postheadericon Irwin wraps up circuit average title

DUNCAN, Okla. – Steer wrestler Kyle Irwin has had a season to remember in ProRodeo.

On Saturday night, he added a strong statement to his 2014 campaign, winning the final round of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo and securing the coveted average championship. Now he’ll add that perfect exclamation point in seven weeks with his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Kyle Irwin

Kyle Irwin

“Last year when I knew I’d made the Ram National Circuit Finals, that just kind of kicked it all off,” said Irwin, 24, of Robertsdale, Ala. “Once I got to the Ram Circuit Finals, I told myself that if I do good, I’ll rodeo the rest of the year; if not, I’m just going to work this year.”

That self-proclamation came this past April, and he lived up to his promise. Irwin won the steer wrestling championship, pocketing about $10,000 and adding a $20,000 voucher toward the purchase of a Ram pickup. He’s been rodeoing ever since.

On his final run of the circuit season, Irwin turfed his steer in 4.0 seconds to win the round. His three-run cumulative time of 14.0 seconds was half a second better than the average runner-up, Jeff Miller of Blue Mound, Kan. The only thing that he missed was the year-end championship.

But he didn’t miss it by much. In a sport where dollars equal championship points, Stockton Graves of Alva, Okla., won the year-end title by just $76 over Irwin. By being the circuit champions, they will represent the region at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which will take place next spring in Kissimmee, Fla.

Stockton Graves

Stockton Graves

“It’s super important,” Irwin said. “I knew I had to be fast tonight. The guys that were in the running for the title all bulldog great. I just needed to do my part and not mess up. This is a pretty big accomplishment; this is my fourth time making it to the Prairie Circuit finals. Last year I made the national circuit finals because Stockton won the average and the year-end and I got to go because I was second. This year I got there on my own.”

It’s really no coincidence that Graves and Irwin qualify together. Irwin competes in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region because he was part of the rodeo program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and Graves is the rodeo coach.

“It was an exciting race and came down to the last day, and that makes it a lot of fun,” said Graves, a seven-time NFR qualifier. “I just feel fortunate to place in the average so I can go to Florida.”

That’s just another prize at the end of the rainbow for the Prairie Circuit champions.

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 16-18,
Duncan, Okla.
Bareback riding:
First round: 1. Caine Riddle, 82 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Sinner, $1,130; 2. (tie) Justin Pollmiller and Brian Leddy, 72, $706 each; 4. Wyatt Clark, 71, $282. Second round: 1. Caine Riddle, 83 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Sure Motion, $1,130; 2. Jared Keylon, 76, $847; 3. Yance Day, 75, $565; 4. Justin Pollmiller, 73, $282. Third round: 1. Yance Day, 77 points on Beutler & Son’s Pop-A-Top, $1,130; 2. Brian Leddy, 75, $847; 3. Wesley Cole, 74, $565; 4. Wyatt Clar, 73, $282. Average: 1. Caine Riddle, 233 points on three rides, $1,694; 2. (tie) Justin Pollmiller and Brian Leddy, 210, $1,059 each; 4. Wyatt Clark, 209, $424 Year-end champion: Caine Riddle.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Stockton Graves, 3.8 seconds, $1,130; 2. Shane Frey, 4.4, $847; 3. Kyle Irwin, 5.1, $565; 4. Jeff Miller, 5.3, $282. Second round: 1. Jacob Edler, 3.9 seconds, $1,130; 2. (tie) Cole Edge and Trell Etbauer, 4.7, $706; 4. (tie) Brandon Volker and Kyle Irwin, 4.9, $141. Third round: 1. Kyle Irwin, 4.0 seconds, $1,130; 2. Jeff Miller, 4.2, $847; 3. Chancey Larson, 4.4, $565; 4. Jacob Edler, 4.8, $282. Average: 1.Kyle Irwin, 14.0 seconds on three runs, $1,964; 2. Jeff Miller, 14.5, $1,271; 3. Stockton Graves, 15.1, $847; 4. Jacob Edler, 16.8, $424. Year-end champion: Stockton Graves.

