LAS VEGAS - The third time’s the charm for Sandy Gwatney, as she was awarded Secretary of the Year. Gwatney was presented her award in front of an audience of more than a 1,000 guests at the PRCA’s annual awards banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa’s Grand Ballroom on Nov. 30.
“This is my third year being nominated, and I can tell you it’s the old cliché, but it is an honor to be in the Top 5, and this is just the icing on the cake,” Gwatney said. “It is one of those things you dream about.”
Gwatney has been working as a rodeo secretary since 1999 and used to haze for her husband, John. As time went on, their horses were unable to keep up with the demands of rodeo – but Gwatney’s enthusiasm never slowed down.
“We needed to stay in the game, and I just love what I do,” Gwatney said. “The cowboys are family, and to work for them is truly a blessing – to be in the community and family that you love.”
Gwatney tracks all the money, times and scores involved in each of the 25-30 rodeos she works, such as the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan.
“It’s to make sure the cowboys get what they need and the PRCA gets what they need – it’s just the love of the game, that’s all there is to it,” Gwatney said. “I would like to think it (winning the award) is because of my hard work and dedication. I truly love what I do and believe that if you don’t love what you do, you don’t do it well.”
Being a rodeo secretary isn’t Gwatney’s only job, she also works for a lumberyard in her hometown of Marquez, Texas, when not on the road to rodeos with her husband.
“It is a blessing to spend all our days together and do what we love,” Gwatney said.
John Justin Standard of the West Committeeman of the Year – Steve Heathman, Coulee City (Wash.) PRCA Rodeo
PRCA Media Awards Excellence in Rodeo Photography – Ric Andersen
PRCA Media Awards Excellence in Rodeo Print Journalism – Brett Marshall, Garden City (Kan.) Telegram
PRCA Media Awards Excellence in Rodeo Broadcast Journalism – Marty Campbell
Polaris RANGER Remuda Awards – Spanish Fork, Utah, PRCA Rodeo Committee; Frontier Rodeo
Zoetis PRCA Veterinarian of the Year – Dr. Marty Tanner
Coors Man in the Can – John Harrison
Clown of the Year – Justin Rumford
Secretary of the Year – Sandy Gwatney
Dress Act of the Year – John, Lynn and Amanda Payne
Comedy Act of the Year – John Harrison
Small Rodeo of the Year – Claremore, Okla.
Medium Rodeo of the Year – Deadwood, S.D.
Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year – San Antonio, Texas
Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year – Pendleton, Ore.
Bullfighter of the Year – Dusty Tuckness
Announcer of the Year – Wayne Brooks
Stock Contractor of the Year – Frontier Rodeo
Pickup Man of the Year – Chase Cervi
PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement – Karen Vold
Pendleton Whisky Let ‘er Buck Bucking Stock of the Year – Craig at Midnight, Powder River Rodeo (Bareback); Medicine Woman, Frontier Rodeo (Saddle Bronc); Midnight Bender, Andrews Rodeo (Bull)
AQHA Horses of the Year – MFO Harvey “Colonel,” owned and ridden by Timber Moore (tie-down roping); Landrys Cadillac “Cadillac,” owned by Frank Sterling Wallace (steer wrestling); Tuffys Badger Chex “Badger,” owned by Ronald Schmidt (team roping heading); Zans Colonel Shine “Colonel,” owned by Jake and Tasha Long (team roping heeling); At War Leo “Punchy,” owned and ridden by Cody Lee, and Tonk Champ “Champ,” owned and ridden by Chris Glover (steer roping); Cfour Tibbie Stinson “Tibbie,” owned by Kelly and Ivy Conrado (barrel racing)