Archive for April, 2012

postheadericon Benzie exorcizes demons to win at Fort Hays State

ALVA, Okla. – The Fort Hays State University rodeo has been somewhat of a sore spot for Northwestern Oklahoma State University junior Karly Benzie.

“My freshman year was my glory year until I broke my leg in Hays,” said Benzie, who suffered the injury while competing in goat-tying two springs ago. “I haven’t tied goats since then.”

Karly Benzie

Karly Benzie

But she has been competing, and she won the breakaway roping title in the western Kansas community this past weekend when she roped two calves in 6.2 seconds. It was the first time this spring that she was able to take advantage of her final-round calf.

“I haven’t gotten anything done at any of these rodeos,” said Benzie, from Bayfield, Colo., who also qualified for the short go-rounds in Garden City, Kan., and Weatherford, Okla. “I’ve just been having trouble in the short rounds. I can make it in there and just can’t make it work in the average.

“Finally I’ve got a little bit of confidence from winning Hays.”

Benzie was one of five Northwestern women to qualify for the final round, joining Lauren Barnes, Alexis Allen, Jenna Hampton and Jacey Jandreau. Barnes (15.7 seconds) finished second in goat tying and ninth in breakaway roping, failing to rope her second-round calf Sunday afternoon. Jandreau also qualified for the short round but failed to score in the finale, finishing in eighth place. Barnes also finished third in the all-around race with 115 points. In barrel racing, Allen (33.32 seconds on two runs) finished fifth, and Hampton (34.21) placed sixth.

Still, the four cowgirls that counted toward the Rangers’ team posted 300 points to share the women’s title with Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

“Obviously with one rodeo left, I can’t make the college finals, but I’m still going to fight to try to get better and practice hard,” said Benzie, whose points didn’t count toward the team standings. “The girls that are part of the team are regularly in the short round or compete in multiple events, so I have not been part of that.”

She’d like to be. Benzie would like to compete in barrel racing, but her good horse has been injured. So she’s focused on her roping – in addition to breakaway, she also competes in team roping.

“I’m glad I did well this weekend,” she said. “I broke my leg the first year, then last year we were there and it was freezing and blizzarding, and they even had to cancel one of the nights of the rodeo because of the weather. This year I was just hoping something stupid didn’t happen.”

It didn’t.

In fact, Benzie wasn’t the only Northwestern contestant to leave Hays with the title: Header Travis Cowan of Highmore, S.D., won team roping while competing with Rhyder Nelson of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Other Rangers who placed were saddle bronc rider Cody Burkholder, fourth; tie-down ropers Trey Young, fourth, and Clint Kindred, sixth; steer wrestler Kyle Irwin, third; and heelers Kyle Searcy, second, and Irwin, sixth. Irwin placed fourth in the all-around with 110 points.

Growing up near Durango in southwestern Colorado, Benzie was raised around horses. She began going to play days when she was 5 years old, then began competing in barrel racing. She started roping when she got into her early teens

“My dad college rodeoed, competing in the roughstock events,” she said. “My mom showed horses. I was always around horses, and I always lived on a ranch. It’s just something I’ve been around.”

And now rodeo is helping her get an education.

“I knew a couple kids that went to school up here,” Benzie said. “I like the one-on-one you can get in the classroom. I really like it.”

So what does the future hold for the young cowgirl?

“Eventually I’d love to be able to get some nice colts up and working and really start barrel racing,” she said. “I’ve been so fortunate to have people along the way that have helped me with words of advice. My parents have really helped me, buying horses when I needed them and being there for me. It’s really hard when you don’t have anybody backing you along the way.

“I’m very blessed to have that.”

postheadericon What is news and why?

For many years, the American Royal Rodeo has been one of the biggest and best events in the Midwest.

As one of the last big events of the season for decades, it was a must-stop for the best cowboys and cowgirls in the game. If they were on the bubble for qualifying for the NFR, they were in a race to finish the rodeo season among the top 15 in the world standings.

