Archive for October, 2012

postheadericon Hertzog recognized for service

Vet has been part of American Royal most of his life, will be honored by UPHA

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To those who know him best, Dr. Robert E “Bud” Hertzog is more than a veterinarian.

“Not only does he care about animals, but he cares about the people that own them,” said Carol Carlson, a member of the American Royal’s United Professional Horseman’s Association committee. “His wide variety of experiences is one thing that helps him be such a good vet at an event like the American Royal, because we have so many times of animals through the exhibits.

“He’s able to take care of the wide variety of animals plus also deal with the personalities involved. In all my years of dealing with the American Royal, I’ve never had anybody question his credentials.”

Dr. "Bud" Hertzog

Dr. “Bud” Hertzog

Those are just a few of the reasons Hertzog will be honored as the UPHA’s Horseman of the Year at a ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 13. And just like his service to the American Royal, which dates back to 1961, the Lee’s Summit vet remains focused on those around him.

“I don’t deserve any special recognition of anything at all,” said Hertzog, whose ties to the American Royal date back to his high school days in the 1940s when was part of the competition. “I’ve had the great fortune of being associated with some great people and some great horses over the years.”

Hertzog was involved in 4-H and FFA as a youngster, and he showed steers at the American Royal. When he was in college at the University of Missouri, he was part of the livestock judging team.

“I got an early start at the Royal,” he said. “My dad and mother would bring me to the American Royal when I was a small kid.

“We’ve always realized the importance of the American Royal. I’ve become hooked on the American Royal; they do lots of great things here.”

So does Hertzog.
“Not only has he has been our official veterinarian through the years, he has groomed many other veterinarians,” said Brant Laue, chairman of the American Royal. “He’s sort of Mr. American Royal.”
While he has served as the staff vet for years, there are a lot of volunteer hours that go into his task. He works with veterinary school students from Missouri and Kansas State University while on site, educating and evaluating at the same time.

“His reputation as an honest veterinarian and a caring veterinarian is very strong,” Carlson said. “In my experience with some veterinarians, they never go back to school mentally. They know what they know, yet they don’t want to be questioned. Dr. Hertzog keeps up with protocols.

That’s a very important aspect of maintaining a solid practice, Lee’s Summit Animal Clinic, the one in which he has worked since he graduated from Missouri in 1956.

“I grew up on a dairy farm, and we had horses and mules at home,” Hertzog said. “We worked with animals, and, of course, we were close with our local veterinarian. He’s the one who pushed me toward vet school.

“When I graduated in 1956, I came back to Lee’s Summit and practiced with him. We’ve continued to work out of the same practice, and now we have eight veterinarians in our practice.”

That practice has continued to focus on Hertzog’s foundation of care, for animals, their owners and the community.

“Dr. Hertzog is so closely identified with the American Royal that it is truly unique among the other livestock shows,” Laue said. “He is recognized by the veterinary medical associations. He’s just one of these great personalities that has accomplished a great deal in life, and the American Royal has been fortunate enough to be associated with him.”

postheadericon Production key to Stampede’s success

ALLEN, Texas – What the fans don’t see behind the scenes at a rodeo makes a big difference in what they witness in the arena.

The goal always is a flawless presentation, especially for the staff of Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, the livestock producer for the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Allen Events Center.

“We try to have the theatrical portion of our show not interfere with the competition side,” said John Gwatney, a production supervisor for the firm. “We try to run a good, fast, clean performance without interfering with the competition.

“That’s where we’re different from other rodeo companies. If we’re not ready, the cowboy has to wait. When it comes time for that cowboy to compete, we’ve done everything we can to make that animal ready for that cowboy, so all he has to do is nod his head.”

The nod is the signal for the competition between man and animal to begin, and the cowboys and cowgirls who are involved take it seriously. Rodeo is how they make their livings, and they only walk away from the arena with a paycheck if they’re one of the best that day.

But rodeo is also entertainment, much like other professional sports. Fans put up their money in order to enjoy their time, and that’s where the production comes into play.

