support as well, Bernard said, pointing to the success RFD-TV’s The American had in working with the Better Barrel Races and United States Team Roping Championships for its qualifiers. 

“What I had with The American that the PRCA didn’t have was access to hit send on an email to 50,000 with the BBR and USTRC membership base, to bring people up to speed and to push out messages,” Bernard said. The BBR and USTRC could be utilized to help individual committees produce their slacks, too, Bernard said.

Study Abroad

The PRCA is also looking to expand its reach to Mexico and Brazil in 2017, a process that began when PRCA leadership met with the Mexican Rodeo Federation’s leadership in San Antonio three years ago and resulted in 150 Mexican cowboys buying their permits in 2016 and a payout of $11,815 at the Mexican Tour Finals this October in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.

“Our job is to expand rodeo when it’s appropriate,” Stressman said. “We want to be a world-wide organization. We do business with Canada, and they’re very close to the PRCA. Their leadership right now is strong and getting stronger. Mexico was an interesting fit. It will take some time to grow, partly because of the culture. Rodeo is rodeo, no matter where you place it. There are lots of fans who watch the NFR. I was at a team roping in Mexico and it looks like just any other roping. They’ll qualify to the RNCFR in Kissimmee, and that brings an international flair to Kissimmee, which they’re used to there. I just signed a deal to do a few rodeos in Brazil, and if you look at Marcos (Costa) and Junior (Nogueira), you can see how well they’re represented here. We will have our first event in Brazil this spring. We’re also looking at Australia. My goal is to grow the PRCA. We need to make it better and we need to expand the brand in the PRCA. We need to put something together that will make sense. We need to be cautious as we grow but we need to put the brand worldwide.”

Red States

Bernard, who has been helping Mote figure out the next steps for the ERA, said that rodeo needs to first do a better job reaching the rural American marketplace before it looks to branch out. 

“There are 80 million people who live in rural America,” Bernard said. “There are 46 million Hispanics and 38 or 40 million blacks. Yet everyone tries to reach the Hispanic audience as the lifestyle that companies are trying to tap into. But nobody cares about the rural lifestyle and trying to reach them, or they would be spending more money on RFD-TV. I hear these companies getting affiliated with rodeo talking about being more mainstream, but they’re not in the small towns and doing a good job of it. I could take Trevor Brazile to a street corner in Fort Worth, Texas, and five out of 10 people wouldn’t recognize him.”

Rodeo must build its top cowboys up as superstars to those in rural America, Bernard argued, like NASCAR did in its early days.

“To have stars, you have to focus on where you are,” Bernard said. “And rodeo needs to be focusing on rural America. NASCAR did a tremendous job of focusing on its core market in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida—the South. Once they were selling hundreds and thousands of tickets there, then they started having a stronger brand across the country. The rest is history. That’s a large part in thanks to TNN. Their core audience was the Red States. That’s what they did a fantastic job on. Everything else was a bonus, if New York or Chicago viewers tuned in that was a bonus. They understood and built their audience and fan base within the rural and Western lifestyle.”

Committee-level change

Perhaps nobody understands the fan base of each of the 600-or-so rodeos better than the committees themselves, who each have to balance their budget and meet their individual goals each year, Stressman said. The PRCA simply sanctions each of these rodeos and doesn’t individually run most of them, limiting the association’s ability to enforce top-down change, Stressman said. 

“We don’t control the money paid out in rodeo for the most part,” Stressman said. “The committees provide that. Any time the committees struggle to obtain sponsorship, it’s difficult to increase the dollars. That’s the control issue—how much the committees can afford to pay. Their expenses are going up. They just want to be able to balance the books at the end of the rodeo. It’s not an easy thing to try to correct. There’s 625 individual businesses trying to operate under the sanctioning of the PRCA, and they control the purse strings.”

Salt Lake City’s Days of ’47 Rodeo, which was an ERA rodeo in 2016, is back in the PRCA this year and putting up $2 million for this year’s record purse. That’s a good thing for the contestants, but it beckons back to the discussion of creating a tier-system for rodeo. 

“One of the things that’s concerning to the contestants is paying that much money to a single person at one of those rodeos catapults them almost instantly into the Wrangler National Finals,” Stressman said. “You have to say that’s part of what we’re going to do, or we aren’t going to do that at the PRCA. We want that $2 million rodeo. We want San Antonio. We want the relationship with Houston or Calgary back the way it was eight or 10 years ago because it’s good for the sport, and it’s certainly good for the contestants. But, there’s more than 400 of the 600 total rodeos that pay less than $30,000. So put it into perspective, as you look at 5,000 contestants going down the road, as you begin to divide that money up, it gets pretty skinny. And really that’s the portrait that’s out there, whether you want to believe it or not.”

4 killed overnight in Texas Panhandle wildfire

Sydney Wallace, left, and Cody Crockett died trying to save cattle and horses from Monday night’s wildfire, according to Gray County officials. 