Team roping: First round: 1. Cale Markham/Tyler Worley, 4.9 seconds, $1,130; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Saebens, 5.7, $847; 3. Troy Boone/Dawson McMaster, 6.9, $565; 4. Zac Small/Nick Simmons, 7.0, $282. Second round: 1. A.J. Horton/Kyle Horton, 5.2 seconds, $1,130; 2. Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers, 5.5, $847; 3. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.7, $565; 4. Mike Bacon/Joseph Harrison, 282. Third round: 1. (tie) Zac Small/Nick Simmons and A.J. Horton/Kyle Horton, 4.8 seconds, $988 each; 3. Brett Christensen/Chase Boekhaus, 5.6, $565; 4. Jake Pentcost/Austin Rogers, 5.8, $282. Average: 1. Coleman Proctor/Billie Saebens, 17.9 seconds on three runs, $1,695; 2. Mike Bacon/Joseph Harrison, 19.4, $1,271; 3. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 19.8, $847; 4. Troy Boone/Dawson McMaster, 20.1, $424. Year-end champions: Header Andrew Ward and heeler Billie Saebens.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Dalton Davis, 82 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Satin Sheets, $1,130; 2. Ryan Bestol, 73; 3. (tie) Nick Shenold, Andrew Harris and Jesse James Kirby, 72, $282 each. Second round: 1. (tie) Dalton Davis, on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Painted Desert, and Hardy Braden, on Beutler’s Crossfire, 79 points, $988; 3. Wade Sundell, 78, $565; 4. Jesse James Kirby, 76, $282.

Third round: 1. Wade Sundell, 84 points on Frontier Rodeo’s The Griz, $1,130; 2. Ty Atchison, 80, $847; 3. Jesse James Kirby, 78, $565; 4. Wes Bailey, 77, $282. Average: 1. Jesse James Kirby, 226 points on three rides, $1,694; 2. Ryan Bestol, 213, $1,271; 3. Wade Sundell, 162 points on two rides, $847; 4. Dalton Davis, 161, $424. Year-end champion: Wade Sundell.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 7.5 seconds, $1,130; 2. Cody Quaney, 8.6, $847; 3. Perry Dietz, 10.7, $565; 4. Luke Blanton, 11.0, $282. Second round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 7.5 seconds, $1,130; 2. Cody Quaney, 8.6, $847; 3. Perry Dietz, 10.7, $565; 4. Luke Blanton, 11.0, $282. Third round: 1. Cody Quaney, 8.3 seconds, $1,130; 2. Cole Wilson, 8.8, $847; 3. Bryson Sechrist, 9.0, $565; 4. Ben Madsen, 9.1, $282. Average: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 24.3 seconds on three runs, $1,694; 2. (tie) Cody Quaney and Luke Blanton, 29.0, $1,059; 4. Caddo Lewallen, 30.8, $424. Year-end champion: Jerome Schneeberger.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 16.00 seconds, $1,152; 2. Emily Miller, 16.17, $864; 3. Mary Burger, 16.21, $576; 4. Kyra Stierwalt, 16.22, $288. Second round: 1. Mary Burger, 15.94 seconds, $1,152; 2. Jeanne Anderson, 15.97, $864; 3. Cindy Gillespie, 15.98, $576; 4. Kyra Stierwalt, 16.10, $288. Third round: 1. Kyra Stierwalt, 15.82 seconds, $1,152; 2. Mary Burger, 15.95, $864; 3. Cindy Gillespie, 16.03, $576; 4. Shelby Janssen, 16.04, $288. Average: 1. Mary Burger, 48.10 seconds on three runs, $1,728; 2. Kyra Stierwalt, 48.14, $1,296; 3. Gretchen Benbenek, 48.30, $864; 4. Cindy Gillespie, 48.53, $432. Year-end champion: Gretchen Benbenek.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Mike Chase, 12.0 seconds, $976; 2. Brodie Poppino, 12.4, $732; 3. Shorty Garten, 13.4, $488; 4. J.P. Wickett, 14.5, $244. Second round: 1. Rocky Patterson, 10.2 seconds, $976; 2. Roger Branch, 11.8, $732; 3. Mike Chase, 11.9, $488; 4. Brodie Poppino, 12.4, $244. Third round: 1. J.P. Wickett, 10.4 seconds, $976; 2. Jay Sellers, 10.6, $732; 3. Rod Hartness, 11.2, $488; 4. Chet Herren, 11.7, $244. Average: 1. Brodie Poppino, 42.8 seconds on three head, $1,463; 2. Rod Hartness, 23.7, $1,098; 3. Mike Chase, 23.9, $732; 4. J.P. Wickett, 24.9, $366. Year-end champion: Chet Herren.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Sage Kimzey, 85 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Night Rider, $1,130; 2. (tie) Sam Wyatt and Lane Wilhelm, 78, $706 each; 4. Chris McCombs, 77, $282. Second round: 1. Ty Viers, 77 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Boom-Boom, $1,130; 2. Chris McCombs, 74, $874; no other qualified rides. Third round: 1. No qualified rides. Average: 1. Chris McCombs, 151 points on two rides, $1,694; 2. Lane Wilhelm, 78 points on one ride, $1,271; 3. Ty Viers, 77, $847; 4. Triston Eugene Boor, 73, $424. Year-end champion: Sage Kimzey.

postheadericon Dirty Jacket is horse of the year

DALLAS – Dirty Jacket is one of the most decorated bucking horses in rodeo.

