Archive for May, 2013

postheadericon Elliott retires from bull riding

Earlier today, world champion bull rider Dustin Elliott announced his retirement.

Dustin Elliott

Dustin Elliott

Elliott was born in John Day, Ore., and attended Chadron (Neb.) State University. He has, for the most part, stayed in Nebraska ever since with his wife, Cynthia, and twins, Ethan and Emma.

He won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association gold buckle in 2004 and also saw success on the PBR and CBR tours. He also qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2005, 2006 and 2010.

“I’ve always told myself there will be a day I wake up and not want to ride anymore, and that day was April 10th,” Elliott wrote on a Facebook post Thursday morning. “I’ve thought about it for a month, and the drive just isn’t there like it used to be. I have other endeavors I’d like to embark on. I will stay involved in the sport in some way or another, and that door is open.”

Over the course of his career, I interviewed Elliott several times; he always was easy to talk to and offered anything I needed.

“My career was so much more than I ever expected as a kid from Oregon,” Elliott wrote. “I accomplished almost every goal I ever set.”

postheadericon Claremore rodeo sets special Sunday show

John Gwatney, Carr Pro Rodeo's chute boss, wears pink during a recent rodeo performance. The Will Rogers Stampede will have it's Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on Sunday, May 26. It's one of many things on Sunday's schedule.

John Gwatney, Carr Pro Rodeo’s chute boss, wears pink during a recent rodeo performance. The Will Rogers Stampede will have it’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on Sunday, May 26. It’s one of many things on Sunday’s schedule.

Cowboy church, pink night, memorial and Zip Gordon fund-raiser a part of rodeo’s finale

CLAREMORE, Okla. – A rodeo cowboy is the epitome of tough.

It takes a great level of toughness to ride bucking horses or wrestle steers. It takes a great level of toughness to drive hundreds of miles in a single stretch to get from one event to another.

But they have nothing on people battling cancer, and cowboys and cowgirls recognize that. That’s why most that make their living in rodeo support the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, which helps raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer. It also is why organizers of the Will Rogers Stampede are including a pink night during this year’s rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, at the Will Rogers Round Up Club Arena in Claremore.

“We’ve got a lot of things planned for our Sunday night performance, and we really wanted to include the Tough Enough to Wear Pink night into that great evening,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer rodeo committee. “We also want to honor cancer survivors in addition to raising awareness about the ways to fight the disease.”

Zip Gordon turns 6 years old the weekend of the rodeo. The Gordon family will continue to help raise funds to find a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive, which affects 1 in 2 million people. Zip is one of three Oklahomans with FOP. (PHOTO COURTESY OF

Zip Gordon turns 6 years old the weekend of the rodeo. The Gordon family will continue to help raise funds to find a cure for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive, which affects 1 in 2 million people. Zip is one of three Oklahomans with FOP. (PHOTO COURTESY OF

It’s not the only disease the rodeo is hoping to battle. During the performance, volunteers also will be passing around pink boots to raise funds for the International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressive Association. Zip Gordon is 5 years old, but he has been diagnosed with FOP; also known as stone man disease, the debilitating genetic disorder causes bone to form in muscle and connective tissue, potentially creating a second skeleton that severely restricts movement.

“FOP affects 1 in 2 million people,” said his mother, Amy Gordon. “They’re close to a cure. Until a cure is found, we will continue to raise money.”

The Gordons are conducting another fund-raiser in which they are drawing for a Jeep Wrangler, provided by Melton Motors.

“All of the funds from the Jeep will go toward research,” she said, noting that there are three cases of FOP in Oklahoma, including another in Rogers County. “The funds from the event and the auction items will go to IFOPA, because as a family, IFOPA is important to us. They do a fantastic job in what they do.

“Still, 85 percent of the money goes to research. Until a cure is found, we have to keep raising awareness.”

Of course, the Gordons have received great support from others in Claremore and Rogers County.

“The community has been there so many ways,” Amy Gordon said. “So many people want to be part of the community, but they don’t know how. This is something they can be involved with. It’s a little boy, and everybody can relate to a little boy.

“We have just been astounded as to how they stepped up. They look at this little guy as our guy, and we’re not going to go until we have a cure.”

More information can be found on a special website established for Zip, They can also sign up for the Jeep drawing at the rodeo, and they need not be present to win. It’s just one way to celebrate a community that has reached out, but that’s what the rodeo is all about.