I don’t have the statistics to show how many times someone used earnings from the American Royal to squeak into the finals, but I know the numbers are quite high. Oftentimes it came down to the final run of the short go-round to decide the fates of several competitors.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen fewer people supporting this great, traditional rodeo. The largest crowd this past October was about 10,000, and the Reba McEntire concert was a major drawing card. What many of those empty seats saw was great rodeo action, featuring outstanding animal athletes and the very best contestants ProRodeo offers.

I firmly believe part of the reason for the lackluster attendance has been lack of media coverage. Of course, this is my business, but I know very well what media coverage can do for the success of an event, especially in a market like Kansas City.

A good example is that over the last few years, the only significant coverage came in The Star, with a small advance story and daily “game” stories. But when another writer from The Star published a story in Monday’s publication about the rodeo moving back to the West Bottoms, it was picked up by several other news agencies.

It’s the most coverage the American Royal Rodeo has received in several years, and it didn’t involve one bit of action.

That’s unfortunate.

There are so many awesome storylines that come to town with the rodeo, and the media outlets are not presenting them to the readers, viewers or listeners. They should. Maybe we just need to help them.

postheadericon MGM Deuces Night is what cowboys want to ride

MGM Deuces Night leaps high into the air while matching moves with Chase Erickson during the final round of the All American ProRodeo Finals in Waco this past October. This is just one of the reasons why she's being considered as bareback riding horse of the year. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

MGM Deuces Night leaps high into the air while matching moves with Chase Erickson during the final round of the All American ProRodeo Finals in Waco this past October. This is just one of the reasons why she's being considered as bareback riding horse of the year. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

GUYMON, Okla. – Cody DeMers is the last in a line of elite bareback riders who have tested their mettle on Carr Pro Rodeo’s MGM Deuces Night.

DeMers, a four-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from Kimberly, Idaho, matched moves with the great young horse during the final round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo on April 1. The two danced across the dirt in Oklahoma City for 85 points, helping DeMers to a runner-up finish in ProRodeo’s national championship.

Cody DeMers

Cody DeMers

“I’m embarrassed I didn’t win first on that horse like everybody else in the world does,” he said.

That seems to be a common theme for cowboys who test their skills on the 7-year-old mare. They’d love the chance when she bucks next at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6. She has been to the NFR each of the past two seasons and has been bucked four times in Las Vegas. He led cowboys to three round victories and a second-place finish.

Ryan Gray scored 90 points on MGM Deuces Night to win the fifth go-round this past December; reigning world champion Kaycee Feild scored 87 to win the 10th round. In 2010, 2004 champ Kelly Timberman scored 88.5 to win the 10th round. That’s saying a lot about a horse purchased a few years ago by Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo.

“I could’ve rode that horse better,” DeMers said of his ride in Oklahoma City. “Pete’s awful high on that horse, and he has every reason to be. I’d pack that horse with me in the minivan to every rodeo I go to if I could.”

He’s not the only cowboy; a lot of the other top names in the game would do the same thing. MGM Deuces Night was raised by bareback rider Wes Stevenson, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Lubbock, Texas.

Wes Stevenson

Wes Stevenson

“I knew she’d have a really good shot to come to the finals,” Stevenson said. “I knew she was that good, so part of the reason I sold her to Pete is that I knew she’d have a good shot to go to the finals. I bought her from Jim Zinser as a brood mare, but she bucked so good, I didn’t want to waste her sitting at my house. I wanted her to have a chance.

“She has a lot of heart. I was the first one to get on her with a rigging, and from the first time we ever bucked her, I knew that little filly has a lot of heart. She’s a very electric horse.”

Those that have been on the phenomenal mare know that better than most. In a year’s span, Feild won a lot of money on the back of MGM Deuces Night. Last spring, he shared the final-round victory at the RNCFR with a 90-point ride; in December, it was the final round of the NFR; in March, he set a RodeoHouston arena record with a 93-point ride in the $50,000 round. Combined, Feild won $72,685 on the mare in less than a year’s time.

Kaycee Feild

Kaycee Feild

“That’s just a unique horse, and she gets real high in the air,” said Feild, a four-time NFR qualifier whose father, Lewis, is a five-time world champion. “That horse tries really hard to buck really good. She gets high in the air and gives you a lot of time to set your feet and crank your toes out. You’ve got to have quick feet and set them high in the neck. With that horse, it seems easy to set them high in the neck.

