Archive for July, 2018

postheadericon Kings are key for horse show

LOVINGTON, N.M. – For Judy and Bill King, being volunteers for the Lea County Fair and Rodeo has been an important part of their lives.

She was the horse superintendent from 2007-17, a position that had her overseeing about 35 youngsters involved in the horse program and their families. That means she and her husband have impacted the lives of hundreds of Lea County residents.

“All the youth have been good kids and have a great future ahead of them,” said Judy King of Knowles, N.M.

And that, in turn, is what has been the driving force behind the couple’s volunteerism. Whether it involved gathering the sponsorships necessary for the awards or feeding the families, the Kings have been an important piece of the puzzle for all those involved in the Lea County Fair and Rodeo’s horse show.

In fact, every year, two saddles and 22 buckles are needed for the awards. During her first year in the position, Judy King found a bit of divine intervention in obtaining the prizes. Realizing she had no money to pay for such items, she began searching for an appropriate saddle-maker to assist. Twister Cain’s Twister Saddle Co. answered the call.

The timing didn’t look to be in King’s favor. Cain explained that every saddle was custom made by hand, and there weren’t any in stock. However, the American Junior Rodeo Association had ordered two extra saddles and did not need them, so they were transitioned to work for the Lovington horse show.

Cain offered the saddles even though he knew the funds weren’t readily available. He explained that it was “a God thing,” and that King could mail the money to him when she had it. By the end of business that day, the Kings had the money necessary to cover the cost of the prizes, and their faith had paid off.

Every year since, the horse show winners have received the prizes they’ve earned. But the work the Kings have done over the years hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“They’ve put in a lot of time and effort into making our horse show what it is,” said Kathy Welborn, vice chairwoman of the Lea County Fair Board. “They have been amazing volunteers.”

Judy King has established a June horse clinic with a renowned trainer for exhibitors and also helped find sponsors for youngsters who couldn’t afford the clinics. During the horse shows, Welborn said, Judy King was dedicated to the supervision in the horse barn and helped maintain the animals’ well-being.

Having Bill by her side has always been a big plus for Judy King, and they handled everything they could for horsemanship and horses in Lea County.

“It’s a really big job,” Welborn said. “They deserve a lot of credit for doing a big job they aren’t paid to do.”

But that’s the importance of volunteerism, and the Kings have proven it for several years.

postheadericon Hill is healthy, happy again

Ross Hill returns to Bullfighters Only action this weekend at the Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at California Rodeo Salinas. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

Ross Hill returns to Bullfighters Only action this weekend at the Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at California Rodeo Salinas. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

Veteran bullfighter has regained his place in time for BFO bullfights in Salinas

Ross Hill didn’t really want to take a break from freestyle bullfighting, but his body was demanding it.

A knee injury originally suffered in 2009 reared its head twice in 2016, sidelining the Bullfighters Only pioneer and forcing Hill to re-evaluate his career, his passions and his life.

“I just needed a break from bullfighting,” said Hill, 35, of Muscle Shoals, Ala. “I had done it for money all my life. There comes a time when it’s got to be worth more than money. I went until I couldn’t go any further; 2016 was my final year on that knee. It was the start of the BFO and the last of the Mohicans for the old ‘Alabama Slamma.’

“I had an ACL replacement surgery, and they cleaned up a couple of meniscus tears. It was a pretty horrific surgery. The second time I hurt it in 2016 did it in. I just have to say to any kid out there to never go that long without surgery. Get that thing fixed.”

But it wasn’t the end of a brilliant career. In fact, Hill returns to action this week at the BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop in Salinas, Calif., one of the most storied events in freestyle bullfighting history. The bullfights run four straight days, taking place Friday, July 19-Monday, July 22, in conjunction with the California Rodeo Salinas.

“I don’t know what it’s like to sit out and come back, but the time I took off has all added up to this one moment in Salinas,” Hill said. “It was so worth it to be here and be healthy. Just to know I took the time to work out and took the time to get my knee fixed and took the time to heal myself.

“I’ve been eating better stuff, working out hard and doing some personal growth work. It took me a year of personal growth work and seeing what it is that makes me great to get me ready for this moment.”