This year, his accolades got a little brighter.

Three-time world champion Kaycee Feild scored 92.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Dirty Jacket in February. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Three-time world champion Kaycee Feild scored 92.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket in February. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

The 10-year-old bay gelding from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo has been voted as the 2014 Bareback Horse of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The award is based on a vote of the top bareback riders in the sport, and this is the third time Dirty Jacket has been named one of the top horses in the game – he was the Runner-Up Reserve World Champion Bareback horse in 2012, then finished as the Reserve World Champion in 2013.

“I’m not surprised that he won it,” said Steven Dent, a nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Mullen, Neb. “That is a really great horse. There are not very many of them like him that do it every time, that are that electric, jump that high in the air and that you can be that many points on.”

Dent knows that feeling very well. On Saturday, Sept. 27, the Nebraskan rodeo Dirty Jacket for 91 points to win the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas. Dent was on the bubble to qualify for the NFR and needed solid paychecks over that final weekend of the PRCA season to ensure he will be riding for his share of the biggest purse of the year in Las Vegas.

Richmond Champion and Dirty Jacket burst out of the chute in Cheyenne en route to a 91-point ride in July. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Richmond Champion and Dirty Jacket burst out of the chute in Cheyenne en route to a 91-point ride in July. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

“Any time you can draw one that everybody wants, you’re happy with it whether you’re in that situation or it’s a regular-season rodeo,” he said. “You don’t have the opportunity to get on a horse that you can be that many points on and that’s that fun to get on very often in your life, much less the last week of the year when you’re trying to make the NFR.”

This marks another step up for Dirty Jacket, who will buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the sixth straight year this coming December. He joins four other Carr horses that have earned the Bareback of the Year honor: Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night.

“I’ve been on big horses that look big and feel big,” said Richmond Champion, a first-time NFR qualifier who rode Dirty Jacket for 91 points to win the championship at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. “He has a huge frame, but he’s so athletic from nose to tail. He just looks like an athlete. If you could pick a horse out of a herd that could jump nine feet in the air, he’s that horse.

“If you’re going to win a big rodeo, that’s the horse you want.”

Dirty Jacket was sired by the great Night Jacket, one of the most storied stallions in the game. Both Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night sired by the stallion.

But Dirty Jacket wasn’t the only Carr superstar to earn end-of-the-year honors. He is joined by Poker Face, which is the 2014 Runner-Up Reserve World Champion bull. The 7-year-old white bull with black spots has yet to be ridden.

“The reason he’s unridden because he’s bucking from the time the gate opens until he bucks you off,” said Cody Whitney, a retired bull rider who serves as a an adviser for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “He gives 100 percent from the time he starts until you hit the ground.”

Those are the animals cowboys love, which is why those Carr animals were honored in 2014.

postheadericon Momentum is key to circuit success

Tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Okla., won his second straight go-round Friday night at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla., after posting a 7.2-second run. He leads the average race with a two-rum cumulative time of 14.7 seconds. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Okla., won his second straight go-round Friday night at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla., after posting a 7.2-second run. He leads the average race with a two-rum cumulative time of 14.7 seconds. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

DUNCAN, Okla. – There’s not a tie-down roper in ProRodeo any hotter this time of year than Ryan Jarrett.

On Friday night, Jarrett roped and tied his calf in 7.2 seconds to win the second round at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. He also won the first round with a 7.5-second run, so in just two days, the Comanche, Okla., has pocketed $2,260.

Ryan Jarrett

Ryan Jarrett

“I’ve had two really good calves so far, so I just got close to the barrier and just focused on my roping,” said Jarrett, the 2005 all-around world champion who has qualified eight times for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself and just enjoy it.”

It’s working. Over the last three weeks, Jarrett has won all four rounds in which he’s competed, including two go-rounds in Omaha, Neb., which took place the final weekend of the regular season. He won more than $13,000 on two runs that weekend and finished 18th in the final world standings. The trouble is, only the top 15 earn the right to compete at the NFR.

