Archive for August, 2013

postheadericon Prayers needed for bronc rider

Chuck Schmidt

Chuck Schmidt

The first post I noted on Facebook today was from Troy Crowser, who posted a request for prayers for friend and fellow saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt.

An update came through friends via Cole Elshere’s page, which reported early Saturday morning that Schmidt suffered two broken vertebras in his neck, the C6 and C7.

For those of the praying nature, I join those in asking for your heeling help. Schmidt, 25, is one of the best young bronc riders in the game. He qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011 and has won titles in Dodge City, Kan.; Billings, Mont.; Sheridan, Wyo.; just to name a few.

This from whomever posted on Elshere’s Facebook page: “Cole is with him and asking for a million prayers.”

I’m asking for more.

UPDATE FROM ELSHERE’S FACEBOOK PAGE, 10:25 a.m. Central Saturday, Aug. 31: “Chuck has full use if his arms and legs!! He is going into surgery at 5 … please keep the prayers coming!”

postheadericon Fall Festival is about to kick off

American Royal preparing for its annual celebration, numerous festivities

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The excitement around the American Royal complex is building.

It’s a regular occurrence this time of year in the West Bottoms. Volunteers and personnel are buzzing with anticipation of the 2013 Fall Festival, which takes place Sept. 3-Nov. 16.

AR-September“This will be another great year of events to help us spread the word concerning our primary focus, which is our mission toward youth and education,” said Bob Petersen, the American Royal’s president and CEO. “The American Royal generates funding for our mission through our many events, charitable contributions and various sponsorships. We take tremendous pride in being one of the premier charitable organizations in the Kansas City area.”

That it is. The American Royal contributes more than $1 million annually in its support in youth and education, and it honors that commitment through the two-plus months of its Fall Festival, which also honors the traditions that have served as the community’s foundation for decades. From being the home of the Barbecue Hall of Fame and the World Series of Barbecue competitions to the livestock shows, horse shows and rodeos, there are numerous activities that reach to the core of Kansas City’s legacy.

“Kansas City has a rich history, and we celebrate it every fall,” Petersen said. “This is a wonderful way for us to showcase that history and to reach out to all the people from our area to celebrate it with us.”

The festivities begin Tuesday with the youth photography contest, followed closely by the first horse show of the Fall Festival, the Quarter Horse Show that takes place Thursday, Sept. 5-Sunday, Sept. 8. It’s big start to a busy time at the American Royal complex.

“Throughout each day of our Fall Festival, we will honor our mission,” Petersen said. “We begin with youth, and I believe that’s a great way for us to begin this season’s festivities.”

postheadericon Elite ropers converge on Lazy E

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Over the last eight years, just three men have laid claim to the title of World Champion Steer Roper.

With just one month left in the 2013 regular season, all three are in position to be part of the 2013 championship event, the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8-Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Fabulous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

Rocky Patterson

Rocky Patterson

Three-time and reigning World Champion Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., has a strong hold on the No. 1 spot in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, having earned $62,933 through the end of August. His lead is about $11,000 over the No. 2 cowboy, Patterson’s traveling partner Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla.

“When you’re talking about Trevor Brazile, Cody Lee and Chet Herren, any lead’s a good lead, but no lead’s good enough,” said Patterson, who won gold in 2009-10 and last year.

Another three-time World Champ, Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, sits in the No. 3 spot, just $3,000 behind Herren, while Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas is fourth with $47,998. Brazile, a 17-time World Champion who owns a record 10 PRCA All-Around titles, earned steer roping gold in 2006-07 and 2011. He and Patterson are joined by two-time titlist Scott Snedecor of Fredericksburg, Texas, who is 12th on the money list with $29,892; Snedecor won his gold buckles in 2005 and 2008.

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

“I think a lot of our steer roping fans that’ll be at the finals in Guthrie are older, and they have a connection with steer roping because it’s one of the oldest events and it’s one of the first events in rodeo,” Patterson said. “They like to see good horses work and see good cowboys rope.”

