Archive for December, 2011

postheadericon Looking ahead

The new year begins tomorrow, and with it comes great expectations for many. From resolutions to challenges, there is much in store for all of our lives.

Like the rest of the world, the sport of rodeo is about building on experiences. For world champions and those who missed out on their title dreams, the new season offers new hope, a chance to live out their gold buckle dreams.

Along the way, I look forward to the fantastic stories I will be blessed to tell. The work has already begun, and I hope you enjoy.

For now, though, let’s say a toast to the fading 2011 and warm our hearts for what we all hope are wonderful things to come over the next 12 months.

Happy new year.

postheadericon It’s a new year

After I made the finals the second time in 2010, I decided I had nothing to prove; it was just time for me to have fun and spur buckin’ horses.

Last year was just a train wreck, so now I’m just ready. After last year, I have something to prove.

I feel good, and I’m ready to get after it. We’ve got Odessa (Texas) next week, then later next month we’ve got Denver. I’m a little older, a little longer in the tooth, but that’s just in age. You know, what I’ve figured out is that you can go get on five head, and you still won’t know anything. Heck, you can get on 10 head and still know nothin’.

What you need to do is just go rodeo all winter and all summer, then you know something. You can’t dwell on the season, and you can’t dwell on one weekend. You’ve just got to keep rodeoing and take advantage of the opportunities you get. Some times you have a jam-up ride, and sometimes you look like Don Knotts. Last year it boiled down to the fact that I didn’t capitalize on some of the horses I needed to.

I’ve got something to prove to myself this year. It’s time to get started.

postheadericon Youth was served at NFR

Chandler Bownds

Chandler Bownds

Chandler Bownds looks like any 12-year-old boy, except, of course, that he’s a 20-year-old bull rider who just qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He’s a pretty bad cat, too.

Bownds, of Lubbock, Texas, rode just three bulls during this year’s NFR. When he made the qualifying eight seconds, Bownds made the most of it, winning the second and sixth go-rounds and finishing second in Round 9. In all, he won just shy of $50,000 and finished eighth in the world standings.

Bownds was joined by fellow first-timer Jacob O’Mara of Prairieville, La., who, as it happens, is also just 20 years old. O’Mara rode four bulls, placed in four rounds – including the third-round victory – and finished sixth in the average race.

What these two young cowboys prove is there is a brilliant future for bull riding. That’s a good thing.

postheadericon I’m counting the blessings of another year

Another year is almost gone, and as I reflect back, I am very thankful for all the blessings of the year. My family members are all healthy. Cowboy Rigs is still providing service for people and an income for our family and two others. We have been blessed with some rain this year, and have hay. We have a barn full of great horses. The sun is shining today, and it is warm.

Although we did not make the NFR, we had a good year; I am thankful. Amigo had half an awesome year. I have learned many things that don’t work with Goose and have learned that persistence pays off. Never, never give up. Your breakthrough may be just around the corner.

I learned to cherish friends and time with them, because you don’t know when someone might get called home. One thing I know is that I will see many of my good friends again in heaven. I look forward to a huge reunion.

I am thankful to my partners, MAXX Sunglasses, Professionals’ Choice, Cowboy Rigs, Total Health Enhancement, Martin Saddlery and EquiPride. Some of these friends are new, and some have been with me several years. I encourage all of you to check out these companies and their products. I believe in them, and I use them.

postheadericon Cool hand Luke

Luke Branquinho

Luke Branquinho

I first met Luke Branquinho about a decade ago, visiting with him about finishing 16th in the world standings and just missing his first qualification to the Wrangler National  Finals Rodeo.

Since then, he’s missed just one other year-end finale, that coming in 2005 when an injury pushed him to the sidelines. Oh, and he’s also won three world titles.

He’s come a long ways since that 2000 season, and Branquinho has earned every kudo he has received. Personable and funny, the big man from California is the kind of cowboy everybody wants to see win.

He’s done his fair share. At this year’s NFR, Branquinho won $146,779, nearly $46,000 of which came for finishing first in the 10-round average.

He knows what it takes to win the world. I suspect he’ll win a few more Montana Silversmiths gold buckles before he’s done.

postheadericon Apologies to you

It’s been a few days since I last posted on TwisTED Rodeo, and I apologize. At my family’s home for Christmas, our bed and breakfast didn’t have Internet. But also I decided to focus on time with my family instead of updating. I hope you understand, and I plan to make it up to you in the coming days.