“I think over the years, the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo has developed a reputation of not only having the best contestants, but also having the best livestock as well,” said Ken Stonecipher, a longtime member of the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo committee. “With Pete Carr putting that team together, it’s a win-win for us. Our fans, which are extremely rodeo-savvy, have come to expect it, and they have not been disappointed.”

That’s something in which Pete Carr takes great pride, and it’s why he’s put together a crew of top-flight rodeo personnel.

“I think the fans come to the rodeo to see the best show they can see, and we’re there to put it on for them,” Carr said. “We want them to enjoy the experience from beginning to end and to leave that arena wanting more. I’ve got people around me that work very hard to make that happen.”

The process actually starts well before the first rodeo of the season, from the planning and development to the assignments each person on the staff has when it’s time to put on the show.

“At the Rafter C rodeos, what starts the production is our version of Americana,” said Gwatney, a team roper and steer wrestler who has worked in rodeo production much of his life. “We’re looking to get peoples’ emotions up, get them on the edge of their seats so when that first animal bucks, the height of the excitement is already up.

“Whether it is one of the many costume changes or the uniformity of the yellow horses, the pageantry of it all, we’re trying to stir something in those people. What makes Pete’s rodeos successful is the timing of it all.”

postheadericon Nos. 11-15 Steer Ropers

CHANCE KELTON, Mayer, Ariz.

Chance Kelton

Chance Kelton

The last time Chance Kelton was in this arena, he suffered an injury behind the chutes and had to miss some of the action during the Timed Event Championship.

Don’t expect that this weekend, Kelton’s fourth qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. You see, the mishap in March was just a freak deal, but so is Kelton. He’s a roping freak, having qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times in team roping.

Kelton has had a strong season, but he knew that’s what it would take if he were going to return to the Lazy E Arena. He won steer roping titles at six rodeos: Pecos, Texas; Dodge City, Kan.; Safford, Ariz.; Silver City, N.M.; Lewiston, Idaho; and Spokane, Wash.

When he’s here, he’s pretty good. In addition to winning the Timed Event Championship, he finished second in the average at last year’s NFSR. Can he do it again?

You’ll find out very soon.

ROD HARTNESS, Pawhuska, Okla.

Rod Hartness

Rod Hartness

There’s not much in steer roping Rod Hartness hasn’t done.

The man from the Osage Territory of Oklahoma know what it takes to perform well in Pro Rodeo. This weekend marks the 15th time Hartness has qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. He’s done well in this fabulous arena before, from a runner-up finish in the average a dozen years ago to placing in four go-rounds last November.

In fact, Hartness earned a share of the first-round title with J.D. Yates during last year’s championship event.

Since turning pro 27 years ago, Hartness has won plenty. He has earned the championship in the Prairie Circuit multiple times, and he’s been in the mix at all the major rodeos across the country.

But what might be most telling is that Hartness is playing this weekend even though he didn’t win a single rodeo title during the 2012 season. He won money everywhere he went, and it paid off in a grand fashion.

DAN FISHER, Andrews, Texas

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is a 17-time National Finalist.

Yes, before he became a mainstay at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, Fisher qualified in team roping for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That was three decades ago when the NFR took place just a few miles away in downtown Oklahoma City.

Two seasons ago, he qualified with both sons, Vin and J. Tom; Vin returns to this year’s championship. Dan, though, has qualified for the NFSR in four decades: the 1980s, ’90s, ’00s and ’10s. That’s an astounding feat on its own merit. It’s proof of his talent; furthermore, it’s proof of his fortitude. Now 61 years old, he became the oldest National Finals qualifier two seasons ago; he’s just setting the mark even higher.

But that’s Dan Fisher in a nutshell. His father, Marvin, was a PRCA contestant, and now Dan is setting longevity records in the family’s name. His sons will carry on the legacy quite well.

But this weekend is as much about a wonderful career as anything else for Dan.

RALPH WILLIAMS, Skiatook, Okla.

Ralph Williams

Ralph Williams

Two and half years ago, Ralph Williams introduced himself to ProRodeo fans by winning the inaugural National Circuit Finals Steer Roping.

He’s not new the sport. Far from it, actually, but he’s competing in this weekend’s Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping for the second straight season. It’s quite an honor for an established veteran, but Williams has earned the right to play on this stage.

