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postheadericon Smith makes his mark in Gunnison

Stace Smith Pro Rodeo, an 11-time stock contractor of the year, will have a great set of bucking animals and high level rodeo production at Cattlemen's Days. (ALLAN IVY PHOTO)

Stace Smith Pro Rodeo, an 11-time stock contractor of the year, will have a great set of bucking animals and high level rodeo production at Cattlemen’s Days. (ALLAN IVY PHOTO)

GUNNISON, Colo. – The volunteers that organize the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo work hard annually to make it one of the best.

“One of the biggest things we have is our stock contractor, Stace Smith,” said Margo Patton Blair, president of Cattlemen’s Days. “Stace Smith is one of the greatest producers in rodeo, and the proof is in the number of times he’s been named stock contractor of the year.”

For 11 straight years – from 2004 to 2014 – Smith was named the No. 1 livestock producer in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He and his crew will return to Gunnison for this year’s rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15, at Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.

“The record speaks for itself,” said Andy Stewart, the longtime announcer of the Cattlemen’s Days rodeo. “Stace Smith Pro Rodeo has great production and a really good crew. Everybody that works for Stace is a professional; it increases the quality of production, which I feel is extremely important in the world of rodeo.”

Rodeo is a combination of family-friendly entertainment and world-class competition, and the Smith crew works hard to make sure all aspects are handled well.

“We’re in the business to entertain crowds and put on a good rodeo,” said Cody Kidd, general manager for Smith’s firms, which also includes Smith, Harper & Morgan. “We try to bring the best stock we can to every rodeo we do, because we want to attract the best cowboys and give them the best shot to win. The other part of what we do is that we’re entertainment, which is why we have pyrotechnics and a laser light show.”

Virtually every year, more than a dozen Smith animals are selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It’s that type of superstar animal athlete power that helps draw the top contestants to Gunnison.

“Stace Smith has great stock,” Stewart said. “That firm is extremely well known throughout the industry. The main thing I like about Smith Pro Rodeo is the pride they take into what they do. He’s going to come out and put on the best show possible.

“Those guys definitely have a sense of professionalism and pride in what they do.”

The staff also works with some of the greatest bucking animals in the game. Last year, Smith had seven horses and seven bulls that performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

That’s the type of animal power that fans get to see in Gunnison every year.

“The stock is always great there,” Stewart said. “The mountains offer an awesome setting, and the animals love the weather. They are lights out every night.”

And when the lights go down on the final night of the rodeo each year, fans know they got something special out of Cattlemen’s Days and Stace Smith Pro Rodeo.

postheadericon Rumford is ready to rock Eagle

Five-time Clown of the Year Justin Rumford launches himself over a couple of willing participants during his act at a recent rodeo. Rumford will be featured at the Eagle County (Colo.) Fair and Rodeo. (FRAN RUCHALSKI PHOTO)

Five-time Clown of the Year Justin Rumford launches himself over a couple of willing participants during his act at a recent rodeo. Rumford will be featured at the Eagle County (Colo.) Fair and Rodeo. (FRAN RUCHALSKI PHOTO)

EAGLE, Colo. – Justin Rumford can’t remember the first time he was horseback; that happens when one grows up cowboy.

The Kansas-bred cowboy has done everything imaginable when it comes to rodeo. He was the third generation of his family’s stock contracting business, and there isn’t a task he can’t handle or hasn’t tried.

“I’ve been involved in rodeo my whole life,” said Rumford, the reigning five-time Clown of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “I’ve never done anything else, and I’ve never wanted to do anything else. I’ve always wanted to be successful. A (few) years ago when I started this venture, I knew if I really worked hard and tried really hard that I could get to the top in a hurry.

“This clowning deal is the best thing I’ve ever had. It’s something in rodeo that I can have a lot of longevity in. There’s not a ton of risk, and it’s something I enjoy so much.”

