Archive for May, 2012

postheadericon Plenty of high-flying action on tap for Claremore rodeo

Bo Casper of Fort Scott, Kan., rides Wolverine during the 2011 Will Rogers Stampede. Casper is one of the 494 contestants who have entered the 66th edition of the rodeo, set for Friday-Sunday in Claremore, Okla. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

Bo Casper of Fort Scott, Kan., rides Wolverine during the 2011 Will Rogers Stampede. Casper is one of the 494 contestants who have entered the 66th edition of the rodeo, set for Friday-Sunday in Claremore, Okla. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – Rodeo is America’s original extreme sport, and every year its greatest athletes make their way to Rogers County to fight for the thousands of dollars in prize money available at the Will Rogers Stampede.

This year marks the 66th anniversary of Claremore’s rodeo, and the producers of the annual event are making the celebration a showcase for everyone in the region.

“We know we’ve got a great show with the competition, but we want to give the fans everything they’re looking for in the way of entertainment,” said David Petty, the rodeo’s chairman.

Skydiver Bobby Reid parachutes into Will Rogers Stampede Arena on Saturday night during the opening of the second performance of the 65th edition of the Will Rogers Stampede. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

Skydiver Bobby Reid parachutes into Will Rogers Stampede Arena on Saturday night during the opening of the second performance of the 65th edition of the Will Rogers Stampede. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

Sky-diver Bobby Reid will be parachuting the U.S. flag as part of an elaborate opening during each of the three performances of the rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena just off East Blue Starr Drive in Claremore.

“Bobby does this kind of thing at events all across the country, and we wanted to kick off each night of our rodeo with a bang,” Petty said. “I think this is a great way to honor America and to honor our sport of rodeo.”

The Will Rogers Stampede will feature outstanding athletes, both human and animal. From the talented bucking horses and bulls to the phenomenal timed-event horses that make the difference in a championship and finishing out of the money. There will be plenty of horse power this year with a record 564 entries.

Quite possibly the fastest animals in the competition will be in barrel racing, an event sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. In fact, the ladies in the organization rewarded the Will Rogers Stampede with its 2010 Justin Best Footing award for the Prairie Circuit, the ProRodeo region involving contestants and events from Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

“The ground is a big deal in every timed event in rodeo, but good ground is essential in barrel racing,” said Tana Poppino, a three-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “Without quality ground, it can really make a difference in the competition.”

The recognition is quite an honor for the volunteers who work hard all year to provide the best opportunity for all those contestants.

“When you look at the hours these people put in to make that ground so good, you know how much work it took,” Petty said. “It’s a pretty special feeling that the WPRA selected our rodeo, because it was a statement made by the competitors, the ladies that ran at our rodeo and all the other rodeos in the circuit.”

postheadericon Oklahoma family ready to rodeo together

Tana Poppino rides Goose around the third barrel at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo. Poppino, her husband, Marty, and their son, Brodie, will be part of the field of nearly 500 contestants at next week's Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

Tana Poppino rides Goose around the third barrel at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo. Poppino, her husband, Marty, and their son, Brodie, will be part of the field of nearly 500 contestants at next week's Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – Many people associated with rodeo talk about the family atmosphere the sport fosters.

None know that any more than the Poppino clan of Big Cabin, Okla.: Tana, Marty and Brodie. Rodeo is in their blood as well as their bloodline, and they travel the country chasing their gold buckle dreams.

They also are part of the nearly 500 contestants who have entered the competition at the 66th edition of the Will Rogers Stampede, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena just off East Blue Starr Drive in Claremore.

“It’s awesome because this is one of the few rodeos that we get to go to together,” said Tana Poppino, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in barrel racing. “This is also one of the rodeos that’s closest for us, so it’s one that we all want to do good at.

“I think it’s great that our two hometown rodeos, the one in Claremore and the one in Vinita, area both memorials to Will Rogers, and we get to celebrate a famous Oklahoman that the whole world got to know.”

Marty and Tana Poppino met while attending Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships and married in 1985. A few years later, they brought a son into their rodeo world. Now he’s competing in ProRodeo on a permit while receiving his education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“I’m excited that I get to rope with my dad and be there for my mom,” said Brodie Poppino, 21, who will compete in steer roping and tie-down roping in Claremore. “It’ll also be great for me to get to rope in front of my Pa and Granny and that they’ll be able to watch us all.”