Of course, he waited until the last minute to do so. Williams placed in two rounds at the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo on the final weekend of the 2012 Pro Rodeo season. The $2,265 he earned in Stephenville, Texas, moved Williams from 16th to 14th.

Now he’s here, and he’s ready to make a significant move inside the walls of the fabulous Lazy E Arena. Though he didn’t fare well last November, Williams has proven he has the talent to play with the biggest dogs in the game. Look for him to show it.

CODY SCHECK, Ellinwood, Kan.

Cody Scheck

Cody Scheck

Cody Scheck has had an up-and-down year.

But when he was up, Scheck was way up. On June 2 while roping at the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Ark., the Kansas cowboy set a new world record with a 7.7-second run, beating the 7.9-second mark set by “The Legend,” Guy Allen. Yeah … that’s a pretty big up.

Still, Scheck saw several struggles through the season, too. He’s just happy to be in this weekend’s field. He is just two years removed from winning the average championship in this arena during the 2010 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.

This marks the fourth time in Scheck has qualified for the championship event. The first time was in 2005, the same season in which he was named the PRCA Resistol Steer Roping Rookie of the Year.

If the ups and downs of the 2012 campaign continue, he’s surely hoping everything’s on the rise at the Lazy E.

postheadericon Lazy E is giving away NFR tickets

The folks at the Lazy E Arena have fully embraced the direct impact of social media in today’s society.

Better yet, rodeo fans will have the opportunity to reap rewards of the Lazy E’s direction in social media. As happened during the Timed Event Championship, we will be posting trivia questions on Twitter and Facebook during the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, which beings at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Lazy E near Guthrie, Okla.

To have your chance of winning the prizes – including multiple opportunities to win tickets to this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – you’ll need to be in the audience at the steer roping finals. We will provide you with advance notice of the trivia questions. Once the question is posted, take your answer to the Lazy E ticket office and provide the answer to the attendant.

If you are the first person to provide that answer to the ticket-office attendant, then you will win the prize. We will let you know prior to the question what the prize will be.

So take your smart phone or tablet to the Lazy E this weekend, and FOLLOW us to the NFR.

postheadericon The race is on for 2012 world title

World’s best cowboys set to Battle during Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Cody Lee realizes it takes more than great roping if he is to win his first Steer Roping World Championship.

“I’ve had a pretty lucky year,” said Lee, 37, of Gatesville, Texas, the top-ranked cowboy heading into the 2012 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, presented by National Saddlery set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla.

Cody Lee

Cody Lee

“But with Rocky and Trevor right on your heels, you can’t have a big enough lead when those two are behind you.”

He’s talking about Rocky Patterson and Trevor Brazile, who, combined, have won five of the last six Steer Roping World Titles. Brazile, 35, of Decatur, Texas, is the reigning champ who also won Steer Roping gold buckles in 2006-07; Patterson, 46, of Pratt, Kan., won the world in 2009-10. While Lee leads the race heading into this weekend’s championship, Patterson and Brazile join Vin Fisher Jr. of Andrews, Texas, in the top four and in contention to move into the No. 1 spot from the opening tip.

“This event’s so tough,” said Patterson, who is making his 18th trip to the steer roping finale in his 21st season as a pro. “Trevor went in last year with a pretty good lead. This year’s going to be different. There are four of us that could change the lead every go-round.”

Lee knows that as well as anyone. This is his highest qualifying spot for the Clem McSpadden, but he’s been among the top 15 ropers in the game eight times.

“It’s been good all year,” he said, referring to the $62,745 he earned through the regular season. “I just need to stick to my game plan and try tying them all down.”

With more than $5,000 on the line for the winners of each of the 10 go-rounds, that’s good reason to be sure. But the total payout is a good reason why contestants are eager to make it to the Lazy E Arena in November. Ralph Williams of Skiatook, Okla., is back for the second straight year, but it’s just the second time he’s been part of the elite field in his career.