“Sunday night is also our Rogers County Memorial Night, and we will have a special tribute to three prominent individuals: Clem Rogers, Will Rogers and Clem McSpadden. I think the rodeo being on Memorial Day weekend fits right into this theme, and I believe we should honor those that have made our area what it is.”

It’s a great tie-in to the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, which is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day of the year.

“This is the 75th anniversary of the Will Rogers Memorial,” said Steve Gragert, the museum’s director. “This tribute at the rodeo is a way to recognize individuals that were key to the museum and key to Oklahoma.

“The rodeo is representative of Will Rogers. The last day he spent in California before he left to Alaska, he was at a rodeo. They had competitions that he was involved in – roping competitions and cowboy competitions – and they were a key part of his life that would take him into the entertainment world. Rodeos were an important part of his life.”

But that’s just a small sampling of a bountiful evening of fellowship, entertainment and competition. A cowboy church service will take place inside the arena at 6:30 p.m., and all fans that arrive prior to 7 p.m. will be admitted for free.

“Our church service is sponsored by our Northeast Oklahoma Baptist Church Association, the Oklahoma Area of Cowboy Churches, Cowboy Gathering Church in Inola, Cowboy Junction in Vinita, Cowboy Capital Fellowship in Lenapah and Cowboy Up Cowboy Church in Owasso,” Petty said. “This is the fourth year of having a cowboy church service before our final performance, and I think it’s been a success. I think it’s good that we join our faith with our rodeo.”

postheadericon Rodeo camp to take place in Claremore

CLAREMORE, Okla. – Passion defines rodeo cowboys, and it has to.

One doesn’t ride nasty bucking horses or bulls without having a love for it. That passion leads the best in the game to reach out to others, offering their insights to the next generation of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association stars.

RodeoCamp-logoThat’s the primary focus of the PRCA Championship Rodeo Camps, where any young cowboy with the dream can learn from the men who make their livings in the sport. It’s why the volunteers who produce the annual Will Rogers Stampede are excited to be part of a free roughstock rodeo camp, set for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Will Rogers Round Up Club Arena in Claremore.

“Everyone on our committee wants to continue to see interest in rodeo grow,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee. “We are involved in hosting several junior rodeos throughout the year, and this camp is an excellent way to get kids involved in rodeo. It’s also great having professional contestants teach the kids the proper way to rig and dismount roughstock animals.”

The camp also allows beginners lessons on safety, including chute procedures prior to the ride and what to do when the ride is complete. It takes place during a busy week of rodeo action with the Will Rogers Stampede, which will have three performances set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26.

“PRCA Championship Rodeo Camps are great for beginners and have proven to be very beneficial for advanced riders,” said Julie Jutten, who is with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s industry outreach department. “If you are new to the sport, the camp will get you off to the right start, which will help your long-term success in the sport.”

The camp is open to participants of any ability, but they must be at least 8 years old.

Students can register in all three roughstock events and may do so online at Students also can register by calling Jutten at (719) 304-1471.

“The classroom will include sessions on preventing and managing injuries, which will prolong careers, and understanding the PRCA, which will ease an athlete’s transition into ProRodeo,” Jutten said. “The camps are free and a great chance to learn from the best of the PRCA.”

It’s just another big step for the Claremore committee, which has worked hard the last 11 months preparing for the weekend full of festivities and competition.

“We will be hosting a national Little Britches rodeo this fall, and it will be one of the first Little Britches rodeos in Oklahoma from the national association,” Petty said. “We all have a love for rodeo and for the Will Rogers Stampede. We hope that we will draw more cowboys and cowgirls to our sport, and that, in turn, will entice them to come back every year to be part of our rodeo.”

postheadericon Carr brings top crew to Jacksonville

Jeremy Hight, a pickup man for Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo, tries to wrangle a saddle bronc in Guymon, Okla., the first weekend in May 2013. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

Jeremy Hight, a pickup man for Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, tries to wrangle a saddle bronc in Guymon, Okla., the first weekend in May 2013. (LYNETTE HARBIN PHOTO)

JACKSONVILLE, Texas – Teamwork is a major factory in the success of any operation.

Pete Carr knows that as well as anyone, and it’s why he has the utmost confidence in the staff that will help Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and Carr Pro Rodeo in producing  the Tops in Texas Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15-Saturday, May 18, at Lon Morris College Arena in Jacksonville.

“I’ve got the best crew going down the road, bar none,” Carr said.

It shows in the overall product. Both firms have been recognized as top livestock contractors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and Carr points to the staff as the primary reason for any success.