“She’s that way every time I’ve been on her. She’s a pretty cool horse.”

Yes, she is. Even though he’s never strapped his rigging to her back, Heath Ford has seen her in action plenty of times. The bareback riding representative, he handles the political side of the game and works with all the bareback riders in selecting the best horses. He’s also a three-time NFR qualifier, so he knows that side of the business, too.

“She’s a horse that really gets in the air and gives you a lot of time to show off,” Ford said. “It’s kind of like a quarterback and a receiver; you need a quarterback who can put the pass where the receiver can run after the catch and really show his stuff.

“She can do everything to set you up to be successful and show off your talents. She gives you the opportunity to do what you do at a higher level.”

postheadericon The Cort is fairly full

Cort Scheer

Cort Scheer

After making a nice run at the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Cort Scheer missed ProRodeo’s grand finale in 2011 after suffering a torn knee ligament midway through the season.

Over the past few days, he posted one of the top two scores in saddle bronc riding at the Red Bluff (Calif.) Roundup. He and two-time world champion Cody Wright each scored 84 points to win the prestigious title. I’m still awaiting word on how much money they earned in the northern California community.

They weren’t the only big winners over the weekend. In addition to the action in Red Bluff, two-time world champion Rocky Patterson won the Ram National Finals Steer Roping, clinching the championship this afternoon in Torrington, Wyo.

Congratulations to all the winners this weekend.

postheadericon A different Cheyenne

Thanks to Jim Bainbridge with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, who provided the updated results to me today.

I’ve never been to Cheyenne, though I’ve heard a lot about it. You can find whatever results the PRCA has by clicking HERE. Below is what happened in Cheyenne last night.

Old Settlers Reunion PRCA Rodeo
Cheyenne, Okla., April 20-21
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Blaine Kaufman, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s What Happens; 2. Caine Riddle, 74; 3. Will Lowe, 72; 4. Evan Jayne, 69; 5. J.J. Alley, 68.
Steer wrestling leaders: 1. Kody Woodward, 5.9 seconds; 2. Trevor Cox, 17.4; 3. Kyle Irwin, 17.9; 4. Mickey Gee, 27.8.
Team roping leaders: 1. Cody Harmon/Braden Harmon, 5.9 seconds; 2. Gavin Foster/Jeremy Stewart, 7.2; 3. Brett Christensen/Austin Rogers, 10.4; 4. Scott Graham/Jay Morgan, 16.1.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Allen Boore, 78 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Man Up; 2. Rhys Angland, 74; 3. Shane Hand, 73; 4. Jade Blackwell, 66.
Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Blake Ash, 10.6 seconds; 2. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Roger Branch, 10.7 each; 4. Billy Hamilton, 10.9; 5. L.D. Meier, 11.4; 6. Clint Kindred, 11.8.
Barrel racing leaders: 1. Tana Poppino, 17.26 seconds; 2. (tie) Jeannie McKee and Andrea Wolf, 17.38 each; 4. Sherri Dean, 17.41; 5. Kynder Starr, 17.52; 6. Heather Wilson, 17.57.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Blaine Louis, 76 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s No. 80; 2. Cody Campbell, 72; 3. David King, 69; no other qualified rides.

 

 

Old Settlers Reunion PRCA Rodeo

 

Cheyenne, Okla., April 20-21

 

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Blaine Kaufman, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s What Happens; 2. Caine Riddle, 74; 3. Will Lowe, 72; 4. Evan Jayne, 69; 5. J.J. Alley, 68.

 

Steer wrestling leaders: 1. Kody Woodward, 5.9 seconds; 2. Trevor Cox, 17.4; 3. Kyle Irwin, 17.9; 4. Mickey Gee, 27.8.

 

Team roping leaders: 1. Cody Harmon/Braden Harmon, 5.9 seconds; 2. Gavin Foster/Jeremy Stewart, 7.2; 3. Brett Christensen/Austin Rogers, 10.4; 4. Scott Graham/Jay Morgan, 16.1.

 

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Allen Boore, 78 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Man Up; 2. Rhys Angland, 74; 3. Shane Hand, 73; 4. Jade Blackwell, 66.