“To make it there with the caliber of ropers I’ve had to go against all year is a great feeling,” said Williams, who snuck into the field on the final weekend of the regular season. “There was a lot of tension going on heading to that weekend. We were checking each other’s steers and comparing notes, just trying to put it all together. It was intense.”

Ralph Williams

Ralph Williams

The intensity gets turned up quite a bit this week. Not only is this the largest purse in the sport this season, the NFSR is where the World Champion will be crowned.

“When I started roping, the goal was to make the finals once,” Patterson said. “Then once you’ve been there a half-dozen times, you hope for something better.

“Of course, it’s fun to be in the race right there at the top.”

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 2012 PRCA Steer Roping World Standings. On Friday night, Nov. 2, Rounds 1 through 5 will take place – that means 75 runs in one night. Then on Saturday night, Nov. 3, Rounds 6 through 10 – and another 75 runs – will determine who walks out of the Lazy E Arena with the PRCA World Championship gold buckle and saddle.

Rocky Patterson

Rocky Patterson

The Lazy E Arena was built to host the NFSR in 1984 by E.K. Gaylord II. In 2009, 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. 2-3.  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 2012 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.

Tickets are on sale now at www.lazye.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or by calling the Lazy E directly at (800) 595-RIDE. A portion of the proceeds from the 2012 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping will 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.

The 2012 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping is presented by National Saddlery, with support from Wrangler, American Farmers & Ranchers Insurance, Boyd Gaming, Montana Silversmiths, the American Quarter Horse Association, Justin Boots, Priefert Ranch & Rodeo Equipment, Ram Rodeo, John Vance Auto Group, Pendleton Whisky, Purina Mills, Kyler Cattle Company, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, The Oklahoman, One Stop Copy Shop, the Fairfield Inn & Suites-Edmond, Best Western-Edmond and the Comfort Suites-Edmond.

The Clem McSpadden NFSR is a Lazy E Production.  For more information on the NFSR or other Lazy E events, contact the Lazy E Arena, 9600 Lazy E Drive, Guthrie, OK  73044, (405) 282-RIDE, (800) 595-RIDE or visit www.lazye.com.

postheadericon Nos. 6-10 steer ropers

CHET HERREN, Pawhuska, Okla.

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

This marks the seventh time in 10 years that Chet Herren is playing on steer roping’s grandest stage.

He’s done pretty well here before.

He earned his first qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping was a decade ago. He won the 10-round average championship and made a statement that season. Even though he missed the qualifying mark from 2003-05, he has been pretty consistent since. He’s missed just one time in the last six seasons (2007) and hasn’t missed the finals since they moved back to Oklahoma four years ago.

Last November, he won the sixth and seventh go-rounds and placed in three others. In all, he won $20,385 inside these walls and moved up three spots to fifth place in the final world standings.

That’s why he’s competing this weekend. That’s why many expect to his name atop the average when the championship concludes.

KIM ZIEGELGRUBER, Edmond, Okla.

Kim Ziegelgruber

Kim Ziegelgruber

Over the last five years, Kim Ziegelgruber had been on the verge of making a big name for himself in steer roping.

A year ago, he got over one major hump, qualifying for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping for the first time in his career. This year, he took even greater strides, finishing the regular season among the top 10 in the world standings.

It’s great that Ziegelgruber is enjoying success and earning these qualifications. He lives closer to the Lazy E Arena than anybody else in the field. Last November, he made a big statement on the opening day of the NFSR, winning the fifth go-round. That weekend, he placed in five other rounds en route to a fourth-place finish in the average and an eight-place finish in the standings.

This year, he won the title in Sterling, Colo., but he pocketed more than $38,373. That means Ziegelgruber earned checks at a lot of rodeos along the way. But that’s what we’ve come to expect out of him.

That’s why he’s here.

MIKE CHASE, McAlester, Okla.

Mike Chase

Mike Chase

Mike Chase is a Kansas-born farmer who ropes pretty well, too.

This is the McAlester, Okla., cowboy’s third qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, but he’s been near the top of the game for years. This is the second straight year he’ll be in the field this weekend, and he just missed qualifying in 2010, finishing 16th in the final world standings.

