Archive for June, 2017

postheadericon Rooftop getting a new view

The VIP Experience patrons at Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park will get many benefits, including a behind-the-scenes tour.

The VIP Experience patrons at Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park will get many benefits, including a behind-the-scenes tour.

VIP tickets will allow some fans a different experience for Estes Park rodeo

ESTES PARK, Colo. – How popular is Rooftop Rodeo?

The popular box seats are often sold out before the rodeo begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, at Granny May Arena in Estes Park. So the Town of Estes Park developed another avenue beginning this year.

“We were looking at the fact that our box seats sell so well,” said Rob Hinkle, director of the Community Services Department with the Town of Estes Park. “We realized people are looking for a more exclusive experience.

The town created the VIP Experience, which allows patrons a tour of the rodeo grounds before the show, access to the exclusive VIP patio at the west gate, dinner at the hospitality tent, access to a bartender and specially reserved stadium seating.

“While watching the event, you will be taken care of by a designated bartender, providing you with drinks at additional charge,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo. “We have only 26 VIP tickets available for each night, but I think it’s an awesome opportunity for people who want that experience.”

VIP Experience tickets are $100 apiece.

“This offers VIP guests a chance to meet our volunteers and the cowboys that come to town to compete,” said Ben Vigil, president of Western Heritage. “It also allows them a special seat where they can see all the action.”

It’s about creating something special for those guests.

“We want this to have a special ambiance for those guests,” Hinkle said. “It’s a new experience to the rodeo that’s much different than you’d get from our general admission seats.

“It provides convenient access to our hospitality tent, which traditionally has been reserved for our volunteers and the cowboys.”

For now, guests can enjoy access to the area just outside the west gate, a popular viewing spot for staff members and cowboys in the past.

postheadericon Hays adding his art to show

Cowboy and artist Bradley Chance Hays will be part of the Cattlemen's Days Tough Enough To Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction on Tuesday, July 11, in Crested Butte, Colo. He will be performing live art during the show. (PROVIDED BY BRADLEY CHANCE HAYS)

Cowboy and artist Bradley Chance Hays will be part of the Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough To Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction on Tuesday, July 11, in Crested Butte, Colo. He will be performing live art during the show. (PROVIDED BY BRADLEY CHANCE HAYS)

Western artist to be part of TETWP Songwriter Concert and Auction

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – The creative mind of Bradley Chance Hays is always at work.

Whether he’s working a young horse in the round pen or putting his thoughts on canvas, Hays sees something different than most. He’s more than a cowboy artist; he’s a cowboy and an artist, mixing his two loves into one livelihood.

He will be right at home during the Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink Songwriter Auction and Concert, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at the Mountaineer Square Conference Center in Crested Butte.

“Chance will be doing live art during that event, and we’re very happy to have him be part of this experience,” said Heidi Sherratt Bogart, executive director of Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink. “This is always a great event that helps us raise funds for our campaign to battle breast cancer.

“Because of the generosity of so many people over the years, we have given over $1 million in services and equipment to Gunnison Valley Hospital for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Hays was raised in Rolla, Kan., a tiny burg of about 400 people in southwest Kansas. He attended nearby Oklahoma Panhandle State University on a rodeo scholarship, then earned his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University.

But his training came much earlier in life. The son of an art teacher and a cowboy, the mixture of passions has been part of Hays’ life from the beginning.

“I can’t say one’s any more important than the other, because it takes off of it to make a piece of art,” Hays told Cowboys & Indians magazine in 2015. “Taking an hour before I go to a meeting to exercise my horse and watch the sun come up in the morning has always been just as important as picking up my paintbrush to make the painting.”

Hays is just one of the artists who will be in Crested Butte that evening. Songwriter Dean Dillon, a highly decorated songwriter and member of the Gunnison TETWP board, headlines the concert and auction and will be joined by fellow artists Trent Willmon, Liz Rose and Dillon’s talented daughter, Song Dillon.

