Archive for September, 2011

postheadericon The World-Herald coverage of rodeo

Click HERE to read today’s Omaha World-Herald coverage of the River City Rodeo and the Justin Boots Championships.

postheadericon Results from Omaha

Justin Boots Championships
CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb., Sept. 22
Bareback riding:  First round: 1. (tie) Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., on Powder River Rodeo’s Big Prize, and Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, on  J Bar J, Inc’s First Light, 86 points, $5,104 each; 3. Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., 83, $3,168; 4. Cody DeMers, Kimberly, Idaho, 81, $2,112; 5. (tie) Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, and Brian Bain, Culver, Ore., 80, $1,056 each; 7. Matt Bright, Azle, Texas, 78; 8. Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., 76; 9. (tie) Jason Havens, Prineville, Ore., and Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., 75 each; 11. Royce Ford, Briggsdale, Colo., 74; 12. Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, NS.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 3.8 seconds, $5,808; 2. (tie) Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., and Shawn Greenfield, Lakeview, Ore., 3.9, $3,784 each; 4. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 4.0, $2,112; 5. Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore., 4.3, $1,232; 6.   (tie) Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, Calif., and Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 4.4, $440; 8. Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 6.3; 9. Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, 6.4; 10. Todd Suhn, Hermosa, S.D., 8.3; 11. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 11.1; 12. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., NT.
Team roping: First round: 1. Matt Sherwood, Pima , Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 4.4 seconds, $5,808 each; 2. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 4.7, $4,400; 3. Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 5.0, $3,168; 4. (tie) Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas, and Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas, 5.7, $1,672 each; 6. Spencer Mitchell, Colusa, Calif./Broc Cresta, Santa Rosa, Calif., 16.5, $880; 7. (tie) Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Justin Davis, Cottonwood, Calif.; Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas/Jhett Johnson, Casper, Wyo.; Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz./Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas; Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan.; Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., and Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore./Jim Cooper, Monument, N.M., NT.
Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, 84 points on Mosbrucker Rodeos’ War Eagle, $5,808; 2. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, 83, $4,400; 3. (tie) Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., and Jacobs Crawley, College Station, Texas, 82, $2,640 each; 5. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 81, $1,232; 6. (tie) Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., and Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., 80, $440 each; 8. Ty Atchison, Jackson, Mo., 78; 9. (tie) Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, and Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn., 77; 11. (tie) Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, and Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, Mont., NS.
Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 8.2 seconds, $5,808; 2. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.3, $4,400; 3. Jerrad Hofstetter, Portales, N.M., 8.4, $3,168; 4. Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.5, $2,112; 5. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 8.9, $1,232; 6. Houston Hutto, Tomball, Texas, 9.2, $880; 7. Justin Macha, Needville, Texas, 9.3; 8. Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 10.1; 9.  Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 10.4; 10. Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, 11.0; 11. Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., 15.0; 12. Cimarron Boardman, Stephenville, Texas, NT.
Barrel racing: First round: 1. Britany Fleck, Mandan, N.D., 14.29 seconds, $4,575; 2. (tie) Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, and Angie Meadors, Blanchard, Okla., 14.33, $1,975 each; 4. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.54, $850; 5. Jill Moody, Letcher, S.D., 14.59; 6. Tammy Fischer, Ledbetter, Texas, 14.63; 7. Kim Schulze, Elbert, Colo., 14.71; 8. (tie) Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., and Cassie Moseley, Cedar Lane, Texas, 14.88 each; 10. Carlee Pierce, Woodward, Okla., 19.25; 11. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, 19.27; 12. Robyn Herring, Huntington, Texas, 19.78.
Bull riding: First round: 1. (tie) Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Pure Poison; Jacob O’Mara, Prairieville, La., on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Spotted Phantom, and J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, on New Frontier Rodeo’s Free Sample, 87 points, $4,459 each; 4. Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas, 84, $2,112; 5. Shawn Hogg, Odessa, Texas, 81, $1,232; 6. Allen Helmuth, Ellensburg, Wash., 79, $880; 7. Wesley Silcox, Santaquin, Utah, 78; 8. (tie) Bryan Richardson, Dallas, Texas; Tate Stratton, Kellyville, Okla.; Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla., and Ardie Maier, Timber Lake, S.D., NS

postheadericon Omaha World-Herald covering the River City Rodeo

I’m very blessed by many opportunities, and I appreciate every one. If you’re already in Omaha, be sure to pick up a copy of today’s Omaha World-Herald and take a look at the special section that wraps around the sports section.