It’s not the only big event for this weekend. The next BFO stand-alone event will feature 12 of the top bullfighters in the game Saturday, July 20, in Fortuna, Calif. It will feature four 3-man rounds, with the winners advancing to the Hooey Championship Round. Though he’ll still be in Salinas for that five-man, four-round bullfight, Hill knows how special the BFO is to the game he’s loved most of his life.

“The thing about the BFO is it’s the best bullfighters in the world, and I have yet to win that title,” he said. “Now that we’ve started the BFO, it’s like a whole new set of goals.”

In Salinas, Hill will be matched with Weston Rutkowski, the reigning two-time world champion from Haskell, Texas, and Toby Inman, the No. 1 man in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings and the defending Salinas champion. Hill will know quickly if he is up to par; also in the mix are Nathan Harp of Tuttle, Okla., Cody Emerson of Marble Falls, Texas, and Zach Flatt of Fittstown, Okla.

“Salinas is a magical place,” Hill said. “It’s in the valley between two mountains. The weather is always 50 degrees at night and 75 in the daytime. I think it has a lot to do with the people, the community and the rodeo. It’s just a good rodeo with a long history.”

postheadericon McBride highlights Lovington lineup

Martina McBride will headline a list of outstanding artists that will play during this year's Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M.

Martina McBride will headline a list of outstanding artists that will play during this year’s Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – This is the type of concert lineup fairgoers have come to expect at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

“I think this year’s artists are some of the best that we’ve had in quite a while,” said Kathy Welborn, vice chairwoman of the Lea County Fair Board. “We have TobyMac on Faith and Family Night (Wednesday, Aug. 8), and he’s absolutely amazing. What he brings to our fair and rodeo is awesome.

“The fact that it’s on Faith and Family Night, which is one of our biggest nights because we open our gates to everyone at no cost.”

But that’s just one night featuring a six-time Grammy-award winning artist. The other five nights are outstanding, including the final night of the fair, which features another award-winning artist, Martina McBride. Even when it’s not free, the Lea County Fair and Rodeo offers a great entertainment value: Adult tickets are just $10, with children 6-12 getting through the gates for just $5; children 5 and younger are free.

“We’ve just got some great shows set for our community,” Welborn said. “It’s actually more than our community, because we advertise all over the region. We have a big draw, and a reason is a concert lineup like this.”

Friday, Aug. 3: Polo Urias and Grupo Intocable
Tuesday, Aug. 7: Koe Wetzel
Wednesday, Aug. 8: TobyMac
Thursday, Aug. 9: Aaron Watson
Friday, Aug. 10: Easton Corbin
Saturday, Aug. 11: Martina McBride

The opening two groups are the perfect place for Hispanic Heritage Night and to kick off the fair in rodeo in New Mexico’s southeastern-most county. Wetzel is from Stephenville, Texas, and is best known for playing Texas rock ’n’ roll.

Watson has been on the scene for nearly two decades and is well known in rodeo circles for his haunting song, “July in Cheyenne,” about the death of bull riding legend Lane Frost. Corbin has had some chart-toppers and in 2010, he won three American Country Music awards: Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Single by Breakthrough Artist and Video by Breakthrough Artist.

McBride has the longevity and award-winning legacy to go with her beautiful voice. The south-central Kansas woman. She has multiple nominations for Female Artist of the Year and has earned nearly 20 national honors for her music.

“I’m so impressed with our lineup this year,” Welborn said. “It’s been amazing to see our concert lineups over the years. The kids love to get out there and dance. For me, that’s what’s really fun: Seeing our kids having fun.”

The adults join them, especially with the top acts performing for six of the exposition’s 10 nights.

postheadericon BFO Doubles Down

Beau Schueth competes at the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop in Vernal, Utah, this past weekend.  Schueth won Colorado Springs and finished third in Vernal. (PHOTO BY KERRI ANDREWS)

Beau Schueth competes at the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop in Vernal, Utah, this past weekend. Schueth won Colorado Springs and finished third in Vernal. (PHOTO BY KERRI ANDREWS)

Schueth earns 2nd straight Colorado Springs title; Josey takes Vernal crown

Colorado Springs sits at the base of Pikes Peak and is home to the United States Air Force Academy.