They’ll get that chance the second weekend of November, when the brightest stars in the sport converge on the Lazy E Arena. Only the top 15 cowboys on the money list at the conclusion of the regular season qualify for the Clem McSpadden NFSR, where they’ll compete for the largest purse in the sport. With just four weeks remaining in the regular season, cowboys will be pushing hard to qualify for the NFSR, which will crown the first World Champion of the 2013 season.

The Lazy E is the perfect facility to host the Clem McSpadden NFSR. The arena was built in 1984 and was completed in time for that year’s championship. It has been event’s host for most of the last 30 years.

 

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

“When I was a kid, I got to go to the Lazy E and watch the National Finals Steer Roping,” said Patterson, a 19-time finalist who qualified for the first time in 1994. “I always had a desire to rope at the finals, and that always included the Lazy E.

“Amarillo was a great host, and Hobbs did well for steer roping, but to me, the steer roping finals belong at a place like 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. 8-9.  VIP ticket prices for each performance of the NFSR are $40 … Box seats $35 and general admission $23 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 2013 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 will be on sale Sept. 25 at www.lazye.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or by calling the Lazy E directly at (800) 595-RIDE. Call early for the best seats possible for this world championship.

postheadericon ‘The Ride’ takes a tour of Texas

Nestled along the east side of Ray Roberts Lake in north Texas is a stream of athletic horses and the training complexes that serve as their home.

It’s where many of the top reining horse trainers handle their business.

“It’s really become a reining horse mecca,” said Tim McQuay, owner of McQuay Stables and one of the most recognized breeding programs in the sport. “You fly into Dallas, and you can look at 5,000 horses within two days if you really want to. It’s been good for us.”

McQuay’s facility is one of the complexes featured in the next episode of “The Ride with Cord McCoy,” which airs at 1 and 11 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Sept. 2, on RFD-TV. McCoy tours McQuay Stables in Tioga, Texas, and Tim McCutcheon Reining Horses, with complexes near the Texas communities of Pilot Point and Aubrey. McQuay moved his operation from Minnesota in 1989 and has built a powerful business.

Tim McQuay

Tim McQuay

“The biggest reason we moved was Hollywood Dun It,” he said, referring to the champion stallion that became the foundation of the McQuay breeding program. “We bred 40 to 50 mares to him up there. The first year we came down here, we bred right at 80 mares. Every year after that, we bred over 100 mares to him.”

Part of the reason was that mares in the northern climate didn’t have a long reproductive cycle because, as McQuay put it, “Spring doesn’t hit until the first weekend in May.” But there was more to it.

“People come to Texas,” he said. “It’s easier to get horses to Texas. At that point, you had to bring the mares to the stud.”

While training is important to the cause, the breeding program is what has led McQuay to his greatest successes.

“It’s been a good career for us,” he said. “The training business is a good business, but it doesn’t really make a lot of money. It’s not a cheap game to be in the training business, so the stallions have been our profit. When I started with Hollywood Dun It, there wasn’t very many stallions out there breeding reining horses. It was a small enough group that there wasn’t very many people breeding them.

“He did very well with his colts from the very beginning of his colts showing. He helped us pay for this monstrosity.”

Hollywood Dun It produced AQHA world champions, national half-Arab champions and multiple NRHA world champions and reserve world champions, according to the McQuay website. Dun It lived to be 18 years old. In 2005, McQuay and his wife, Colleen, acquired another key stud, Colonels Smoking Gun, in 2005. He continues to be a major player in the family’s breeding program.

“When we got Gunner, we crossed him on the Dun It (mares), and, man, it’s been a good mix,” Tim McQuay said. “In the last 20 years, our industry has changed because of the breeding.”

Technology has played a factor in changes, too. McCoy went to neighboring McCutcheon Reining Horses, where he witnessed the facility’s equine rehabilitation center and spa. Ranch manager Barb Wibbles showed off the center’s Aqua-Tred, which allows horses the opportunity to exercise in water without suffering potential impact injuries from other activities.

“The therapy program is really important,” said Mandy McCutcheon, an owner of the ranch. “I feel like any pro athlete needs to take care of themselves. That’s how we need to take care of the horses.”

Tom McCutcheon told McCoy that one key reason he loves the reining horse business is because of the friendships he and his family have developed over the years. It’s something he shares with Tim McQuay.