If you’d like to read the World-Herald’s detailed coverage, just take a look HERE to see the work we’ve been doing the last few weeks.

postheadericon Organizers call on Carr to kick-start inaugural PRCA rodeo

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – In order to be the best, you have to associate with the best.

That cliché has become a philosophy for the members of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo board as they have taken a major jump in their annual event and joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“As far as making this a PRCA rodeo, our main decision was really based on the fact that this is the next step in our fair and in our organization,” said Clint Sciba, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “We saw an opportunity to make the move, especially with the success of our local cowboys.

“When we’re seeing that kind of success out of guys from right here, then we want them to be a part of our rodeo.”

They’ll get their chance during two outstanding performances of the rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1.

“One of the things we knew we needed to do was have the best stock contractor we could find come in and help us put on this rodeo,” Sciba said.

That’s when Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo came into the picture. With its ranch in Athens, Texas, the proximity was just a benefit. The deciding factors came down to recommendations and a good feeling the fair and rodeo’s organizers had in Pete Carr and his crew of professionals.

“We had three contractors that were suggested, and we went through a two- to three-week process,” Sciba said. “We called each contractor, and we asked about doing everything, from public relations to stock to daily calls even while the event going on. Pete Carr definitely came highly recommended. When we looked at everything, Pete just seemed like a natural fit for us. I felt it was important with the PRCA that we took the opportunity with a fresh contractor that could bring ideas to us. We’re getting that with Pete.”

Bareback rider Clint Cannon of nearby Waller, Texas, was one of those elite ProRodeo contestants who recommended the Carr crew to work the inaugural event at his hometown rodeo.

“I love Pete Carr rodeos, and that’s one of the reasons his name came up first on my list,” said Cannon, a two-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and a two-time winner of RodeoHouston. “He always brings good horses to rodeos. He runs a good show. The great thing about Pete is that he’s not afraid to bring his good horses.”

That’s important to guys who ride bucking horses for a living. In saddle bronc riding, bareback riding and bull riding, half the score is given to the athletic animals. Bronc busters know it takes quality mounts if they want to earn the lion’s share of the prize money.

“We know that when we go to one of Pete’s rodeos that you don’t have to get on a piece of junk,” Cannon said. “You know you’re going to have a chance to draw a good horse, and it’s going to come down to who rides best to decide who wins.”

But that’s just a small part of the puzzle that is a professional rodeo.

“We’re looking for a hell of a production as well,” Sciba said. “When you go back to the spectator side, we want people to leave here thinking that Waller is the one you want to see. From the stock to the production, we just thought Pete would be the perfect fit for us.”

postheadericon Top cowboys hope to rope world title

GUTHRIE, Okla. – The best steer ropers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will converge on central Oklahoma Nov. 11-12 to decide the 2011 world championship of steer roping at the 53rd annual Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping presented by National Saddlery at the Lazy E Arena.

The two-day championship that begins at 7:30 p.m. each evening will feature the top 15 steer ropers from the final regular-season world standings, all chasing that elusive, yet coveted, Montana Silversmiths gold buckle given to the cowboy who earns the title of PRCA World Champion. Atop the list heading into this year’s 10-round slugfest is 14-time World Champion Trevor Brazile, owner of a record eight all-around titles, three tie-down roping crowns, a team roping championship and two steer roping season victories. Through late August, he held a $13,000 lead over Vin Fisher Jr., the No. 2 man in the world standings.