“Not making the finals will sure humble a man a little more,” said Jarrett, whose wife, Shy-Anne, qualified for the circuit finals in barrel racing. “It makes you want to do things a little different through the regular season for next year.”

Now he’s carrying a ton of confidence into the 2015 rodeo season.

“It’s always helpful coming off a win like Omaha,” he said. “I know I’ve got to be close to the barrier. Guys can be late or way to early and not have any luck. If you can get close to the barrier, you can tie any of these calves in seven seconds.”

Jarrett has proven that. He leads the all-important average race with one performance remaining – it begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. If he holds on for the average championship, he will join year-end champion Jerome Schneeberger of Ponca City, Okla., as the two qualifiers from the Prairie Circuit at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place next spring in Ocala, Fla.

“I need to be in Florida,” Jarrett said. “We’ll see how it pans out. Maybe 2015 will be double and make up for my 2014.”

While he failed to qualify for the NFR, steer roper Brodie Poppino of Big Cabin, Okla., has secured his first qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, which takes place in three weeks. On Friday, he also clinched his first Prairie Circuit Finals steer roping title, roping and tying three steers in a cumulative time of 42.8 seconds. In all, Poppino earned $2,419.

“It means a lot to win this, because you’ve got some of the best steer ropers in the world right here in our circuit,” he said, noting that he is one of six Prairie Circuit Finals qualifiers who will rope at the steer roping finale. “You’ve got to draw well and rope well. I don’t know that I roped that well, but I outlasted them.”

Now the 23-year-old cowboy will take his momentum into the world championship event.

“It helps to have done well this year because there are a lot of guys that rope well,” said Poppino, the 2013 steer roping rookie of the year. “You know you’re competition is going to be strong, so you have to stay strong.”

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 16-18,
Duncan, Okla.
Second round
Bareback riding:
1. Caine Riddle, 83 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Sure Motion, $1,130; 2. Jared Keylon, 76, $847; 3. Yance Day, 75, $565; 4. Justin Pollmiller, 73, $282.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jacob Edler, 3.9 seconds, $1,130; 2. (tie) Cole Edge and Trell Etbauer, 4.7, $706; 4. (tie) Brandon Volker and Kyle Irwin, 4.9, $141.

Team roping: 1. A.J. Horton/Kyle Horton, 5.2 seconds, $1,130; 2. Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers, 5.5, $847; 3. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.7, $565; 4. Mike Bacon/Joseph Harrison, 282.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Dalton Davis, on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Painted Desert, and Hardy Braden, on Beutler’s Crossfire, 79 points, $988; 3. Wade Sundell, 78, $565; 4. Jesse James Kirby, 76, $282.

Tie-down roping: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 7.2 seconds, $1,130; 2. Trell Etbauer, 7.8, $847; 3. Trent Creager, 8.6, $565; 4. Luke Blanton, 8.8, $282.

Barrel racing: 1. Mary Burger, 15.94 seconds, $1,152; 2. Jeanne Anderson, 15.97, $864; 3. Cindy Gillespie, 15.98, $576; 4. Kyra Stierwalt, 16.10, $288.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Mike Chase, 12.0 seconds, $976; 2. Brodie Poppino, 12.4, $732; 3. Shorty Garten, 13.4, $488; 4. J.P. Wickett, 14.5, $244. Second round: 1. Rocky Patterson, 10.2 seconds, $976; 2. Roger Branch, 11.8, $732; 3. Mike Chase, 11.9, $488; 4. Brodie Poppino, 12.4, $244. Third round: 1. J.P. Wickett, 10.4 seconds, $976; 2. Jay Sellers, 10.6, $732; 3. Rod Hartness, 11.2, $488; 4. Chet Herren, 11.7, $244. Average: 1. Brodie Poppino, 42.8 seconds on three head, $1,463; 2. Rod Hartness, 23.7, $1,098; 3. Mike Chase, 23.9, $732; 4. J.P. Wickett, 24.9, $366. Year-end champion: Chet Herren.

Bull riding: 1. Ty Viers, 77 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Boom-Boom, $1,130; 2. Chris McCombs, 74, $874; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon A family in need of prayer

Ted Harbin TwisTED Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTED Rodeo

Family is special and loving. It’s what makes us who we are, through the good and the bad.

Family is in our hearts.