Thanks to all who have checked in on TwisTED Rodeo. Keep coming back, and let me know about any storylines you want brought up.

postheadericon He’s Ted, not TwisTED

If you haven’t met Ted Stovin, you should.

Ted Stovin

Ted Stovin

Stovin is a bull rider from Drayton Valley, Alberta, who attended New Mexico Junior College and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he competed on the rodeo teams. The 21-year-old cowboy moved back to his native Canada, where he runs Everything Cowboy, a rodeo news and information blog.

Stovin and I share a similar passion, to promote and grow the sport of rodeo in our own little ways. In his heart, he’d love to do so on the backs of bucking beasts. In the interim, he’s busy trying to become one of the big places to go to gather your rodeo news, along with TwisTED Rodeo, of course – he’s definitely the source if you want the scoop on rodeo in Canada.

Stovin just covered his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and he was the man behind the camera on the videos posted here. I appreciate all that he did during the NFR, and so do others who have seen it.

So take a look at what he does. You’ll be impressed with so much of it, especially his passion.

postheadericon Merry Christmas

From my family to you, Merry Christmas.

From my family to you, have a nice Christmas.

As we roll into this magnificent holiday weekend, I can’t help but be amazed at all the blessings in my life.

From living my dreams to making a living doing something I love to having the unconditional support of those closest to me, it is simply remarkable. I’m blessed to be involved in the world of rodeo, around you wonderful people who fulfill and enrich my life and the lives of my wife and daughters.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, because we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We celebrate our faith and our love, the things He brought into our lives.

May this Christmas season be awesome for you and those closest to you.


postheadericon The pressure of the NFR can be fickle

Nobody really understands the pressure of playing on the biggest stage in one’s sport. Whether it’s the Super Bowl or the World Series or the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, there’s so much more to it than just going out and tackling the fundamentals.

That’s why you see some contestants struggle in the spotlight. Sometimes it’s a one-year struggle, a bout with the inconceivable. In rodeo, the hope is the 10-round NFR is a big profit to a year where earnings are virtually equal to the expense of getting down the trail.

That’s why making a significant living those 10 days in Las Vegas are so important. But money is even a bigger deal in rodeo.

Baseball players, football players and all those in “other” professional sports are provided guaranteed paychecks, whether they compete, watch from the sideline or don’t make the trip because of an injury. In rodeo, dollars serve as championship points.

Arizonans Derrick Begay and Cesar de la Cruz were the world standings leaders in team roping heading into the NFR with nearly $119,000. Inside the Thomas & Mack Center, they struggled, pocketing just $15,288. They fell from first to seventh (Begay in heading) and eighth (de la Cruz in heeling) in the standings.

Those are the breaks in sports. The reality is Begay and de la Cruz made money in Vegas; several others didn’t. But each earned the right to play in Sin City. That’s worth everything.

postheadericon The development of a great man

When Taos Muncy won his first world championship in 2007, he was just 20 years old, and the end result was a shock to the system – to the saddle bronc riding nation and to the young New Mexico cowboy, too.

He had just completed a dream season, winning the saddle bronc riding championship at the College National Finals

Two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy visits with reporters on Saturday, Dec. 10, after clinching his second Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.

Two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy visits with reporters on Saturday, Dec. 10, after clinching his second Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.

Rodeo that June. In fact, his college and world titles put the then-Oklahoma Panhandle State University student in rare company, joining just all-around cowboy Ty Murray and bull rider Matt Austin as the three cowboys in the history of the sport to have won both prestigious titles in a single year.

Just a couple weeks ago, Muncy, in just his fourth qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, strolled into the media room at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas with his family after clinching is second Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.

Toting 4-month-old Marley and walking side by side with his wife, Marissa; his parents, Blaine and Johnnie; his sister, Jordan Muncy-Taton; and his traveling partner and brother-in-law, Cody Taton, Taos Muncy was a much different man than the child who first captured the world five years earlier.

The politeness and respect remains a big part of Muncy’s personality, but the fear and “deer-in-the-headlights” conversations that once were part of every media interview have been replaced by confidence and, quite honestly, a fatherly touch.

Taos and his sister attended Panhandle State, and both were crowned college champions – Jordan’s came in the all-around and breakaway roping in 2010. Their coach, Craig Latham, has had nothing but great things to say about the family, which knows the value of hard work.

“They’re just good people,” Latham said.

Taos Muncy won $94,471 at the 2011 NFR and finished the season with $249,914. He’s been one of the greatest bronc riders in the business even before he became a pro; he’s become a great man along the way.

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