April 7, 2014
PRCA CLOWN OF YEAR DIES OF HEART ATTACK PRIOR TO HALL OF FAME INDUCTION
Rick Chatman, the 1984 World Champion Bullfighter and PRCA Clown of the Year, died of an apparent heart attack on March 27, two weeks before his induction into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. He was 57.
A saddle bronc rider in high school, Chatman started his career in professional rodeo by working on saddles for M.L. Leddy during the week and fighting bulls at the Northside Coliseum in Fort Worth on the weekends, learning the skills that would make him one of the sport’s best.
In his nearly 30 years as a PRCA card holder (1979-2008), Chatman worked most of the sport’s biggest rodeos, including Denver, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Cheyenne, Wyo., often wearing a black and yellow shirt that earned him the nickname “Bumble Bee.”
He served three times as a bullfighter at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City (1980-81, 1984) and was twice an NFR alternate (1982, 1988). In 1984, Chatman won seven of nine matches on the Wrangler Bullfighting Tour and won the world championship in the final round of four at the NFR when he got past Harry Vold’s Crooked Nose, the only fighting bull ever inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Chatman’s achievement of winning the World Bullfighting title, the PRCA Clown of the Year Award and working the NFR, all in the same year, has never been matched.
“I’ve always liked to do something everybody else won’t do,” Chatman said in an interview with the ProRodeo Sports News. “I like the gamble. Besides that, the bullfighter always took home a check.”
In a television interview (www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVHkjN0o5Xg), Chatman described bullfighting as “better than fun ever thought about being. If there’s a definition for fun, it’s what I do.”
A memorial service is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 6 in the Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse Arena in Cleburne, Texas, and everyone is welcome. For further information call 817.991.0156 or 817.991.3080.
He is survived by his two sons, Cassidy, of Burleson, Texas, and Chance, of Denton, Texas; his father, Buddy Chatman and stepmother, LaDonna, of Lindale, Texas; sister, Dionne (Jerry) Kitchens of Arlington, Texas; and ex-wife, Sheila Chatman, of Burleson, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919.
ELDON EVANS, FORMER TOP PRCA EXEC DIES
Eldon Evans, a former top executive of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and an inductee in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, died March 26 at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, after a long struggle with heart disease. He was 83.
A certified public accountant by profession, he first served as a financial advisor to the PRCA in 1981 and went on to play a pivotal role during the reorganization of the association in 1987, when the PRCA was preparing to hire its first commissioner.
Evans served on the steering committee that year with Shawn Davis, Bob Thain and Harry Vold, was an interim co-commissioner with Thain and ended 1987 by being recognized as PRCA Rodeo Man of the Year. He also served on the PRCA Board of Directors from 1988-96.
Evans, a veteran of the Korean War, was a founding father of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls and served on the board of trustees for 12 years. A multi-purpose arena on campus is named the Eldon Evans Expo Center.
In 1965, he was named Man of the Year by the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce.
Evans always said his father threatened him with his life if he ever became a rodeo cowboy. And while he never competed in the arena, Evans did become a true friend of the sport.
He gave countless hours to the PRCA for more than 20 years. His wise counsel helped guide the association through turbulent years. His peers knew he always kept the best interests of the rodeo business at the top of his priorities.
Evans was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame as a Rodeo Notable in 1997, the year after he retired from the PRCA board of directors.
The memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 5 at the LDS Chapel, 723 Hankins Road, Twin Falls, with the funeral at Sunset Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a contribution to the Delores Evans Memorial Scholarship through the CSI Foundation, P.O. Box 1238, Twin Falls, ID
NEWS & NOTES FROM THE RODEO TRAIL
Team roping header Erich Rogers will have surgery on his right knee April 1 in Phoenix to repair a torn MCL and ACL. Rogers suffered the injury when he was kicked while unloading his horse. “The doctor said I will have full-blown surgery and I could be out as long as six months,” Rogers said. “I’m hoping I’ll be back in a couple of months, the end of May, the first of June. I’m hoping to (at least) be back by Reno. I believe I can fight through the pain if I have to.” The Reno (Nev.) Rodeo is June 19-28. Rogers is in his second year roping with Cory Petska. Rogers has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times – 2011-2013. He finished ninth in the world standings last season and was a career-best fifth in 2012.
Injuries continue to bring change to the lineup for the April 10-12 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Okla., including the loss of 2012 World Champion Bull Rider Cody Teel and three-time NFR bareback riding qualifier Casey Colletti. Teel is out on a doctor release for at least a month due to a broken right ankle and will be replaced on the Texas Circuit team by Reid Barker while Colletti, who had right knee surgery on March 25 and will be out of action for 12 weeks, will give way to Zach Curran on the Mountain States roster. Bull rider Rocky McDonald of Chihuahua, Mexico, will be unable to represent the California Circuit (groin strain) and will be replaced by Sammy Matthews. In the Great Lakes Circuit, bareback rider Bee Jay Scott is out and Tyrel Nelson is in.