“I’m only as good as the people around me,” Carr said. “These people believe in the value of hard work. When you look at events like this, those people make the effort and take pride in it being successful. That means a lot to me, and I hope the fans see it, too.”

Every play has its lead performers; in Carr’s case, those are some of the greatest bucking beasts in ProRodeo. Without an outstanding crew backstage, those performers won’t be showcased in the right light. The philosophy is the same in rodeo.

Carr established Carr Pro Rodeo in 2005 and purchased Classic Pro Rodeo this spring. Now Carr has brought together the teams from the two companies to form something rather magical.

“We’ve got some guys like Travis Adams that have been working for us for 20 years, and we’re mixing that with younger guys who work hard and are eager to learn,” said Jeremy Hight, a cowboy from Carthage, Texas, who is in his fourth year serving as a pickup man.

“When we put the two crews together, outstanding things happen. We all bring a lot to the table, but every person that’s part of this is willing to work hard to get things done and to do it all right.”

This year’s Tops in Texas Rodeo will be the fourth for Hight, one of two pickup men in the arena. The pickup men might be the most important cowboys in the arena throughout a rodeo, but it’s best that they’re not recognized. Their primary tasks are to keep cowboys as safe as possible while also helping with the overall production. They knew the necessity of getting the animals out of the arena in quick fashion after each ride and run.

“The thing about our crew is that everybody knows what needs to happen, and any one of us will jump in and do it,” Hight said. “Now we’ve got more people involved, and it works really well.”

The behind-the-scenes staff members put their blood, sweat and tears into their work in an effort to make each run, each ride and each performance come off as flawlessly as possible. Whether it’s feeding the animal athletes or moving them into the chutes to perform, there numerous tasks that need to be accomplished in order for a rodeo to come off without a hitch.

In addition to the family entertainment, crew members also keep in mind that this also is a competition featuring the brightest young stars in the sport.

“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 Payne providing a charge for Stampede

John Payne, the One Armed Bandit, will be one of the featured pieces of entertainment at the Will Rogers Stampede, set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, in Claremore, Okla.

John Payne, the One Armed Bandit, will be one of the featured pieces of entertainment at the Will Rogers Stampede, set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, in Claremore, Okla.

CLAREMORE, Okla. – In his lifetime, John Payne has worn many hats. No matter their shape or their style, they all would be considered cowboy.

Payne is a cowboy, and he’s quite proud of it. So when he has faced adversity, Payne has tackled it head on, just like most other cowboys. When he was electrocuted and brought back to life 40 years ago, he dealt with it. It was a life-changing event that led to his right arm being amputated, but it didn’t take away from the man, the cowboy Payne has always been.

Now he makes a living showcasing his talents and the unique brand of ranching he uses on his piece of land a couple hours northwest of Claremore near Shidler, Okla. John Payne of the One Armed Bandit & Co. will be the featured act at the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo, which will have three performances set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, at Will Rogers Round-Up Club Arena.

“I’ve always been a showoff, and I’m pretty good at showing off with my animals,” said Payne, who works the business with his son, Lynn, 37, and daughter, Amanda, 34. “It’s kind of like a paid vacation. You get to travel all over the country and get paid for it.

“But I like to show off the talents of my animals and my horsemanship.”

And while his children have their own version of the act, Payne is the original One Armed Bandit, a shout-out to his ability to overcome all sorts of adversity. When he was electrocuted in June 1973, he fell 25 feet to almost certain death. His work partner revived him with CPR. But the voltage did plenty of damage – the electricity exited his body through his abdomen, leaving a nasty hole there and on his left leg.

His rodeo career began in the mid-1980s, when he went to an event close to his home. He told the folks at the 101 Wild West Rodeo in Ponca City, Okla., that they could get a better act if they hired him. He put something together, then went back to ranching. That’s when legendary announcer Clem McSpadden called Payne.

“He was the one who prompted me into pursuing a career in the entertainment business in ProRodeo,” Payne said. “Clem told me that I could do that and make a heck of a living at it. Heck, I’ve been in business 23 years now.”

It’s a pretty good business. The One Armed Bandit & Co. has been named the PRCA Specialty Act of the Year 12 times.

“John is a rodeo legend, and he puts on a great show every time,” said David Petty, chairman of the committee that produces the annual rodeo. “He’s also an Oklahoma icon, which is pretty important to me in having someone of his caliber here at our rodeo.

“We have a lot of great, long-term rodeo fans in our area that love to see the One Armed Bandit work, and we’re excited to bring him to Claremore this year.”