“It’s like any other event, where if you want to win the world title, you have to have a good finals,” said Brazile of Decatur, Texas. “It’s going to be close enough by that time that it will be about anyone’s to win.”

Brazile had a significant run at the 2010 steer roping finale inside the Lazy E last November, winning more than $28,000 in two days. But Kansan Rocky Patterson walked away with the World Championship, setting a new standard in the process. Patterson, carrying a significant lead in the standings heading into the November finale, earned nearly $18,000 and finished fourth in the aggregate race. Most importantly, though, is that the money won at the Lazy E shot Patterson’s season earnings to $101,685; he became the first cowboy in PRCA history to earn more than $100,000 in steer roping.

“I think the last two years have been good for me, but it’s also a little combination for a lot of years at this,” said Patterson, the two-time reigning World Champion who has qualified for the steer roping finals for the 17th time in his storied career. “To me, longevity means something.”

This year’s field is expected to feature a who’s who in the world of steer roping, including two-time world champion Scott Snedecor of Fredricksburg, Texas; Bryce Davis of Abilene, Texas; and Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas – those contestants are firmly in the top 10, but there are several others who are battling their way through the remaining few weeks of the season to play in the world championship.

“There’s a lot of tradition in steer roping,” Brazile said. “It’s the first event, period. It’s one of the earliest cowboy sports. That tradition means a lot to me, plus it’s just a cowboy event.”

Brazile knows more than most the prestige that comes with winning the Steer Roping World Championship. The Texan owns a record eight all-around gold buckles, but his 2006 steer roping world title marked the first time in his career that Brazile had earned an individual event championship. One of just two men to have qualified for a ProRodeo national finals in all four roping disciplines – team roping (heading and heeling), tie-down roping and steer roping – he’s also the man with the biggest target on his back when NFSR begins.

“I’m going to have to start roping better if I’m going to win another title,” Patterson said. “When you’re talking about Trevor, I think he’s just that talented; I think he works hard at it.”

As in years past and just like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the event will consist of 10 go-rounds to determine the PRCA World Champion and the final 2011 PRCA Steer Roping World Standings. On Friday night, Nov. 11, Rounds 1 through 5 will take place – that means 75 runs in one night. Then on Saturday night, Nov. 12, Rounds 6 through 10 – and another rugged 75 runs – will determine who walks out of the Lazy E Arena with the PRCA World Championship gold buckle and saddle.

The Lazy E Arena was built to host the NFSR in 1984 by E.K. Gaylord II. The Lazy E hosted this world championship event from 1984 until 2000. In 2001, the steer roping finals event moved to Amarillo, Texas, for a five-year run then made a three-year stop in Hobbs, N.M. Officials at the Lazy E Arena could not be happier that this prestigious event has made its way back to Oklahoma. Last year, the Oklahoma state Legislature unanimously passed a resolution to change the name of the event to honor the late Clem McSpadden, who served for many years in the Oklahoma Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives while also building a reputation as one of the best announcers in rodeo history. He worked the steer roping finals a record 27 times. McSpadden was also known as the “Voice of the Lazy E”.

Steer roping fans will enjoy all of the activities planned for the performances and in addition, the Senior National Finals Steer Roping will take place during the day at the Lazy E Arena on Nov. 11-12.  VIP ticket prices for each performance of the NFSR are $37 … Box seats $30 and general admission $20 pre-show.  Children 12 and under are free in general admission. Group discounts are also available … Call (800) 595-RIDE for complete details. A portion of the proceeds from the 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping will again be donated to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Clem McSpadden Endowed Chair at Oklahoma State University. The Lazy E is proud to support these institutions for Western preservation.

postheadericon Experience leads Gwatneys’ passion to Carr Pro Rodeo

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – They might be Californians by birth, but John and Sandy Gwatney are Texas by choice.