ProRodeoLive.com will cover all five performances of the RNCFR, with broadcasts at 10:45 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. (CT) on April 10, 7:15 p.m. (CT) on April 11 and 12:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. (CT) on April 12.
The votes are all counted and two-year PRCA Executive Council terms begin April 1 for officers representing the rodeo committees (Steve Gander, Gary Williams and Keith Martin), stock contractors (Mike Corey and T.J. Korkow), contract personnel (Benje Bendele and Dustin Brewer) and contestants (Rusty Allen-SB, J.P. Wickett-SR and Darrell Petry-SW.
Colorado Senator Vickie Marble will introduce a resolution in the state legislature April 17 honoring the PRCA, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and the more than 50 PRCA rodeos in Colorado for the economic impact they bring to the state.
Cactus Saddlery has donated a special ProRodeo Hall of Fame 35th anniversary saddle to be used as a raffle item. The saddle, currently on display in the lobby of the Hall, is a Ranch Cutter with a 15-inch seat, floral border, two-inch aluminum stirrups and leather bottoms that retails for $2,800. Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25 and can be purchased through the Hall at 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919. The drawing to determine the winner will take place Dec. 1 at the Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala in Las Vegas.
Country musician Aaron Watson won three awards at the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards for his song “July in Cheyenne,” which is a tribute to the late bull rider Lane Frost. Lane’s parents, Clyde and Elsie Frost, attended the event and helped Watson accept his awards. “The most important line in this song is at the end,” said Elsie, as she accepted Video of the Year on Watson’s behalf, “If you’re washed in the blood someday you’ll see him again and it won’t be in the rain and the mud in July in Cheyenne.”
Robert H. “Bob” Schall Jr., the 1986 Linderman Award winner and a recent inductee into the Montana Hall and Wall of Fame, died March 21 in his hometown of Arlee, Mont., after a two-year battle with colon cancer. He was 63. Schall was an accomplished bareback rider, team roper and steer wrestler, winning numerous championships in the PRCA, while traveling extensively throughout the United States and Canada. A graduate of Montana State University in Bozeman, Schall was a member of the 1972 NIRA National Championship Men’s Rodeo Team that was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame; he helped the cause by winning the national collegiate bareback riding title that year. As a professional, he competed in as many as 126 rodeos in a year and was still going to more than 100 – including senior rodeos – well into his 40s. He won the Montana Circuit year-end bareback riding championship in 1992 and the all-around title a year later.
Robert E. (“Bob”) Swaim, a PRCA member since 1949 and an inductee in the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo Hall of Fame, died March 23 at his home in Pasco, Wash., at the age of 84. Swaim competed in steer wrestling and bareback riding in PRCA rodeos for 19 years before retiring in 1968 and served as Ellensburg’s rodeo secretary for a record 23 years (1958-80). A Celebration of Life will be held 1-5 p.m. (PT) on May 18 in the Let’er Buck Room at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up grounds. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, www.justincowboycrisisfund.com/donate or to the Western Wishes Foundation, www.westernwishes.org/donations.
Former PRCA announcer Michael Donald (“Mike”) Munro, who worked Mountain States Circuit rodeos while serving as Chief Satellite Officer at the Cheyenne Mountain center in Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 22 at his home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 60.
Walter “Kayo” Morgan, one of the founders of the Evergreen (Colo.) Rodeo and a PRCA Gold Card member, died Jan. 2 at the Home Lake Veterans Home in Monte Vista (Colo.) at the age of 85.
Vena Vesta Gorrell, who worked with her late husband, Alvin, on creating the Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame, died March 25 at her home in Gooding, Idaho, at the age of 81.
Gail Sheppick, the father of Badlands Circuit saddle bronc rider Sam Sheppick, died March 24 at his home in Fort Pierre, S.D., after a long battle with cancer. He was 68.
THOSE TOUGH HORSES:
Texas Circuit team roping header Casey Gattis lost his primary competition horse, 9-year-old “Major,” last week when his right hind leg shattered just above the hock. “Major didn’t go down,” Gattis said. “He kept chasing after that steer. We stopped and I stepped off of him. I felt sick to my stomach looking at his leg. It was like losing my brother. He was my buddy.”