It’s also been the perfect place for Beau Schueth to showcase his talents as a freestyle bullfighter. For the second straight year, he won the Bullfighters Only Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.

“Colorado Springs has been good for me, that’s for sure,” said Schueth of O’Neill, Neb., who outscored Schell Apple and Brooks Forsythe in the final round. “It has been a really good few days, and I definitely needed it. I was sitting a little further down in the standings than I wanted to be, so I had to start doing good again.”

He won the first-round last Thursday night with a 77-point bout, then returned Saturday for the championship round at the Norris Penrose Event Center, where he put on a strong 87-point fight with Hookin’ A Ranch’s Lamborghini to win the crown and $4,500.

On top of that, he also competed Friday night at the BFO Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah. Schueth scored 86 points to finish third behind Justin Josey and Weston Rutkowski.

“I just want to keep the ball rolling heading into Fortuna (Calif.), Burlington (Colo.) and Dodge City (Kan.),” he said of the next three BFO stops in which he will be competing. “Keep it rolling all the way into Vegas in December.”

Based on this past weekend’s push, he is making the moves necessary. By pocketing $6,100, Schueth has pushed his season earnings to $13,327 and moved from sixth to fourth in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings.

“Of the three bulls out in the short round in Colorado Springs, I’d fought two of them and didn’t know the other one,” he said. “They said somebody had won a bullfight on him but that he was probably the weaker one in the pen.

“I knew I’d have to keep on him a little bit if I wanted to have a shot at winning. He was a pretty good bull, just a little slower than the other two, so I had to stay in his face.”

While he had the best weekend of all BFO competitors, Josey wasn’t too far behind. He produced an 89-point fight on Saturday night in Vernal while being matched with Manuel Costa’s Black Jack.

“He was a good little bull that just does his thing,” said Josey, who earned $3,000 for his win and moved to sixth in the standings. “I had to push off on him a little bit, but he was still close to me the whole time. I didn’t have a good sell, but I think the fight went pretty well.”

The judges marked the bout 89 points, which remains one of the top scores of the season.

“This gives me some pretty good confidence to know I can get a little bit closer to a bull and still get away,” he said. “I know I can beat them. I just want to keep fighting the bulls the best I can and let the cards fall where they may at the end.”

The busy schedule continues this week with two events taking place in California. Five men will battle over four days at the Wrangler Bullfight Tour stop at the California Rodeo Salinas, one of the most historic sites for freestyle bullfighting in the nation, while a dozen others will compete Friday, July 20, at the BFO stand-alone bullfight in Fortuna.

postheadericon Council works to benefit fair, rodeo

The Lea County Fair and Rodeo staff, advisory council and volunteers pose for a group photo with contract personnel during last year's rodeo. The advisory council works all year to produce one of the greatest expos in Colorado. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo staff, advisory council and volunteers pose for a group photo with contract personnel during last year’s rodeo. The advisory council works all year to produce one of the greatest expos in Colorado. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

EAGLE, Colo. – Oftentimes, a group of five people has a difficult time coming up with a consensus.

But the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo’s advisory board does that more often than not. When Loyd Gerard, Ed Oyler, Brent Scott, Earn Mooney and Hanna Albertson gather on a monthly basis, they have a way of working things out, and that’s a benefit to the county’s exposition, set for Wednesday, July 25-Saturday, July 28, at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

“With the collaboration of the fair staff, we garner sponsorships, plan our specialty acts and work on ticket pricing, among other things,” said Albertson, the council’s chairwoman. “Our monthly meetings take about an hour and a half, and we all have our specialties that take our time.

“But the thing that separates us is we take all of our pieces and bring them together as a group. I think that’s what makes us special.”

It is, because they work for a common cause: Making the best county fair possible for the thousands that pass through the fairgrounds gates.

“They’re the ones that select everything that takes place at the fair and rodeo,” Fair Manager Tanya Dahlsied said. “We, as the staff of Eagle County, works as a huge team with the advisory council.

“The advisory council is very hands on, and I think that’s good. There are a handful of employees that average 75 to 80 hours that week. The council, which is made up of volunteers, put in a good 60-plus hours that week. It takes a lot of work, but they’re not afraid of it.”

