Archive for July, 2018

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.”

postheadericon Roundup featuring Jr.NFR qualifier

9-year-old Brazos Heck is interviewed during the 2017 Jr.NFR in Las Vegas.(COURTESY PHOTO)a

9-year-old Brazos Heck is interviewed during the 2017 Jr.NFR in Las Vegas.(COURTESY PHOTO)a

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The greatest cowboys and cowgirls in a given season battle throughout the year to compete in Las Vegas in December.

What has worked for decades for professional rodeo has been passed down to the next few generations of ropers, bulldoggers, barrel racers, bull riders and bronc riders with the development of the Jr.NFR, which takes place in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo has always been a huge stopping point for NFR qualifiers, and this year it will be a qualifying stop for those hoping to compete at the Jr.NFR. The event takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, at Roundup Arena.

“This will be a direct qualifier to the Central Region Finals that take place in September in Liberal (Kan.),” said Jeff Louderback, a livestock producer and event organizer from Liberal. “From there, the top kids will go to the Jr.NFR.”

There will be four age groups for the competitors: 8-under, 9-11, 12-14 and novice, which is for youth ages 15-18. For the event at Roundup Arena, the competition will feature youth in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding. Louderback will be providing the bucking stock, which includes animals of various sizes to be matched with each age division.

“I love these kids events,” said Joel Redman, vice president of the Roundup Rodeo committee. “I feel good seeing how excited these kids get and their determination to compete.”

That’s exactly why Louderback got involved in producing events nearly eight years ago.

“I used to ride broncs, and we enjoy working with kids,” he said. “This will be our third year being associated with the Jr.NFR.”

That’s because the championship in Las Vegas was created in 2016. While the Dodge City event will focus on youngsters riding bucking horses, the Jr.NFR will feature all other rodeo events.

“We’re going to have kids coming to Dodge City from all over the nation to try to qualify for the Jr.NFR,” Louderback said. “This is really a cool way for us to look at tomorrow’s champions.

“To say you get to see them now and could very well see them at the NFR one of these days is pretty special.”

postheadericon Wisehart winning wise in pink

Craig Wisehart of Kersey, Colo., not only took the bareback riding lead at the Gunnison Cattlemen's Days PRCA Rodeo, but also he earned $1,500 for wearing pink and having the high-point ride in bareback riding. With the help of sponsors, a local donation and $250 per event from Wrangler, the committee was able to give out $7,500 Thursday night. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

Craig Wisehart of Kersey, Colo., not only took the bareback riding lead at the Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, but also he earned $1,500 for wearing pink and having the high-point ride in bareback riding. With the help of sponsors, a local donation and $250 per event from Wrangler, the committee was able to give out $7,500 Thursday night. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

GUNNISON, Colo. – When Craig Wisehart left his Texas home, he left a few things, including his pink shirt.

That was a bit unhandy Thursday night during the Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance of Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, which offered a $1,500 bonus to the highest scores and fastest times in each event.

“My buddy, Tyler Ferguson, told me there was a pretty good bonus for wearing a pink tonight,” said Wisehart, who lives in Stephenville, Texas, but still calls Kersey, Colo., home. “I told him, ‘I was silly and left all my pink shirts in Texas.’ He told me there was a Tough Enough to Wear Pink booth on the other side of the arena and to get one.

“I ran over there, and they fit me with one, and here we are.”

He then put on a magical 85-point ride on Smith, Harper & Margan’s Kicking Feathers to take the lead in bareback riding and earning the $1,500 – $250 from Wrangler, $250 from a local sponsor and $1,000 from a local donor who is part of the Cattlemen’s Days TETWP program.

“I knew it was a colt, but we can call a bunch of people who know what it is or have been on that horse,” said Wisehart, the assistant rodeo coach at Tarleton State University. “A good buddy of mine, Jake Brown, knows horses like nobody’s business. When Jake says he’s a hopper, I take it.”

A “hopper” is considered a horse that makes a straight motion as it jumps and kicks with few moves in between.

“When I showed up here tonight, everybody told me I was going to love it,” he said. “It was reassuring.”

Because of his coaching schedule, Wisehart focuses on the rodeos he knows and likes. He’s qualified eight times for the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, where he has won the average twice and won the outright circuit title once. Part of that is familiarity, but another is having a strong rodeo legacy at a lot of rodeos in the region made up of stops in Colorado and Wyoming.

“It’s just the atmosphere,” he said. “The rodeo heritage, and the guys in Colorado and Wyoming are true rodeo cowboys. I was born and raised here in Colorado, so I’ve seen all these kinds of rodeos all my life.

“I love this rodeo. The hospitality and the committee is great, and the stock is amazing. Just driving in, you see the black cows out in the pasture and know this is cowboy country.”

The pink program also paid off for barrel racer Chris Gibson of Windsor, Colo. She posted an 18.03-second run to earn the $1,500, then donated $300 back to the Cattlemen’s Days TETWP committee.

“That’s one thing I love about this rodeo, and I’ve wanted to do that,” she said. “After I came here the first time, I knew I didn’t want to miss this rodeo again because of their pink campaign.”

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

Steer wrestling: 1. Riley Krassin, 15.6 seconds; 2. Miguel Garcia, 14.4; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.2 seconds; 2. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.8; 3. Garrett Tonozzi/Joe Mattern, 7.1; 4. Robert Reed/TW Wilson, 11.2; 5. Garett Chick/J.W. Borrego, 15.2; 6. Corey Whinnery/Robert Murphy, 15.6.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Trayson Antonick, 78 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Deep Water; 2. Parker Kempfer, 75.5; 3. Dean Wadsworth, 73.5; 4. Dalton Davis, 73; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: No qualified runs.

Barrel racing: 1. Chris Gibson, 18.03 seconds; 2. Emily Dudley, 18.33; 3. Amy Smith, 18.98; 4. Trixie Carlstrom, 19.45; 5. Amanda Devencenty, 27.96; 6. Shali Lord, 44.83.

Bull riding: 1. Eli Vastbinder, 73 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s bull 410; no other qualified rides.

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