Although he’s competed in various events, Marty Poppino has focused on steer roping. He’s pretty good at it, too. He’s been one of the top hands in the Prairie Circuit for a number of years.

“We really don’t get to go to too many rodeos together,” Tana Poppino said of the family gathering in Claremore. “We try to go to circuit rodeos between now and the time I leave for the summer.

“I’m just glad that Claremore has steer roping so that we can. This part of the world has more steer ropers than about any other part of the world. It’s awesome that our local rodeos have it, because Brodie can rope and have his dad there to kind of mentor him, and I get to see them both compete.”

postheadericon Bridgeport rodeo finds great success with Carr

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Folks in Wise County, Texas, know a thing or two about rodeo. After all, some of rodeo’s best live right there in the 923-square-mile region.

Ralph Williams

Ralph Williams

Those educated fans got to see quite a high quality show last weekend during the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo. From newcomers like barrel racer Stevi Hillman to veterans like steer roper Ralph Williams, the Bridgeport champions carried a high tide of pride away from the north Texas festivities.

“This year was the best one yet,” said Lloyd Williams, chairman of the volunteer rodeo committee that brings the rodeo to town each spring. “This year’s rodeo was professionally run, and it ran off smooth.”

Why?

Williams pointed directly at the crew from Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based stock contracting firm that provided the livestock for the first time this May.

“Pete Carr’s crew was just exceptional to work with, and it was very impressive the way it was put together,” Williams said. “It was a combination of our crew and his crew – we all clicked.”

The key, he said, was in the true athleticism that was featured during the three days of competition. From bucking beasts like bareback horse Dirty Jacket and bull Synergy to world champions like Trevor Brazile, true athletes made a statement in Bridgeport.

Charlie Throckmorton

Charlie Throckmorton

“That’s as good a set of bucking horses and as good a set of bucking bulls as you’re going to see,” Williams said. “I thought it was just so smooth, from the action in the arena to the flawless work between our announcer, Charlie Throckmorton, and the best sound man in rodeo, Benje Bendele.

“We had a good crowd each night. Even though the weather was kind of crappy, they still came out and saw it, and they saw a good one.”

The Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo became the third event this season in which Dirty Jacket helped a cowboy to the winner’s circle – he matched moves with reigning world champion Kaycee Feild in his win in Fort Worth, Texas, and teamed with seven-time Wrangler National Finals rodeo qualifier Wes Stevenson for the victory in San Angelo, Texas.

Veteran Carr bull Synergy helped NFR qualifier Tyler Willis to the bull riding victory, and a pair of cowboys shared the saddle bronc riding victory on a pair of standout Carr horses: Dawson Jandreau on Ginger Snap and Tol Cawley on Fiesta Savvy.

“We had 16 world champions and 84 NFR qualifications at our rodeo this year,” Williams said. “We had contestants from two Canadian provinces, France and Australia.

“We’ve always been good on the timed-event end. What we really grew this year was on the roughstock end. I was floored with the number of entries in our bucking horse events … a lot of bareback riders and saddle bronc riders. It’ll even be better next year.”

One of the big things for Williams is proof that everybody involved has is always shooting for improvement.

“The atmosphere Pete brings is just amazing, and people are excited from the minute it starts to the minute it’s over,” he said. “I watched real good, and I guarantee you I didn’t lose anybody from start to finish. This is the first time everybody’s stayed for all of it.”

Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo
Bridgeport, Texas
May 11-12, 2012
All-around cowboy:
Trevor Brazile, $2,901, team roping, tie-down roping and steer roping.
Bareback riding: 1. Jeremy Mouton, 84 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, $1,066; 2. Wes Stevenson, 83 on Carr’s Showgirl, $808; 3. Heath Ford, 82 on Carr’s Broken Dreams, $581; 4. Taylor Price, 81 on Carr’s True Lies, $388; 5. Will Lowe, 78 on Carr’s Snowman, $226; 6. Evan Jayne on Carr’s Scruffy and Seth Hardwick on Carr’s High Lonesome, 77, $81 each.
Steer wrestling: 1. Shane Frey, 4.3 seconds, $1,212; 2. Seth Morgan, 4.6, $1,003; 3. Jace Melvin, 5.0, $794; 4. K.C. Jones, 5.1, $585; 5. Dean Stermer, 5.2, $376; 6. (tie) Shayde Etherton and Jack Hodges, 5.3, $105 each.
Team roping: 1. Bubba Buckaloo/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7 seconds, $1,721 each; 2. (tie) Keven Daniel/Chase Tryan, and Trey Harmon/Braden Harmon, 5.0, $1,384 each; 4. Landon McClaugherty/Larry Hammons, 5.1, $1,047; 5. Chace Thompson/Tommy Zuniga, 5.6, $823; 6. Quincy Kueckelhan/Jett Hillman, 6.0, $599; 7. David Key/Travis Woodard, 6.3, $374; 8. David Motes/Justin Copp, 6.4, $150.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Dawson Jandreau on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Ginger Snap and Tol Cawley on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Fiesta Savvy, 80 points, $ $1,047 each; 3. Jace Angus, 77 on Carr’s Smoke Wagon, $599; 4. Sterling Crawley on Carr’s Blue Jeans, Shane Menefee on Carr’s Sweet Emotion and Travis Edwards on Carr’s Couch Jumper, 76, $100 each.
Tie-down roping: 1. (tie) Ryan Thibodeaux and Colby Lovell, 8.7 seconds, $1,693 each; 3. Bryson Sechrist, 8.9, $1,214; 4. (tie) Chant DeForest and Clayton Shaw, 9.0, $735 each; 6. (tie) Adam Gray and Sterling Smith, 9.2, $160 each.
Barrel racing: 1. Stevi Hillman, 15.28 seconds, $1,644; 2. Mary Walker, 15.46, $1,409; 3. Tana Poppino, 15.64, $1,174; 4. Fallon Taylor, 15.69, $1,018; 5. Tana Renick, 15.73, $783; 6. Shelley Morgan, 15.81, $626; 7. Karen Little, 15.82, $470; 8. Tracey Ivy-Austin, 15.84, $313; 9. Debra Cooper, 15.92, $235; 10. (tie) Jodi Ray and Reagan Dillard, 15.93, $78 each.
Permit holders steer roping: First round:
1. Shawn Trimble, 15.5 seconds, $725; 2. Justin Bay, 16.2, $551; 3. Scott Welch, 16.6, $357; 4. Jake Radenmacher, 17.3, $184. Second round: 1. Colt Williams, 11.1, $725; 2. Shawn Trimble, 11.9, $551; 3. Austin Bruce, 12.7; $357; 4. Cord Hodge, 13.1, $184. Average: 1. Shawn Trimble, 27.4 on two, $725; 2. Justin Bay, 31.6, $551; 3. Brad Prater, 38.4, $357; 4. Robert A. Fudge, 48.2, $184.
Steer roping: First round: 1. Will Gasperson, 10.7 seconds, $1,463; 2. Ralph Williams and Trevor Brazile, 10.9, $1,085 each; 4. Riley Christopherson, 11.1, $706; 5. Ty Herd, 11.4, $454; 6. Rod Hartness, 11.6, $252. Second round: 1. Dan Fisher, 9.9, $1,463; 2. Tony Reina, 10.3, $1,211; 3. Cody Lee, 10.6, $959; 4. Buster Record Jr., 10.8, $706; 5. Jess Tierney and Kim Ziegelgruber, 11.2, $353 each. Third round: 1. JoJo LeMond, 9.6, $1,463; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.6, $1,211; 3. Mike Chase, 10.7, $959; 4. Jay Sellers, 11.0, $706; 5. Dane Noyce, 11.1, $454; 6. Jarrett Blessing, 11,2, $252. Average: 1. Ralph Williams, 38.0 seconds on three runs, $2,195; 2. Trevor Brazile, 38.2, $1,816; 3. Buster Record Jr. and Shane Suggs, 39.8, $1,249 each; 5. Chad Decker, 39.9, $618; 6. Mike Outhier, 40.6, $378.
Bull riding:
1. Tyler Willis, 87 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Synergy, $1,238; 2. Seth Glause, 82 on Carr’s Black Gold, $938; 3. Dakota Cater on Carr’s Black Powder and John Jacobs on Carr’s P Diddy, 85, $563 each; 5. Bryan Richardson, 84 points on Carr’s Black Ice, $263; 6. Chance Ratchford on Carr’s Blue’s Man and Wyatt Gregg on Carr’s Illegal Smile, 83, $94 each.

postheadericon Standings leaders eager to qualify for Duncan

DUNCAN, Okla. – Hunter Herrin has been one of the best tie-down ropers in ProRodeo much of his eight-year career.