Two-time Wrangler NFR steer wrestler Bray Armes‘ horse, Ote, had orthoscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his hock on March 26. “I just picked him up from the vet (March 31),” Armes said. “I might ride him in Guthrie at the (Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, April 10-12), but I don’t know yet. It will be close. We are just going to have to wait and see how he is doing. We are not going to rush anything if he is not ready.”
A 2003 graduate of Lake Roosevelt High School in Grand Coulee, Wash., Shane Proctor is going back home April 8-9 to preside over a bull and steer riding school at Nespelem Rodeo Arena. The 2011 world champion will be joined by fellow PRCA bull riders Colby Reilly and Ryan Dirteater as instructors in the school for aspiring cowboys 12-18 years old.
A 28-minute film by Rex Jones of the University of Mississippi Media Documentary Projects Division chronicling the life of ProRodeo Hall of Fame clown Lecile Harris is available online at http://vimeo.com/51310965. Harris, 77, began his career as a bull rider and bullfighter, but a devastating accident in the arena at the age of 52 led him into comedy full-time. Since then, he’s been named PRCA Clown of the Year four times (1992, 1994-96) and inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (2007).
Former Wilderness Circuit bareback rider Jeremy Churchfield – he was a PRCA member from 1997-2004 – was promoted earlier this year to the position of lead detective in the Emmett (Idaho) Police Department.
2014 WORLD STANDINGS LEADERS
AA: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX $50,755
BB: Kaycee Field, Spanis Fork, UT $49,712
SW: Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, CA $28,254
TR-1: Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, MT $40,614
TR-2: Paul Eaves, Lonedell, MO $40,614
SB: Cody Wright, Milford, UT $45,517
TD: Tuf Cooper, Decatur, TX $31,314
BR: Sage Kimzey, Strong City, OK $69,587
SR: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX $23,696
PRORODEO HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2014
April 2, 2014
World Champion Cowboys Pete Grubb, Wayne Herman, Glen O’Neill and Byron Walker, along with two-time World Champion Bullfighter Miles Hare and Spring Fling – one of just two horses to be honored as both a bareback and saddle bronc horse of the year – head the 2014 induction class for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
They will be enshrined Aug. 9 during ceremonies in the sculpture garden adjacent to the Hall, along with the rodeo committees from the Clovis (Calif.) Rodeo, Greeley (Colo.) Stampede, Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, Calif., and the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho.
The induction week will kick off with a 35th anniversary celebration of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, and will be followed by the 27th annual ProRodeo Hall of Fame Golf Tournament on Aug. 7, the Cowboy Ball on Aug. 8, and then culminates with the Induction Ceremonies and the Commissioner’s Classic Team Roping competition on Aug. 9.
Pete Grubb, who died in 1969 at the age of 56, was the first ProRodeo cowboy to win world championships at both ends of the arena. The Salmon, Idaho, cowboy won the bareback riding title in 1938 and the team roping (as a heeler) in 1940. He was the first cowboy to win both the bareback riding and saddle bronc riding in the same year at New York’s Madison Square Garden, managing that parlay in 1934, and he won the bareback riding again in 1935-36.
Wayne Herman, 50, won the world bareback riding gold buckle in 1992 in the seventh of his 11 qualifications for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, a year after winning the NFR average title and finishing second to Clint Corey, just $1,050 shy of the gold buckle. A native of Dickinson, N.D., now living in Halliday, N.D., Herman had six finishes among the top five bareback riders in the world and earned $856,490 in his career.
“I was a little stunned, I guess, and quite honored to be put into the Hall beside people like Lewis Feild and Ty Murray, all the past champions who are the greatest in history,” Herman said. “It’s quite humbling to even be considered to be in their presence in that Hall. I knew it was April 1st and I called the number back just to make sure it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke. When Kent (Sturman, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Director) answered, I realized it was the real deal. I don’t know if it has quite sunk in yet, but it feels pretty good.”
And even with that moment of uncertainty, being notified about being selected to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame on April 1 had a special meaning to Herman: “It was my son’s birthday, John Wayne. He passed away in 1991, the year I won the average at the Finals. He was 4 years old when he died (of cancer), so it was kind of cool that I found out about the Hall of Fame on his birthday.”
The 1994 saddle bronc riding rookie of the year, Glen O’Neill qualified for his first NFR a year later and competed at an elite level for more than a decade. He won his gold buckle in 2002 – capturing the NFR average title along the way – and was reserve world champion in both 2001 and 2003, finishing less than $5,000 behind fellow Hall of Famer Dan Mortensen in his title-defense year. Eight times the Australian-born O’Neill finished in the top five among PRCA saddle bronc riders and earned $1,614,860.
