1. Sechrist gains confidence at RPCFR
DUNCAN, Okla. - It's all about confidence for 24-year-old Bryson Sechrist, the top tie-down roper at the Oct. 20-22 RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.
"Last year, I won my hometown rodeo (Apache, Okla.) and that was the first circuit rodeo for us. Then, I won Tulsa (Okla.) and that put huge confidence in me and I knew if I chugged along I would make it to the circuit finals," Sechrist said.
Sechrist narrowly missed his chance to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER, finishing 18th in the 2016 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings.
Sechrist earned a total of $5,795 in Duncan, and has collected more than $8,000 in the first month of the 2017 season.
This early jumpstart for the 2017 world standings has Sechrist ahead of where he was for season earnings before his lucrative Fourth of July week this summer, when the ball started rolling for him. At the end of June, he had only won about $5,000.
"This is getting me more pumped up and confident," Sechrist said. "This last month was a struggle. I was stressing out, but my friends said I didn't really start until the Fourth of July - it was hard on me when I realized I can rope good enough and my horse is good enough, too. It was hard not making the NFR since it's all I've ever dreamed about. But, that gave me confidence in myself, knowing I can do it next time. I'm already ahead of where I was going into July, so I'm feeling good."
This will be Sechrist's second time at the RNCFR. His first time was in Oklahoma City - near his home in Apache, Okla. - in 2012, when he finished 49th in the world with $25,659.
"Every circuit finals usually has NFR guys, and if you make it to the RAM Finals, the competition is tough," Sechrist said.
Sechrist made the fastest catch of the RPCFR in the first round when he was 7.7 seconds.
"I didn't plan on it - I just threw my hands down, looked up and thought they'd missed my time," he said. "I didn't know I was that fast. My horse, Spiderman, set it up good, and we had a good run and that set it up for the next two runs."
Although he started out hot, the second round brought a bit of a cool down, as Sechrist found himself just one hole out of placing with a run of 9.0 seconds. He bounced back in the third round to place second in 8.3 seconds - fast enough to win the average by 2.4 seconds, with 25.0 seconds on three head.
With his effort at the RPCFR, Sechrist qualified for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo April 6-9, in Kissimmee, Fla.
"I was pretty pumped; the last time I won was in 2012, and the last few years I was struggling and wasn't able to catch three of them," Sechrist said. "I've always wanted to go to Florida; everyone says it's pretty cool to go hang out there, and I hope to win some more. Since they changed the rule on money counting for the standings, I'm feeling better going to the winter rodeos now."
Other winners at the $179,197 rodeo were all-around cowboy Cody Doescher ($3,789 in steer wrestling and team roping), bareback riders Justin Pollmiller and Caine Riddle (234.5 points on three head each), steer wrestler Riley Duvall (13.5 seconds on three head), team ropers Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens (16.5 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Hardy Braden (236 points on three head), barrel racer Tracy Nowlin (48.36 seconds on three head), steer roper Rocky Patterson (37.2 seconds on three head) and bull rider Colten Jesse (247.5 points on three head.
2. Karen Vold recognized with Donita Barnes Award
COLORADO SPRINGS. - Some know her as a talented trick roper, others as a rodeo organizer alongside her husband, ProRodeo Hall of Fame stock contractor Harry Vold. But Karen Vold considers herself to be a Girl Friday - that is, someone who does a lot behind the scenes - and it's that multi-faceted talent that earned her the 2016 PRCA Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award.
"It's quite a shock, and an awesome compliment, because I thought the world of her (Barnes), she was a very dear friend," Karen Vold said. "I consider my title as a Girl Friday - someone who does a lot of different things - I multitask in the background. Rodeo takes a lot of people behind the scenes to make what happens in the arena successful, and there's a lot of people who do those things and don't get acknowledged - people at the gates, selling tickets, the offices - they are Girl Friday or Guy Friday."
Her father, the late Andy Womack, was a ProRodeo Hall of Fame clown and it was through his connections to the sport that Karen was introduced to the art of trick riding. She was just 14 years old when she made her first appearance as a trick rider.
"It was just something that appealed to me - when your heart wants to do something, you follow your dream," Karen Vold said. "The highlight of my life was as a kid, working the Phoenix Jaycee's Rodeo since that was my dad's last rodeo as a clown."
After marrying Harry, the couple put on many of the country's biggest rodeos, and at one time they worked rodeos in 11 different states.
"The joke in the family is I've been a member (of the PRCA) longer than Harry," Karen Vold said.
For the last 28 years, she and her former student, Linda Scholtz, have taught trick riding to students from around the world at the Red Top Ranch Trick Riding School in Avondale, about 20 miles outside of Pueblo, Colo.
