ProRodeo Notes: Rodeo Legends Pass Away


Two-time world champion Garrison passes away

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Junior James Garrison, who won a pair of PRCA tie-down world championships in 1966 and 1970, passed away Aug. 12. He was 79.

Garrison, who was a native of Marlow, Okla., qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 10 times (1964-71, 1975 and 1977). He was the NFR average winner in 1968 and placed second in the average in 1966 and 1977.

Garrison edged ProRodeo Hall of Famer Dean Oliver by $96 for the 1966 world championship. Oliver broke ropes on his last two calves and Garrison helped his own cause by winning Round 7 with a 10.8-second time. Garrison finished the season with $24,304.

“I was lucky…awful lucky, Dean’s the greatest,” Garrison said after he won the ’66 title.
In 1970, Garrison earned $24,311 to earn his 1970 gold buckle.

“If you’re doing something you really like, then you’re always on vacation,” Garrison said. “If you’re on vacation, you don’t want it to end,” Garrison said in a March 22, 1995, issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

In 1967, Garrison tied a calf in 7.5 seconds in Evergreen, Colo., which was the record for several years.

When Garrison was 17, he was driving a bread truck and didn’t know the slightest thing about rodeo.

Garrison’s high school girlfriend invited him to family get-togethers where they would hold goat ropings. Inspired to prove his friends wrong, Garrison began roping goats.

“I guess it was the laughing (by his friends) that started it all,” Garrison said in 1977 PRCA media guide. “I said I’d show them and learn.”

Learning to rope proved to be a wise decision for Garrison. By age 26, he qualified for his first NFR.

After his rodeo career, Garrison trained and sold roping horses and Thoroughbreds.
Garrison is survived by two daughters, Jeana and Jamie Kay.

Stock contractor Art Alsbaugh passes way 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Art Alsbaugh, longtime PRCA stock contractor and husband of Linda Alsbaugh, 2015 PRCA Secretary of the Year, passed away Aug. 13 in Pueblo, Colo., of cancer. He was 76.

Alsbaugh was the son of ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Walt Alsbaugh. Walt was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1990 and passed away in September of 1992 at age 73. 

Art and Linda were married 49 years. Art and his dad owned Alsbaugh Rodeo from 1972-94, and he and Linda started Cross Triangle Rodeo, which they owned from 1973-94. They sold them both in 1994.

The last rodeo Art and Linda worked together was the Alamosa (Colo.) Round-Up June 22-23. He was a judge at that rodeo. Art bought his Rodeo Cowboys Association card in 1965, then in 1972 went into partnership with his father. He completed in calf roping and steer wrestling.

Art worked as a pickup man, timed-event chute boss, flank man, judge and stock contractor in the rodeo world. 

Art and Linda were the 2012 recipients of the Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award. Information about a celebration of Art’s life is pending and will be posted on when it is confirmed. Cards for Linda may be mailed to 14107 County Road 6 South, Alamosa CO 81101.

Standings shuffle: 31 cowboys move up

With $1.83 million up for grabs between 35 PRCA rodeos across North America this past week, 31 cowboys saw their position improve within the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings’ Top 15. Out of that group, seven of the Top 15 saddle bronc riders moved up by one position each. 

Veteran and rookie cowboys alike know it’s easier to maintain a position at the top than it is to play catch-up when trying to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER. It’s important to build a solid bankroll as the final stretch of the 2017 season approaches at the end of next month.  

Nobody knows this better than tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett who moved from 17th to 12th thanks to winning the Sand & Sage Roundup at Lamar, Colo., for $1,486, and winning the Dick Stull Memorial Rodeo at Sterling, Colo., for $1,404. He also picked up $4,038 at the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo at Lovington, N.M., and $474 at the Yuma (Colo.) County Fair & Rodeo.

Having five rodeos with six-figure payoffs proved to be a major boost as cowboys competed for $212,147 in Lovington, $194,925 at the Farm-City Rodeo in Hermiston, Ore., $157,152 at the Sikeston (Mo.) Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, $147,700 at the Lawton (Okla.) Rangers Rodeo, and $103,120 at the Omak (Wash.) Stampede. 

Having so many opportunities to win big money can really stir the pot on the world standings. In the last week alone, six cowboys burst the bubble and broke into the Top 15. 

The following cowboys saw their position in the world standings improve between Aug. 9 and Aug. 13.

• Josh Peek moved from 19th to 15th in steer wrestling. 
• Cade Swor moved from 19th to 15th in tie-down roping. 

• Trey Benton III moved from 11th to eighth in bull riding. 
• Rocky Patterson moved from 13th to 10th in steer roping. 
• Jordan Hansen moved from 15th to 12th in bull riding. 
• Shay Good moved from 17th to 14th in steer roping. 
•. Orin Larsen moved from 18th to 15th in bareback riding. 