“One of the things that gives me the greatest joy is to think about where I started and how far I have come, as far as rodeo and in life, moving halfway across the world and making this life for myself,” O’Neill said. “I didn’t expect to get that call; it’s one of those things where you wonder if your career will be recognized as good enough for the Hall of Fame, because it’s such a big feat. I was surprised and excited, and it’s a great achievement. This is the pinnacle of rodeo, and it’s the icing on top of the cake for my career.”
Only Roy Duvall has made more NFR steer wrestling appearances than Byron Walker’s 16 (1977-87, 1991, 1997-2000) over four decades. The Ennis, Texas, resident is part of a rare two-world championship household. He won his steer wrestling title in 1981 and his wife, Mary, was the barrel racing world champion in 2012. Byron was twice a reserve world champion as well, in 1979 and again in 1983, when he finished just $893 back of Joel Edmondson.
“Being second to Roy Duvall (in NFR qualifications), that’s a pretty good short list right there,” Walker said, “but I think I am most proud of being a pretty good cowboy. I was good at Cheyenne, Salinas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City (in all different setups). My dad (Whitey Bob Walker) taught me everything I know about steer wrestling and (four-time World Champion) Jim Bynum taught me how to win. He lived 15 miles down the road from us and hazed my first steer when I was 12. Nobody knew more about winning than Jim Bynum.”
Miles Hare, 58, spent more than three decades throwing his body in the path of 1,500-pound beasts to protect rodeo cowboys before retiring in 2008; he worked as a bullfighter at the NFR six times (1977, 1985, 1988-91) and twice more as an alternate (1984, 1992). He won the inaugural Wrangler World Champion Bullfighters title in 1981 and shared that honor with fellow Hall of Famer Rob Smets in 1988. “He’s a cowboy saver – that’s all he is,” the late Quail Dobbs said of the Liberty, Texas resident. “There’s no better man that I would trust.”
Along with Kingsway Skoal, Big Bend Rodeo’s legendary mare Spring Fling is the only horse to be honored as both a Bareback and Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year. Spring Fling started out on the bareback side and received the PRCA’s top honor in that category in 1997, then came back to twice claim the saddle bronc award, winning it outright in 1999 and sharing it with Surprise Party Skoal, of Sankey Rodeo, a year later. Spring Fling was also voted the top saddle bronc horse at the 2001 Wrangler NFR and three times was voted the top saddle bronc horse at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho.
“After she won the bareback deal in 1997,” said co-owner Don Hutsell, “she grew up quite a bit, so I stuck her in the broncs because I knew she would be an outstanding one.”
The PRCA committees selected for enshrinement this year are among the PRCA’s longest-standing and most respected rodeos. Clovis, part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour, is celebrating its 100th anniversary later this month. Nampa will have its centenary rodeo next year, while Hayward is in its 93rd year and Greeley in its 92nd.
ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of former contestants and rodeo experts. More than 100 individuals are nominated each year and selection is based on contributions to the sport of professional rodeo in any one of seven categories: contestant, stock contractor, contract personnel, rodeo committees, livestock, media and notables/lifetime achievement.
Including this year’s inductees, 236 people, 28 animals and 22 rodeo committees have been selected for enshrinement in Colorado Springs since the Hall opened in 1979.
WORLD CHAMPION BARREL HORSE SOLD FOR $850,000 AT AUCTION TO SATISFY CLAIM
By Glory Ann Kurtz
April 1, 2014
Barrel horses and their owners have a special bond. Especially if that barrel horse took the rider to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., and the 2012 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World title. But what happens when there’s a question of who the owner really is?
That very thing happened recently with Mary Walker, 53, Ennis, Texas, and the horse Perculatin, nicknamed Latte, when the horse changed ownership. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram by Brett Hoffman, Latte was auctioned off as the result of a January lawsuit between Walker and Cheri Cogburn who had previously owned Latte and who retained a 10 percent ownership in the horse after selling him to the Walkers.
Mary and her husband Byron Walker, a PRCA World Champion, owned the other 90 percent, which Byron purchased May 17, 2011 as a surprise for Mary after their son Reagon died in an tragic automobile accident. At that time Cogburn and the Walkers formed an LLC, with the only asset being Latte.
However, the buy was fraught with problems as, according to Mary, Latte fell with her at a rodeo in Crosby, Texas, shattering Mary’s pelvis, breaking two of her toes and fracturing two vertebrae in her back.
However, things definitely looked up when the pair got back together and won the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., winning the WPRA World Title. However, bad luck set back in when Latte sustained an injury at Fort Worth during a slip around the barrels and the pair was unable to compete in the high-paying Houston Rodeo. According to Mary’s Facebook posting, the pair also sustained a fall at a Mercedes, Texas, rodeo, with Latte injuring himself and the prognosis was at least 12 weeks of rest with therapy every day.