He will have that passion with him for the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19-Saturday, July 22, at Johnette Phillips Arena on the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

“People want to laugh at each other more than they want to laugh at something,” he said. “When I’m in the arena, I’m saying the same stuff I’d say if I wasn’t clowning. It’s just me being me.”

That’s just Rumford’s personality shining through, and it’s been a big hit across the country.

“He is so well known, and I find him very entertaining,” said Hanna Albertson, chairwoman of the fair and rodeo’s advisory council. “I think Eagle County is going to enjoy having such a big name with our clown.

“He seems like the kind of person who is genuinely funny.”

He continues to be one of the most sought-after rodeo clowns in the game. But there are many reasons behind it.

“I have seven acts,” Rumford said. “At a lot of rodeos I work, there are lots of performances, so I like to change it up. I’m not a specialty act; I’m a clown act.

“I’m constantly trying to think of new stuff.”

Whether it’s “Fat Elvis” on a mini bike or the Rumford rendition of Spiderman, the acts are a big part of the entertainment value. But he’s the perfect all-around entertainer, a man who understands the timing that comes with rodeo.

It’s all part of making the production come across as seamless as possible. If there is any downtime in the competition, Rumford is on hand to engage the crowd. It’s a vital piece of the keeping the family-friendly entertainment part of each performance.

“I think my specialty is walking and talking and being in the arena,” he said. “I feel like I can connect with the crowd pretty good. Even when my microphone isn’t on, I’m still talking to fans. You can do a lot without saying a word.”

That’s an integral part of being a clown; sharing a particular move or a flashing glance in the right direction. As a clown with a bit of a bigger build, it is primary target of comedy is himself.

“People want to laugh at each other more than they want to laugh at something,” Rumford said. “When I’m in the arena, I’m saying the same stuff I’d say if I wasn’t clowning. It’s just me being me.”

postheadericon Allen, Devers finish CNFR in top 10

ALVA, Okla. – For the second straight year, two Northwestern Oklahoma State University steer wrestlers finished among the top 10 at the College National Finals Rodeo.

Joby Allen of Alva and Cody Devers of Perryton, Texas, finished fourth and 10th, respectively, at last week’s finale in Casper, Wyo. Allen had a four-run cumulative time of 23.5 seconds to finish in a tie for fourth overall; he also added points by finishing in a tie for fourth in the second round and placing third in the championship round.

Joby Allen

Joby Allen

“It took me a little while to get rolling on it,” said Allen, who dominated the final few rodeos to win the Central Plains Region title. “I didn’t have a run that I liked until the short round.

“They had been 7.8 and 11.0 on the steer I had in the short round. That was the only run of the four that my feet hit good on the ground and I was able to turn the steer back.”

He stopped the clock in 4.6 seconds, which moved him up in the final aggregate standings.

“The biggest deal in Casper is scoring sharp and catching all your cattle,” he said. “I feel like I didn’t have a great finals, but I still ended up fourth.”

Like Allen, Devers will have an opportunity to return to Casper next year. He qualified for the college finals a year ago while competing at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, then upped his game this year with a top-10 finish in his junior campaign.

Cody Devers

Cody Devers

“I had a good steer on the first won and ended up tying for the first-round win,” said Devers, who was 3.7 seconds in the opening round. “I didn’t draw real well after that. By the time we got down to the short go, I had to push a little too much, which caused me to break the barrier.”

By not allowing the steer the appropriate head start, Devers was penalized 10 seconds, pushing his run to 14.4 seconds.

“It cost me from finishing fourth in the average,” he said. “Winning the round was a big confidence booster. I placed in a couple rounds last year, so this was the first time for me to win a round at the college finals.”

The Northwestern men finished 13th overall – there were 58 schools that scored points, so the Rangers were among the top teams. Header Dylan Schulenberg of Coal Valley, Ill., also earned points by placing in the first round. The Rangers women had points from barrel racer Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., and goat-tier Tearnee Nelson of Faith, S.D.; both ladies placed in the third round.