After winning the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo and placing at the Chisholm Trail Stampede in Duncan, Okla., the

Hunter Herrin

Hunter Herrin

first weekend of May, he’s surged into the lead in the Prairie Circuit’s tie-down roping standings. Now he’s one step closer to reaching one of his goals, winning the regional title.

Destination Duncan is now part of Herrin’s itinerary, where he will be shooting for a third straight average title set for the Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for Oct. 18-20 at the Stephens County Expo Center.

“It means a lot to me to qualify for the Prairie Circuit finals, because I’ve qualified for the finals the last two years in Oklahoma City,” Herrin said of the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which features the year-end and finals-average champions in each event from each of the 12 ProRodeo circuits. “We’ve had some success there, and if a guy’s going to rodeo, you’ve got to try to make it there.”

If cowboys and cowgirls compete in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, then the destination is Duncan in October. Only the top 12 contestants in each event at the end of the circuit season qualify for the regional finale. With most of the season remaining on the schedule, any one of the hundreds of contestants can make a move into the top spot.

Dustin Elliott

Dustin Elliott

With it being one of the largest springtime events, the Guymon rodeo’s payout helps contestants make a significant move in the standings – in rodeo, dollars equal championship points, so the top earners are atop the money list. For most of the Prairie Circuit standings leaders, a good portion of their earnings came from the Oklahoma Panhandle: bull rider Dustin Elliott of North Platte, Neb.; steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb.; steer roper Cody Scheck of Ellinwood, Kan.; bareback rider Justin McDaniel of Porum, Okla.; barrel racer Tana Poppino of Big Cabin, Okla.; and team ropers Charles Pogue, a header from Ringling, Okla., and Jett Hillman, a heeler from Purcell, Okla.

“Doing well in Guymon is pretty important to me,” said Elliott, who earned $2,164 by placing third. “This is one of our bigger circuit rodeos, and being in the Prairie Circuit, it’s one you don’t want to miss.”

In addition to placing in the opening go-round in Guymon, Poppino won the championship at the Old Settlers Reunion Rodeo, a once-every-five-years event that takes place in the tiny western Oklahoma community of Cheyenne. Poppino pocketed $925 for that feat, which is why she carries a $1,500 lead over the second-place cowgirl, Ashlie Withrow of Henryetta, Okla.

Tana Poppino

Tana Poppino

“The Old Settlers Reunion is just one of many celebrations of Oklahoma history,” Poppino told the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. “Rodeo is a natural fit for the celebration that brings visitors to town. It’s always an honor to win an event that means so much to a community, and it kind of makes you feel like you are part of Oklahoma history.”

Elliott, McDaniel and Gorsuch are three of the many world champions who call the Prairie Circuit home. They’re also regulars in championship events like the Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. They know the importance of making it to Duncan in October.

Elliott won his Montana Silversmiths gold buckle in 2004, while McDaniel won the bareback riding title in 2008 – the 25-year-old cowboy is a four-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo who added NFR

Justin McDaniel

Justin McDaniel

average titles in 2008 and 2010. Gorsuch won gold in 2006 and 2010, winning at least a share of the average championship both years.

“With the circuit finals being in Duncan, I’d really love to be there to represent Oklahoma,” McDaniel said. “I’ve never won the circuit before, and one of my goals is to win the circuit. If I could do it in Duncan … win it in my home state, that would be awesome.”

Of the leaders, only Weston Ireland of Sallisaw, Okla., and Scheck haven’t played on ProRodeo’s biggest stage in Las Vegas, but he owns a circuit year-end championship. Ireland, a saddle bronc rider who attended college at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, won the region three seasons ago.

But Scheck is a three-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, the equivalent to the NFR in his chosen discipline. In fact, Scheck won the average title at the Clem McSpadden in 2010.

“Winning in Guymon is pretty big, because it helps the summer run if you have a little money won,” he said. “Hopefully I can strike it big at the big rodeos.”

Charles Pogue

Charles Pogue

The key to winning a championship is staying on that roll and being consistent throughout the season. Both Pogue and Hillman understand that as well as anyone. Pogue qualified for the NFR 15 times in his career and won the average title multiple times in Las Vegas. He and Hillman have won the last two team roping titles in the Prairie Circuit; they’d like to make it a three-peat.