The benefits come through the smiles on faces and the large crowds that take in the nightly rodeo. In fact, all four performances of the rodeo are typically sold out. But there are so many facets to making the fair and rodeo successful, and all five members of the council work with the staff to make it happen.

“We all have different personalities and different passions,” Albertson said. “But we all really respect each other, which is the key to why we’re successful as a group. We take what we’re all good at, and we just use them to make a better fair and rodeo.

“At the end of the day, we all want the absolute best for the fair and rodeo. We’ll put millions of ideas on the table, and we don’t always agree, but we always come up with a solution in the end.”

This will be the last fair week for Oyler and Scott, whose terms end this year. That means the advisory board will be looking for two more to add to the mix to begin planning for the fair and rodeo in the future.

“I am very proud of this group and to have the opportunity to work with each of them,” Dahlsied said. “They have really good insight, and they really care about the event.”

That’s the meaning of a collaboration, and the fair and rodeo’s advisory council is the epitome of it in Eagle County.

postheadericon WI-FMX flying back in to Dodge

WI-FMX will be returning to Dodge City Roundup Rodeo with its high-flying motocross action during each performance of the award-winning rodeo. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WI-FMX)

WI-FMX will be returning to Dodge City Roundup Rodeo with its high-flying motocross action during each performance of the award-winning rodeo. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WI-FMX)

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The high-flying spectacle that is the Wisconsin Freestyle Motocross made an impression on rodeo fans in southwest Kansas three years ago.

It was such a message that members of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo committee have asked WI-FMX to return for this year’s rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1-Sunday, Aug. 5, at Roundup Arena.

“People really liked them,” said Elaine Gall, Roundup’s office manager. “We like that they’re completely different from most Western events. It’s an exciting thing to watch. People stayed around to watch them.

“Those boys will sign autographs until the last kids leave. They’re just cool guys, and the people enjoyed their personalities.”

WI-FMX brings its own ramps and sets them up inside the arena right after the bull riding each night. Then they will have two members on dirt bikes and one on a four-wheeler doing tricks and jumps that are amazing to see.

“One of the things that make our show unique is that quite a few of us can ride motorcycles and jump four-wheelers,” said Cody Cavanaugh, the founder of WIFMX, based in Neenah, Wis. “I like the way we’re diverse in that way.

“It’s a different form of cowboy entertainment without a horse.”

That’s what makes WI-FMX unique. The overall entertainment of Roundup Rodeo is already a great value, but the X Games mentality that is motocross gymnastics makes it even greater.

“There is a small crashing curve that comes with learning new tricks,” Cavanaugh said. “If you’re going to push yourself, it can sometimes not end well. With a lot of practice, our confidence grew.

“I tell people all the time that we’ve been allowed to do these cool jobs of just riding motorcycles. Find something you like to do and do it all the time.”

That has paid off for the men involved in WI-FMX and for the fans that get to watch them do their work.

“Everybody in Dodge City loves the rodeo, and they get to see a really good rodeo,” he said. “The fans make it a good rodeo, along with the people that put it all together.”

postheadericon McNeill brings college title home

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Kynzie McNeill reflects on her youth in southeastern New Mexico with great adoration.

She should. She’s awfully proud to be from Lea County, where she’s done some brilliant things. But the biggest piece of her life came in June when she claimed the barrel racing national championship at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

“I hope I remember this forever,” said McNeill, who also was the driving force behind Texas Tech winning the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association women’s title. “It’s something that I can look back on when I’m struggling or in a slump. I can reach the top. It just takes more effort and time.”

Kynzie McNeill

Kynzie McNeill

And like anyone who is from this community, she is looking forward to being part of the the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8-Saturday, Aug. 11, at Jake McClure Arena.

“My great-great grandparents were on the board and started to help with all that,” she said. “We’ve had a box at the rodeo forever. We usually go every year and watch a few performances, and I’ve entered it. It’s a big deal for our community. It’s a really good rodeo.”