 

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Blake Ash, 10.6 seconds; 2. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Roger Branch, 10.7 each; 4. Billy Hamilton, 10.9; 5. L.D. Meier, 11.4; 6. Clint Kindred, 11.8.

 

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Tana Poppino, 17.26 seconds; 2. (tie) Jeannie McKee and Andrea Wolf, 17.38 each; 4. Sherri Dean, 17.41; 5. Kynder Starr, 17.52; 6. Heather Wilson, 17.57.

 

Bull riding leaders: 1. Blaine Louis, 76 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s No. 80; 2. Cody Campbell, 72; 3. David King, 69; no other qualified rides.

 

Total payoff: $23,720. Stock contractor: Beutler & Son Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Dollie Riddle. Officials: Sam Minnick and Kelly Corbin. Timers: Dollie Riddle and TiAda Wise. Announcer: Hadley Barrett. Specialty acts: Melissa Navarre and Dusta Kimzey. Bullfighters: Wacey Munsell and Dustin Brewer. Clown/barrelman: Ted Kimzey. Flankman: Rhett Beutler. Chute boss: Bennie Beutler. Pickup men: Shandon Stalls and Mickey Gee. Photographer: David Seymore.

 

 

postheadericon Star-studded lineup

From left to right on the back row, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals and professional boxer Victor Ortiz pose with children who are part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program on Thursday, April 19, at the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Mo.

From left to right on the back row, Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals and professional boxer Victor Ortiz pose with children who are part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program on Thursday, April 19, at the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Mo.

My wife is the local program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, an outreach of the organizations Kansas City chapter.

I’m very proud of the work she’s doing with this awesome organization and how it’s growing in our hometown – how beneficial it is to everyone involved.

On Thursday, we took part in a photo shoot involving some of the Littles in the program, even one who is part of the local group. The headliners were Kansas City Chief Eric Berry, Kansas City Royal Eric Hosmer and professional boxer Victor Ortiz. Berry, who is the spokesman for BBBS, and the other two men donated their time and, in all likelihood, money to support Men 2 Men, a fund-raiser for the organization. Before that, though, all three men met with the youngsters and took part in the photo shoot.

I was pleasantly surprised with how personable and giving all three men were. Ortiz, who is from western Kansas like me, shared a fabulous smile and his insights with everyone. Watching the faces of the boys and girls light up with these famous men and the responses they got made me feel good about it.

But also it helped me realize just how special the folks in rodeo really are. While Berry, Hosmer and Ortiz seem to go against the grain of ego-driven, big-name athletes, it’s what you find most often among the professional athletes who make their living in the world of rodeo.

Ortiz, Berry and Hosmer were giving and friendly and genuinely cared about the kids with whom they were sharing their time. They’d fit in quite nicely with Will Lowe, Billy Etbauer and countless other cowboys and cowgirls.

postheadericon Carr bringing bull power to Guymon rodeo

GUYMON, Okla. – A great bull ride is equal parts of athleticism, from both the animal and the rider.

Pete Carr

Pete Carr

Every cowboy in the world knows championships are built on hard work and great dance partners. They’ll find it in Carr Pro Rodeo’s ever-evolving bull pen, which will be on display at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“I’ve always tried to get the best animals I can get, whether they’re bulls or horses,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based firm that has served as the primary stock contractor in Guymon each of the past five years. “Everybody thinks I’m a horse guy, and I am; I just want to be a bull guy, too.”

The bull riders who make their livings on the backs of these bucking beasts are taking notice. In mid-March, Trey Benton III won the rodeo in Mercedes, Texas, after scoring 91 points on Missing Parts, a dark brindle Carr recently acquired.

“He was pretty wolfy around to the right just at the gate,” Benton said of the energetic bull’s bucking motion. “He was really good. He just stumbled at the five-second mark, but I think he was even more after he stumbled. He got after it.

“You have to have a good bull to score 91, and I got one there.”

Benton wants that to happen a lot more, and that gives the Rock Island, Texas, cowboy plenty of incentive to know where Carr Pro Rodeo bulls will be bucking.