“By staying close to home, I try to get to enough rodeos to make sure I get to the circuit finals,” Pogue said. “With it being in Duncan, that’s just 40 miles from my house. That makes it even better.

“I know the people on the committee, and they’re working hard to make it a good finals, a special rodeo for us.”

postheadericon Becoming eligible

Steer roper Chad Decker of Stephenville, Texas, will remember the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo for a long time.

You see, Decker is competing on his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association permit, and permit-holders aren’t eligible to become card-carrying members of the association until they earn enough money in the trying-out stage of competition. Decker finished fifth in the three-run aggregate at the Bridgeport, Texas, rodeo, earning $681, helping him fulfill the requirements needed.

It’s just the beginning for Decker, but everybody needs to get off to a good start.

Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo
Bridgeport, Texas
Permit holders steer roping: First round:
1. Shawn Trimble, 15.5 seconds, $725; 2. Justin Bay, 16.2, $551; 3. Scott Welch, 16.6, $357; 4. Jake Radenmacher, 17.3, $184. Second round: 1. Colt Williams, 11.1, $725; 2. Shawn Trimble, 11.9, $551; 3. Austin Bruce, 12.7; $357; 4. Cord Hodge, 13.1, $184. Average: 1. Shawn Trimble, 27.4 on two, $725; 2. Justin Bay, 31.6, $551; 3. Brad Prater, 38.4, $357; 4. Robert A. Fudge, 48.2, $184.
Steer roping: First round: 1. Will Gasperson, 10.7 seconds, $1,463; 2. Ralph Williams and Trevor Brazile, 10.9, $1,085 each; 4. Riley Christopherson, 11.1, $706; 5. Ty Herd, 11.4, $454; 6. Rod Hartness, 11.6, $252. Second round: 1. Dan Fisher, 9.9, $1,463; 2. Tony Reina, 10.3, $1,211; 3. Cody Lee, 10.6, $959; 4. Buster Record Jr., 10.8, $706; 5. Jess Tierney and Kim Ziegelgruber, 11.2, $353 each. Third round: 1. JoJo LeMond, 9.6, $1,463; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.6, $1,211; 3. Mike Chase, 10.7, $959; 4. Jay Sellers, 11.0, $706; 5. Dane Noyce, 11.1, $454; 6. Jarrett Blessing, 11,2, $252. Average: 1. Ralph Williams, 38.0 seconds on three runs, $2,195; 2. Trevor Brazile, 38.2, $1,816; 3. Buster Record Jr. and Shane Suggs, 39.8, $1,249 each; 5. Chad Decker, 39.9, $618; 6. Mike Outhier, 40.6, $378.

 

postheadericon World champions walk away with Guymon titles

Jake Barnes, left, and Jhett Johnson rope their third-round steer on Friday, May 4. They were two of five ProRodeo world champions who won their respective disciplines at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

Jake Barnes, left, and Jhett Johnson rope their third-round steer on Friday, May 4. They were two of five ProRodeo world champions who won their respective disciplines at the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

GUYMON, Okla. – The Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo has been the place where champions play. In 2012, Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena was better known as the place where champions win.

Of the 10 disciplines, five winners from this year’s event own gold buckles that are awarded to world champions. As always, this year’s championship was a showcase of ProRodeo’s best.

“It’s always a great rodeo in Guymon,” said Jhett Johnson, the reigning world champion heeler from Casper, Wyo., who won the team roping title with header Jake Barnes of Scottsdale, Ariz., a seven-time world champion.

Chad Ferley

Chad Ferley

They were joined in the winner’s circle by Chad Ferley, the 2006 world champion saddle bronc rider, who split the victory with newcomer Cole Elshere with 87-point scores; two-time steer wresting world champion Dena Gorsuch, who had a three-run cumulative time of 13.5 seconds; and three-time world champion barrel racer Sherry Cervi, who posted a two-run aggregate of 34.55 seconds.

“This is Jake and I’s first rodeo together,” said Johnson, who won his first title last season while roping with Turtle Powell. “Now they have to beat us.”

Johnson and Barnes roped their third steer in the first performance on Friday night and set a standard that wasn’t beaten. In fact, second-place finishers Kaleb Driggers and Paul Eaves finished in 23.2 seconds, more than a second off the pace.