"As long as they keep coming, I'll keep teaching," Karen Vold said. "That's what you do when you can't trick ride any more. My family would ask me what I would do when I stopped trick riding and I said I didn't want to talk about it - so then I became a coach."
The inaugural PRCA Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Barnes in 2011.
"I was so pleased when they created the honor in her name because she so rightly deserved it," Karen Vold said.
Art and Linda Alsbaugh were the recipients in 2012, then Fred and Norma Dorenkamp won it in 2013. Quail Dobbs received the award in 2014, and Cotton Rosser was last year's winner.
All other year-end PRCA awards will be announced at the 2016 PRCA Awards Banquet, Nov. 30 at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas.
3. Bob Romer, July 4, 1945 - Oct. 21, 2016
COLORADO SPRINGS - Bob Romer, whose fancy footwork in the arena earned him the nickname "Bull Dancer" and a place among the sport's all-time great bullfighters, died Oct. 21 in Las Cruces, N.M., after heart-valve surgery. He was 71.Romer worked the 1976 National Finals Rodeo, the 1978 Canadian Finals Rodeo and the College National Finals Rodeo from 1977-80 and was widely respected by his peers for his long service at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days and many other of the sport's biggest events.
A native of Holly, Colo. - his uncle Roy Romer was state Governor from 1987-99 - Bob only became involved in rodeo after he started school at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) and liked it so much he joined the PRCA and started rodeoing full time in 1971 as a bull rider.
Romer's introduction to bullfighting was a simple matter of circumstance. A barrelman failed to show up at a rodeo where he was competing and Romer just volunteered to help out. When a rider got hung up, instinct kicked in and Romer got out of the barrel to help distract the bull. A career was launched.
"You learn by trial and error," Romer told the ProRodeo Sports News in a 2005 interview. "Trials get out there and errors get back up and try again."
Over the course of his career, Romer three times suffered a broken leg, along with a broken arm, broken ribs, broken collarbone (twice), broken cheekbone (twice), hundreds of stitches, a pair of horn punctures and eight lost teeth, all in the name of protecting bull riders from harm.
"Nothing serious," Romer said, "and I loved it. I worked Cheyenne two weeks after breaking a leg, (while still) in a cast."
After his rodeo career, Romer worked for United Rentals as an equipment salesman and helped out with the Las Cruces Horseman's Association and the local fair board.
He helped start the Wild Wild West Rodeo in Silver City, N.M.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be reported on www.prorodeo.comas they become available. He is survived by his wife, Terrie; sister, PRCA secretary Barb Duggan, and brother, Don.
4. Medicine Woman makes it a three-peat as top stock
COLORADO SPRINGS - Frontier Rodeo's exceptional saddle bronc horse Medicine Woman is building a résumé worthy of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
The 11-year-old was named a 2016 Pendleton Whisky "Let 'er Buck" Bucking Stock of the Year winner for the third consecutive time, putting her in rarified air.
Medicine Woman has now won the award four times - she also won it in 2011 - which puts her alone in second place all-time among all bucking stock. Hall of Fame horse Descent is the leader, with six wins in the years before there were separate awards for bareback horses and saddle bronc horses.
"I don't know where she'll rank someday as far as the greatest of all-time, but I do know that she'll be one of the top 10 saddle bronc horses to ever buck at a PRCA rodeo," Frontier Rodeo owner Jerry Nelson said.
Nelson and his company have essentially owned the saddle bronc category when it comes to the Bucking Stock of the Year awards in recent times.
This makes five out of the last six years that a Frontier horse has won or split the title - Maple Leaf was co-champion in 2013.
"It means that 23 years' worth of breeding is paying off, and it means a lot for our future that we're raising these type of quality animals," Nelson said. "It proves our breeding program is on the right track. We've been working our butts off for a long time trying to figure out what works."
Powder River Rodeo's Craig At Midnight took top bareback horse honors. This is the first time the company has won the award for best bareback horse since Hall of Famer Khadafy Skoal won it in 1995-96.
"When you watch these colts grow up from the time they're babies to what they are now, it's an overwhelming feeling," said Lori Franzen, who owns the company with her husband, Hank. "We all cried when we found out Craig had won."
The horse - named for Powder River Rodeo foreman Craig Roe - is one of the biggest bareback horses going down the road at about 1,600 pounds.
"He's super strong, and bucks hard every time," Franzen said. 'He's not an easy horse to ride, but if you do ride him, it'll be 88-90 points."
For the first time in 21 years, Andrews Rodeo can claim the top bull in the PRCA.
Midnight Bender - a 5-year-old, 1,700-pound beast - is the first Andrews bull to win Bucking Stock of the Year since Bodacious in 1994-95.