• Jake Minor moved from 11th to ninth in team roping heeling. 
• Tom Richards moved from 14th to 12th in team roping heading. 
• Clay Tryan moved from 17th to 15th in team roping heading.  

• Jason Evans moved from second to first in steer roping. 
• Clayton Biglow moved from fifth to fourth in bareback riding. 
• Hardy Braden moved from sixth to fifth in saddle bronc riding. 
• Billie Jack Saebens moved from seventh to sixth in team roping heeling. 
• Jake Wright moved from seventh to sixth in saddle bronc riding. 
• Tyson Durfey moved from eighth to seventh in tie-down roping. 
• Richmond Champion moved from ninth to eighth in bareback riding. 
• Garrett Rogers moved from ninth to eighth in team roping heading. 
• Clay Elliott moved from ninth to eighth in saddle bronc riding. 
• Brennon Eldred moved from 10th to ninth in bull riding. 
• Charly Crawford moved from 11th to 10th in team roping heading.
• Sterling Crawley moved from 11th to 10th in saddle bronc riding. 
• Ryder Wright moved from 12th to 11th in saddle bronc riding. 
• Heith DeMoss moved from 13th to 12th in saddle bronc riding.  
• Ty Breuer moved from 14th to 13th in bareback riding. 
• Matt Reeves moved from 14th to 13th in steer wrestling.
• Buddy Hawkins II moved from 14th to 13th in team roping heeling.  
• Brody Cress moved from 14th to 13th in saddle bronc riding. 
• Brady Portenier moved from 14th to 13th in bull riding. 
• Matt Shiozawa moved from 15th to 14th in tie-down roping. 

Cowboys on the bubble for a spot in the Top 15 can find themselves just a few dollars short of making a Wrangler NFR qualification. The following cowboys climbed the standings to No. 16 this past week:

• Tie-down roper Cory Solomon moved from 18th to 16th and is $31 away from breaking into the Top 15. 
• Steer roper Brian Garr moved from 18th to 16th and is $1,570 away from breaking into the Top 15. 
• Team roping heeler Jade Corkill moved from 17th to 16th and is $4,904 away from breaking into the Top 15. 

With the Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo on the horizon, the outcome of this rodeo and others is sure to impact the world standings, and possibly give a glimpse at who will compete at the 2017 Wrangler NFR.

Check back with next week to see who the new leaders are in the world standings.

Lovington is a cowboy’s paradise

Courtesy of Ted Harbin/Lea County Fair and Rodeo

LOVINGTON, N.M. – The rodeo history in southeastern New Mexico is as rich as the rugged terrain that makes up Lea County. 

It’s proven in the men who laid the foundation for the rich rodeo tradition, men like Jake McClure, Troy Fort, Sonny Davis, Roy Cooper and Jimmie Cooper. It reappears every summer when this community hosts the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9-12, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Aug. 8. 

“One thing I look at is that we’re off the beaten path to be this big of a rodeo,” said Trey Kerby, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board’s rodeo committee. “A lot of people have to drive a long way to get here. That says a lot about something that’s been around for 82 years.” 

Rodeo’s greatest stars converge on this community of about 11,000 over the course of the five performances. Every winner from the 2016 rodeo has already competed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which is a tell-tale sign of the greatness that happens inside the fairgrounds’ arena. 

“This is always a big rodeo that everybody wants to win,” said Cody Rostockyj, last year’s winner from Lorena, Texas. 

Over the years, Lovington’s rodeo has been recognized as one of the best large events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. That’s no small task; the Lea County Fair and Rodeo has been listed with rodeos like the Pendleton (Ore.) Roundup and Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. 

“It’s something special to be down in the middle of our rodeo,” said Kerby, who grew up in Lea County and has been around his hometown rodeo all his life. “A lot of the contestants come straight from Sikeston (Mo.) just to compete here. It says we’re doing something right for them to come all that way to be here. 

“We pay good, and we make it a good rodeo with good livestock. I think that’s attractive to the cowboys who come here.” 

It’s also something that helps attract fans from all over the region to Lovington; they know where the top cowboys will be in early August every year. 

“We don’t just draw from Lea County,” Kerby said. “We have many people come from west Texas, up north in New Mexico … pretty much all over. There aren’t a lot of things here but ranches and people who know rodeo, so it means a lot to me that they make their way here.”

What is it that makes the Lea County Fair and Rodeo so special to those rodeo fans and the hundreds of contestants that area part of the annual event?

“It’s an accumulation of everything: the world-class stock and the world-class athletes that come to do it,” he said. “If anybody follows rodeo, they know just about everybody that shows up here.”