Yes, it is, and it’s a big deal for the community that has a strong rodeo background. Lea County is home to rodeo greatness, where gold buckles are forged with sweat dispensed through hard work passion. It’s where Jake McClure developed his tremendous talents and where Troy Fort set the ground work for world titles and Sonny Davis battled through a ProRodeo Hall of Fame career.

“We’ve always had lots of locals,” said Trey Kerby, a Lea County Fair Board member who serves as chairman of the rodeo committee. “It says a lot about the local girls and guys. For them to come back and show up at our rodeo means a lot. Kynzie comes from a ranching family. She knows how to work hard and get things done.

“Like a lot of ranch kids, she’s always ready to accept the challenge and do the best you can with the opportunities presented to you.”

That’s exactly how McNeill grabbed the top prize in college rodeo. She struggled through the regular season and didn’t qualify for the CNFR as a barrel racer. But since the team finished atop the Southwest Region standings, she made the trip to Casper as part of the four-person team.

From there, she placed in all four rounds and won the title.

“I’m actually the first one in my family that’s ever rodeoed,” she said. “We’ve always ridden horses because of the ranch. I started going to the playdays in Lovington when I was little, and things just escalated from there.”

The escalator reached the top of the college world a month ago, and now she’s going to show her hometown and her friends in southeastern New Mexico just how much she loves the game when she arrives in Lovington for the ProRodeo.

postheadericon McIntyre doing well at his side job

Payden McIntyre wrestles his steer to the ground in 4.3 seconds to win the bulldogging title at this year's Cattlemen's Days PRCA Rodeo. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

Payden McIntyre wrestles his steer to the ground in 4.3 seconds to win the bulldogging title at this year’s Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

GUNNISON, Colo. – Like any rodeo cowboy, Peydon McIntyre would love to take his shot at making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

For now, though, other priorities don’t make that possible. He operates an information technology business in Douglas, Wyo., and he must take care of his clients before he can focus on his side job, a steer wrestler in ProRodeo.

“I’m in a position in life where rodeoing full time isn’t really an option for me,” said McIntyre, a five-time qualifier to the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo. “The circuit system has been great for us cowboys that maybe want to rodeo hard for one month out of the year. If you win the circuit finals, you could go to Florida for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and maybe be able to ride for the National Finals next year.”

That’s why Saturday night’s 4.3-second run on the final performance of the Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo. He won the steer wrestling title, $1,745 and a $200 bonus from the rodeo committee.

“It’s pretty awesome for a committee to go above and beyond for us cowboys,” he said. “It’s been a real slow seek, so it’s real nice to come down here and have a lot of people appreciate when you do well.”

McIntyre has been to Cattlemen’s Days a handful of times in his rodeo career, but 2018 marks his first championship.

“This is an awesome community, and it’s a good place to relax and hang out,” he said. “The hospitality has been great, and they’ve taken care of us. We haven’t won a lot of money the last few weeks, so if somebody will feed you for free, you can’t complain about that.”

He travels with Coltin Hill and Stetson Jorgensen of Blackfoot, Idaho, and Coltin Hill of Browning, Mont., and they share expenses to make sure the rodeo trail pays off as much as possible. They also work with one another, and Jorgensen helps by hazing for McIntyre, helping keep the steer running straight to give the bulldogger the best chance to win.

“He’s hazed for me all winter and quite a bit this summer,” McIntyre said. “You get a guy on a good horse that knows what he’s doing, and you get in sync together. It’s like a quarterback and a receiver working together.

“This is a circuit rodeo for me, so it will make competing in the circuit a little easier for me.”

Cattlemen’s Days
Gunnison, Colo.
July 12-14
All-around cowboy:
Wyatt Imus, $1,130 in tie-down roping and team roping.

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Craig Wisehart, 85 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Kicking Feathers, $1,480; 2. Casey Colletti, 83, $1,121; 3. Jake Springer, 78.5, $807; 4. (tie) Tyler Ferguson and J.C. Hester, 77, $426; 6. Hunter Brasfield, 73, $224.

Steer wrestling: 1. Payden McIntyre, 4.3 seconds, $1,745; 2. Tom Littell, 4.6, $1,444; 3. Riley Krassin, 5.2, $1,143; 4. Trevion Fox, 5.7, $842; 5. Chisum Docheff, 6.4, $541; 6. (tie) Trey Jackson and Laine Herl, 7.7, $150 each.