“Our Songwriter Concert and Auction is a wonderful way to showcase some amazing talent that comes in especially for this, so having Chance be part of it will just add a different kind of art to this event,” Sherratt Bogart said.

For Hays, the appeal of his art comes through each step he takes on a horse and through the strokes of his brush. It isn’t about making money for himself; it’s about sharing his love for the Western lifestyle.

“If someone buys a horse that I trained to rope on, I’m not selling something I bought and traded,” he told Cowboys & Indians. “I made that horse. When someone buys one of my paintings, I thought about something, and I made the painting.”

For more information about Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink and the Songwriter Concert and Auction, log on to www.GunnisonTETWP.com.

postheadericon Estes Park going Hollywood

Harris will bring his old-school clown act to the fans at Rooftop Rodeo

ESTES PARK, Colo. – Cliff Harris earns a living making other people laugh.

As a rodeo clown, he lives for those moments when the crowd is engaging thoroughly enjoying all that the sport encompasses. He will do that as his alter ego, “Hollywood Harris,” during the six performances of Rooftop Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, at Granny May Arena in Estes Park.

"Hollywood" Harris

“Hollywood” Harris

“Anybody that does this just loves to do it,” said Harris, a Texan who moved to Florida in 1970. “If you don’t love it, then you burn out and find something else to do. But even at your worst day, it’s still a fun job.”

Not only is he a true entertainer, he also has passed along his lessons to his son, Brinson, who goes by the nickname “Brinson James the Entertainer.” While keeping up with his son’s antics has served Cliff Harris well, he likes the opportunities that come when he can showcase his own talents.

“Five or six years ago, I got hurt at an event, and he took over the next night,” Harris said. “Now I’m excited to be getting back to the big rodeos.”

That includes Rooftop, which has been recognized as one of the top events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association over the past few decades.

“I actually worked the Estes Park rodeo back in the late ’90s,” he said. “It was hot that year, but, man, what a beautiful town. I’m looking forward to coming back.”

He should. In addition to the picturesque setting that is the town of Estes Park, Rooftop Rodeo has become a hot ticket for the biggest and brightest stars in the game. With Colorado-based Cervi Rodeo producing the rodeo and providing the bucking horses and bulls, there are plenty of opportunities for cowboys and cowgirls to collect big cash.

Harris provides that extra zip of comedy and entertainment that mixes so well with the world-class competition of rodeo.

“I’m more on the old-school art of clowning,” he said. “I use more pantomime instead of microphone talk. I really enjoy crowd-participation skits. They can go good, and then they can go fantastic. It’s going to be funny no matter what, but sometimes it’s just over-the-top funny because of the personalities we have in the crowd.”

And with an interactive crowd that Rooftop Rodeo is known to have, Harris should be the perfect match for this year’s event.

postheadericon Carr creates 2017 truck series

DALLAS – Being innovative is just part of the brand at Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, and the Dallas-based livestock producer is taking another step in that direction with the 2017 Pete Carr Pro Rodeo Big Truckin’ Series.

Contestants in each of the nine rodeo events – bareback riding, steer wrestling, heading, heeling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, bull riding and steer roping– will be part of the 13-event series of Carr rodeos, beginning with the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, which is taking place this week in Weatherford, Texas.

“Contestants who earn money at our rodeos from Weatherford to Hempstead (Texas) have a chance to win their respective events in the series,” owner Pete Carr said, noting that the final rodeo of the series is set for Oct. 5-7. “The event winners at the end of the series will win a Rtic cooler and will get to draw for a RAM 1500 pickup.”

The cooler presentation and pickup drawing will take place Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Rusk County PRCA Rodeo in Henderson, Texas.

“We’re going to keep track of the standings on our website, PeteCarrProRodeo.com,” Carr said. “I’m pretty excited about this series and what it means for the contestants and those rodeo committees. We have a lot of great rodeo committees we’re involved with each year, and I think it’s great they will be part of the series.”

Dollars equal points, so the contestants in each discipline with the most money won during the series will earn the Rtci coolers and the opportunity to be on site in Henderson for the pickup drawing.