However, according to The Rodeo Roundup, Walker’s Facebook posting claimed that in January, Cogburn sued the Walkers for “partition of sale” and since Latte was the only asset of the LLC, a judge ruled that he had to be sold at auction. According to Walker’s posting, she claimed that the last settlement offer from Cogburn was for the Walkers to pay her $250,000 for her 10 percent.
However, Cogburn then made a statement on Facebook regarding the issues surrounding Latte and in response to Mary’s post, she stated, “I want to respond to Mary Walker’s post about the settlement offer. She states the offer was only for the 10 percent ownership. That is not a true statement. There are other monies owed that I am suing for. I tried to settle and walk away, but unfortunately that will not happen. I just wanted to clarify the situation.”
The auction took place, Friday, March 28 at the Waxahachie, Texas, Rodeo Complex, with Mark Wallace, who owns the Justin Discount boots stores in Justin, Texas, purchasing the gelding for $850,000. According to Byron, Wallace “would allow Walker to continue riding the gelding,”
According to Jason Hetland, editor of The Rodeo Round Up, Byron Walker is an employee of the Justin Discount Boots store and has a close working relationship with the key players in the purchase. The amount received by Cogburn was not revealed and no competing bidders were published.
March 29, 2014
NEWS FROM THE RODEO TRAIL:
Clovis Crane became the first man to establish eligibility for the Linderman Award – emblematic of the greatest versatility in the rodeo arena – on March 22 when he finished third in the saddle bronc riding at the Southeastern Pro Rodeo in Ocala, Fla. In order to qualify for the award, a contestant must have earned at least $1,000 in three events with at least one of those from the roughstock and timed event ends of the arena. Crane now has $1,831 in bareback riding, $1,712 in steer wrestling and $1,001 in saddle bronc riding. Six-time Linderman Award winner Kyle Whitaker has only cashed checks in steer wrestling thus far and Trell Etbauer, the four-time and reigning Linderman Award holder, has yet to get started.
Milemarkers on the Interstate: Magnolia, Ark., bull rider Jesse Elam, 21, not only cashed his first check at a PRCA rodeo at the March 21-22 Cotton Blossom Roundup in Nashville, Ga., he earned his first title by riding 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Hoover for 73 points.
Also breaking through for their first PRCA titles were Wenten Reiter, who won the tie-down roping in 8.8 seconds at his hometown rodeo, the Ozark Empire Pro Rodeo in Springfield, Mo., and two roughstock cowboys at the Fort Myers (Fla.) ProRodeo – saddle bronc rider Nat Stratton of Goodwell, Okla., and bull rider Alex Jenks of Cherryville, N.C., who just bought his PRCA permit last month.
The Rocky Mountain Classic in Kalispell, Mont., will long be remembered by tie-down roper Kevin Peterson, of Belgrade, Mont., as the rodeo where he won the first title on his PRCA card (he had a win in Salmon, Idaho, last year on his permit) and Zeke Thurston, of Sheridan, Wyo., who will recall it as the rodeo where he qualified to buy his PRCA card after winning the saddle bronc riding with a score of 84 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Bucked Down.
The Nebraska High School Rodeo Association has announced creation of the Fort Western Whitaker Award, given in honor of Chambers, Neb., natives Kyle and Chip Whitaker. Fort Western Stores will provide a Cactus Saddle to the cowboy excelling in at least three events, encompassing both roughstock and timed events. The award will be similar in nature to the Linderman Award, given annually by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and which has been won a record 10 times by the Whitakers – six times by Kyle and four by his dad, Chip. ”It’s a tremendous accomplishment, what Chip and Kyle have done in the sport of rodeo, and we’re grateful to Fort Western Stores for working with us to recognize similar achievement at the high school level, in Nebraska,” said Jim Wakefield, President of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE KIDS:
While so many young cowboys were taking their first turn in the spotlight this weekend, it is worth a moment to honor a couple of veterans with a tip of the cowboy hat. Bud Hallman, who is 60 years old and a circuit court judge in Florida, won the steer wrestling title at the Fort Myers Pro Rodeo in North Fort Myers, Fla., with a time of 5.0 – a tenth-of-a-second quicker than 44-year-old Earl Harris Jr.
Then there is team roper Brad Culpepper, who turns 44 next month and is looking to get back to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo after a two-year absence. In tandem with header Manny Egusquiza Jr. (egg-ooh skeeza), Culpepper tied for the win at the Southeastern Pro Rodeo in Ocala, Fla., and finished second in North Fort Myers.