Northwestern had two strong teams in Casper, but the bulldoggers gathered the lion’s share of the Rangers points. A year ago, J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the college steer wrestling title, while Jacob Edler of State Center, Iowa, finished second.

“If you want to better yourself in steer wrestling, you come to Alva, and you’ll be better than when you came here,” Allen said. “The announcer said Alva is going to be the steer wrestling capital of college rodeo, and I think that’s the truth.”

It all goes back to what happens on a daily basis around the Northwestern campus. Cowboys and cowgirls train hard to prepare for each rodeo, each chance at competition. It’s instilled in them by rodeo coach Stockton Graves.

“He’s always really positive and promotes winning,” Devers said. “He wants you to be the best you can. If you ask, he’ll tell you anything you need. He lets you go out there and compete and win. He coaches you in the practice pen and lets muscle memory and all that practice work kick in when you get in the arena.”

It’s paying off. Even though the Rangers didn’t finish atop the heap, at least they gained another learning experience through their rodeo education.

“Finishing fourth this year makes me want to work harder, go back next year and come back with the national title,” Allen said. “It makes me want to get better.”

postheadericon The Rooftop Rodeo legacy

Amy Vigil is one of many longtime volunteers who help make the annual Rooftop Rodeo a big hit.

Amy Vigil is one of many longtime volunteers who help make the annual Rooftop Rodeo a big hit.

Longtime volunteers reflect on the history of Estes Park’s marquee event

ESTES PARK, Colo. – There’s a reason why Rooftop Rodeo is considered one of the best ProRodeos in the country.

“It’s the people that made this organization fun to be in,” said Gary Cleveland, a longtime member of Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo. “Their thoughts are for the benefits of the cowboys and the people in attendance.

“That’s what really draws me. There’s no showboating by anybody. It’s a real team effort to have something so good.”

After 20 Rooftop Rodeos, Cleveland has retired from the committee and will be a spectator for the 2017 edition of Rooftop Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, at Granny May Arena in Estes Park.

But Cleveland knows the undertone of the local rodeo, as do many others who have been on the committee for several years.

“Our committee works really well with each other and seems to have a very good time doing it,” said Sean Murray, a 24-year member of Western Heritage. “Of course, if we didn’t enjoy it, we wouldn’t be there.”

That resonates across the board, and the residents, tourists and contestants who make it to Estes Park in early July are the beneficiaries.

“The rodeo means tradition, which is very important to me,” said Jo Adams, now in her 26th year on the rodeo committee. “When I was a kid, Estes Park was deemed the Horse Capital of the World. It’s gone away from that, but I can see now that it’s coming back.

“The rodeo is a good way to introduce a total Western lifestyle to people, and that makes me feel good.”

Rodeo, as a sport, is a tip-of-the-hat to the days of yesteryear, when livestock was such a vital part of everyday lives. As with everything, the sport has evolved, but its roots are firmly planted in its past.

“Rodeo and horses have always been my passions,” said Amy Vigil, who is celebrating her 19th year with Western Heritage and will honor her 20th rodeo in a few weeks. “We just have so much fun with this. Watching the committee, the volunteers and the rodeo grow together is just phenomenal.

“You can’t find a better group of people, and we’re all best friends.”

That common thread has paid off rather well. Over the last two decades, Rooftop Rodeo has regularly been recognized as one of the top events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. That falls on the committee that organizes the rodeo, but it also serves as a reflection of the town of Estes Park.

“The rodeo brings a lot of people into Estes Park,” said Chief Jenista, who has been associated with Rooftop Rodeo for 27 years. “We have the tourists, but I think the rodeo brings prestige, especially when the rodeo was No. 1 for so long.

“When I go someplace, people have heard about Rooftop. That says a lot about the rodeo.”

For those that have been in Estes Park most of their lives, the rodeo has been part of them for decades.

“It’s traditional family entertainment,” Adams said. “I think it’s a step out of the hectic, everyday pace and shows what you can do with animals and the respect for animals.