2017 PETE CARR PRO RODEO BIG TRUCKIN’ SERIES
Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Xtreme Bulls, Weatherford, Texas, June 6
Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, Weatherford, Texas, June 7-10
Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo, Big Spring, Texas, June 15-17
West of the Pecos Rodeo, Pecos, Texas, June 21-24
Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, Eagle, Colo., July 19-22
Deep South PRCA Rodeo, Winnsboro, La., Aug. 3-5
Lea County Xtreme Bulls, Lovington, N.M., Aug. 8
Lea County Fair and Rodeo, Lovington, N.M., Aug. 9-12
Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo, Crossett, Ark., Aug. 9-12
Four States Fair Xtreme Bulls, Texarkana, Ark., Sept. 13
Four States Fair and Rodeo, Texarkana, Ark., Sept. 14-16
Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo, Stephenville, Texas, Sept. 22-24
Waller County Fair and Rodeo, Hempstead, Texas, Oct. 3-5

postheadericon Rutkowski wins Moose Jaw

BFO champ wins second Canadian title; Schiffner earns bull riding victory

MOOSE JAW, Saskatchewan – Texan Weston Rutkowski has learned to love Canada.

“Beau Schueth and I were talking about the fact that we don’t mind coming up here,” said Rutkowski, the reigning Bullfighters Only world champion who won the BFO event this weekend in conjunction with the Professional Bull Riders Moose Jaw Powered by Young’s Equipment at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

Weston Rutkowski

Weston Rutkowski

“We just want to make sure everyone else stays home.”

He laughed, but Rutkowski has done quite well in Canada. He won the title at the Chad Besplug Invitational in Claresholm, Alberta, earlier this year, then padded his wins north of the border with an 85-point bout with a bull named Mad Bandana.

Scott Schiffner of Strathmore, Alberta, won the bull riding title with his 86.5-point ride on Friday night. No scores during Saturday’s second day of competition were able to surpass that earned by the two-time Canadian champion.

“It was a cool event,” Rutkowski said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I bet there were almost 4,000 people there. Once they hit the music to the bullfights, the crowd reacted instantly.

Scott Schiffner

Scott Schiffner

“These bullfights are awesome. When you’re in the arena, you can sure feed off the crowd.”

It was an interesting couple of days for the west Texas man. He competed at a Bullfighters Only event Friday in Decatur, Texas, which is 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. He and Schueth then spent most of Saturday traveling. They landed in Regina, Saskatchewan, at 4 p.m. and arrived at their hotel in Moose Jaw an hour later.

After a little down time, they headed off to the arena to compete in their second freestyle bullfight in less than 24 hours.

“I’d never seen that bull before, but he had one up horn and one down horn,” Rutkowski said. “He was a sweetheart. There were four guys entered, and I was the fourth guy out.”

As the bull rushed out of the chute, the bullfighter crossed the animal up with a fake, and the bull quickly spun back around and faced Rutkowski.

“Once he swapped ends, I felt like he would be pretty good,” he said. “I was pretty wore out from getting beat up the night before and a long day of flights. I was able keep my legs up underneath me through the end.”

In freestyle bullfighting, scores are based on a 100-point scale. Half the score comes from the bull, which can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter; men can earn up to 50 points per fight on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over the animal.

Rutkowski didn’t fare nearly as well in Decatur as he did in Moose Jaw, but he knows that’s just part of what it means to be a bullfighter.

“That’s what I love about bullfighting,” he said. “One minute you’re on top of the world, and the next you’re underneath the bull. I’ve had a few rough goes, but it’s good to get a win underneath my belt. I’m going to take about a month to get healed up, but then I’ll be back at it again.”

postheadericon Tuckness strikes again

Dusty Tuckness matches moves with Destructor for 90 points to win Friday's Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers. It was Tuckness' second straight BFO victory.

Dusty Tuckness matches moves with Destructor for 90 points to win Friday’s Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers. It was Tuckness’ second straight BFO victory. (ANDRE SILVA PHOTO)

Wyoming man earns 2nd straight win at BFO Cavender’s Cup in Decatur

DECATUR, Texas – Dusty Tuckness is a busy man, one of the most sought-after cowboy protectors in ProRodeo.

