postheadericon Herl wins title near his hometown

ALVA, Okla. – Northwest Kansas always will be home to Laine Herl.

The Northwestern Oklahoma State University cowboy found a homecoming quite to his liking this past weekend, winning the steer wrestling title and helping guide the Rangers men to the team title at the Colby (Kan.) Community College rodeo.

Northwestern-Logo-200“Everybody had a great week,” said Herl, a senior from Goodland, Kan., just 40 miles west of Colby. “Everybody was focused. We’ve got a really talented team this year.”

The Northwestern men scored 550 points to beat reigning Central Plains Region champion Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Herl contributed 150 to that total by placing in both go-rounds, winning the championship round and the average title. In all, he grappled two steers to the ground in 9.8 seconds, finishing nine-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Jacob Edler.

“It means a lot to win that rodeo,” Herl said. “My family was able to be there, and just to start off the season on a good note was big. It’s great to start off the season with a win and hopefully keep plugging along to win the region and make the college finals.”

Herl was one of three Rangers to win Colby titles, joined by tie-down roper Bryson Seachrist and barrel racer Sara Bynum. Seachrist won both rounds and the average title; he downed his first calf in 8.7 seconds, then followed that with an 8.6-second run in the short round.

Bynum, who paced the way for the women’s team that finished second overall in Colby, won the first round with a 16.58-second run. She followed that with a 17.26 to place in the short round and clinch the title.

They were just a few of many Rangers that placed in Colby: Goat-tiers Leremi Allred and Tearnee Nelson; header Hunter Munsell and his partner, Sawyer Barham as well as heeler Wade Perry; steer wrestlers Joby Allen and Brock White; bull riders Marcell Jacob and Weston Wilson; and bareback rider Austin Graham.

“I think we’re just smarter about how we go about stuff,” Herl said. “We’ve added some good guys this year, and that makes it a lot better.”

Another valuable asset is how the team prepares. All attribute much of their success to coach Stockton Graves, a Northwestern alumnus who is a seven-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“He’s been there at the highest level, so he knows what it takes to win,’ Herl said. “We’re having some up-tempo practices. We’re running more steers on the ground and focusing on the little stuff so when it comes down to it, you’re making the same run time and time out. We’re working on the basics.

“We’re starting up the matches. With that, we’re learning what to do in certain situations, so come short-go time at a college rodeo, you’re not panicking. You know you’ve been in the same place in a match before, so it helps a lot.”

It paid off this last weekend in northwest Kansas.

postheadericon Playoff time for rodeo’s elite

American Royal a big stop for top contestants on final weekend of regular season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The scramble is on.

The last week of the 2015 ProRodeo regular season has begun, and contestants are scripting their plans for the mad rush that comes with trying to finish the campaign among the top 15 in the world standings in order to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the year-end championship that takes place in December in Las Vegas.

It’s a mixture of “Last Man Standing” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” as those cowboys and cowgirls battle for all the money they can muster. In rodeo, dollars not only pay bills but also stand as championship points; the contestants in each event who earn the most money will be crowned world champions.

Andy Stewart

Andy Stewart

There are more than 20 sites designated for this week, with the American Royal PRCA Rodeo being the most prestigious. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

“This is almost like a wildcard game in the NFL or Major League Baseball,” said Andy Stewart, the event’s announcer. “These guys might have one shot left to make it to the NFR. It’s so important, because I have seen guys that go to rodeos like Kansas City that have that much money in the purse and being at the end of the season that they can win enough money and get to the NFR.

“That’s the difference between ending your season and having a shot at winning the NFR average title or winning the world title.”

Bareback rider Luke Creasy is one of those cowboys scrambling over the final few days of the regular season. Last week, he was at a rodeo every day, crisscrossing several states in the process: Iowa to Texas to New Mexico to Oregon. Flights and all-night drives are just part of the game, especially when he needs to earn thousands of dollars in order to move up from 20th into the top 15 on the money list.

Luke Creasy

Luke Creasy

“In Pasadena (Texas), I made a little money there on a little horse that didn’t have a day, but getting a check in the bank always helps boost the mind a little,” said Creasy, a native Canadian now living in Lovington, N.M. “All the other rodeos that I’m going to, I’m hoping to cash in.

Creasy has been near the top of the standings most of the season. In fact, he was among the top 10 when he suffered a broken fifth metacarpal bone in his right (riding) hand over the summer and had surgery to repair the ailment. Once he was released by doctors to ride again, he’s been going ever since. As of last Friday, he needed to make about $25,000 in the final 10 days of the season if he had any hope of qualifying for the NFR for the first time.

“There’s a lot of money out there,” he said. “It’s all vital. It’s going to be a held-breath kind of week. I’m hoping and trying my best to make it. All roads have led me here.”

ProRodeo features thousands of contestants, with hundreds battling for the coveted world championships. Only the best 120 in the game get the chance to compete at the NFR, which features the largest purse in the sport over 10 nights in Las Vegas. There are dozens of contestants on the bubble who need big checks at all the rodeos taking place on the final weekend.

“I was in the top five a lot of the year, then things happened,” said Creasy, who has finished among the top 25 three times in the past five years; he finished the 2014 campaign 17th in the standings, just two spots out of qualifying. “Now I’m in a very familiar spot. I just need to do the best I can and have a little luck come my way.”

That makes Kansas City an important stop for rodeo’s elite.

postheadericon Rodeo committee fights to be the best

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The rodeo committee that organizes the annual event during the Waller County Fair and Rodeo keeps its focus simple: Continue to improve.