“The horse business has kept everybody together,” McQuay said, referring to his family. “We go to horse shows; we spend a lot of time with our families, too.”

That’s a common theme for those who live the Western lifestyle. McCoy has seen it in his family, and he puts it on display for the fans of “The Ride,” especially with the focus on facilities that have so many family members involved in the operation.

“I’ve been real fortunate to have a lot of success in the reining horse world,” Mandy McCutcheon said, “but nothing brings me more joy than watching my son try and do the same thing, and the passion he has for it is just amazing.”

That’s what it takes, and the families in the north Texas reining horse business seem to have a good handle on it already.

postheadericon Head injury sidelines Combs’ dreams

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in the August edition of Women’s Pro Rodeo Today, the official publication of the WPRA.

With her heart, her spirit and her mind all focused in on the same goal for this season, Liz Combs set out on her summer run chasing her gold buckle dreams and a shot at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

She knew she had something special in Bogies Lil Skeeter, a 10-year-old gray gelding out of Street Royal by Bogies Bainkus. In fact, Skeeter had carried Combs to the 2011 and 2012 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association barrel racing championships.

“I was just trying to make the NFR,” she said of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the year-end championship that pays out the largest purse in the sport over 10 December nights in Las Vegas. “The thing that has been so frustrating about this is that my horse was finally running good.”

The “this” she’s talking about is the wreck she experienced Sunday, June 23, while saddling Skeeter prior to her scheduled run at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo. The gelding was spooked and knocked Combs into her trailer. She suffered a fractured skull and will be out of action the remainder of the season.

Liz Combs

Liz Combs

“I hit the back of my head on the trailer, which it split my head open and knocked me out,” Combs said, describing the mishap in matter-of-fact detail. “I don’t know what happened from the time I was knocked out and the time I hit the ground, but the skull fracture happened on my right side and it severed an artery, so I had a pretty significant bleed in my brain.

“Thankfully it was only a two-minute ride in the ambulance to the hospital. They got me into the CT scan, told me what was going on, and thankfully there was a neurosurgeon there who was in surgery, and as soon as he got done with that surgery, he got to me right away.”

The surgeon removed a 5- to 7-centimeter piece of Combs’ skull, cauterized the artery to stop the bleeding and drained the excess. He then replaced that piece of bone and put a plate in to stabilize it.

It sounds horrific, but Combs doesn’t see it that way.

“I’m doing really good,” she said July 12, less than three weeks removed from the accident. “I’ve been really blessed. I have no brain damage, and I’m going to make a complete and full recovery. It’s just going to take some time before I can get back on my horses.”

That’s great news. Sure, it’s frustrating, but that’s the competitor coming out in her, and she’s a big-time competitor. She earned those two college titles while finishing her final two years at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where she spent much of this year. Originally from Eltopia, Wash., Combs attended Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College her first two years.

“I’ve had a couple days where I’ve been really upset,” she said. “I know this is part of God’s plan, and He’s going to use me in some way through this. I’m just trying to stay strong in my faith right now.

“I love rodeo, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. My horse is sound, and he’ll be there next year. Hopefully I can get back on him in January, and we can do good next year.”

Combs and Skeeter finished the 2012 season No. 20 in the ProRodeo World Standings. She’d like to move up at least five spots in 2014 and make up for some lost time.

By mid-July, she had earned more than $16,000 and was in the top 40 in the world. A key part of that came just four days prior to her accident, when Combs and Skeeter rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 17.33 seconds to win the title at Rodeo de Santa Fe (N.M.).

“My horse was really firing hard,” said Combs, who earned $2,147. “I tipped the first barrel and lifted my leg over it. I didn’t know it was still up until I got around the second barrel. He made a really good run.”

That’s an important ingredient in running barrels. Another factor is knowing where to run and why, given that Santa Fe was part of the WPRA’s Qualifying Tour.

“I wasn’t really focused on the Qualifying Tour events,” she said, noting that she’s been traveling with Emily Efurd of Pittsburg, Texas. “We had been in Texas, and we figured we would go over to Santa Fe, then up to Pleasant Grove (Utah), then over to Reno. We stayed in Texas as long as possible for our horses’ sake to keep them fresh.