But Bullfighters Only is an important part of the Wyoming man’s life. He’s one of the original founders of the company, and he loves to compete in freestyle bullfights when his schedule allows.

He’s pretty good at it, too, and he proved it Friday night during the Bullfighters Only Cavender’s Cup Presented by Bodyguard Bumpers at the Wise County Fairgrounds. He posted the two highest-scoring fights of the night and earned his second straight BFO stand-alone bullfight title.

Dusty Tuckness

Dusty Tuckness

“Being able to have a couple of open weekends so that I could go to Lewiston (Idaho) and Decatur was pretty special to me,” said Tuckness, who moved into the No. 1 spot in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. “To come out with the win at both events is a blessing.”

Tuckness posted an 89.5-point score with WAR Fighting Bulls’ Triggerman in the first round. He was then matched in the championship round with the other four winners, Schell Apple, who was 86.5; SuperCamp qualifier Dayton Spiel, who tied legend Lance Brittan with an 87 but advanced by tie-breaker; Tanner Zarnetski, 86.5; and Toby Inman, 89.

“I had a nice bull in the first round,” Tuckness said. “He was the one you wanted to draw. He was hot and on you, but he was honest. I got to dress him up a little bit.

“At the end, I got bogged down (in the dirt), and he ran over me, but I got up and got a good sell to end the fight.”

Tuckness then posted a 90-point fight with Destructor, owned by Brett Hall and Miguel Nunes. It was even more impressive considering that he set a BFO-record 94.5-point fight just two weeks ago in Lewiston, Idaho

“Destructor is a big black-and-white paint, and he stayed hooked up with me the whole time,” he said. “He let me get away with everything I wanted to the whole time. We fought hard for 45 to 50 seconds.”

The $10,000 Tuckness pocketed pushed his season earnings to $20,000 and gives him a solid lead in the standings. That’s good, because his job as a cowboy protector at ProRodeos will cause him to miss out on some of the upcoming BFO events. He’ll need every advantage he can get as he battles through the BFO’s second season.

“Now we’ve got a busy summer run of rodeos, and this win will help me stay in the standings a little longer,” Tuckness said.

While the Wyoming man won the event, a key story line out of Decatur was Dayton Spiel. He competed earlier this year in one of the BFO Development Camps. He did well enough there to advance to this weekend’s Fit-n-Wise SuperCamp, where he advanced as a qualifier into the Cavender’s Cup.

By finishing second overall, Spiel not only pocketed a decent payday but also announced his presence among the best in Bullfighters Only.

“I thought the event went really good,” Tuckness said. “We had some weather issues throughout the day, but still had a good crowd. Even with the weather, the people still showed up and had a great time.”

So did Tuckness, and he has the hardware to show it.

RESULTS
Round 1: 1. Schell Apple, 86.5 points; 2. Ely Sharkey, 83; 3. Cody Greer, no score.
Round 2: 1. (tie) Dayton Spiel and Lance Brittan, 87 points each; 3. Zach Arthur, 83.
Round 3: 1. Dusty Tuckness, 89.5 points; 2. Tate Rhoads, 87; 3. Jimmy Essary, 82.
Round 4: 1. Tanner Zarnetski, 86.5 points; 2. (tie) Weston Rutkowski and Noah Krepps, 85.5.
Round 5: 1. Toby Inman, 89 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 88; 3. Jon Roberts, 84.
Final round: 1. Dusty Tuckness, 90 points; 2. Dayton Spiel, 89; 3. Toby Inman, 85; 4. Tanner Zarnetski, 84; Schell Apple, 83.5.

postheadericon Looking to double-dip

Schiffner earns redemption on known bull, hopes to score again Saturday

MOOSE JAW, Saskatchewan – Scott Shiffner wanted a little payback with Pound The Alarm, an athletic red and white paint bull that has a great history.