Today our rodeo family is hurting. We’ve lost one of our own, a precious little life that had shared her vibrant personality with us for just a few months. Her momma and daddy, big brother and big sister will forever have a void, and no words will provide them comfort – they just need our love and prayers.

They need family, and ours in rodeo is quite large. As word spread across this great land this morning, thousands upon thousands of prayers were launched. Tears are being shed and hearts are breaking; virtual hugs are shared between friends who are hundreds of miles apart.

That’s family. In the best of times, family is your greatest cheerleader. In the worst, it is your support system. That’s where the rodeo family excels.

I ask you to join us in praying for our rodeo family, and this family in particular. We’re not supposed to bury our children, no matter their age.

This family needs our love now more than ever.

postheadericon Davis wins bronc riding’s 1st round

Dalton Davis of Holcomb, Kan., rides New Frontier Rodeo's Satin Sheets for 82 points to win the first round of saddle bronc riding Thursday night at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

Dalton Davis of Holcomb, Kan., rides New Frontier Rodeo’s Satin Sheets for 82 points to win the first round of saddle bronc riding Thursday night at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

DUNCAN, Okla. – Robert Etbauer had more influence on a young Dalton Davis than he may have ever known.

“Robert Etbauer got me to riding broncs,” Davis said of the two-time world champion from Goodwell, Okla. “I was down at his house roping calves, and he convinced me to get on some steers. I really didn’t want to. I was scared of it.”

That fear didn’t last long, and it’s paying off quite well for Davis, a 22-year-old cowboy from Holcomb, Kan. On Thursday night, he posted an 82-point ride on New Frontier Rodeo’s Satin Sheets to win the first round of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo at the Stephens County Fair and Expo Center.

“I got on some and just fell in love immediately,” he said.

That love affair has worked out pretty well. As a permit-holder who utilized his 2014 season as a try-out period for a career in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Davis earned enough money in the circuit to qualify for this week’s finale, which features the top 12 contestants in each event from the region made up primarily of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

“Winning the round means a whole lot to me,” said Davis, who earned $1,130. “This is the peak of our year and gives us a chance to win some money.”

It also opens the door to win the average championship, the honor given to the contestants in each event who finish the three-round event with the best cumulative time or score. Davis has a lead in the average race but will have to maintain that advantage through the final two performances, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“This just skyrockets your confidence,” said Davis, a senior at Southwestern Oklahoma State University who leads the college standings in the Central Plains Region. “You’re riding against Wade Sundell, whose always at the National Finals and a big threat to win it all; Ty Atchison, whose been to the finals; and Jesse Kirby and Hardy Braden. All those guys ride very well, so to be able to get the round win and have a good start really helps.”

Other first-round winners were bareback rider Caine Riddle, 82 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Elvis; steer wrestler Stockton Graves (3.8 seconds); team ropers Cole Markham and Tyler Worley (4.9 seconds); tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett (7.5 seconds); barrel racer Gretchen Benbenek (16.00 seconds); and bull rider Sage Kimzey (85 points on New Frontier’s Night Rider).

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 16-18
Duncan, Okla.
Bareback riding:
1. Caine Riddle, 82 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Sinner, $1,130; 2. (tie) Justin Pollmiller and Brian Leddy, 72, $706 each; 4. Wyatt Clark, 71, $282.

Steer wrestling: 1. Stockton Graves, 3.8 seconds, $1,130; 2. Shane Frey, 4.4, $847; 3. Kyle Irwin, 5.1, $565; 4. Jeff Miller, 5.3, $282.

Team roping: 1. Cale Markham/Tyler Worley, 4.9 seconds, $1,130; 2. Coleman Proctor/Billie Saebens, 5.7, $847; 3. Troy Boone/Dawson McMaster, 6.9, $565; 4. Zac Small/Nick Simmons, 7.0, $282.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Dalton Davis, 82 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Satin Sheets, $1,130; 2. Ryan Bestol, 73; 3. (tie) Nick Shenold, Andrew Harris and Jesse James Kirby, 72, $282 each.

Tie-down roping: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 7.5 seconds, $1,130; 2. Cody Quaney, 8.6, $847; 3. Perry Dietz, 10.7, $565; 4. Luke Blanton, 11.0, $282.

Barrel racing: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 16.00 seconds, $1,152; 2. Emily Miller, 16.17, $864; 3. Mary Burger, 16.21, $576; 4. Kyra Stierwalt, 16.22, $288.