“He was feeling fresh, and we were ready to get out of Texas. It was a pretty exciting way to start our summer run.”

Sometimes the best plans don’t work out, and detours occur. She admitted that there’s a hunger to compete already, but she’s in no hurry.

“I haven’t lost any of my abilities to do anything,” she said. “It would be silly for me to get back on my horse. The doctor said that I’m going to feel fine in the next few months, but even if I get a minor concussion, it could cause some major problems.

“The doctor said I could be damaged permanently; I don’t want to take a chance on that.”

For the time being, Combs has returned home to Washington, where her parents are caring for her while she recuperates. But she knows she found a lot of success in the Lone Star State. She leaned on her faith when deciding where to transfer to after junior college, and it paid off.

“A friend of mine from up here was going to Sam Houston State, and it caught my interest,” Combs said. “I looked into the school and ended up meeting the rodeo coach, Bubba Miller. That’s why I went, and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I’m hoping to be back down in Texas sometime soon.”

She credits the competition and training she received as a key reason for her success. When one competes against the sharpest metal, it’s easier for one to become sharper, too.

“If I’d never gone to Texas, my horse never would’ve reached the potential he has reached,” she said. “It definitely made me push myself and my horse a lot harder.”

Now she’s hoping for God’s healing hands to embrace her over the coming months, to ease her frustrations of being away from the rodeo arena and help her focus on those things that are most important. She knows that’s what it’s going to take to chase her dreams again next year.

Well, that and a sound Skeeter.

“He has a lot of heart, and he really proved that last year,” Combs said. “I almost made the finals last year, but he had some soundness issues then. It took me all winter and all spring to figure it out. I just needed to make some changes in shoeing and get his hocks injected.

“He almost took me to the finals last year when he was hurting, so I’m excited about having him sound. We have a really good connection, and he always tries 100 percent every time he goes into the arena.”

A lot of history in that run

Stacey Grimes had been competing at the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo for more than 25 years, but she’d never won it.

That changed on the final night of this year’s event on June 29, when she and Jetbug circled the pattern in 17.28 seconds to scorch the field – she bettered runner-up Jana Bean by nearly three-tenths of a second.

“I’ve finished second three times,” said Grimes, of Kerrville, Texas. “I had the same horse power last year and won second. This year he was on fire and was ready to win, and thank the good Lord he did.”

Jetbug is a 10-year-old black gelding, and he waited until the last of four performances to make the biggest statement in the event that dubs itself the World’s First Rodeo, established in 1883.

“It took me 130 years to win this buckle,” Grimes said jokingly, referring to the rodeo’s anniversary.

Top of the ground

Fallon Taylor of Whitesboro, Texas, and Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz., have been near the top of the world standings much of this season. They made moves in the Qualifying Tour, too.

Taylor rounded the pattern in 15.92 seconds to win in Mandan, N.D.; she earned $3,146. Cervi won $3,978 in Oakley, Utah, by scoring a 15.62.

Laura Kennedy of Quitman, Ark., scored a Qualifying Tour victory during the July 11-13 Heart of the North Rodeo in Spooner, Wis. She rounded the pattern in 17.58 seconds to win $2,884.

postheadericon The American changing face of rodeo

The talk in the world of rodeo today concerns the news of RFD-TV’s The American, a one-day event that will pay $2 million on March 2 at Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium.

Randy Bernard

Randy Bernard

The announcement came during a live news conference, which featured Randy Bernard, the CEO and president of Rural Media Group; Stephen Jones, the COO and executive vice president of the Cowboys; Jim Haworth, chairman and CEO of the PBR; Dr. Robert Cluck, the mayor of Arlington, Texas; and a host of rodeo legends, including Donny Gay, Cody Lambert, Larry Mahan, Ty Murray, Fred Whitfield and two-time PBR champion Justin McBride.

The American will invite the top 10 contestants in each of the traditional rodeo events, most of which will be based on the final PRCA and WPRA world standings, decided after the conclusion of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (set for Dec. 5-14); bull riding will feature the top 10 cowboys from the PBR at the conclusion of the World Finals (set for Oct. 23-27 in Las Vegas).