Payne has made an impression on many throughout his award-winning career.

“He’s not scared to be a cowboy,” said Jesse James Kirby, one of the elite saddle bronc riders in Pro Rodeo from Dodge City, Kan., a Stampede regular in every May. “He can make whatever happen, whether he’s riding a mule or a horse, and he can make those buffalo do anything you can think of.”

Payne has been amazing people for more than two decades. He has a custom-made trailer that he utilizes in the act, allowing himself and the animals a rather high perch to show off to the fans. It takes guts and true horsemanship skills to handle the act.

“When you look at the things he does, it’s just awesome,” said rodeo announcer Scott Grover, who has called the action in Claremore for nine years. “When you consider he does all this with just one arm, it’s downright incredible.

“It has been one of my favorite acts for a long, long time, and it continues to amaze me.”

postheadericon Jacksonville to showcase Carr animals

JACKSONVILLE, Texas – The beauty of a bucking horse comes from its power.

The same can be said for Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and Carr Pro Rodeo, the premier livestock producers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The Carr crew will be bringing the power to the Tops in Texas Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15-Saturday, May 18, at Lon Morris College Arena in Jacksonville.

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

“Pete Carr is one of the premier stock contractors in the world,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Heflin, La. “Pete taking it another step further is amazing to me. It’s just going to make it better for everybody.”

This week’s festivities mark the 16th year Classic has produced the Tops in Texas Rodeo. Carr’s acquisition of the firm earlier this spring helps bring even more power to the athleticism and production of Jacksonville’s annual event.

“I’m combining two of the best crews in rodeo to form one of the greatest rodeo companies,” Carr said. “I’m excited about the new opportunities that are ahead for the company. I want committees to know we have a lot to offer them. We’re going to have unprecedented resources for all the rodeos, which will benefit everyone involved: committees, sponsors, contestants and spectators.”

The contestants who make their living in the sport recognize the impact of the Carr firms.

PeteCarrClassicLOGO“Pete has such an array of horse now that no matter where he goes, he will have it to where everybody has a chance to win money,” DeMoss said. “It’s a riding contest instead of a drawing contest, and that’s what Pete’s got in his mind to do. I’m behind him all the way.”

DeMoss won the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo on Pete Carr’s Classic’s Spur Strap, so he knows the kind of horse power it takes to be successful. He’s not the only bronc rider who touts the athletic animals now owned by Pete Carr. Wade Sundell rode Pete Carr’s Classic’s Big Tex for 90 points in February to win the $50,000 round at RodeoHouston.

“Pete’s got a heck of a string put together,” said Sundell, a four-time NFR qualifier from Boxholm, Iowa. “There are not a lot of people that can match him anymore.”

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

Sundell also fared well in Guymon two weeks ago, matching moves with Carr Pro Rodeo’s Miss Congeniality for 85 points to finish in a tie for second. He recognizes the importance of riding great horses throughout the year if he hopes to win the elusive world championship.

“It’s awesome when you have a good horse underneath you, because you know something good is going to happen,” he said.

That’s a major factor in why cowboys loving going to Carr-produced rodeos like Jacksonville.

“There are a lot of rodeos that are going to be hard to beat because of what Pete Carr brings to the table,” said bareback rider Steven Peebles, a four-time NFR qualifier from Redmond, Ore. “Pete has raised the bar in rodeo. He’ll have better horses and better production.”

The drawing card is about giving spectators with the best entertainment value while serving the committees with elite performances and providing contestants with the best opportunities.

postheadericon Event to benefit those affected by West explosion

If you rope or are involved in ranch rodeo, or if you just want to support a great cause, I’d recommend finding your way to Groesbeck, Texas, for a benefit event over Memorial Day Weekend to benefit the families of the first responders at the explosion in West, Texas.

Bobby Joe Hill, who owns Hill Rodeo Cattle, is one of the organizers of the event. Click on the poster below and get all the details.


postheadericon Swingler bringing funny to Claremore

Rodeo clown Mark Swingler will take his funny to Claremore for the Will Rogers Stampede, with three performances set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, at the Will Rogers Round Up Club Arena.

Rodeo clown Mark Swingler will take his funny to Claremore for the Will Rogers Stampede, with three performances set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, at the Will Rogers Round Up Club Arena.

CLAREMORE, Okla. – If laughter is the best medicine, then Mark Swingler needs a prescription pad.