Rodeo has led the Marquez, Texas, couple all over the country and then some. The sport is also bringing them to town for the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1. Rodeo is still a big part of who John Gwatney is, from his time on the rodeo trail as a competitor to his years helping produce America’s true sport.

Carr Pro Rodeo chute boss John Gwatney watches the action inside Wood Memorial Arena in Silverton, Texas, during that community's annual rodeo in August 2011. Gwatney and his wife, Sandy, are two key members of the Carr crew and will be instrumental in this year's inaugural PRCA rodeo in Hempstead, Texas.

Carr Pro Rodeo chute boss John Gwatney watches the action inside Wood Memorial Arena in Silverton, Texas, during that community's annual rodeo in August 2011. Gwatney and his wife, Sandy, are two key members of the Carr crew and will be instrumental in this year's inaugural PRCA rodeo in Hempstead, Texas.

“I grew up on the production side of rodeo, too,” said Gwatney, who does multiple tasks for stock contractor Carr Pro Rodeo. “I worked for Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo Co. As a little kid, I was in charge of feeding No. 16 Oscar, one of the best known bulls in rodeo. It was my job to make sure Oscar was being taken care of.”

Now he serves as a chute boss for Pete Carr, owner of the livestock company that provides animals for the rodeo, now in its inaugural year as part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Gwatney handles several duties at all of the rodeos the Carr crew works, from organizing all the timed-event cattle to working with Pete on the production side, making sure everything is handled professionally for the audiences enjoying the show.

It’s just part of what John does that he shares with his wife, Sandy, another key member of the Carr Pro Rodeo staff who will be working the West of the Pecos Rodeo. A card-carrying secretary and timer, Sandy Gwatney is, too, a jack-of-all-trades who coordinates the opening ceremonies with Sherrill Carr and is a big part of the office personnel.

“Both John and Sandy are a huge part of our team,” Carr said. “John runs the entire timed-event end of the rodeo and does a lot of things for our company. Sandy can just do so many things. They’ve been with us the last five years, and I appreciate everything they do.”

The Gwatneys see it as the next part of their lives on the rodeo trail.

“It’s a love of the game,” Sandy said. “John and I met at a rodeo, and shortly thereafter, I started traveling with him while he competed.

“I grew up showing quarter horses. When I was 21, I bought my first head horse. I roped for quite a few years, then kind of got out of it. I met John and learned how to haze, because he was a bulldogger. I started hazing for him almost right away.”

That job as a steer wrestler’s teammate who guides the steers into position was replaced by a lot more – a wedding band and more years working together in just about every capacity imaginable.

“When we moved to Texas, we got the opportunity to meet Mr. Carr and learn how much he loves the sport of rodeo, and with it, the promotion of the sport,” Sandy said. “His drive to do it keeps you coming back. He wants to make his crew a family function. We have a great bunch of people, and Pete has a passion for animals.”

Make no bones about it; John Gwatney is a competitor, not a former bulldogger. He takes a similar approach to the production side of his job, but he knows just how important his tasks are to all those who pay their entry fees in order to compete.

“I’ll slip in there and enter the steer wrestling or team roping from time to time,” he said. “We did make our living on the road pulling a team of bulldogging horses. Through my rodeo history, I’ve actually worked for a couple of national sponsors, and I left both on great terms.

“On one of my other jobs, I’m part of the production crew at the NFR, which I’ve done for the last nine years. I’m the guy who actually is more behind the scenes. I feel the best arena director is the guy that can hide in plain site. I want everybody to think the rodeo just happens and that it went smooth. My goal is to make each performance look seamless.”

And they’ve found a pretty good match in Carr Pro Rodeo.