RFD-TV-logoFive additional spots will be available through regional qualifiers.

This is a major play in rodeo, and the contestants look to be the grand beneficiaries, and RFD-TV will carry the event live. That’s a powerful move on the part of the network and its parent company, Rural Media Group, which last December announced Bernard’s hiring. The competition also will be carried live on Rural TV and Rural Radio on SiriusXM Channel 80.

Tuf Cooper

Tuf Cooper

“In my opinion, this has a chance to change the landscape of rodeo forever and is way overdue,” he said in a release issued Thursday.

While ProRodeo’s world standings will be in place, The American will have events sanctioned by the PBR, Pro Roughstock Series, United States Team Roping Championships, Better Barrel Racers and the Ultimate Calf Roping Series.

“The American will make a huge impact on the sport of rodeo,” Tuf Cooper, the two-time reigning tie-down roping world champion, said in the release. “The opportunity to compete at one event in one day and walk away with a possible six-figure check is huge.”

postheadericon McCoy gives viewers the reins

Champion trainer Hendricks showcased on next episode of ‘The Ride’

Dell Hendricks is the premier reining horse trainer in the world, and there’s a good reason for it.

In his established career, Hendricks has earned more than $1.4 million in the National Reining Horse Association winnings. In addition, he raises, trains and shows a number of the top horses in the business.

The key components as to why he’s considered the best will be on display for all to see during the Aug. 26 episode of “The Ride with Cord McCoy,” which airs at 1 and 11 p.m. Mondays on RFD-TV.

Dell Hendricks makes a reining run during competition. (PHOTO COURTESY HENDRICKS REINING)

Dell Hendricks makes a reining run during competition. (PHOTO COURTESY HENDRICKS REINING)

“A lot of people call it horse whispering, but the training focuses on teaching the horse to read your cues,” McCoy said. “In a sense, if I push this little button, I want you to that. If I want a horse to do something, then all I have to do is push that button. I don’t think the people give the horses enough credit on how smart they are. I could make the horse do so much with just a little cue.”

McCoy has learned a few of those things over the last few years. He and Hendricks met in 2008 during the Reining Horse Sports Foundation’s 4R Performance Horses Celebrity Slide and were teamed as part of a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. They were teamed with Starbucks Sidekick, a champion reining horse, and Luke Good, a child receiving the Make-A-Wish benefits.

“Me meeting Dell Hendricks was pretty special,” McCoy said. “It seemed like all four of us made a bond in the one day we were together.”

That bond continues today, and fans will get to see it in the half-hour show.

“I’ve been all over the world teaching people about reining and showing horses,” Hendricks said on the show. “When I had the opportunity to help Luke and make his wish come true, it was a great opportunity. When you got in the mix, it was a fun opportunity.”

It marked the first time McCoy stepped onto a reining horse. That day also set the wheels in motion for McCoy’s brother, Jet, who traveled the world with Cord in two seasons of the reality-television show, “The Amazing Race.” Jet McCoy met Hendricks at the benefit and has since gone into the business; he owns Wranglin in Chex, a half-brother to Sidekick that has become one of the top 20 reining money-earners this year.

“That makes Jet one of the top 20 reining horse owners in the world,” Cord McCoy said, noting that Hendricks shows Wranglin in Chex for his brother. “It’s made a full turn, and it started with a little wish.”
During the show, Hendricks takes viewers on a little ride around his Hendricks Reining complex in north Texas.

“It was an interesting combination for me getting paired up with you,” Hendricks told Cord McCoy. “It was a great thing for me because I’ve made a lot of friends. Luke has come to the ranch a couple of times and got to get on horses here at the ranch.”

He also explained just why he loves working with reining horses.

“When you get on them, they actually feel a lot different than people think they do,” he said. “It’s almost like stepping into a Ferrari and driving down the road as fast as you can and turning corners, because they handle so much better than a lot of horses. For me, personally, it’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done on a horse.”

It’s a challenge that’s befitting of talented horsemen.