No, Swingler isn’t a doctor by any means. He is, in fact, one of the most sought-after clowns in professional rodeo, and he’s bringing his brand of funny to the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26. It’s his job to be as entertaining as possible. He got started in the rodeo business as a competitor and went from bull rider to bullfighter to entertainer. “I don’t want anybody to think I’m working,” said Swingler of Austin, Texas. “Humor and laughter is contagious. Nobody wants to see anybody work. They want to have fun. That’s why you have spoofs when the act goes south.

“Plus I like the fresh stuff. I kind of use my wit and my humor with my surroundings. You just look up in the stands, and you’ve got enough material for a long time.”

Swingler has been in the business most of his life. He began as a bull rider, then took a shot at protecting fallen cowboys as a bullfighter. In fact, that’s how Swingler got his start in ProRodeo.

“I started in 1987, and I actually fought bulls until 1992,” he said. “It was kind of old school back then, when you fought bulls and did the comedy. I was mainly fighting bulls, but I found myself enjoying the entertaining part. By 1993, I worked one into the other. By 1994, my bullfighting cleats were hung up.”

In the years since, Swingler has been nominated for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year and Comedy Act of the Year. He has a nice load of entertaining acts, but his specialty is the “walk-and-talk,” where he observes the goings-on in and out of the arena and maintains the level of excitement for fans.

“I’m not what we call a canned person,” he said. “I don’t have a routine. I have acts, and even when I work Denver and 23 performances they have there, I was rotating seven acts. With the walking and talking, I just go with the flow. I’m one of those guys that says what everybody’s thinking, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. A lot of that depends on the announcers, but it’s a blast.

“I learned a long time ago that if you have a great performance, you usually forget what you did because it was just spontaneous and you just go with the flow. If you try to repeat it, it’s not going to work.”

Plus he gets to put smiles on thousands of fans each year. That’s a wonderful benefit he shares with Swingler.

“I just enjoy entertaining people, seeing them enjoy themselves,” Swingler said. “If I can get people to forget about their worldly troubles for just two and a half hours, then I feel like I’m successful.”

postheadericon A Feist of a candidate

ProRodeo announcer Bob Feist, who also owns and publishes Ropers Sports News, has been selected as a nominee for induction into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s 2013 Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Feist, nicknamed “the godfather of team roping” by his peers, has been instrumental in giving professional team ropers the chance to compete for large purses and achieve great recognition in the sport of team roping by creating and producing the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping for 34 years.

Before Feist started his announcing career, you could find him at ProRodeos across the country competing in team roping. He headed for the likes of Rickey Green, E.V. Dorsey, Al Hooper, Jerold Camarillo, Ken Luman, John Paboojian, Sam Fancher and Frank Ferreira Sr. He competed for many years, until an injury semi-retired him from the arena floor and sent him to the announcer’s stand. Feist also enjoyed the time he spent on the PRCA board as an alternate team roping director.

The selection committee of the Rodeo Historical Society chose nine nominees out of many outstanding candidates to be included on the 2013 ballot. Living nominees are Doug Brown, Bobby DelVecchio, the Etbauer Brothers, Bill Feddersen, Bob Feist, John McBeth, Gene McLaughlin and Dennis Reiners. Deceased nominees are Earl Bascom, O Raymond Knight, Jessie Like, Bud Parker, Rex Dunn and Johnny Quintana. Quail Dobbs is the Rodeo Hall of Fame Directors Choice inductee.

Members of the Rodeo Historical Society will select four nominees from the living and three from the deceased categories by secret ballot for induction into the prestigious Rodeo Hall of Fame. Only members of the RHS are eligible to vote for inductees. Membership in the RHS is open to the public. Annual membership is $35 per person. If you are not a member of the RHS or know someone who would like to join so they may vote on nominees, please visit our website to join:

Ballots will be mailed in late May and voting will close the first part of June. The Rodeo Hall of Fame ceremony will take place during Rodeo Weekend at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on Sept. 27-28.

postheadericon Hardwick wins ‘hometown’ rodeo

Seth Hardwick of Laramie, Okla., rides Carr Pro Rodeo’s Night Bells for 88 points on Sunday afternoon to win the bareback riding at the 81st edition of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. Hardwick, who attended nearby Oklahoma Panhandle State University, considers Pioneer Days Rodeo one of his hometown rodeos. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Seth Hardwick of Laramie, Okla., rides Carr Pro Rodeo’s Night Bells for 88 points on Sunday afternoon to win the bareback riding at the 81st edition of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. Hardwick, who attended nearby Oklahoma Panhandle State University, considers Pioneer Days Rodeo one of his hometown rodeos. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

GUYMON, Okla. – Seth Hardwick has been a rising star in ProRodeo the last couple of years.