“Rooftop is just part of Estes Park, and it has been for 91 years.”

And for volunteers, being part of that history is rewarding. It takes a dedicated group of people willing to put in long hours to make each year go off without a hitch, but each volunteer believes in the end result.

“Estes Park is where I grew up,” Cleveland said. “I was a baby when we went up there. Growing up in that aspect of that town, you try to find something to give back to that town. The rodeo is a way I could give back to the town by volunteering my time and energy to an event that benefits the town.

“It makes you feel good.”

It shows every July, just as it has for 91 years.

postheadericon Isley to inject Gunnison with humor

GUNNISON, Colo. – For a man who spends much of his life on the rodeo trail, entertainer Keith Isley feels right at home inside the arena.

“I thoroughly enjoy watching people have a good time and enjoy what I do or what I say,” said Isley, 59.

He is one of the most decorated clowns in rodeo, and he will be part of the festivities during the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15, at Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.

Keith Isley is the most decorated entertainer in ProRodeo, and will be in Gunnison this July for Cattlemen's Days. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Keith Isley is the most decorated entertainer in ProRodeo, and will be in Gunnison this July for Cattlemen’s Days. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

“Just seeing people enjoy it and have a good time,” he said. “Sometimes later in the year, you’ll get home and have some letters for you and have some pictures of you that kids have drawn.

“It’s the little things that really make me feel like I’m accomplishing something.”

He has accomplished much. He’s been named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year six times, the Coors Man in the Can five times, the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year six times and PRCA Specialty Act of the Year three times. For three straight years, from 2009-11, he won the funnyman’s trifecta: Clown of the Year, Coors Man in the Can and Comedy Act of the Year.

In addition to being one of the best funny men in the business, he also has some of the top acts in rodeo. He’ll have it all with him when he arrives in Gunnison.

“I enjoy what I do, and it’s a lot of fun when you’ve got a good crowd and a good announcer,” said Isley, who will work Cattlemen’s Days with announcer Andy Stewart, a top five announcer each year. “When you see people with smiles on their faces, and then people come up to you and appreciate what you do, that makes what we do a lot more worthwhile.”

Isley sees a lot of smiles and has for much of his professional life. Though he was considered a class clown, being a comedian didn’t come easily.

“Oh, it was natural if I knew you, but if I didn’t know you, it was really hard,” he said. “When I started the comedy, that was really hard for me to get used to because I didn’t know those people watching me.”

He has since overcome his stage fright to become one of the most sought-after entertainers in the game. There’s good reason for it, too. Part of a good clown’s job is to fill any down time that could some during the event. If there’s a pause in the action, Isley knows it’s his turn to step up to the plate.

“I like to play on the crowd,” he said. “I like to have fun with people that like to have fun.”

It works, but Isley has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He loves working with animals and allowing them to steal the show. When it’s all put together, it’s an award-winning showcase that reaches so many people.

“Back in 1999, I worked a rodeo in Belle Foursche (S.D.); during the trick riding act, I was talking to the announcer and was just looking around,” he said. “That’s when I saw the contestants standing all around the arena just watching.”

When Isley left town, he reflected on that image and still considers it one of his greatest honors. Later that year, he earned was named the Specialty Act of the Year for the first time.

“Since then, I’ve won it a few times,” Isley said. “I’ve undoubtedly been the most blessed man who’s ever bought a PRCA membership.”

The fans are blessed, too.

postheadericon Bronc busting on the Plains

The top bronc riders in North America are expected to be in the field for the inaugural Hard Grass Bronc Match, set for 6 p.m. July 29 in Pollockville, Alberta.

The top bronc riders in North America are expected to be in the field for the inaugural Hard Grass Bronc Match, set for 6 p.m. July 29 in Pollockville, Alberta.

Hard Grass Bronc Match to pit top cowboys vs. great horses in big money event

POLLOCKVILLE, Alberta – They crave good horses and the opportunities to cash in when the rides go well.