Bull riding: 1. Sage Kimzey, 85 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Night Rider, $1,130; 2. (tie) Sam Wyatt and Lane Wilhelm, 78, $706 each; 4. Chris McCombs, 77, $282.

postheadericon Timed Event will pay $100,000 to winner

One of the most unique and lucrative events in rodeo history has upped the ante beginning in 2015.

For the first time in its 30-year history, the Timed Event Championship of the World will feature a $100,000 prize to its champion, increasing winner’s payout by $50,000.

“As owners of the Lazy E, the McKinney family has stepped up its support of not only the Lazy E as a whole but also our longest-running championship,” said Robert Simpson, director of events for the Lazy E. “This brings the TEC payout in line with other specialized events like RodeoHouston, the Calgary Stampede and The American.

“The Timed Event Championship was the first of its kind to offer a $50,000 prize to the winner, and the time has come to make the move and push our overall purse to $200,000.”

Daniel Green

Daniel Green

The Timed Event features the top 20 all-around cowboys in the world competing in each of the five timed-event disciplines in rodeo: heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping. They battle through five rugged go-rounds in order to decide the winner. The fastest cumulative time through the 25-run championship will win $100,000.

“Any time a cowboy can win more money, it’s good,” said Daniel Green, a three-time champion from Oakdale, Calif. “The Timed Event is not an easy deal to win; it’s really difficult. It takes so much that has to go right.

“My hat’s off to the owners for boosting financial support for the event. Being as tough as it is and a World Championship event, it should pay in that range.”

Paul David Tierney

Paul David Tierney

This past March, Paul David Tierney of Oral, S.D., became just the 12th cowboy to earn the coveted championship, joining his father, Paul Tierney, and a list of rodeo legends in the process. The younger Tierney realizes he will have a big target on his back when next season’s event takes place March 6-8.

“I bet there will be guys that will work on their other events to see if they can get into the Timed Event and chase that money,” he said. “That $100,000 is a pretty nice enticement to go after.”

Decades ago, many cowboys competed in multiple events, giving themselves every opportunity to win. As rodeo has evolved, most athletes focus on one discipline. That makes this unique championship even more of a draw for fans from across the country and for multi-talented contestants.

“I love being able to show my talent in multiple events, and then you have a chance at the huge prize money there – that’s just tremendous,” said Clayton Hass, who will compete for a fourth straight year in 2015. “It can be life-changing for people to win that much money. With $100,000, it might pull some other guys in there that are dang sure tough and might make it a little tougher. That’s awesome.

Clayton Hass

Clayton Hass

“They want the best guys there; they want it to be a show. It dang sure showcases a guy’s stamina, focus and being able to compete at a high level.”

That’s the key to Timed Event success. It is a grueling marathon that not only wears out the body but also the mind.

“It’s probably the hardest thing in rodeo to accomplish,” Green said. “This added money will hopefully make sure that these guys take the time and effort to get ready for the Timed Event Championship.”

Rest assured; they will be ready. There’s prestige, history and a huge payout on the line.

The Timed Event Championship is one of the most prestigious events in Western sports, and it was developed 31 years ago as a way to decide the greatest all-around timed-event cowboy. Its list of champions is a who’s who of rodeo’s greatest stars. The tradition continues March 6-8 and the fabulous Lazy E Arena. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Dec. 1.

postheadericon Rangers benefit from team approach

ALVA, Okla. – Rodeo is known as an individualized sport, whereby contestants battle one another for the fastest times or the best scores.

But there is a strong team presence, especially in college rodeo. Not only do cowboys and cowgirls battle for individual glory, they use it in a team race that helps decide which program is best, from one rodeo to another to the final season standings.

“If I go do my part, it helps the team out,” said Dalton Richards, a senior header at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. “We are still a team, but individually you still have to go do your own job.”

Dalton Richards

Dalton Richards

Richards did, winning the team roping title at the Oklahoma State University rodeo while competing with a longtime friend, Ben Whitton, who competes for Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Richards’ win was one of the key ingredients for the Northwestern men’s second-place finish this past weekend in Stillwater.

“We didn’t have the best of luck in the long round, but we got by that steer,” Richards said, who pointed to a 7.2-second run, which earned them a ninth-place finish in the first round. “We came back to the short round and drew a little better; we ended up fortunate enough to win the short round and the average, which you don’t hear about very often.”

Richards and Whitton were considerably faster in the championship round, posting a 5.3-second run. They finished the two-run rodeo 1.6 seconds quicker than the second-place team. Richards got help from Turbo, an 8-year-old blue roan gelding he borrowed from teammate Trisha Price of Faith, S.D.