Night Bells is an established bucking horse that performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The two entities got together Sunday for 88 points and the bareback riding championship at the 81st edition of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. It was a magical afternoon for Hardwick, a 24-year-old bronc buster from Laramie, Wyo.

“I’d heard of that horse, but I’d never seen him,” Hardwick said of the Carr Pro Rodeo horse, which was sired by the great stallion Night Jacket. “He was supposed to be really good and very rider friendly. He made the finals last year, so that was good enough for me.”

Three-time world champion Rocky Patterson competes on Sunday afternoon in Guymon. Patterson won the Pioneer Days Rodeo steer roping title for the second time in his career. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Three-time world champion Rocky Patterson competes on Sunday afternoon in Guymon. Patterson won the Pioneer Days Rodeo steer roping title for the second time in his career. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

It was good enough for a check worth $4,147 for Hardwick, who attended college on a rodeo scholarship at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, just 10 miles southwest of Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“Guymon’s like a hometown rodeo for me,” he said. “I went to school here at Panhandle for four years. Craig Latham was my coach, and we had a lot of help from the Etbauer brothers. They taught me how to keep getting on time after time. They taught me how to do it.

“It feels great to be able to win this rodeo in front of those people. It’s one of the best rides I’ve ever had.”

Hardwick is just one of two Panhandle State cowboys to have won 2013 titles, joining three-time world champion Rocky Patterson in the winner’s circle. Patterson roped and tied down five steers in 65.7 seconds and earned $8,347 – it was the most money won by any contestant at this year’s rodeo.

“This is pretty big because it’s a circuit rodeo, No 1,” said Patterson, who also won the Guymon title in 2010. “No 2, it’s just a great rodeo. The committee here does such a great job.

“It’s a rodeo with a lot of tradition, and it’s a nice one to win.”

Patterson also borrowed a friend’s horse in order to secure this year’s title.

“I rode my sorrel homes on Monday and Tuesday and got along really good,” he said. “Friday I went home to ride him, and he was pretty sore. That’s the great thing about rodeo and steer roping in particular.”

So Patterson rode a horse owned by Chet Herren, a seven-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Pawhuska, Okla., on Sunday afternoon.

“There are a lot of good people in steer roping,” Patterson said.

While this was Patterson’s second Pioneer Days Rodeo title, it was the first for steer wrestler Stockton Graves, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Newkirk, Okla. It’s not that Graves has performed poorly in the Oklahoma Panhandle, but it’s the first time he’s earned the championship.

“I’ve had Guymon start my year off more than once,” said Graves, who also is the rodeo coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. “It’s always been a good rodeo for me. It’s good for our circuit and good for the world standings, too.

“This is one I’ve always wanted to win. We got a good win off early this year, so hopefully it’ll just keep going.”

Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo
April 29-May 5
Final results
All Around Cowboy:
Tuf Cooper, $3,527