Heeler Shane Hester of Lakeland, Fla., gave himself an early birthday present (he turns 37 on March 25) by teaming up with Bradley Massey of Perry, Fla., to become the weekend’s only two-time champions. They shared the title in Ocala with Egusquiza/Culpepper in 5.1 seconds and won outright in North Fort Myers with a time of 5.4 seconds, while also finishing fourth in Nashville, Ga. Both men moved into the top 20 of the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, with Massey going from 24th to 19th and Hester from 23rd to 17th.
PRCA tie-down roper Stephen Reagor was inducted into the Ken Hayes-Enos Semore Athletic Hall of Fame at Bacone College (Muskogee, Okla.) on March 15 in recognition of his win at the 2003 College National Finals Rodeo.
Eight-time World Champion Fred Whitfield will be at the Chadron (Neb.) State College Student Center at 7 p.m. March 27 for a presentation and book signing.
After a 12-year hiatus, the Aug. 6-9 Sikeston (Mo.) Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo is bringing back bullfighting competition, due to popular demand. “It’s one thing that people have continued telling us they wanted to see,” rodeo general manager Daniel Beck told the Southeast Missourian. Nine bullfighters will take part in the event on Aug. 6, after the conclusion of that night’s rodeo performance.
The Thermopolis (Wyo.) Cowboy Rendezvous PRCA Rodeo was honored as the 2013 Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award on March 22 at the 93rd annual Thermopolis-Hot Springs County Chamber of Commerce Banquet. Committee chairman Mark Ellis accepted the award on the rodeo’s behalf.
In partnership with the Deadwood (S.D.) Historic Preservation Commission, Deadwood History Inc. will host a series of camps for area youth this summer and registration is now open. Exploration Camp kicks off the summer camp series for children in grades K-2 for the 2014-2015 school year from 9 a.m.-noon June 2-6, at the Days of ’76 Museum. Students will learn about rodeo clowns, gardening and more. Cost is $38 per member for the week, $49 for non-members. For more information or to register for camp, contact Chelsie or Theresa at 605.578.1657.
ON THE MEND:
After more than a week in the Intensive Care Unit in a Fort Pierce, Fla., hospital, bull rider Jeffrey Ramagos was driven home to Zachary, La., by his mother, Jennifer Hopkins, on March 19. He had his facial stitches and nose cast removed the following day, but is still using a feeding tube because his jaw is wired shut. Ramagos underwent 13 hours of facial reconstruction surgery on March 9 after a head-to-head collision with the Silver Spurs Club bull he was riding at the Okeechobee (Fla.) Cattlemen’s Spring Rodeo. Contributions to his medical fund may be made at www.gofundme.com/7gmsvc.
Justin McDaniel, the 2008 bareback riding world champion, is out for 30 days while recovering from a pelvic contusion and Montana’s Tyrell Smith, who qualified for the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as a saddle bronc rider, is on a 30-day doctor release due to a severe neck strain suffered at Rodeo Austin (Texas) on March 10.
Billie Jean Shepperson Beaton, the mother of 1975 Steer Wrestling World Champion Frank Shepperson and grandmother of two-time Wrangler NFR steer wrestling qualifier Les Shepperson, died Feb. 16 in Casper, Wyo., at the age of 94.
Cancer took the life of former PRCA bareback rider Thomas Lee (Tom) Cardwell on Feb. 27 in Alcova, Wyo. He was 33. In lieu of flowers, scholarships have been set up for Cardwell’s daughters, Bristol and Reagan, at the Lusk State Bank, P.O. Box 1400, Lusk, WY 82225-1400.
John L. Buckingham, a former PRCA saddle bronc rider and bull rider, died Jan. 23 in Casper, Wyo. He was 77. While competing for Casper College and the University of Wyoming, Buckingham qualified four times for the College National Finals Rodeo. He competed mostly in saddle bronc riding as a PRCA member and won the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede while placing many times at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.
2014 WORLD STANDINGS LEADERS:
AA: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas $50,755
BB: Kaycee Field, Payson, Utah $41,634
SW: Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, CA $28,254
TR-1 Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont. $40,614
TR-2 Paul Eaves, Lonedell, MO $40,614
SB: Cody Wright, Milford, Utah $42,180
TD: Tuf Cooper, Decatur, TX $31,314
BR: Sage Kimzey, Strong City, OK $67,705
SR: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX $23,696
March 6, 2014
Aaron Pass YouTube video big hit on Internet
Bull riders risk injury every time they climb on a heavily-muscled, rank 1,500-pound animal. It’s a given. It’s always been part of the deal.