A year ago, Chase earned the right to play on steer roping’s biggest stage after winning just one rodeo, the Inter-State Fair and Rodeo in Coffeyville, Kan. He won that rodeo again in 2012, but he added the title in Cleburne, Texas.

It shows that of the nearly $35,000 Chase earned this season, most of it came by nickels and dimes all along the way, meaning that he didn’t win the biggest check often, but he won a lot of checks along the way.

No matter. Mike Chase is in the chase at this year’s steer roping finale. That’s an important place to be.

J.P. WICKETT, Sallisaw, Okla.

J.P. Wickett

J.P. Wickett

J.P. Wickett had no intention of making the 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.

He made the finals anyway. So in 2012, he was serious. After 18 years on the rodeo trail, it was time for Wickett to spend time at home with his family.

A funny thing happened on the way to Sallisaw. Wickett had another solid year roping steers, so he returns to the Lazy E this weekend for his 13th NFSR qualification. He won three event titles: the Coleman (Texas) PRCA Rodeo, the Ken Lance Memorial Rodeo in Ada, Okla.; and the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M.

The latter was a big-money rodeo that propelled Wickett into the top 10 in the world standings and secured his trip to Guthrie this weekend.

It’s one thing to plan on retirement, or, as he puts it, spending more time at home. It’s quite another when J.P. Wickett just keeps winning.

LANDON McCLAUGHERTY, Tilden, Texas

Landon McClaugherty

Landon McClaugherty

Welcome back.

It’s been three years since Landon McClaugherty last played on this stage. He just missed the mark last year, finishing the regular season 16th in the steer roping world standings.

Even though he hasn’t been part of the elite field at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, McClaugherty has continued to be one of the greatest all-around cowboys in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In addition to finishing among the top 15 in steer roping, the Texan also is among the leaders in the all-around standings.

But that’s nothing unusual. McClaugherty won 16 titles in 2012, 10 of which were all-around crowns. Of the more than $30,000 he won in steer roping this year, none of it came with a title. That’s just solid proof of the consistent talent he possesses.

But you’ll get to see that plenty over these two days of competition.

postheadericon Texas Stampede returns to ProRodeo

ALLEN, Texas – The Tom Thumb Texas Stampede is returning to its roots, and fans will get the full range of excitement beginning with this year’s championship event.

After a few years of a invitational event, the stampede returns to the ranks of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the premier sanctioning body in the sport. Dollars earned at this year’s event – set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, and noon and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Allen Events Center – will count toward qualifications for the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the year-end championship that takes place in Las Vegas each December.

“Being part of the PRCA lineup means we can continue to draw top rodeo athletes in a no-holds-barred rodeo competition of contestants vying for a qualifying spot at the Wrangler NFR,” said Zandy Carnes, the stampede’s executive director.

That’s good news for the contestants who make their livings on the rodeo trail. Not only will the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede return to the ranks of a major PRCA rodeo, it will provide a purse that will continue to attract the very best cowboys in cowgirls in the sport.

“The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is extremely pleased to see the Texas Stampede return to the PRCA family,” PRCA commissioner Karl Stressman said. “The sport of professional rodeo has a long-standing tradition in the Lone Star State, and it’s exciting to continue to grow that tradition.”

Yes, they do. In addition to regular NFR qualifiers, fans will get to witness the very best animal athletes provided by Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo. Pete Carr and his staff will handle the world-class production and the elite bucking horses and bulls in the business.

“That rodeo has a very rich history, and I’m glad our crew can be part of it,” Carr said. “I know there are some great rodeo fans there, and I hope we can put on the kind of show that they want to see over and over again.”

Carr Pro Rodeo’s MGM Deuces Night was named the 2012 Bareback Horse of the Year. The 7-year-old bay mare has guided some of the biggest names in bareback riding to some of the most prestigious titles in the game, even setting arena records along the way. Carr’s Dirty Jacket, an 8-year-old bay gelding, was the second runner-up to MGM Deuces Night.

“This event provides another competitive opportunity for our members, and, in turn, a great opportunity to see a first-class show,” Stressman said. “Everybody wins.”

The rodeo is just one aspect of what the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede is all about, but the overall purpose of the organization is to reach out to the children in need that live in this area.