Jhett Johnson

Jhett Johnson

“With Jake, the handles are very good,” said Johnson, who graduated from nearby Oklahoma Panhandle State University. “With these fresh steers, they can do anything, and Jake set all three of mine to bee heeled easy.

“It’s always fun to come to Guymon, going to school here, being one of the alumni and all that. I know the area real well. I know the people and the people putting on the rodeo. Then to come here and do well is always a good deal.”

Other winners were bareback rider J.R. Vezain, who rode Carr Pro Rodeo’s MGM Deuces Night for 89 points to win the title; steer roper Shay Good, the only cowboy to rope and tie down all five steers; tie-down roper Hunter Herrin, a five-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo; bull rider Tim Bingham, who rode Carr Pro Rodeo’s Comanche for 86 points; and all-around champion Chase Williams, who won $6,106 while competing in team roping and tie-down roping.

“I drew really good calves,” Herrin said after wrapping the title on Sunday. “This afternoon’s calf ran really hard, but my horse was really good today and ran down there to get the calf, and then she was a really good calf when you catch here. Today, though, horsepower was the key.”

While Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo is the primary stock contractor, owner Pete Carr realizes the importance of having the very best livestock for the top contestants in the game. That’s why he solicits great bucking animals from other contractors, like Frontier Rodeo, Powder River Rodeo and Korkow Rodeos. Ferley rode Frontier’s Griz and Elshere rode Powder River Rodeo’s Lipstick & Whiskey to win saddle bronc riding.

“I’m just out here to make as much money as I can and get on good bucking horses,” said Ferley, of Oelrichs, S.D. “If you get on a good bucking horse, it makes your day even better. If it happens at the end that you get a gold, it’s great.”

Cole Elshere

Cole Elshere

While Ferley has won ProRodeo’s most coveted championship, Elshere still has those gold buckle dreams. He knows having high-quality horses is the key to a good night’s sleep.

“She just kind of rolled out of the chute and was really nice,” he said. “Then she just started getting better and better and jumping higher and higher. There at the end, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a horse.”

Fans have seen how much fun Pioneer Days Rodeo is, which is one big reason why they come out in droves to attend the annual event. This year marked the 80th anniversary of the biggest and best event in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and the crowds were a big part of the success.

Of course, the fans know the sport well, and they have learned over the years that their hometown rodeo is one of the best in ProRodeo.

“We try hard every time we go to a rodeo, but the fans here are experienced, so we’re trying extra hard to bring the highest quality stock here,” Pete Carr said. “They’re rodeo aficionados, and we want them to enjoy the rodeo.”

postheadericon Animals drawing big names to Bridgeport rodeo

Justin McDaniel, the 2008 world champion bareback rider from Porum, Okla., rides Carr Pro Rodeo's Miss Hollywood this past weekend in Guymon, Okla. McDaniel has drawn Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback of the Year, for this weekend's Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo in Bridgeport, Texas. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

Justin McDaniel, the 2008 world champion bareback rider from Porum, Okla., rides Carr Pro Rodeo's Miss Hollywood this past weekend in Guymon, Okla. McDaniel has drawn Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback of the Year, for this weekend's Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo in Bridgeport, Texas. (TED HARBIN PHOTO)

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – The greatest cowboys know they have earned that status by testing their skills on the greatest animals in ProRodeo.

That’s one big reason why some of the biggest names in the sport will be in Bridgeport this weekend for the Butterfield

Justin McDaniel

Justin McDaniel

Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena. Pete Carr, owner of Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, has become one of the top stock contractors in the sport, and the company’s great animals will be featured on both nights of the rodeo.

“You always like going to Pete’s rodeos, because you don’t have to worry about the draw,” said Justin McDaniel, the 2008 world champion bareback rider from Porum, Okla. “You know he’ll have something for you to win on, and that’s what’s important.”

It will be champion vs. champion in Bridgeport – McDaniel has been matched with Carr’s Real Deal, the 2005 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Bareback of the Year. The last time the two were showcased together was at the 2010 rodeo in Lovington, N.M., and it was worth 86 points, good enough for third place.

“That’s an awesome horse, one I’d like to draw all the time if I could,” said McDaniel, who has won the bareback riding average championships in two of four trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “The last time I got on him was as rank as I’ve seen him, but he’s always rank.”