What’s different in 21st century rodeo is that some of the scariest adventures don’t just end in the arena. YouTube and Facebook videos bring home – literally – the full measure of risk bull riders accept on a daily basis.
When there is a harrowing ride such as Aaron Pass endured Feb. 21 at the West Monroe (La.) ProRodeo, it can take on a life of its own on the Internet (http://tinyurl.com/lj7ylnw), with 1,796 shares and untold thousands of views. Despite what shows up on the video, there was a happy ending. Pass, 24, ended up with nothing worse than a strained hamstring, bruises and an elevated heart rate. He rode the next night.
Before Pass hit the ground at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center, his right spur got hung up in the flank rope and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Joe Kidd nearly sat on top of him. Unfortunately for the Kaufman, Texas, cowboy, things got much worse from that point.
The bull dragged a helpless Pass around the dirt, flipping him up in the air and stepping on and over him several times.
“At first I was just at the point to where I was trying not to lay flat on the ground,” Pass said. “You don’t ever want to be flat on the ground when they step on you. That’s when the most damage is done. I was trying to stay on my hands and knees and he was making it tough because he kept hooking me and flipping me in the air.”
As the nightmare continued, Pass tried to get the attention of bullfighters or anyone to help him.
“I started hollering for them to cut the rope,” Pass said. “I thought it (his spur) was maybe stuck in my bull rope or something. I heard someone holler back that they didn’t have a knife and when I heard that I kind of lost hope. I was really just wore out and I was dragging behind. I had no energy left.”
The terrifying ride lasted for nearly one minute before Pass appeared to be cut loose.
“It was nothing too bad,” Pass said. “That’s definitely the first time anything like that has happened to me, and hopefully that’s the last time it ever happens. After watching the video, I can’t believe my legs didn’t break or my arms or hands. For the most part, everything is just swollen.”
News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail
Kaycee Feild made history last December when he pulled off a double three-peat with his third consecutive wins in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average and the world standings – something that no other cowboy in any event has accomplished. Now he’s looking to become the first rodeo cowboy to earn recognition as Utah’s Pro Athlete of the Year. When the nominees are formally announced on March 16 fans can visit www.stateofsportawards.com and vote for their favorites daily through midnight on April 16. The winners will be unveiled April 22 at the 3rd annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, with golf greats Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Billy Casper on the dais.
Nancy Lou (Bragg) Witmer, a PRCA rodeo trick rider who was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1992 and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth in 1997, died on Feb. 24 at the age of 87. Witmer began her trick riding career on a borrowed horse at the Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford, Texas.
She trained in tap and acrobatic dancing and was educated in drama at Brenau College. Witmer worked rodeos as a child trick roper, and then discovered trick riding. Witmer invented a signature stunt known as the “Falling Tower,” which was a standing backbend from the back of a galloping horse. Her companion in trick riding was her beloved palomino, Texas Clipper.
Witmer became the featured attraction in major rodeos by age 17, performing at rodeo competitions in Madison Square Garden. From trick riding, Witmer went on to compete in barrel racing and tie-down roping. But the physical toll – she suffered a couple of serious leg fractures in the mid-1950s – ended her career by the time she was 30. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Bill Witmer and three children.
The Reno (Nev.) Rodeo Committee has commissioned a statue of legendary stock contractor Cotton Rosser of Marysville, Calif., that will be dedicated on the grounds June 22, during the 95th edition of the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo of the West.” A Legacy Dinner honoring Rosser on April 16 at the Livestock Events Center in Reno will help raise money for the statue and a planned Western Museum to house Reno Rodeo memorabilia.
Robert Boyt “Bob” Evans, a 50-year PRCA Gold Card member, and the late Wayne Hankamer were honored March 1 by the Trinity Valley Exposition in Liberty, Texas, with their Western Heritage Awards. Evans, 80, served on the TVE rodeo committee for 26 years.
A memorial service for longtime rodeo figure Bob Eidson has been set for 9:30 a.m. April 14 at the Oakdale (Calif.) Country Club, with a lunch to follow the services. There is also a Memorial Golf Tournament being planned bearing his name, with niece Gina Kraut working out the details; she is hoping to have one PRCA cowboy in each foursome. Eidson, a three-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo as a bareback rider, a three-time NFR judge and a longtime administrator for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, died Oct. 25 at his home in Folsom, Calif.
The Columbia Basin Rodeo Association is looking for a way to pay for new bleachers for the Moses Lake (Wash.) Round-Up arena. After fixing three sets of bleachers and eliminating one last year, county officials were given three years to decide if they wanted to keep repairing them or replace them. In June, the county will have two years left to figure out how to fund and replace the bleachers for the August rodeo, said Grant County Fairgrounds manager Jerry Gingrich. He says the estimated cost for replacing and installing the bleachers is $514,000. After meeting with state Rep. Judy Warnick, Gingrich said there’s a possibility for state funds.