Schiffner got it Friday night with an 86.5-point ride to take the lead after the opening night of the Professional Bull Riders Moose Jaw Powered by Young’s Equipment at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

Scott Schiffner

Scott Schiffner

“That bull’s been to the PBR World Finals,” said Schiffner, 37, of Strathmore, Alberta. “He was raised here, then went down to the (United) States. I got on him before he went down to the states, and he bucked me off back when he was pretty young.

“It’s good that we’re even.”

Yes, it is. The high marking puts him in the No. 1 position heading into the final night of the two-day competition. But like many of the bull riders in the mix, he paid two entry fees and will ride again Saturday.

“If everything goes well, I have a chance to win first and second,” said Schiffner, a two-time Canadian bull riding champion and a PBR Canada champion. “The nice thing about this event is that I have a chance to do that.”

His first appearance on Pound the Alarm came four years ago, when the young bull bucked off the 16-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier. On Friday, though, the Mosaic Place crowd saw the redemption ride for a proud Canadian champion.

“It was an excellent crowd,” he said. “They were energetic and into it. They understand the Western way of life and rodeo, so it’s entertaining for us to be able to perform in front of a crowd like that.”

Schiffner wasn’t the only big winner Friday in Moose Jaw. Jordynn Swanson won the first night of the Bullfighters Only qualifier that was part of the event, scoring 82 points during his freestyle bullfight.

In the match, Swanson utilized his athleticism to maneuver close to and around the equally athletic and agile Spanish fighting bull, which was bred for that type of fight. Like bull riding, scores are on a 100-point scale, with half coming from each the man and the beast.

“I thought my bull was really going to come out there pretty good, and I felt like I was setting him up for a good fake, but some lights went off, and he buggered away,” said Swanson, 24, of Virden, Manitoba. “I would’ve liked to have more heat, but you just have to go at bulls like this and make them hot.”

The ideal bull would stay close to the bullfighter, but when that doesn’t happen, then the man must make things work. That’s just what Swanson did. He will compete on night No. 2, which begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever fought in front of in my life,” he said. “It was my first PBR event and my first BFO event. By far, it’s on the top of my list as the coolest and loudest and most fun.”

postheadericon Nowlin dominating circuit standings

DUNCAN, Okla. – Tracy Nowlin needed everything the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo could offer last October.

Nowlin knew she didn’t have a chance to win the circuit championship, so her only hope at qualifying for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo was to walk away from Stephens County Arena with the average title.

She accomplished that goal, rounding the pattern in a three-run cumulative time of 48.36 seconds; it guided her to Kissimmee, Fla., in April, where she won the first round at the RNCFR.

This year, it seems, Nowlin is hoping to avoid those last-minute heroics. She has a substantial lead in the Prairie Circuit barrel racing standings, having earned $9,500 through May 21. She owns a lead of nearly $4,400 over the reigning circuit champ, Emily Miller of Weatherford, Okla.

If everything goes as she hopes, Nowlin will be the No. 1 cowgirl when she enters the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19-Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

Of her earnings so far this year, the biggest chunk came in the Oklahoma Panhandle, where Nowlin – of Nowata, Okla. – won the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo title. She placed in both rounds to win the average and pocketed $4,820. It’s the biggest circuit rodeo so far this season, but there are plenty of other big events set for the rest of the region season.

“I think I have the circuit finals made, but it would be a dream come true to win the circuit,” said Nowlin, who earned more than $6,300 in Duncan last October.

She finished the campaign with $17,706, and already this year has more than half that with most of the circuit season left. In fact, she had accumulated her $9,500 through just six events. More importantly, she is the biggest money-earner of all competitors in the circuit, made up of rodeos and contestants primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

Behind her tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Okla., who has earned more than $7,700. He owns a lead of more than $2,200 over the No. 2 man, Bryson Sechrist of Apache, Okla.