"The thing that makes us the proudest of this bull winning the award is that we raised him here on the ranch," said James Andrews, co-owner of Andrews Rodeo. "He's out of Fender Bender, who went to the NFR numerous times, and also out of a daughter of Bo Dippin', which was a granddaughter of Bodacious."
The bull has only been ridden once in PRCA competition in the past three years - Wyatt Mecham, 79 points in Belton, Texas, in 2014.
"Having him win this award is about like watching your kid hit a walk-off home run," Andrews said. "We put so much time, care and effort into raising all these animals, so when you win an award like this, it's very special."
Here are the full results:
1. Craig At Midnight, Powder River Rodeo
2. Virgil, C5 Rodeo
3. Top Flight, Pickett Pro Rodeo
Saddle Bronc Riding
1. Medicine Woman, Frontier Rodeo
2. Wound Up, Beutler & Son Rodeo
3. Spring Planting, Flying Five Rodeo
1. Midnight Bender, Andrews Rodeo
2. Sweet Pro's Bruiser, D&H Cattle
3. My Brother, Andrews Rodeo
5. News & Notes from the rodeo trail
The bullfighters, barrelman and pickup men for the Dec. 1-10 Wrangler NFR have been selected. Bullfighters Dusty Tuckness and Cody Webster return for the fourth straight year together, and will be joined by Nathan Jestes,who's making his WNFR debut. It's the eighth consecutive trip for Tuckness, and the fourth for Webster. John Harrison makes his third trip as barrelman - he also went in 2013 and '15. Chase Cervi makes his third-consecutive appearance as a pickup man, and fourth overall. He's joined by Gary Rempel, who's making his ninth WNFR trip, and first since 2013. Josh Edwards is the alternate pickup man - he worked the WNFR in 2014 ... Stan Branco, a 2013 qualifier for the WNFR as a steer wrestler, is out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee at the rodeo in Henderson, Texas, Oct. 15. He is scheduled for a follow-up examination with Dr. Tandy Freeman in Dallas ... Australian bareback rider Anthony Thomas is facing surgery next month to repair an injury to his left hip ... On Oct. 19, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Edmonton Northlands negotiators announced the Canadian Finals Rodeo will remain at its traditional home - Northlands Coliseum. The 2016 version of the rodeo will take place Nov. 9-13. "We're happy to be back," said CPRA Canadian Finals spokesman Jeff Robson in a press release. "We've enjoyed 43 great years in Edmonton and we're excited the partnership doesn't have to end. We're eagerly anticipating a future with Northlands as we extend our CFR contract for two more years." ... Southeastern Oklahoma State University is poised to induct its inaugural Hall of Fame class when it enshrines rodeo stars Roy Cooper, Tee Woolman, Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff, and Caryn Standifer Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. (CT) in the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Southeastern campus ... The Reno Rodeo Foundation is accepting online applications for its annual college scholarship program for high school students graduating in Northern Nevada. Over the years, the foundation has helped hundreds of students in furthering their education. The online application deadline is March 22. For information, email email@example.com. To apply, visit www.renorodeofoundation.org ... Three new directors were recently elected to join the Pendleton Round-Up board, and Bill Levy was affirmed for a second term as president of the rodeo. According to a news release from the Round-Up, Berk Davis will serve as the arena director, Tim Smith will head up the programs and ushers, and Jason Graybeal will handle office, tickets and retail. Graybeal also was elected treasurer for the nonprofit organization ... California Rodeo Salinas welcomed three new directors to the board Oct. 20. Adam Jacop, Matt Jenkinson and Tonya Linares were present at the annual Stockholders Dinner to accept their new titles and silver badges. Three directors - Bill Grainger, Mike Martin and Mark Schmidt - also moved to the designation of advisory director after providing decades of service on the board. Mike Scarr continues as President for his second and final year of office, along with the other officers: First Vice President Brent Eastman, Second Vice President Dave Pedrazzi, third Vice President Fred Hooker, Treasurer Tom Nielsen and Secretary Steve Davis ... On Oct. 20, the RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo opened its night with the past meeting the future. As part of the three-day rodeo, "Living Legends" were honored for their contributions to the Prairie Circuit and the sport of rodeo. This year, ProRodeo Hall of Famers Ote Berry, four-time steer wrestling world champion of Checotah, Okla., and Roy Duvall, three-time steer wrestling world champion, were the honorees. "The Living Legend award (winners are) people who have made significant contributions to professional rodeo," said Mike Anderson, Stephens County Fairground and Expo Center director.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"It's the place you want to be. You can make up a lot of ground in a hurry."
-Bareback rider Jake Vold talking to the Airdrie (Canada) Echo about the upcoming WNFR.