“It certainly will be a show that people won’t want to miss, which helps us achieve our mission of improving the quality of life for children and their families served through our support of children’s charities in North Texas,” Carnes said.

postheadericon Top 5 steer ropers


CODY LEE, Gatesville, Texas

Cody Lee

Cody Lee

Cody Lee is closing in on the best steer roping season of his career, and that’s saying something.

This season marks the seventh time in Lee’s career that he’s qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. He has won $62,745 already and should pad his annual income this weekend.

Here’s the most interesting statistic about Lee’s season: He won just three individual titles this season; that means the Gatesville, Texas, cowboy won the bulk of his 2012 salary came by winning checks at almost all the rodeos in which he competed. That’s a tale many cowboys would love to tell.

A year ago, Lee placed in three go-rounds and finished fifth in the average. He finished the season ranked fourth in the world standings.

Now he’s set to surpass that and finish even higher. He’ll need to maintain his consistency, but he can do that as well as anyone.

ROCKY PATTERSON, Pratt, Kan.

Rocky Patterson

Rocky Patterson

Do you realize how close Rocky Patterson was from winning his third straight World Championship last November?

Patterson, the 2009-2010 World Champion from Pratt, Kan., jumped into the world standings lead heading into the 10th round of the 2011 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. It didn’t hold. Instead, Patterson fell to Reserve World Champion.

This season marks the 18th time in 19 years he has qualified for the finals. Patterson has been one of the best ropers in the game since joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1992. While the two gold buckles say a lot, his longevity says more.

Even better is the fact that he returns to the Lazy E Arena among the top two in the world standings.

Patterson had a pretty snazzy year, winning seven titles en route to his second-place regular-season finish. In addition, he earned the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping title. It’s one of many he’s earned over a prestigious career.

He’s back in prime position to win another gold buckle. That makes it as exciting as ever to be in the Lazy E this weekend.

TREVOR BRAZILE, Decatur, Texas

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

The list of accomplishments is long, but there’s one thing that must stand out this weekend: Trevor Brazile is your reigning World Champion Steer Roper.

He also is your reigning World Champion All-Around Cowboy.

When you add the other 14 gold buckles the Texan has won, it’s not redundant; it’s spectacular. But so is Brazile. From the first time he nodded his head in ProRodeo to his record ninth All-Around World Title last December, he has been the epitome of excellence.

He is one of just two men in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to have qualified for the National Finals in all four roping disciplines, joining Dale Smith. He’s won world championships in steer roping (3), tie-down roping (3) and team roping-heading (1).

And if you ask the rest of the field in this weekend’s 10-round championship, they will, to a man, point to Brazile as the favorite to win another gold buckle. They’ve painted a target on his back, and they’re ropes are at the ready to unseat Brazile from the top of the steer roping pyramid.

It’ll be quite a task, though. He has won this year in Lewiston, Idaho; Clovis, N.M.; Walla Walla, Wash.; Deadwood, S.D.; Woodward, Okla.; Sinton, Texas; and, most recently, in Amarillo, Texas. He put a nice finishing touch by winning in Amarillo the second to last weekend of the 2012 season

Can he win the world again? You’re in the best place to watch it.

VIN FISHER JR., Andrews, Texas

Vin Fisher Jr.

Vin Fisher Jr.

Vin Fisher Jr. is more than a second-generation steer roper.

Fisher, whose father, Dan, is a 15-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, is competing this weekend for the ninth time in his career. Vin has finished as high as third in the final world standings.

Fisher finished second in the average in Amarillo and won titles in San Angelo, Texas; Goliad, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; Grover, Colo.; Cushing, Okla.; and Fort Pierre, S.D. It’s that kind of experience that gives Fisher an edge when it comes to competing at a high level.

And let’s face facts: Vin Fisher Jr. has done pretty well at the steer roping finals over the course of his career, which began in 2001. He hasn’t missed an NFSR since it returned to Oklahoma four years ago. More importantly, he’s been in position to contend for the gold buckle.

Just like this year.

JESS TIERNEY, Hermosa, S.D.