“Pete thrives to be the best, and he wants to make everything the best it can be, whether it’s putting on an established rodeo in Guymon, Oklahoma, or a new rodeo in Hempstead, Texas,” Sandy Gwatney said. “That rodeo is new to the PRCA this year, and it’s going to be 110 percent, just like we’d do at Guymon or Lovington (N.M.) or Eagle (Colo.).”

There’s a cohesiveness and team concept to the Carr approach to production. It’s why rodeos want to hire Carr Pro Rodeo Co., then sign long-term contracts to keep the organization around. It’s why some of the greatest in the sport are part of it all; from 18-time world champion steer roper Guy Allen, a pickup man who works with Paul Peterson, one of the most sought-after pickup men in the business who has worked the NFR three times.

“Bucking horses are Pete Carr’s passion, but with his passion, he’s not satisfied every year,” John Gwatney said. “Every winter he spends his time to make the herd even better. Whether it’s a new stud or a new mare or a bull everyone’s heard about, he’s going to try to get it. You’ve got to take your hat off to a guy like that.

“Instead of trying to make a living, Pete’s reinvesting and trying to make it better.”

postheadericon Blanchard sets arena record in Lovington

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a story that was published in the September 2011 edition of Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA.

In the past five months, Sydni Blanchard has gone from questioning her barrel racing future to relishing each opportunity that comes her way.

“This is a life and a blessing and an opportunity that we’re grateful to have,” said Blanchard, 22, of Albuquerque, N.M., who set an arena-record with a 16.99-second run to win the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M., an event that’s part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. “You realize that all the sudden one day, it could be gone.”

Sydni Blanchard

Sydni Blanchard

Blanchard, coming off her first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, has been a rising star in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Then this past March at RodeoHouston, her saddle broke; Blanchard hit the back of it, and things changed instantly.

“I hit it at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “I damaged all the nerves around the tailbone; I couldn’t walk at all.”

For three months, she rehabilitated the injury, thanks to the athletic trainers at the University of New Mexico, where her father, Paul, once played football.

“Our goal was to get ready for Calgary,” said Blanchard, who set a Calgary Stampede record by winning four consecutive go-rounds at one of the largest rodeos in the world. “I had to go to that rodeo, so we had until July to get better.”

That meant a lot of work. In fact, there’s a lot of work yet to be done. Once the 2011 season concludes, Blanchard will undergo more treatment and more rehabilitation. But through every painful step of the process, the young cowgirl has seen the positive in her progress and that of her outstanding horse, Firewater Fie, a 9-year-old gelding by Nonstop Firewater out of Whisper of Magnolia.

“I feel as though everything happens for a reason, and if I didn’t have to sit out for three months, then Shotgun wouldn’t have been able to get the rest he needed,” she said. “Plus it’s almost more fun to come from behind. I have nothing to lose, so we go out there fearless every time and make the run we need to make.”

That thought process has worked quite well.

“I can’t believe we went from zero to 60 so fast,” she said. “It’s amazing how much work you put into it. Every year, you just work more and more, and harder and harder. You just keep chipping away at it. It’s definitely a lot of hard work, not just on my part by my entire family. Everybody that does one little thing … those all add up, and it’s a huge help.”

The help paid off quite well in Lovington, a southeast New Mexico community of about 10,000 that hosted the biggest names in ProRodeo over four performances. Blanchard posted her arena-record 16.99 on the opening night of the rodeo, and nobody came close to catching her. In fact, Blanchard beat second-place finisher Jessi Eagleberger by nearly half a second.

“Winning Lovington means a lot,” said Blanchard, who earned $3,619 for the victory. “It’s a rodeo arena I’ve been to a lot. We always had 4-H rodeos and everything over there. To do that good and have that arena record … we’re all really excited. He’s a New Mexico-trained horse, so that means a lot to us, too.”

She uses a simple approach to her rodeo business. Each step of the way, whether good or bad, can be used in some regard. Even Blanchard’s first trip to compete in ProRodeo’s grand finale was set out to be a learning experience.