Posted March 7, 2017 08:36 am - Updated March 7, 2017 08:18 pm  
By 

Ronald Balaskovitz

ron.balaskovitz@amarillo.com 

 

Four people died Monday night in wildfires that had consumed nearly half a millon acres and continued to burn across the Texas Panhandle into Tuesday evening.

The Gray County blaze took three lives. Cody Crockett and Sydney Wallace were confirmed dead by Sandi Martin, Gray County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, and rancher Sloan Everett was confirmed by a family friend as being the third victim. Gray County Judge Richard Peet said they died while trying to save cattle. One died from smoke inhalation and two from burns.

Cade Koch, 25, has been confirmed as a fire victim in Lipscomb County, his wife Sierra Koch told the Amarillo Globe-News.

The two deadly fires kicked up in Gray and Lipscomb counties about 4 p.m. Monday, following a blaze that began in Potter County just north of Amarillo that forced 70 homes and some business to evacuate. The latest total provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service showed 478,935 acres had burned in the fires.

The fires across the Panhandle were so severe, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Monday night saying he was sending state resources to the area to assist in fighting the fires.

“As wildfires continue to spread in the Panhandle (Monday) evening, threatening Texans and their property, I have deployed resources to the region to help combat the fires,” Abbott said in the statement. “Due to the unpredictable nature of wildfires, I encourage local residents to heed all warnings from local emergency management officials as firefighters work swiftly to contain the fires. Cecilia and I extend our prayers to the firefighters injured while combating these fires, and we thank all first responders for their tireless efforts on the front lines of this dangerous situation.”

Wildfires were also an issue in Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas, with two other death occurring in those fires, including an Oklahoma woman who had a heart attack while fighting the fires, according to Associated Press reports.

The first of the three Gray County victims died at around 10 p.m. Monday, according to Martin, while the two burn victims were airlifted to Amarillo and Lubbock but did not survive. One victim died while en route to a hospital.

The fire continued to burn well into the afternoon according to the Texas A&M Forest Service dispatch page, with about 135,000 acres burned as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. At last check, the fire was listed as being 65 percent contained, but that the fire’s activity was reported as “low” by the Forest Service.

Crews from Hoover, McLean, Groom, Wheeler County, Pampa, Gray County, Carson County, Donley County and Wheeler County were all called to the scene, as well as crews from the Texas A&M Forest Service and Department of Public Safety.

State fire marshals arrived in Gray County on Tuesday to investigate the three deaths, as well as attempt to determine where the fire started, as well as what caused the fire to start. Officials in Gray County and from the Forest Service confirmed that no known buildings were lost in the fires.

The fire in the northeast part of the Panhandle is the largest, with more than 315,000 acres burned as of Tuesday afternoon, spreading into parts of Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Hemphill and Roberts counties. As of Tuesday evening, Forest Service reported that the fire was 50 percent contained.

Koch, who died in the northeast fire, was on his way home from work to try and get he and his pregnant wife away from the area. Authorities found his abandoned car on Highway 305 about 5 miles north of the Hemphill County line. His body was located near his car, according to the Lipscomb County Sheriff’s Office.

“After calling his cell phone many times, a sheriff answered and said they found the car on 305,” Sierra Koch said through tears. “Around midnight, somebody found him not far from the car and said that he had died from smoke inhalation.”

Ochiltree County Sheriff Terry Bouchard said that despite the large number of acres burned, damage to structures in the area was minimal, with two confirmed houses lost, three to five commercial hog barns, and several outbuildings. Bouchard estimated that more than 500 animals were lost in the commercial hog barn fires.

“Other than that we’re in pretty good shape,” Bouchard said. “We’re just working to get some relief to our firefighters and get them food and water.”

The fire in Potter County, which was listed as 100 percent contained by the Forest Service at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, started near Bluebonnet Road and spread quickly to the northeast up Highway 136 and Farm-to-Market Road 293. A Potter County judge ordered mandatory evacuations of the area Monday evening, and 71 homes — as well as several businesses — were evacuated, according to Capt. John Coffee with the Potter County Sheriff’s Office.

The blaze jumped over both roads and requiring three planes from the Forest Service to drop water and fire retardant material to help, according to Phillip Truitt, spokesman for the Forest Service. Two of those planes were on stand-by in Amarillo, while one was brought in from Abilene to assist.

No fatalities or buildings were lost in the fire, but three firefighters were injured in the blaze according to the Amarillo Fire Department and Forest Service. One of the firefighters was from Pantex, whose plant was near the blaze when it approached the area of Highway 136 and FM 293, while the other two were from the nearby Skellytown Fire Department. Phone inquiries to agencies seeking updates on the injured firefighters were not returned.

The Forest Service reported approximately 28,800 acres had burned in the fires north of Amarillo.

Outpourings of support had already started from local communities. The Arena of Life Cowboy Church hay fund has started collecting funds to help buy loads of hay for ranchers who lost their grass, with all funds going to local ranchers.