“A lot of people on the ranch have the misconception that show horses are just show horses and ranch horses are just ranch horses,” Jet McCoy said on the show. “Once I got a little better introduced to it and started realizing the things these reining horses are doing, (I though) if I could get my ranch horses doing a little, tiny part of that, it would make way better horses.

“When Cord got the opportunity to be in the Celebrity Slide, I got to meet Dell. About two weeks later, I took him up on the offer and got to come down and ride some nice horses.”

The key is in the work done at Hendricks Reining.

“Top athletes only get to be top athletes because of the work they put in on the practice field,” Cord McCoy said. “Horses are the same way. They get prepared the same way even for practice. Dell Hendricks makes his living on what he can train these horses to do and how much he can win in performance. The care of these animals is as tip-top as you can make this. It’s pretty neat to hang out on his place.”

The episode shows Hendricks and the McCoys in the practice arena, with the trainer teaching the principals that have made him so successful.

“There are seven different components to a reining run,” Jet McCoy said. “All of those seven components … I use them every day when I’m working on the ranch or if I’m riding a roping horse.”

postheadericon McCoy focuses on rodeo youth

‘The Ride’ features the top young talent in the sport during IFYR showcase

Fifteen years ago, teenage brothers Jet and Cord McCoy were the talk of the town in Shawnee, Okla., host of the annual International Youth Finals Rodeo.

The brothers McCoy already were big names in the sport, and they added to it in Shawnee. Cord McCoy won the IFYR’s all-around championship in 1997, and Jet, older by just 13 months, claimed the title a year later.

Cord McCoy competes in bareback riding during the International Youth Finals Rodeo about 15 years ago. (OKLAHOMAN PHOTO)

Cord McCoy competes in bareback riding during the International Youth Finals Rodeo about 15 years ago. (OKLAHOMAN PHOTO)

In the Aug. 19 episode of “The Ride with Cord McCoy,” the show’s host revisits his old haunts and introduces the show’s fans to the next generation of rodeo’s stars. The show airs at 1 and 11 p.m. Eastern on Monday on RFD-TV.

“A lot of cowboys and cowgirls will be breaking into their careers,” Cord McCoy said while opening the show, noting that many of the sport’s biggest names have competed at the IFYR over the years.

The competition features high school-aged contestants from all over the country, and a few from outside the borders of the United States. Unlike the National High School Finals Rodeo, which features those who qualify from every state, the IFYR is open to any appropriately aged competitor and features a purse of greater than $200,000 annually.

This year, the rodeo celebrated its 21st year all at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center. McCoy took “The Ride” cameras behind the chutes to get insights on the event and why it’s such an important step in the development of young cowboys and cowgirls.

“It gave me a big step up,” said bull rider Joseph McConnel, the 2012 bull riding champion. “I thought, ‘Alright, you’re going to have to take it a little more serious.’ ”

The IFYR has served as a catapult for the collegiate and professional careers of many great names. Mike Outhier, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in saddle bronc riding, continues to be one of the best all-around cowboys in the sport. He won the IFYR all-around crown and competed in all six boys events for two years in the mid-1990s.

Will Lowe burst onto the scene in 1999, winning the bareback riding championship in Shawnee that summer. By 2002, he was making a significant living in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, winning the Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year crown and earning a trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Since then, he’s added three world championships to his resume.

Other PRCA world champions who have competed at the IFYR over the years include bareback rider Justin McDaniel, all-around champs Trevor Brazile and Ryan Jarrett, barrel racer Janae Ward-Massy and bull rider Blu Bryant.

McCoy is a bull riding qualifier to the 2005 NFR and has earned six trips to the PBR World Finals. He was a five time world champion in the International Professional Rodeo Association and still owns the single-season earnings mark, so he realizes the impact the IFYR has on young players.

“The IFYR is definitely the biggest, has the most competition,” said two-time IFYR breakaway champion Samantha Little of Hackberry, La.

The players aren’t the only ones who see a great benefit of it. Mike Visniesky, the rodeo coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, said college rodeo programs gain a lot from being in Shawnee and watching the competition.

“The IFYR is a huge opportunity for coaches to recruit for the best high school talent there is,” Visniesky said. “When we get to watch them compete all together at the national level, that’s really important when you’re trying to put together a competitive team.”