Team roping: 1. Brye Crites/Buddy Hawkins II, 4.9 seconds, $2,162; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Tyler Worley, 5.0, $1,880; 3. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.2, $1,598; 4. Brit Ellerman/Marcus Banister, 5.6, $1,316; 5. Tyler Shnaufer/Trevor Schnaufer, 5.7, $1,034; 6. (tie) Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis and Lee Kiehne/Tyler Getzwiller, 5.8, $611 each; 8. (tie) Wyatt Imus/Reno Gonzalez and Wade Kreutzer/Clancey Kruetzer, 5.9, $94 each.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Mitch Pollock, 84 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Jet Trails, $1,718; 2. Joaquin Real, 81.5, $1,302; 3. Lefty Holman, 79, $937; 4. Trayson Antonick, 78, $625; 5. Parker Kempfer, 75.5, $365; 6. (tie) Dean Wadsworth and Tyler Turco, 73.5, $130 each.

Tie-down roping: 1. Bo Pickett, 10.9 seconds, $1,581; 2. Ryan Belew, 12.7, $1,308; 3. Wyatt Imus, 20.1, $1,036; 4. Reno Gonzales, 20.6, $763; 5. Colton Farquer, 21.0, $491; 6. Wes Mack, 21.4, $273.

Barrel racing: 1. Nicole Waggoner, 17.64 seconds, $1,518; 2. Brittany Fellows, 17.90, $1,301; 3. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.91, $1,084; 4. Taryn Boxleitner, 17.97, $940; 5. Kelly Yates, 17.98, $723; 6. Chris Gibson, 18.03, $434; 7. Dolli Lautaret, 18.08, $434; 8. Kari Boxleitner, 18.09; 9. Jolee Lautaret-Jordan, 18.17, $217; 10. Ronnie Will, 18.20, $145.

Bull riding: 1. Brody Yeary, 82 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Little Party, $4,474; 2. Jimy Marten, 79.5, $3,691; 3. Eli Vastbinder, 73, $3,021; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon New partners move to Gunnison lead

Buddy Hawkins II closes his  4.9-second run with partner Brye Crites on Friday night to take the team roping lead at the Cattlemen's Days PRCA Rodeo. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

Buddy Hawkins II closes his 4.9-second run with partner Brye Crites on Friday night to take the team roping lead at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

GUNNISON, Colo. – Brye Crites and Buddy Hawkins have roped together many times over the years. That happens when team ropers live close to one another.

Now they’re on the rodeo trail together and finding their ways to the pay window. On Friday night, the two stopped the clock in 4.9 seconds to take the team roping lead at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo.

“I had to stay home for a couple of weeks to deal with some family matters,” said Hawkins, a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Columbus, Kan., who had been roping with Lane Ivy of Dublin, Texas, for a couple of years. “It was the toughest time to leave a guy hanging or look for a new partner.

“Brye and I practice together quite a bit. He lives about 50 or 60 miles from me and ropes real good. I asked if he was interested in going, and he was happy to come out here with me. He is a rooking, doing a real good job for me.”

That he is. Not only are they winning in Gunnison, but they are secured a spot in Saturday’s championship round in Casper, Wyo. They will remain partners for another two weeks.

“It’s been a heck of an opportunity,” Crites said. “A lot of guys don’t get this opportunity to know every time you turn a steer, he’s going to catch two feet.”

That’s what happens with a heeler as talented as Hawkins.

“Matt Sherwood and I are going to start roping together in Dodge City, and we plan on roping together indefinitely,” Hawkins said of the two-time world champion from Pima, Ariz.

This was both cowboys’ first time to compete in the Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.

“This is a super neat facility,” he said. “I’ve been to 44 rodeos this year, and when we got here, they gave us hay and helped us park and were as friendly as they could be. It couldn’t be any better, and they gave us a cash bonus for winning the performance.

“That money will help us get to Casper’s short round tomorrow night.”

It all comes in handy. Hawkins is 21st in the world standings and has hopes of moving up the money list. Sure, returning to the NFR would be great, but he ropes to help make ends meet.