A GoFundMe has been started for Cade Koch to cover funeral expenses.

15 years ago RodeoHouston left the Astrodome for NRG Stadium

Photo: Karl Stolleis/HOUSTON CHRONICLE

 

George Strait provided the music, naturally

By Craig Hlavaty, Chron.com / Houston Chronicle

Gianna Rodriguez, and her boyfriend, Ed Pawlik, of Dallas, enjoy the last of the Astrodome, as people began filing out after the George Strait concert, at the Reliant Astrodome Sunday night, March 3, 2002. 

This week in 2002, the Astrodome officially said goodbye to RodeoHouston as country star George Strait played his last show in the Eighth Wonder of the World and the event prepared to move next door into NRG Stadium, then still under construction and called Reliant Stadium. 

A few months later the 750,000 square-foot Astrohall, built in 1966, was demolished to make way for more NRG parking. It had been built by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and used as exhibition space. You probably went to a few car shows inside it too. These days tailgaters party where the hall once stood. 

NEW HONORS: Astrodome joins Alamo as historical state landmark

In 2003 the 71st edition of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was held inside the stadium and the adjacent 1.4 million-square-foot NRG Center, built to replace the Astrohall. Rodeo brass had already moved into the second-floor office space of the convention hall months before the stadium opened.

George Strait performs during the last Rodeo concert at the Astrodome, Sunday night, March 3, 2002. 

The Houston Texans football team played their first home game inside the new stadium on August 24, 2002, losing to the Miami Dolphins in pre-season action.

The final RodeoHouston lineup inside the Dome for the 2002 season was made up of Bob Dylan, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Diamond, REO Speedwagon, Mary J. Blige, Lyle Lovett and Destiny’s Child. Marquee country acts like Willie Nelson, Clint Black, Pat Green, Kenny Chesney, Clay Walker, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Strait rounded out the lineup on the revolving stage. 

A little-known Australian country singer named Keith Urban played inside the smaller Hideout venue that final year, followed just a few days later by Blake Shelton, years before he met Miranda Lambert or even Gwen Stefani for that matter. 

FLASHBACK PHOTOS: The 1965 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo inside the Sam Houston Coliseum

The rodeo had first moved into the Astrodome in 1966, a move that wildly expanded the capabilities of the show from its former home at the Sam Houston Coliseum across town.

“We got to the point where we weren’t able to have the chicken, rabbit or hog shows because there was simply no more room,” show president H. Stuart Lang Jr. told a reporter in 2002. He presided over the show from 1963 until 1966.

Sam Thompson gets a closer view of the grand entry with his binnoculars while at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Thursday, February 21, 2002 at the Reliant Astrodome. 

Lang said this became apparent to show runners as early as 1962.

“We couldn’t even hold the horse show on the grounds because there wasn’t enough space,” he said. “We held activities outside in tents and were losing many exhibitors. We knew if we didn’t do something soon, the show wouldn’t make it.”

FIXER UPPER: NRG Stadium already dated compared to other Super Bowl venues

Luckily Judge Roy Hofheinz offered the rodeo a home inside the Astrodome and the last rodeo at the coliseum was held in 1965. Many people thought the show wouldn’t last inside a building as massive as the Astrodome and that it couldn’t possibly fill its 45,000 seats.

They were all wrong.

The 34th annual show kicked off on Feb. 23, 1966 with some guys from TV hit “Gunsmoke” entertaining fans onstage. In honor of the new digs, the rodeo staff debuted a new logo, the “Bowlegged H,” that has become an icon around rodeo season. This was also the first year that committee members got gold badges for volunteer service.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music star George Strait will honor singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Americana Honors and Awards Show, to be held Sept. 21 in Nashville. Strait has recorded more than a dozen of Lauderdale's songs. He will present him with the Wagonmaster Award, named for country music icon Porter Wagoner, it was announced Friday. Lauderdale has been host of the annual awards show for the last 14 years. He was named artist of the year at the first Americana Honors and Awards Show in 2002. __ Online: www.americanamusic.org

Media: WochIt Media

By the end of the 1966 season everyone from fans to critics alike were lauding the move into the Astrodome. Jimmy Dean packed 40,000 people into the seats on a Friday night and there was a large number of international visitors that year in attendance.

And so the rodeo's home was the Dome for 37 years until George Strait rode off after playing "The Cowboy Rides Away" on March 3, 2002 in front of more than 68,000 fans. 

PARTY WITH YOUR BOOTS ON: The best RodeoHouston performers of all-time

Strait's closing night show was recorded for a live album "For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome" and featured sixteen cuts from that performance. It was Strait's first official live album.

The day before Strait's final rodeo concert there was a bill dubbed "Legends of RodeoHouston" featuring Mac Davis, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Naomi Judd and Charley Pride, bringing back memories of the show's old '70s lineups.

Strait returned to town the next year to play the first RodeoHouston concert at NRG Stadium on Feb. 25, 2003. He last played the venue in 2013 during his final concert tour.