“Whenever a guy’s trying to make a perfect pen of bucking bulls, that’s great,” said Benton, 20, who is in the middle of the world championship race and run for the rookie of the year award in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, ranked in the top five in the world standings by mid-April. “When you’re trying to improve your pen all the time like Mr. Carr, then that means a lot to us.”

Carr has definitely done that. Over the last few months, he has invested into growing his bull herd.

“I’ve got some good ones in addition to Missing Parts,” Carr said. “I’ve got some great bulls in The Mexican, Black Ice, Black Powder, Motown and Panther that went to a lot of the winter rodeos. I have some more outstanding bulls that I haven’t bucked just yet, but I think all of them have a lot of potential.”

The cowboys have taken notice. At big events like Pioneer Days Rodeo, the bull power is a drawing card for the best cowboys in the game. Of the 886 entrants into the 2012 Guymon rodeo, 124 of them were bull riders. That’s a defining statement to what fans can expect inside Hitch Arena.

“Pete Carr has stepped up a lot with his bulls,” said Paul Peterson, the flankman for Carr Pro Rodeo who has been with the company since its inception. “There are a lot of new bulls at the ranch, and I’d say most of them are the kind you can take anywhere and they’ll be pretty strong.

“There are also some young bulls we still don’t know much about, but they look like they’re going to be great.”

postheadericon OPSU wins men’s, all-around titles in Weatherford

By Chaney Latham
Oklahoma Panhandle State University

WEATHERFORD, Okla. – The Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo teams continue to gain momentum heading into the final stretch of the Central Plains Region season.

The Panhandle State men took some major strides during the 40th annual Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo last weekend, winning the team title and collecting the all-around championship with Joe Frost collecting big points in bareback riding, bull riding and steer wrestling, qualifying for the final round in all three events. .

“I was excited about the effort given from all our kids,” said Craig Latham, the university’s rodeo coach.

Frost also competes in tie-down roping and team roping.

“It was fun,” Frost said. “Having Craig back really helped.”

Latham had been away from the team a big portion of the spring season while undergoing medical treatments; the rodeo in Weatherford was his first since returning home earlier this month.

“I could tell he was happy to be back, and he motivated me. I just knew I had to make the best runs I possibly could, and give 110 percent.”

Latham was quite happy with what he saw in the young Utah cowboy.

“He just had flat determination,” Latham said.

Frost tied for second in the two-ride aggregate in bareback riding with 124 points, a 60 in the first round and a 64 in the short round. He also shared second place in the steer wrestling with times of 6.4 seconds and 5.2. He was one of just two cowboys to make the qualifying eight-second ride in bull riding in both rounds, finishing with 133; he had a 76 in the long round.

Josh Griggs qualified for the final round in the bareback riding and bull riding. He scored a 68 in the first round of the bareback and a 65 in the bull riding to earn him a few points in each event. Jeff Bertus also competed in the championship round of the bull riding, after earning a 64 point score in the first round.

In the saddle bronc riding, four of the eight cowboys in the championship round wore Panhandle State vests. Panhandle cowboys Kole Wynia, Whit Peterson, Allen Boore, and Preston Kafka ended up in second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively. Along with Frost, Dusty Moore and Dixon Winn also qualified for the short round in steer wrestling. Only five cowboys managed to throw their steers in the championship round, with Winn finishing second with a two-run cumulative time of 14.1 seconds – he had a 6.2-second run in the first go and a 7.9 in the final round.

As for the women’s events, Samantha Martinez finished second in the first round of breakaway roping with a 3.6-second run. She was fast in the short round with a 2.2, but a broken barrier resulted in a 10-second penalty.

The wind seemed to play a major factor in the timed events with only two women catching in the final round, and Martinez earned second place even with the penalty. Junior Callie Schafer also competed in the championship round in breakaway roping and goat tying. She tied for fourth place in goat tying with a 16.7-second two-run aggregate.

After competing this coming weekend at Fort Hays (Kan.) State University, the Panhandle State teams will wrap the 2011-12 season by hosting the Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena from April 26-28.

“If we finish strong, we can still reach the goals we started out with,” Frost said.

Those goals are important, but so finishing strong is also the team’s main plan of attack.