“I like paying bills, with or without the finals.”

Cattlemen’s Days
Gunnison, Colo.
July 12-14
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Craig Wisehart, 85 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Kicking Feathers; 2. Casey Colletti, 83; 3. Jake Springer, 78.5; 4. Tyler Ferguson, 77; 5. Bryton John Buyert, 70; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: 1. Riley Krassin, 5.2 seconds; 2. Chisum Docheff, 6.4; 3. Miguel Garcia, 14.4; 4. Brian Snell, 15.5; 5. Brady Buum, 20.1; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: 1. Brye Crites/Buddy Hawkins II, 4.9 seconds; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Tyler Worley, 5.0; 3. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.2; 4. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.8; 5. Wyatt Imus/Reno Gonzalez, 5.9; 6. Garrett Tonozzi/Joe Mattern, 7.1.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Joaquin Real, 81.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Hoppin’ Tom; 2. Trayson Antonick, 78; 3. Parker Kempfer, 75.5; 5. Dean Wadsworth, 73.5; 5. Dalton Davis, 73; 6. Justin Lawrence, 72.

Tie-down roping: 1. Bo Pickett, 10.9 seconds; 2. Ryan Belew, 12.7; 3. Wyatt Imus, 20.1; 4. Reno Gonzaels, 20.6; no other qualified runs.

Barrel racing: 1. Nicole Waggoner, 17.64 seconds; 2. Brittany Fellows, 17.90; 3. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.91; 4. Kelly Yates, 17.98; 5. Chris Gibson, 18.03; 6. Dolli Lautaret, 18.08; 7. Jolee Lautaret-Jordan, 18.17; 8. Ronnie Will, 18.20; 9. MacKenzie Scott, 18,21; 10. Kathryn Hawkins, 18.27.

Bull riding: 1. Jimy Marten, 79.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Gunsmoke; 2. Eli Vastbinder, 73; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Artists enjoy giving back

Easton Corbin, Dean Dillon and James Otto perform during the Gunnison Cattlemen's Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction on July 10. The evening produced more than $340,000 in fundraising. (PHOTO BY ALLAN IVY)

Easton Corbin, Dean Dillon and James Otto perform during the Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction on July 10. The evening produced more than $340,000 in fundraising. (PHOTO BY ALLAN IVY)

Otto, Corbin were part of TETWP concert, auction that raised more than $340k

GUNNISON, Colo. – The Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign has provided an impact on the local community, but it touches people well beyond the Gunnison Valley.

“I think they do amazing work,” said James Otto, one of the artists who was part of the TETWP Songwriter Concert and Auction on Tuesday, July 10, in Mt. Crested Butte. “They are giving back in a way to find a way to help folks who are going through the toughest points in their lives.

“I’m honored to be part of it.”

Otto shared the stage with legendary songwriter Dean Dillon, who serves on the TETWP board and helps organize the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, and Easton Corbin, a last-minute replacement for an ill Tyler Farr.

“It was a great event,” Corbin said. “My buddy, Tyler Far, got sick. Our manager called me and told me what the event was, so I was happy to come.

“In some way, shape or form, everybody’s been affected by cancer. They’re taking that money and putting it in the local hospital and taking that money and using it locally. It’s being used for what it’s for.”

This year’s concert and auction raised more than $340,000, said Heidi Sherratt Bogart, executive director of Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Over the 13 years the organization has been in existence, it has raised more than $2.6 million, all of which is used locally.

That made it fairly easy for the country artists to join Dillon on stage.

“My family has a long history with breast cancer,” Otto said. “My grandmother had breast cancer and ended up passing away after battling it for a long time. My mom has been through breast cancer; she is a survivor. My mother-in-law just this last year went through stage 3 breast cancer. It’s something that means a lot to me.

“If I can help raise funds or raise awareness in any way, then that’s what I want to do.”

That mindset, along with the giving of so many special donors that take part in the concert and auction every year, has been big for the local TETWP community.

“You make friends and connections out here,” Corbin said. “You meet people who have personal ties to this, and it solidifies why you’re here. It makes you feel good, because you’re going to help impact people’s lives.”

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