Bareback riding: 1. Seth Hardwick, 88 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Night Bells, $4,147; 2. Jason Havens, 86, $3,179; 3. Caine Riddle, 85, $2,349; 4. Ty Breuer, 84, $1,520; 5. (tie) Kaycee Field, Tyler Scales and Clint Cannon, 80, $737; 8. Clint Laye, 79, $415.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Seth Brockman, 3.3 seconds, $1,908; 2. Matt Mousseau, 3.9, $1,659; 3. Jacob Talley, 4.0, $1,410; 4. (tie) Bray Armes and Sean Santucci, 4.1, $1,037 each; 6. (tie) Kyle Irwin and Cole Edge, 4.2, $539 each; 8. (tie) Josh Peek, Ty Lang and Wyatt Smith, 4.4, $55 each. Second round: 1. K.C. Jones, 3.4 seconds, $1,908; 2. (tie) Tooter Silver, Gary Gilbert, Hunter Cure, Stockton Graves and Miles Mark Switzer, 3.8, $1,162 each; 7. Bray Armes, 3.9, $415; 8. (tie) Josh Peek and Stan Branco, 4.0, $83. Third round: 1. Stockton Graves, 3.8, $1,908; 2. (tie) Wade Sumpter and Matt Reeves, 3.9, $1,535 each; 3. (tie) Riley Duvall and Kyle Irwin, 4.1, $1,037 each; 6. (tie) Ryan Mims and Weston Taylor, 4.2, $539 each; 8. Tyler Pearson, 4.3, $166. Aggregate: 1. Stockton Graves, 12.5 seconds on 3 runs, $2,862; 2. Kyle Irwin, 12.8, $2,489; 3. (tie) Wade Sumpter and Josh Peek, 13.5, $1,929 each; 5. Trell Etbauer, 14.1, $1,369; 6. (tie) Tyler Pearson, Jace Melvin and Hunter Cure, 14.3, $622 each.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Lawson Plemons, 11.4 seconds, $1,803; 2. Scott Snedecor, 12.2, $1,568; 3. JoJo LeMond, 12.3, $1,332; 4. Shandon Stalls, 12.4, $1,097; 5. Vin Fisher Jr., 12.6, $862; 6. (tie) Mike Chase and K.W. Lauer, 12.8, $509 each; 8. Reo Lohse, 13.0, $157. Second round: 1. Bryce Davis, 9.8 seconds, $1,803; 2. Neal Wood, 10.6, $1,568; 3. JoJo LeMond, 11.4, $1,332; 4. Rocky Patterson, $1,097; 5. (tie) Chance Kelton and Rod Hartness, 12.4, $745 each; 7. Howdy McGinn, 12.5, $392; 8. Mark Milner, 12.9, $157. Third round: 1. (tie) Rocky Patterson and Coy Thompson, 11.6 seconds, $1,685 each; 3. Tim Abbott, 11.9, $1,332; 4. Corey Ross, 12.2, $1,097; 5. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Tony Reina, 12.4, $745; 7. Darin Suit, 12.6, $293; 8. Brent Lewis, 13.0, $157. Fourth round: 1. Tim Abbott, 10.5 seconds, $1,803; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.8, $1,568; 3. Chet Herren, 10.9, $1,332; 4. Lawson Plemons, 11.5, $1,097; 5. Trevor Brazile, 11.8, $862; 6. Dee Kyler Jr., 11.9, $627; 7. Shandon Stalls, 12.0, $392; 8. Rocky Patterson, 12.1, $157. Fifth round: 1. Jake DeGeer, 10.5 seconds, $1,803; 2. Rod Hartness, 12.5, $1,568; 3. (tie) Vin Fisher Jr. and J.D. Yates, 12.6, $1,215 each; 5. (tie) J. Paul Williams and JoJo LeMond, 14.6, $745 each; 7. (tie) Howdy McGinn and Ralph Williams, 15.1, $274 each; Aggregate: 1. Rocky Patterson, 67.5 seconds on 5 runs, $5,408; 2. Scott Snedecor, 71.5, $4,703; 3. J.D. Yates, 75.3, $3,997; 4. JoJo LeMond, 76.2, $3,292; 5. Howdy McGinn, 79.8, $2,586; 6. Riley Christopherson, 80.2, $1,881; 7. Will McBride, 81.8, $1,176; 8. John Bland, 82.9, $470.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Heith Allan DeMoss, 87 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Spur Strap, $3,702; 2. (tie) Wade Sundell and Bryce Miller, 85, $2,468 each; 4. (tie) Tyrell Smith and Tyler Corrington, 84, $1,111 each; 6. (tie) Ty Thompson and Lyle W. Welling, 83, $555 each; 8. Cort Scheer, 82, $370.