The McDaniel-Real Deal match-up is one of many great ones that will take place in Wise County this weekend. Last weekend, McDaniel matched moves with Carr’s Miss Hollywood for 86 points to finish in a tie for second place in Guymon, Okla. In Bridgeport, 2004 world champion bull rider Dustin Elliott has drawn The Mexican, one of a number of top-caliber bulls that’s new to the Carr bull pen.

Dustin Elliott

Dustin Elliott

“Pete has invested his money wisely,” Elliott said. “Watching this pen was an eye-opener. These are all really, really good bulls.”

Saddle bronc rider Weston Ireland, a former Prairie Circuit champion who leads the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region standings this year, has drawn NFR bucking horse Coffee Bean in Bridgeport, while all-around talent Seth Glause will be matched with Carr’s Trail Dust – Glause is a three-time NFR qualifier in bull riding, but he’s itching to make a move in bronc riding, too.

“I think in order to draw the best contestants to your rodeo, you need to have the kind of stock they want to get on,” Carr said. “You want to give them the chance to win no matter what horse or what bull they get on.”

postheadericon MGM Deuces Night steals show at Guymon rodeo

Trey Benton III is bucked off Carr Pro Rodeo's Private Eye during the final performance of the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo on Sunday. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

Trey Benton III is bucked off Carr Pro Rodeo's Private Eye during the final performance of the 2012 Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo on Sunday. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

GUYMON, Okla. – The newest pen of Carr Pro Rodeo bucking bulls made a statement, but MGM Deuces Night stole the show at the 2012 Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo.

J.R. Vezain

J.R. Vezain

“When I heard callbacks for this rodeo, I was screaming out loud and running around like a little girl,” Vezain said of the great Carr Pro Rodeo horse, which was one of the featured animal athletes in Guymon. “I had my highest marked ride on that horse last year with an 87 at San Antonio, and I was going for the record this year.

“I was going for 90; I knew it was going to be good. I was really stoked to be here.”

Vezain and MGM Deuces Night danced across the Henry C. Hitch Arena dirt for a rodeo-best 89-point bareback ride on the final day of the four-performance competition at Oklahoma’s Richest Rodeo. But there were plenty of memories being made, and a lot of those came from the great young bulls that were in the mix.

“I thought the pen of bulls here was fantastic,” said Tim Bingham of Honeyville, Utah, a 20-year-old cowboy who won bull riding in Guymon on Carr’s Comanche, worth $3,819. “I didn’t see any bulls I wouldn’t want to get on.

“It was good for me to stay on a good bull like that, especially after going through a dry spell.”

Bingham is young and still new to the game. There are a couple of others who were part of the final performance that saw several things they liked in the Carr Pro Rodeo bull pen, including world standings leader Cody Teel of Kountze, Texas, and Trey Benton III, the rookie standings leader and fourth-ranked bull rider from Rock Island, Texas.

“I got on a little black motley bull called Private Eye, and he got me down,” Benton said of being bucked off before the eight-second whistle. “I really like the rodeo in Guymon, and I think they had a bunch of really good bulls out today.”

Teel, who is riding with a broken leg, also failed to score on Carr’s Poker Face. He knew very well that he was going to take a chance at collecting the check in Oklahoma’s Panhandle.

“I knew the bull pretty well and that if I rode him, I had a chance to place high,” Teel said. “I knew he’d never been ridden, but he has not tricks to him. In the short time I was on him, I found out a lot about that bull.”

Poker Face is one of a number of bulls that’s new to Carr Pro Rodeo, and they were all out on Sunday afternoon. They caught the attention of the world’s best bull riders.

“You don’t mind driving those long hours it takes to get to some of these rodeos like this because you have a chance to win no matter what bull you have,” Teel said. “That’s the main thing. It makes it more of a riding contest instead of a drawing contest. It’s more on you and what you can do; you don’t’ have to worry about the draw so much because Pete Carr has put together a great pen of bulls.”

Chandler Bownds

Chandler Bownds

Chandler Bownds is another young gun who failed to mark a qualified ride in Guymon, but he puts the blame on himself. In fact, he knows how important it is that Carr has invested into the bull herd.

“The bulls were awesome,” said Bownds, the 2011 rookie of the year from Lubbock, Texas. “Pete brought in some great subcontractors to juice up his great pen of bulls, and there were a bunch of bulls that bucked really hard. All the bulls that bucked today could definitely be in the NFR.