2014 World Standings Leaders
AA: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX $50,755
BB: Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore. $41,299
SW: Luke Branquinho, Los Angeles, CA $28,254
TR-1 Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont. $31,196
TR-2 Paul Eaves, Lonedell, MO $31,196
SB: Cody Wright, Milford, Utah $35,506
TD: Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas $27,230
BR: Sage Kimsey, Strong City, OK $64,662
SR: Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX $23,696
HE’S A “RICH CHAMPION”
COLLEGE STUDENT RICHMOND CHAMPION, 21, TAKES HOME $1.1 MILLION FROM THE AMERICAN
By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 3, 2014
It was the brainchild of Randy Bernard, the former CEO of the Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR) and currently the CEO of RFD-TV, and it promised to revolutionize the money paid out to top rodeo contestants. And it worked!!!
During The American, held Sunday, March 2, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, his idea came to fruition, when Richie Champion, a 21-year-old college student at Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, went home with $1.1 million of the $2 million purse offered during a one-day event held during a winter storm that had hit the area the night before. Even though the weather produced icy roads, there were a reported 35,000 rodeo fans in attendance.
With the seven rodeo events being offered, Champion, A PRCA member as well as a member of the National International Rodeo Association (NIRA), where he is leading the bareback division in the Southwest Region as a member of the Tarleton College rodeo team, won the Bareback Riding, after scoring a scorching 90 riding Show Stopper in the final four-contestant go-round.
Because he was the only “Qualifier” champion who won an event, rather than an invitee of the top 10 standings from a group of seven event associations, Champion picked up the entire $1 million bonus, plus the $100,000 for his win in the Bareback Riding, when he topped Steven Peoples’ 87. Peoples received the $25,000 awarded to second-place. If other qualifiers would have won a division, Champion would have had to split the $1 million.
Trevor Brazile, 19-time All-Around Champion of the PRCA, picked up the All-Around title for his entry in the Team Roping and a 7.24 second place in the Calf Roping. The Calf Roping was won by Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Texas, a former WNFR qualifier. Brazile had topped the first go-round with a 7.09.
Other $100,000 winners included two-time PRCA World Champion Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas, and his header Kaleb Driggers, Stephenville, Texas, who stretched their steer in 4.38 seconds. Second, and $25,000, went to legendary team roper Jake Barnes and a Brazilian newcomer J. R. Nogueira, with a 4.61. Nick Sartain and Rich Skelton won the first go with a 4.35 but had a no-score in the finals.
World Champion Hunter Cure, Holiday, Texas, won the Steer Wrestling with a 3.75 followed by Deann Gorsuch, laying his down in 4.28. The Saddle Bronc was won by Wade Sundell with a 92.50 score, followed by Cort Scheer, who scored an 89.
The finals in the barrel racing was a heart breaker as Robin Herring, who had a chance to split the $1 million as a “Qualifier,” tipped a barrel – as did two other finalists. The winner was Lisa Lockhart, a consistent WPRA barrel racer who rode Louie to a 13.98 and the $100,000 paycheck.
The Bull Riding, which consisted of all Professional Bull Riders (PBR) contestants, was won by the current PBR World Champion J. B. Mauney, who rode Cowtown Slinger to a 90.5 and the $100,000 paycheck – and was the only finalist to ride a bull. It was not announced whether the $25,000 second-place money would be split between the other three finalists who didn’t make the eight seconds and included Mike Lee, who finished second in the first go-round; Gilherme Marchi and J. R. Viera, who the night before had won the PBR Iron Man title – a bracketed event.
Although the format and qualification of the riders was new and not explained fully by the announcers and newscasters during the event and live broadcast on RFD-TV, and it was not explained what happened to the $25,000 second-place paycheck when three of the four contestants failed to make the whistle or tipped barrels, it was definitely a hit for both the contestants and the fans, who faced record-low temperatures, ice and sleet to attend the event. In fact, it may have pumped new life into the world of rodeo.
Another first was the fact that the barrel racing allowed both sexes, with a man getting a chance to beat out some of the nation’s top barrel racers, including current and past World Champions Sheri Cervi and Charmayne James – as well as 79-year-old WPRA barrel racer June Holeman. Clint Sherlin ran a smooth 14.3 in the first go-round, but that was not good enough for the top four going to the finals. The winner of the first go was Shelly Anzick running a 14.127.
Champion said it best following his win and $1.1 million paycheck, when he said, “It will change my life and The American will change rodeo forever.”