“It was a relief when I found out I made the NFR,” she said. “Our goal was to make the CNFR and the NFR the same year; I wanted to make it for the experience. Those girls that were there – Sherry (Cervi) has been there countless time, then you have Lindsay (Sears) and Brittany (Pozzi) – they’re all veterans at it. They know how to keep their horses healthy. I just wanted to learn some things while I was there.”

Every rodeo athlete needs quality seasoning runs – learning from excellence and mistakes. For Blanchard, the NFR classroom was priceless. She and Shotgun placed in go-rounds, and they tipped over some barrels. In all, Blanchard left the Thomas & Mack Center with nearly $50,000.

“I was definitely happy with what we did at the NFR,” she said. “Unfortunately we did hit barrels, but my horse placed in the first five rounds. He just worked his heart out. I know he got sore in the end, and we did everything we could to help him. I would love to go back and see what we could do.

“Shotgun always has been super solid and honest. He takes care of me. I never have to worry about him. He does everything I ask him to. He has so much heart. I’m taking each moment as it comes, and I’m taking advantage of every situation. He’s just amazing. He just blows my mind. Every time I step up on him, I know it’s going to be a great ride.”

postheadericon Counting my blessings

I just got home after working the fourth annual PRCA rodeo in Bowman, N.D. I really enjoyed my self. It was my first time working with so many involved in the whole production, and it truly was a pleasure. You’ve got to love it when you feel so blessed. Praise the Lord!

postheadericon An all-around tough question

Everyone knows there is tremendous rodeo talent in Texas. Not only is the Lone Star State bigger than any other in the continental United States, it also has been a great home to some of the top talent in the business. That’s nothing new. In fact, there are a lot of great trivia questions that come out of Texas. Here’s another:

Who was the first Texan to win the PRCA all-around world championship?

postheadericon It’s time for a change

I find it strange that as the PRCA award nominations were released, one of the top five events up for Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year is the Pendleton (Ore.) Roundup.

From what I understand, it’s an awesome rodeo; it’s so big, in fact, that Hood River Distillery created a brand, Pendleton Whiskey, because of the event. The rodeo features a track with a grass infield and timed-event cattle driven through a long chute by a rider on horseback.

And, I hear, the volunteers that produce that event busts their butts. That’s awesome for the Pendleton Roundup and for rodeo.

But how does a rodeo get nominated for the 2011 Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year BEFORE its 2011 event even begins? The first PRCA-sanctioned competition began Wednesday, but the top five nominees were released before that – they were released in all categories, from stock contractor to secretary to clown, etc.

I don’t doubt Pendleton deserves recognition, but nominations should be held until the end of the regular season.

I asked Jim Bainbridge of the PRCA’s media department about it, and he gave a terrific response, explaining that ballots were sent to all dues-paying, approved PRCA rodeo committees within that season, as well as all participating contract personnel and contracting firms. “Each of the ballots that they receive has the option to nominate in all categories. Competing contestants receive a ballot only in the categories of rodeos of the year, stock contractors and rodeo secretaries.”

During the final ballot, all members get to vote, and any approved rodeo can be nominated. Pendleton will be done by the time the final ballot goes out, Bainbridge wrote me in his e-mail – the ballots are due back in the PRCA office in Colorado Springs, Colo., by Oct. 15.

I appreciate Bainbridge’s time in providing it. But it’s still wrong that an event can be nominated for rodeo of the year before it took place.

I know of contestants who never saw the first (nomination) ballots for which they were allowed to vote – the ballots were mailed home, but those contestants were on the road trying to make a living and unable to vote in time.

There is no reason to call for nominations until the end of the rodeo season on Sept. 30, and the use of technology allows for more immediate tabulating. Voting can be done any time, anywhere with the prevalence of smart phones, iPads and other communicative devices.

I’m not sure a wholesale change is needed, but the way it’s done now is backwards. Rodeo needs to continue to push forward, not step back.

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