Jess Tierney

Jess Tierney

Everybody in rodeo has known the tremendous talent that Jess Tierney possesses. He comes by it naturally, but it wasn’t until last November that he got to show it on the national stage.

Now Tierney returns to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping for the second straight year, coming into the championship in the fifth spot in the world standings. He’s moved up rather nicely from one year to another.

Last year, Tierney finished eighth in the average inside these walls. That’s a pretty good start to his championship run. Still, he finished 15th in the final world standings.

He’s a virtual lock to finish in the top 10 for 2012, but he’d like to end his campaign on a high note. He’s the son of a world champion; his father, Paul Tierney, earned tie-down and all-round gold buckles more than three decades ago and is enshrined in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

Now it’s Jess’ turn to make his mark on the game.

postheadericon Judging contests teach ag lessons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The American Royal’s purpose is to serve youth, education and agrarian values.

Few events support that mission as much as the American Royal’s judging competitions, which puts all three core ideals into place.

Brant Laue

Brant Laue

“You can really think about judging competitions as the incubators for the leaders of tomorrow in the livestock industry,” said Brant Laue, chairman of the American Royal. “As a competitor, you are matching your wits against the professional.”

Competitors will rank the animals or products in order, which will be compared to the professionals’ decisions on the same items. Once that process is done, those judging will then provide oral reasons, which also will be scored by competition officials.

“You will give an oral defense of why you placed the animals in the order you did,” Laue said. “When that was brought into the competition, it added a new dimension to it.”

The reasons allow youngsters to develop, then enhance, their persuasive communication. While highly competitive, the judging experience allows for tremendous learning.

“When we teach kids how to evaluate livestock, what the important characteristics are and what the unimportant characteristics are, then we are teaching kids some critical steps they can carry with them,” said Cody Sloan, a Miami County (Kan.) Extension Agent who is organizing the FFA and 4-H livestock judging competitions.

“We are teaching kids about the meat animal industry and meat animal production. There are a lot of other reasons we have livestock judging contests. The experiences are second to none, and they develop decision-making skills.”

Everything that occurs in competition can easily translate into real-life circumstances.

“If you were to look at the history of the American Royal, the teams that have been here and the people that have gone on to leadership positions in the agriculture industry, it is quite impressive,” Laue said. “It is a core event of the American Royal. It is very much in line with our mission.”

There are six judging divisions, most of which are livestock judging – 4-H, FFA, junior college and intercollegiate; there also is a meat judging and a crops contest.

Ultimately, the judging ties in well with the livestock shows that are such a valuable piece of the puzzle for the Royal.

“Livestock judging is 100 percent opinion, which makes it fun,” Sloan said. “We teach kids to make sound decisions and ultimately defend those decisions. They have to sit down and justify why they did what they did. It teaches them so much.

“Plus it provides them with leadership activities and networking.”

Sloan should know. This is his first year as an official at the American Royal, but he’s been around the complex in the West Bottoms for years as a contestant.

“The thing I’m most thankful for with the judging was probably the networking, but you can’t take away the fact that we’re teaching what good heifers and good bulls look like,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done with my life since 2005, when I graduated high school. I’ve spent much of my life for livestock judging. I’m still in the middle of things.”

Whether it’s as an extension agent or as an organizer, Sloan knows just how important it is to compete at the American Royal, which contributes more than $1 million to youth and education each year.

“The American Royal is a highly reputable contest,” he said. “It’s one you go there with the intent to win. There is prestige and history behind the contest. That’s the neat thing.”

postheadericon MGM Deuces Night wins PRCA halter

Steven Dent rides Carr Pro Rodeo's MGM Deuces Night for 91 points to win the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo in June. MGM Deuces Night has been named the PRCA's Bareback Horse of the Year. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Steven Dent rides Carr Pro Rodeo’s MGM Deuces Night for 91 points to win the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo in June. MGM Deuces Night has been named the PRCA’s Bareback Horse of the Year. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

DALLAS – Wes Stevenson knew there was something special about MGM Deuces Night.

Now other elite bareback riders in ProRodeo have signed their letter of acknowledgement, voting the Carr Pro Rodeo athlete as the 2012 Bareback Horse of the Year.