“I don’t have a head horse here, but I’m fortunate enough that Trisha lets me borrow him,” Richards said. “I’ve rode many good horses, but I’ve never rode a horse that’s so easy to get along with. Any set up I’ve given him, he’s adapted real well and always gives me a chance to win.”

Turbo was the 2013-14 women’s horse of the year in the Central Plains Region. He’s just another fine example of the type of teamwork that comes in rodeo.

“Turbo and Dalton get along so good,” Price said. “I have four or five guys ride him every weekend. Everybody can get on him and rope. He’s easy to ride.”

Richards, meanwhile, was one of four Rangers in the final round, joining a trio of steer wrestlers who all finished quite strong in Stillwater. Michael McGinn, a junior from Haines, Ore., led the way by winning the event, downing two steers in 9.0 seconds. He was joined by Grayson Allred, who posted a 9.3-second run for second place, and Brock White, who finished fourth in 10.0 seconds.

While the men finished second in the team standings, the Northwestern women’s team has won all three rodeos that have taken place so far this season, including a dominating performance at Oklahoma State. Six Rangers were part of the short go-round, with goat-tier Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., winning the title. Fellow goat-tier Lauren Barnes, a senior from Buckeye, Ariz., finished third.

Barrel racer Sara Bynum placed third in Stillwater, while a trio of breakaway ropers – Sage Allen, Taige Trent and Samantha Corzine – earned vital points to secure Northwestern’s perfect season so far.

Can they maintain that streak? They will find out quickly enough when the Rangers host the rest of the teams from the Central Plains Region next week for the Northwestern rodeo.

postheadericon 2014 fair breaks many records

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – To call the 2014 Waller County Fair and Rodeo a success might be a bit of an understatement.

“This year’s fair broke more records over the eight-day event than any other in the 69-year history,” said Clint Sciba, president of the Waller County Fair Board. “It was an outstanding year, from great attendance to outstanding shows to an awesome rodeo.”

The single-day attendance record was shattered on the opening weekend, people packed the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead for a busy day capped off buy a packed-house performance by Texas Music artist Cody Johnson.

WallerLogo“That was an awesome way to start our fair,” said Dustin Standley, the fair board’s vice president.

The momentum continued through the remaining days of the exposition. With the help of two newly formed exhibitions – The Eliminator, which was a tie-down roping match featuring top cowboys in the game, and the 8 Second Bareback Shootout, a head-to-head match with veteran Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, and Richie Champion of The Woodlands, Texas – attendance records continued to fall.

“With The Eliminator, we had another record at the gate with people wanting to watch some of these great guys, including the 2013 world champion Shane Hanchey and a couple of other guys heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Timber Moore and Tyson Durfey,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “Reno Gonzalez and another NFR veteran, Houston Hutto, put up a good fight, but Timber Moore eliminated them all one by one to pick up the championship buckle and check.

“Also on Tuesday night, another local guy, Cory Solomon, beat out all the others from the PRCA by winning the open tie down roping. He was two seconds better than the second-place guy when everybody was done roping three calves. It was an incredible night of calf roping.”

The 8 Second Bareback Shootout during Friday’s rodeo performance exhibited the highest marked rides of the week, when Cannon rode Pete Carr’s River Blast for 90 points to edge Champion, who scored 88 points on Carr’s Little Sister. Cannon then returned to the arena Saturday night, where he posted an 87-point ride on Carr’s Night Bells to win the bareback riding at his hometown rodeo for the first time in his career.

“I’ve been coming to the Waller County rodeo since I was little,” said Cannon, who earned more than $2,100 and a Montana Silversmiths championship buckle. “We got it to be a ProRodeo four years ago, and I never even placed this year. To win in front of everybody – I’m getting toward the end of my career – feels good to let everybody come out and see in person that I can ride.

“A lot of people in my hometown never get to see me win, they just get to see me on TV.”

While the rodeo arena featured its share of excitement, there was plenty to be found all across the fairgrounds. On Saturday afternoon, Atlas Foundation broke a five-year-old record by purchasing the grand champion steer for $35,500. It was just one of nine livestock exhibit records that were broken in 2014.

With the help of Don and Donna Gregg, Anthony and Shauda Edmonds and Chuck and Rita Scianna, a new record of $75,000 for the scholarship lot was established, bettering the four-year-old mark of $25,000 by the Sciannas.