The plan is the “same as it is every time, and that is to win,” Latham said.

postheadericon Peterson takes on new role with Carr Pro Rodeo

GUYMON, Okla. – The first time Paul Peterson shuffled his feet in the Henry C. Hitch Arena dirt, he was a college cowboy with his sites firmly set on a career in rodeo.

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

In the more than two decades since his arrival at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Peterson played the game as well as anyone going down the rodeo trail. When he wasn’t competing, he was still making a living in the sport, serving as one of the premier pickup men in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Every May, he’s been a fixture as a pickup man inside Hitch arena, helping maintain the speed of the rodeo while corralling the animals throughout the competition. His role is changing, though; now he’s the main flankman for Carr Pro Rodeo, the primary stock contractor for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6.

“Everything’s for the better,” said Peterson, who spent a number of years in Texas County, Okla., while working in rodeo. “I really enjoy it.”

Pete Carr has served as the flankman for several years, but as owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm, Carr has numerous other responsibilities that need his attention. Therefore, having a veteran like Peterson handling the flanking responsibilities is a benefit to the operation.

“Paul has been a valuable part of our team since our first rodeo,” Carr said. “Paul is one of the most versatile people you’ll meet, and in rodeo, he can do almost everything. He knows these animals, and that plays a lot into what he’s done with us from the very beginning.

“I want to surround myself with the best, and that’s what I get with Paul.”

How important is it to understand the animal athletes?

“Every horse is going to take a different kind of flank,” Peterson said. “Those older horses, the ones that have been around a long time, they need a little bit more of a flank, but the colts will need less. You’ve got to figure out what’s going to be the best flank for each of the animals to perform at their best.

“You can ruin the horse or get him to the NFR.”

Peterson knows a little bit about that. As an all-around cowboy competing in the PRCA, he just missed qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo a few times in saddle bronc riding. As a pickup man, he was chosen by the bareback riders and bronc riders to work the NFR three times. Whatever he’s done, he’s excelled. That means he’ll take to the task of flankman with the same gusto.

“You’ve just got to know the animals,” Peterson said. “I think I’ve watched most of Pete’s horses a long time. So far it’s worked out.

“You take into consideration where the horse come from and what they’ve done to him in the past and if you’ve raised him. It helps to know a lot about what their mom is and what she was like; a lot of time they’re going to be just like her.”

Peterson is just one of many top hands who will work Pioneer Days Rodeo as part of the Carr crew. Dan Etbauer of Goodwell will be one of the pickup men, joined by Jason Bottons and Shawn Calhoun. All three men continue a tradition of greatness in Guymon. Etbauer is one of a handful of cowboys who have qualified for and picked up at the national finals.

The NFR is an annual showcase of the very best in ProRodeo, from the top 15 contestants in each event and discipline to the best personnel. John and Sandy Gwatney have worked the NFR for several years and are a big reason behind Carr Pro Rodeo’s success. Bullfighters Chris Kirby and Dusty Duba not only help protect fallen bull riders, but also they handle many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that go on at each rodeo.

“I think the best part of our stock company is that we have quality people involved in everything we do,” Carr said. “You can have the best animals in the world, but you’re not going to be very good without great people on your team. I’ve got great people on my team.”

postheadericon RNCFR on TV

My schedule during the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo kept me from watching most of the action in Oklahoma City.

That was three weeks ago. Tonight I’m able to watch the coverage from GAC. It’s quite refreshing. Jeff Medders, who serves as the lead announcer, and his crew at Geronimo Productions do an awesome job with rodeo, and they’ve done a fabulous job with the RNCFR.

Because of the format for the final day, I was able to watch the semifinals in the arena. That was nice, actually, but it was short-lived. Once the finals began, the heavy lifting began, coordinating all the media for the champions while handling interviews for the writing I needed to do.

So seeing the final four compete gives me a better understanding of what happened inside State Fair Arena on April 1. While I already knew that Matt Shiozawa won the tie-down roping, I didn’t get to see his run until tonight. I also didn’t see that Blair Burk’s calf got up. I also got to see Sam Spreadborough’s winning ride on Big Tex. Spreadborough deserved to win.

The RNCFR is an awesome rodeo, and I’m very honored to be associated with it. I’d love to see it sold out for all five performances. The cowboys and cowgirls deserve it.

So does rodeo.

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