“I always try to make it to Pete’s rodeos. They’re always good rodeos, and you always get a chance to get on a good set of bulls, so that helps make them good rodeos to go to.”

A lot of the top cowboys in the game have highlighted Carr Pro Rodeo events for several years, but the firm’s recent investment into its herd has made believers among many others.

“This is one of the top pens I’ve seen in Guymon,” said Ardie Maier, a 2010 NFR qualifier from Timber Lake, S.D. “There were some of the top guys in the world, and everybody had a chance to win if they stayed on. When you can go to a bull riding like that, it’s saying something about the bulls.”

Since he turned pro in 2004, Wesley Silcox has qualified for the NFR six times and won the world championship in 2007. He knows a thing or two about the game of bull riding. He rode Carr’s Panther for 80 points to finish fifth, worth $891.

“This is the best pen of bulls I’ve ever seen in Guymon,” he said Sunday afternoon. “I’m excited to follow Pete around and get on more of his bulls.”

postheadericon Panhandle reflections

The Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo means more to me than being just a great event; it’s also about seeing old friends and sharing my passions.

I’ve been to that awesome rodeo eight of the last 10 years; I’m tied to it for many reasons, and I’m proud of that. For the 2006 Pioneer Days Rodeo, I volunteered as the marketing director for the committee with the understanding that I was developing Rodeo Media Relations. I’ve been on a contract every year since.

I married an Oklahoma Panhandle State University alumnae who lived in the region for 13 years. I met her there, and each spring trip to Texas County, Okla., is like her trip home. It’s quite impressive to me how the region once known as No Man’s Land can boast of such greatness – it goes well beyond rodeo and into the fabric that weaves the community together, the people.

I’m blessed to be associated with one of the greatest events in ProRodeo and the people who are proud of it.

postheadericon Rodeo reaches out to Carr to help improve its event

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – The organizers of the local rodeo have one thought in mind: Make the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo the best it can be.

To that end, the volunteers who donate their time, talent and energy into producing the annual event reached into the metro area to help take the rodeo to the next level by hiring Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the top livestock producers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“I go to a lot of rodeos, and I like what I’ve seen in Pete Carr,” said Lloyd Williams, chairman of the committee. “What sold me on him was that I’ve got a son that goes to 30 to 40 rodeos a year, and I go a lot with him. I saw the animals he took to the circuit finals in Waco and the All-American finals in Waco, and I was impressed.

“I’ve seen what he does at his rodeos, and I love the production of things he’s got into it. It’s a good show, and it really runs off good. It seems to be more professional than what we’ve been doing.”

That’s why Carr Pro Rodeo will be putting the pieces to the puzzle together for this year’s Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 11-12, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.

“We really appreciate the opportunity to work in such a long-standing rodeo town and with such a great committee,” Carr said. “We are very honored that this committee placed their trust in us, and we plan on continuing to bring the best we can bring to all our committees.”

The Carr crew includes rodeo veterans like John and Sandy Gwatney and Paul Peterson, all of whom have worked some of the biggest events in ProRodeo, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. By having production experts like that, Carr Pro Rodeo brings in a championship-caliber experience to a local rodeo flair.

“Our rodeo grows a little each year,” Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of good things going on. Our Friday show will be our pink night, our cancer night, where we’ll raise money to fight cancer. The money we raise will stay within Wise County.”

That’s an important factor, because it’s proof that the committee has reaching out to the community as its focus.

“We’ll have a survivor grand entry,” Williams said, explaining that the rodeo’s opening will include cancer survivors.

This marks the 36th year for the Bridgeport rodeo but just the sixth year it is part of ProRodeo. Williams said the event was an amateur rodeo for 30 years.

“We wanted to be a ProRodeo because we want to try to get the top athletes in,” he said. “It was time for a change. It had gotten stale, so we thought we’d change big time. The city wanted to incorporate it with the Butterfield Stage Days, so we did.”

The city’s annual Butterfield Stage Days takes place in the city park at the same time of the rodeo, so there will be plenty of activity around the community all weekend long. Veterans, firefighters and police officer will be admitted to the rodeo for free on Friday night.

“I look forward to working with the Bridgeport committee this year and begin building a long-lasting relationship,” Carr said.