“It’s almost overwhelming when you think of all the great things that happened to us during the fair this year,” Sciba said. “We had a lot of outstanding volunteers who had the support from sponsors and the community to make this the best fair in southeast Texas, and I think we pulled it off.

“We’re ready to build off this success. We have a lot of ideas of things we want to do with our fair and rodeo in the future. We want to just keep getting better, and with the support we’ve received, I have no doubts we can make it.”

postheadericon Vet student flourishes in K.C.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Lillie Raasch and her three brothers grew up in a hybrid family.

She was equal parts city girl and farm girl, raised on a farm just outside Liberty, Mo., northeast of downtown Kansas City. She was active, involved in sports and other community activities along with her dedication to the family farm and the heritage passed along to here.

AmericanRoyal“My dad grew up on a hog farm about an hour east of Kansas City,” said Raasch, 24, a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “We had row crops and always had a few animals. I did a little bit of everything on the farm, so I always took care of the animals.”

She will graduate next May, then hopes to return to the Kansas City metro area to practice veterinary medicine. This fall, she’s serving as a vet student intern during the two-and-a-half-month-long American Royal, where she has the opportunity to care for all the animals that are part of the various activities.

“I always knew I wanted to be some kind of doctor,” said Raasch, the daughter of Buddy and Carolyn Raasch. “I was in my first year of undergrad, and I kind of missed the farm and missed the animals.”

That has opened a new door for the 2008 Liberty High School graduate.

“I plan to practice in the Kansas City area, hopefully a mixed animal practice and also help on the family farm,” she said.

Farm life is embedded deep into the roots of everything Lillie Raasch does. She showed animals when she was younger and still has horses she keeps while tending to her studies in Columbia, Mo. Family support is vital, but that is just another excellent piece of holding true agrarian values.

“To be part of the American Royal is a huge honor for me,” said Raasch, who has three brothers: Errie, 33; Bernie, 32; and Charlie, 19. “We’ve been to many American Royal events having grown up in this area. It is such a huge part of Kansas City because it’s one of the things that’s been in Kansas City for so long.

“To be involved with the American Royal is a way for me to be part of the community and to be connected with the community even before I move back and become a vet. The American Royal provides me an educational opportunity for learning how to be part of livestock and keeping the integrity of a livestock show.”

Integrity also is a good word for the work Raasch is doing. She is one of many vet students that are part of the American Royal this fall.

“With our family’s pumpkin patch, I find that people are uneducated about farms, about livestock and about where our food comes from,” she said. “I find the American Royal to be a huge part of our educational process. Younger kids and adults can show their animals and have pride in what they’ve raised and have pride in their jobs.

“For a lot of them, this is their livelihood. They raise for consumption. It’s a great educational opportunity for the public and for Kansas City in general. It’s such a big part of our history.”

postheadericon Carr crew key to Henderson rodeo

HENDERSON, Texas – Why is the Rusk County PRCA Rodeo such a popular event for folks in east Texas?

Primarily it’s because of the work put in by the volunteer committee that organizes the annual event, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16-Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Rusk County Expo Center in Henderson.

“This is a small town in a small county,” said Ron Yandle, the committee’s chairman. “We have a covered arena and a really nice arena for this size market rodeo that we do.”

PeteCarrsClassicLogoStill, it’s the action inside the arena that is the big attraction. For that, the committee leans on ProRodeo contestants and the staff of Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, which produces the three-day event.

“To be able to have someone like Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, everyone knows he’s got the good livestock and people know the name and recognize the name,” Yandle said. “They know they’re going to get a good rodeo when they come to the Rusk County Rodeo.”

The Carr name is well established in the sport. A season ago, 27 animals were selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand finale that takes place each December in Las Vegas. That’s a record number of animals from one livestock contractor.

In addition, several Carr animals have been selected as the very best in the game, from world champion bucking horses Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night to Dirty Jacket, which has been selected as one of the top three bareback horses in the world each of the past two seasons.

“We’re really happy to have Pete Carr,” Yandle said. “He puts on more rodeos than anybody in the United States. Everything that he and his crew do is professional and top of the line.

“Pete is more laid back than any other stock contractor we’ve had, and he has the people who know how to run a rodeo. They know what they’re doing. If we throw a glitch in there on them, they work around it. He and his staff don’t stress out over anything we’ve ever thrown at them. They’re just really easy to work with.”

It makes a difference in the type of competition that takes place inside the arena. More importantly, it makes for a better show for the fans.

That’s what the Carr crew is all about.