The event has certainly grown over the years. It began in 1993 after Shawnee hosted the high school finals. Organizers saw an opportunity to make things happen in the central Oklahoma community annually.

“You look at the (economic) impact that all these contestants and their families bring on this town,” said Michael Jackson, the event’s coordinator. “That’s what this facility is about … to bring in the impact to the town. In 2008 was the last impact study we had, and it was estimated to be $5.4 million through the week.”

The IFYR begin with about 300 contestants that first year. It has peaked at more than $1,000; this year, there were 897 contestants and more than 1,500 entries.

“We went to three arenas to make it a little more exciting,” Jackson said. “We’ve had a lot of kids that have went on and had great pro careers.

“To me, it’s a great opportunity for them.”

That’s the way the show’s host looks at it, too.

“After 21 years of the International Youth Finals Rodeo, it’s always good to be back,” McCoy said, closing the show.

postheadericon Cover story, cover photo

This is the screen shot from today's ProRodeo.com. For the eighth time in nine outs, Dirty Jacket has guided cowboys to at least a share of a round title. His most recent was Jessy Davis in Lovington, N.M.

This is the screen shot from today’s ProRodeo.com. For the eighth time in nine outs, Dirty Jacket has guided cowboys to at least a share of a round title. His most recent was Jessy Davis in Lovington, N.M.

Every news agency works very hard to present its top news to its constituency. The same is being said by the communications staff at the PRCA, a small group of people who work very hard to prepare the news and information for the magazine, ProRodeo Sports News, and its website, ProRodeo.com.

In addition, the staff members serve as the PR division for the association. That’s a lot to pile on to a handful of people, but they handle the load admirably. By Monday evenings, they have put all that information together, gathered the world standings and compiled them in an easy-to-read fashion and present it in the PRCA’s weekly news release, sent out to media nationwide.

Today’s main story – including a terrific photo from Peggy Gander – is on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket and Jessy Davis, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. You can read the story HERE, and you can see why Davis is one of the top bareback riders in the game and why Dirty Jacket is considered one of the greatest bucking beasts in the sport today.

postheadericon The drive to compete

Bareback rider Ty Breuer earned nearly $5,300 at the Farm-City ProRodeo last week by sharing the title with Clint Laye.

It’s a good thing for Breuer, because his trip from Hermiston, Ore., the Lea County Fair and Rodeo on Thursday wasn’t what he’d hoped for. You see, the 2010 bareback riding rookie of the year had been matched in the random draw with Scarlet’s Web, a Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo bronc that’s been a major player at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Ty Breuer

Ty Breuer

How good is the horse? They’ve won go-rounds at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on the athletic bay mare, which was sired by the great Night Jacket. She’s also been named one of the best bareback horses in the Texas Circuit. Earlier this year, Richie Champion rode her for 87 points to share the championship at the Eagle County (Colo.) Fair and Rodeo.

Breuer and his traveling posse – consisting of fellow bareback riders Wes Stevenson, Caine Riddle and Will Lowe, along with saddle bronc riders Taos Muncy, Isaac Diaz, Travis Sheets, Jesse Bail, Curtis Garton and Will Smith – hustled as fast as possible to Lovington, N.M., tucked in the southeastern most county in the state after stopping off at the Salt Lake City airport to drop off Lowe and Riddle for their flight to Missouri for the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.

Unfortunately, they were just a few minutes getting to Lovington late for Breuer to take his shot on Scarlet’s Web, but it wasn’t without great effort. Speed limits were ignored, as the van filled with eight top ProRodeo cowboys – seven of whom were competing that night – rumbled across the New Mexico plains just hoping to get on their horses.

It paid off for Bail and Diaz, who earned nice paychecks for their rides; the gamble, however, failed to produce the rest of the posse in that section of the rodeo. Stevenson, who was just catching a ride eventually to his home in Lubbock, Texas, returned to Lovington on Saturday night to compete, riding Pete Carr’s Classic’s Lady’s Man for 83 points to share third place and $2,161 with Austin Foss and Richie Champion.

But if you ask each of the 10 in the van at one time, it was worth the effort.