Wes Stevenson

Wes Stevenson

“That pumps me up, and it says a lot about that horse,” said Stevenson, an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Lubbock, Texas. “I know how I feel about her, and it says a lot about how that the other top 15 in the world feel about her.”

Stevenson is a little closer than most to the 7-year-old bay mare. He raised the horse and was the first cowboy to ride her when she came of age. Then when Stevenson realized what he had, he sold her to Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm.

“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. She’s going to start doing some stuff right out of the box.”

Her consistent bucking motion is one reason why the top cowboys in the game selected her to win the halter – it’s the second such award for a Carr Pro Rodeo horse; Real Deal, a 12-year-old brown gelding, was named horse of the year in 2005. Another stalwart, River Boat Annie, was selected as the reserve world champion bareback horse in 2007.

MGM Deuces Night, by Night Jacket out of Night Watch, helped cowboys set a new standard in 2012. Reigning world champion Kaycee Feild of Payson, Utah, won RodeoHouston aboard the mare, establishing a new arena record with a 93-point ride. Five-time NFR qualifier Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb., set an arena record in Pecos, Texas, with a 91.

Jared Keylon

Jared Keylon

“I feel like that’s the best pick they could’ve possibly had this year,” said Jared Keylon, a first-time NFR qualifier from Uniontown, Kan. “I believe the horse-of-the-year award should always go to the horses that everybody wins on but one you have to work a little bit to get along with them. The horse of the year should be the one that if you ride really well, you can be close to 90 on every time.

“That’s what you get every time with Deuces Night.”

In addition to winning the halter, Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket was named the second runner-up to Bareback Horse of the Year. That’s quite an honor, too.

“We’re very blessed to have two of the top horses in the voting this year, and I think it says a lot about the bloodlines of these great animals,” Carr said. “MGM Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket are exceptional bucking horses, and it means a lot to me for them to be honored like this.”

This marks the third straight year that MGM Deuces Night has been selected to perform at the NFR, set for Dec. 6-15 in Las Vegas. It’s the fourth straight qualification for Dirty Jacket, an 8-year-old bay gelding.

Justin McDaniel

Justin McDaniel

Both MGM Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket have been powerful this season, with cowboys winning nine rodeos on either of those horses. In addition to the winning rides by Feild and Dent, newcomer J.R. Vezain scored 89 points on the mare to win in Guymon, Okla.

Feild won Fort Worth, Texas, with an 89 on Dirty Jacket to kick start a solid year. Other big wins for the gelding were Stevenson, 87, San Angelo, Texas; Jeremy Mouton, 86, Bridgeport, Texas; Austin Foss, 89, Window Rock, Ariz.; Matthew Smith, 87, Hempstead, Texas; and Clint Cannon, 84, Waco, Texas.

“When you look at the height those two horses get, they’re consistent in the way they buck every time,” said Keylon, who finished the regular season 15th in the world standings. “Those are horses you can count on. You know if you have Deuces Night or Dirty Jacket that if you do your job, you know you’re going to win.

“There’s no doubt in your mind. Those are the horses that when you see you’ve drawn them, you call home and tell your wife.”

Consistency is just one of the trademarks of the two Carr horses cowboys mention; another is the animal being electric.

Casey Colletti

Casey Colletti

“I think Deuces Night is a great horse, and guys are 88 to 90 every time her head is out,” said 2008 world champion Justin McDaniel, who has qualified for the NFR five times. “Winning the halter is about getting on the very best horses every time, and she’s that horse. I haven’t had the chance to get on her yet, but hopefully I will in either the fifth or 10 rounds at the NFR this year, and I’d be plumb tickled to draw that horse.”

So would the other 14 bareback riders who will test their skills against the very best horses in the world during the 10 nights of championship rodeo in Las Vegas from Dec. 6-15.

“Every time I’ve seen her, she does the same thing,” said Casey Colletti, a two-time NFR qualifier from Pueblo, Colo. “She angles to the left and bails in the air. What’s really cool is that she tries as hard as she can every time.

“That is a bucking horse I dream of when I think of bucking horses.”