Now the top saddle bronc riders in North America will converge on this tiny hamlet for the Hard Grass Bronc Match, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, July 29.

“We figured it would be fitting to have an event out here where we’re in the heart of cattle country,” said Tyler Kraft, an event organizer who serves as manager of the Calgary Stampede Ranch near Hanna, Alberta. “We went to different bronc ridings in North Dakota and South Dakota and really thought this would be good for this part of Alberta.

“In our area, we have around 1,500 bucking horses. Why would we be driving 1,000 miles when we could put on one here?”

The event will feature 30 of the best bronc riders in the world, from world champions to regulars at both the National Finals Rodeo and the Canadian Finals Rodeo. With $25,000 included in the committee purse and mixed with entry fees, the winner should walk away from Pollockville with at least $10,000 stuffed in his jeans.

“I love bronc matches,” said Zeke Thurston, a second-generation bronc rider and the reigning world champion from Big Valley, Alberta. “They’re awesome, and when you can get one that counts for the world standings, then it’s even better.”

The Hard Grass Bronc Match will be co-approved by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. That means money earned in Pollockville will count toward qualifications for both the CFR and the NFR. That’s an important piece of the puzzle for the bronc riders that make their living one bucking horse at a time.

“From a bronc rider’s standpoint, anytime you can watch that many horses get bucked in a day is a pretty good day,” said Thurston, whose father, Skeeter, was a multiple-time qualifier to both the NFR and CFR. “I like the way it pays out, and whatever you win goes in both standings. They have lots of bull riding events that count for the standings, so it’s cool that you can have a lot of bronc ridings like that, too.”

The event will feature many of the top bucking broncs in the game today, horses that have performed at the Calgary Stampede and other large rodeos, including the two finales.

“Speaking on behalf of the Calgary Stampede Ranch, we’re going to be bringing the heat,” Kraft said. “We’ll also have Big Stone Rodeo (of Cessford, Alberta) there helping bring some great horses.”

Each of the 30 cowboys will ride in the first round, with the top eight scores advancing to the championship round. When the final-round field is set, the cowboys will then pick the horses out of a list of 12 available that they want to face for the chance to win the short go and the title. The cowboy with highest score will select first, then the rest will choose according to how they placed.

“Bronc matches are pretty awesome,” said Dustin Flundra, a three-time Canadian champion from Pincher Creek, Alberta, who owns three NFR qualifications and the 2014 Calgary Stampede bronze. “Now that they’re starting to count for the standings makes them more attractive to the contestants.

“We know bull ridings have worked on their own, but there are a lot of people that aren’t necessarily bull riding fans but they like watching bucking horses. Now we’re going to showcase those high-caliber horses, and the best cowboys in North America are going to come.”

That combination will make it a spectacular event, but so will the setting. Pollockville is home to about 10 people and is a little more than two hours east of Calgary.

“About the only thing in the whole town is a 500-capacity dance hall, and there’s a big lean-to off it,” Kraft said. “We figured it would be neat to do it in the open prairie.”

Stands have been purchased, and organizers will utilize a Priefert arena set-up. That will make it homey and fun for fans who want to watch something special happen inside the portable fencing.

“It’s pretty exciting that we’re going to have more and more of these things and that people can enjoy,” Thurston said. “It’s an exciting time, especially for the world of rodeo.”

Bronc matches are nothing new to rodeo, but what sets the Hard Grass Bronc Match apart from most is that the money counts for both the premier rodeo associations in North America. The event in Sentinel Butte, N.D., counts for the PRCA world standings.

“It’s a lot like the Wildwood Bronc Busting that Roddy Hay puts on,” Flundra said of the early June event in Wildwood, Alberta. “Like Roddy’s event, the horses will be amazing. There will be a lot of horses that have been to both the NFR and the Canadian Finals, and a lot have been to one or the other.

“The cowboys will be of the same kind of caliber. That makes for some pretty good watching.”

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