Other leaders are all-around cowboy Trell Etbauer of Goodwell, Okla.; bareback rider Anthony Thomas of Palestine, Texas; J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn.; header Brett Christensen of Alva, Okla.; heeler Dawson McMaster of Madison, Kan.; saddle bronc rider Joe Lufkin of Sallisaw, Okla.; bull rider Brad Harris of Udall, Kan.; and steer roper Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla., who has a lead of just $33 over traveling partner Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., a four-time world champion.

The 2017 circuit champions won’t be crowned until October in Duncan, but it will be a big race over the next four and a half months to see what happens.

postheadericon Rangers ready for college finale

ALVA, Okla. – Ten Rangers are ready to ride for college rodeo’s most coveted title.

Six men and four women from the Northwestern Oklahoma State University have earned the right to compete at the College National Finals Rodeo, set for June 11-17 at the Casper (Wyo.) Events Center.

“Having 10 going to the college finals shows how great the program is in Alva and what a great coach Stockton (Graves) is,” said Edgar Fierro, a heeler from Hennessey, Okla., who qualified with his partner, Kass Bittle of Kremlin, Okla. “It shows Stockton’s ‘Let’s go win’ attitude. That attitude goes through us, and that’s the way it showed this year.”

Edgar Fierro

Edgar Fierro

Bittle and Fierro advanced to the CNFR by winning the Central Plains Region team roping title, a feat shared by steer wrestler Joby Allen of Alva. They will be joined on the men’s team by header Dylan Schulenberg of Coal Valley, Ill.; tie-down roper Mason Bowen of Bullard, Texas; and steer wrestler Cody Devers of Perryton, Texas.

The Rangers women will be represented barrel racers Ashlyn Moeder of Oakley, Kan., and Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., along with goat-tiers Tearnee Nelson and Katy Miller, both of Faith, S.D. Miller finished third in the region to qualify outright, and the other three were added to the team since the Northwestern women finished second in the region and earned the right to have a full squad in Casper.

“Having that many make it to the finals means quite a bit for the rodeo program here at Northwestern,” said Bittle, who just wrapped up his freshman year in Alva. “I think it helps build the program for the future. The more times we have big numbers going to the college finals puts out a good reputation for us.”

Kass Bittle

Kass Bittle

But the goal, of course, is to leave Casper with championships. A year ago, steer wrestler J.D. Struxness won the college title, followed closely by the runner-up, teammate Jacob Edler. The Rangers finished second in the men’s team standings.

“The college finals is a big deal, but you can’t overthink it,” Bittle said. “I feel like we’ve got a really good chance. We’ve got a really good women’s team. As for the guys, we’ve got a lot of talent going up there. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”

While Miller was the only qualifier for the women’s team, the others were among the top 10 in their respective events. Nelson finished fourth in goat tying, while Moeder was fifth and Bynum tied for eighth in barrel racing.

The six men advanced on their own. While Allen, Bittle and Fierro earned regional titles, Devers, Bowen and Schulenberg were runners-up.

“I think the men’s team is going to have a great chance,” Fierro said. “I think the guys are just as hungry for it as I am, and I think we’re going to do pretty good.”

It comes down to putting in the work ahead of time to make sure they arrive in Casper as prepared for the competition as possible.

“I go to the practice pen about 7 (a.m.), roping on some horses,” Fierro said. “I’ll rope on some colts during the day when it’s hot, then I’ll get on good horses and rope some more in the evening.”

That’s the work ethic it takes to be successful at that level, but there’s much more than work that goes into being a top-notch rodeo athlete.

“Stockton works with our mental game so much,” Fierro said. “He teaches us how to win, and he prepares us for the mental side of the rodeo life. I think that’s what makes us successful.”

Bittle agreed.

“Stockton is a heck of a guy who has been around and done so much,” said Bittle, pointing out the coach’s seven NFR qualifications. “I’m a team roper, but the things you learn from him can apply to any event. He’s been in every setup and every situation you can think about.

“The mental game is as much of rodeo as anything else, and I think Stockton helps that with everybody, no matter what event they do.”

Now the Rangers hope it translates into a solid college finals. They will have a week of competition to find out.

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