Team roping: First round: 1. Landon McClaugherty/Tommy Zuniga, 4.6 seconds, $2,285 each; 2. Ryan Jarrett/Marty Yates, 5.9, $1,987; 3. Chaz Kananen/Lee Walker, 6.4, $1,689; 4. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 6.5, $1,391; 5. Mike Bacon/Joseph Harrison, 6.6, $1,093; 6. (tie) Brandon Vaske/Chase Boekhaus and Quisto Lopez/Christian Morris, 6.8, $646 each; 8. (tie) Lane Ivy/Lane Siggins, Chris Francis/Cade Passig and Colby Lovell/Martin Lucero, 7.1, $66 each. Second round: Speed Williams/Kinney Harrell, 5.3 seconds, $2,285 each; 2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 6.1, $1,987; 3. Colby Siddoway/Shay Carroll, 6.2, $1,689; 4. Gavin Foster/Derrick Jantzen,6.5, $1,391; 5. Jess Teirney/Justin Hendrick, 6.6, $1,092; 6. (tie) Tuf Cooper/Joel Bach and Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 6.7, $646; 8. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska,6.8, $199. Third round: 1. Tyler Magnus/Mickey Gomez, 6.6, $2,285 each; 2. (tie) Ryan Von Ahn/Derrick Peterson and Charley Crawford/Ryan Motes, 6.7, $2,838 each; 4. (tie) Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz and Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 6.8, $1,242 each; 6. Mike Bacon/Joseph Harrison, 7.2, $795; 7. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 7.6, $497; 8. Nick Pullara/Justin Price, 7.7, $199. Aggregate: 1. Charley Crawford/Ryan Motes, 21.1 seconds on 3 runs, $3,426 each; 2. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 22.4, $2,980; 3. Chance Thompson/Jaytin McCright, 23.3, $2,533; 4. Quisto Lopez/Christain Morris, 23.8, $2,086; 5. Nick Pullara/Justin Price, 24.5, $1,639; 6. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 25.1, $1,192; 7. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 27.4, $745; 8. Jess Tierney/Justin Hendrick, 28.1, $298.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Jesse Clark, 7.7 seconds, $2,039; 2. (tie) Ace Slone and Dane Kissack, 8.1, $1,640 each; 4. Tyson Durfey, 8.3, $1,231; 5. (tie) Justin Maass and Monty Lewis, 8.4, $842 each; 7. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tuf Cooper, 8.6, $310 each. Second round: 1. Riley Pruitt, 7.1 seconds,$2,039; 2. Sterling Smith, 7.7, $1,773; 3. (tie) Cimarron Boardman and Justin Scofield, 8.1, $1,374 each; 5. Bryson Seachrist, 8.2, $975; 6. Cade Swor, 8.3, $709; 7. (tie) Marty Yates and Tuf Cooper, 8.4, $310 each. Third round:  1. Cade Swor, 7.8 seconds, $2,039; 2. Tyson Durfey, 8.3, $1,773; 3. Boe Brown, 8.9, $1,507; 4. Jeremiah Peek, 9.0, $1,241; 5. Cimarron Boardman, 9.1, $975; 6. Dane Kissack, 9.2, $709; 7. JC King, 9.3, $443; 8. Trell Etbauer, 9.4, $177. Aggregate: 1. Cade Swor, 25.7 seconds on 3 runs, $3,059; 2. Tyson Durfey, 26.4, $2,660; 3. Tuf Cooper, 27.03, $2,261; 4. Jesse Clark, 27.6, $1,862; 5. Cimarron Boardman, 28.1, $1,463; 6. Seth Childers, 28.7, $1,064; 7. Dane Kissack, 29.0, $665; 8. Ryan Watkins, 29.15, $266.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Kendra Dickson, 17.27 seconds, $2,228; 2. Sherry Cervi, 17.40, $1,910; 3. Michelle McLeod, 17.44, $1,592; 4. Alicia Stockton, 17.46, $1,379; 5. Carlee Pierce, 17.49, $1,061; 6. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.50, $849; 7. (tie) Kim Couch and Molly Powell, 17.51, $531 each; 9. (tie) Cindy Woods and Nicole Aichele, 17.64, $285 each. Second round: 1. Michelle McLeod, 17.13 second, $2,228; 2. Brittany Pozzi, 17.21, $1,910; 3. Kassidy Dennison, 17.30, $1,592; 4. Victoria Williams, 17.4, $1,379; 5. Jessica Frost, 17.42, $1,061; 6. Sammi Bessert, 17.43, $849; 7. Kimmie Wall, 17.44, $637; 8. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.45, $424; 9. Alicia Stockton, 17.46, $318; 10. Kendra Dickson, 17.49, $212. Aggregate: 1. Michelle McLeod, 34.57 seconds on 2 runs, $2,228; 2. Kendra Dickson, 34.76, $1,910; 3. Alicia Stockton, 34.92, $1,592; 4.Brittany Pozzi, 34.93, $1,379; 5. Gretchen Benbenek, 34.95, $1,081; 6. (tie) Kim Couch and Sherry Cervi, 35.03, $743 each; 8. Carlee Pierce, 35.14, $424; 9. Tammi Reynolds, 35.26, $318; 10. Jana Bean, 35.29, $212.

Bull riding: 1. Tyler Smith, 93 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Rio Bravo, $3,790; 2. Parker Breding, 89, $2,906; 3. (tie) Cody Whitney and Josh Koshel, 88, $1,769; 5. Rorey Maier, 85, $884; 6. Tyler Willis, 84, $632; 7. (tie) Chandler Bownds, Taylor Toves and Clayton Foltyn, 83, $295.

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