That mindset works for everyone involved, from those who work behind the scenes to the cowboys that are in the middle of the competition to the fans who want to see a good show. It all comes together from Thursday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

WallerCountyLOGO“We have increased our purse every year,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the Waller County Fair Board’s rodeo committee. “We do that because this is rodeo country, and we know the people who come to our fair and rodeo want to see the greatest cowboys in the world in Hempstead.”

The quality of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo is virtually unmatched in this region of Texas. In fact, it’s downright comparable to any of the large rodeos that are across North America.

“From our stock contractor to hospitality, we really want every cowboy and cowgirl who comes to our fair and rodeo to see this rodeo as one of the best in the country,” said Chad Kersh, a member of the rodeo committee.

To that end, the rodeo committee has enlisted the help of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, the largest stock contracting firm in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Each of the past two seasons, no other contractor has had more animals selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He’s been the stock contractor in Hempstead since the rodeo transitioned to the PRCA a few years ago.

“What we love about Pete Carr is that he has the kind of stock that attracts world champions and regular NFR qualifiers,” said Clint Sciba, the fair board’s president and co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “There’s a reason that Pete has been nominated for stock contractor of the year for the third year. He should’ve won it already. He’s been the best stock contractor in rodeo for a long time.”

Just look at the reigning champion in Hempstead as proof to the elite contestants that come to town every fall. Most of the 2014 winners have been to the NFR, including bareback rider Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, who won his hometown rodeo for the first time in his career after scoring 87 points on Carr’s Night Bells.

Steer wrestler Darrell Petry, tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa and heeler Kinney Harrell have all played on the biggest stages of the game. But so have the animal athletes that guided the champions to victory in the roughstock events. Night Bells has been to the NFR six times, while Line Man has been recognized as one of the top bulls; he guided Casey Huckabee to the bull riding title with a 90-point ride.

Jacobs Crawley won the saddle bronc riding championship on Carr’s Icycle, a horse that is showing great promise.

“We want our fans to know that year in and year out, we’re going to work hard to put on a great rodeo,” Shollar said. “They deserve it.”

postheadericon Rodeo ready to wow the crowd

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – The people who organize Stephenville’s ProRodeo have a common theme they adhere to every year.

“We take pride in our town being the Cowboy Capital of the World,” said Chad Decker, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo. “If you wear that crown, you have to produce. I have a very good group of people on the committee that are more than willing to go the extra mile to be as successful as we can be.”

Chad Decker

Chad Decker

They will show it off during this year’s event, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Lone Star Arena. It’s a fabulous way to close out the 2015 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association regular season.

“We have the largest population of rodeo cowboys per square foot in the world,” Decker said. “They’ve been on the road battling it out, and for them to come home from being on the road all year, they get to close out their year right in their own backyard.

“I think it’s something they enjoy, especially now that we’ve got our money up. I look at it as a homecoming for these guys.”

As one of the final events of the season, the Stephenville rodeo will be a major stop for many top cowboys and cowgirls, even those that don’t live in Erath County. It will feature the largest purse of any rodeo that weekend that is open to all contestants. That’s just one of many major attractions for the top players in the game.

“We have the best stock contractor in rodeo with Pete Carr,” Decker said of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based livestock firm that has been nominated as PRCA stock contractor of the year each of the past two seasons. “He has tremendous livestock, and it’s something all these guys want to compete on. That’s important.”

It’s also a crowd-pleaser for fans. They realize that a number of contestants will need to collect nice paydays in Stephenville if they want to advance to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the season-ending championship that features only the top 15 contestants in each event.

“That’s what makes my Sunday afternoon crowd so big,” Decker said. “With Stephenville being a rodeo town, we cater to most of our spectators, who are rodeo people. They understand what’s on the line. It makes it more interesting for the crowd, because they know what’s at stake for the guys.”

The crowd also wants to be entertained, which is a big part of all three performances inside Lone Star Arena. This year’s event will feature Boyd Polhamus, a three-time PRCA announcer of the year who has worked the NFR 18 times, and Troy “The Wild Child” Lerwill, who has been named the PRCA specialty act of the year six times.

The committee also will feature a special dedication each performance, starting with American Hero Night on Friday. The family of Chris Kyle is heavily involved in the planning, and one local recipient will be honored during the performance.

“We’re going to take $2 off every ticket sold at the gate and donate it to this person, and the rodeo will be matching every dollar,” Decker said. “The business of Stephenville will be chipping in what they can for gift cards to this recipient to make their life easier. It’s giving back. We’re going to take care of them.”

He has dubbed Saturday’s performance as “We’re going to get Western Night,” with the focus on Carr’s production and animal athletes. The evening will close with a concert from West Texas-based artist Jake Hooker.

In addition to the final performance closing out ProRodeo’s regular season on Sunday, the rodeo committee will be showcasing its primary mission, raising funds for its scholarship foundation.

“We’re in a unique area where Stephenville and Erath County are split between two regions in the Texas High School Rodeo Association,” Decker said. “Right before each of the PRCA events, we’re going to have a match between every winner of those events battling for a $1,000 scholarship in every event.

“We’re doing something that’s never been done before. Hopefully we’re setting the groundwork to be trailblazers for others to follow.”

It’s just what fans would expect in the Cowboy Capital of the World.

postheadericon Southaven rodeo ready for action

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – After years apart, the Mid-South Fair and the Rodeo of the Mid-South are together again.

That’s a major plus for fair-goers and rodeo fans, which can enjoy all the family fun that comes with the overall experience.

PeteCarrsClassicLogo“One of the things that makes our rodeo special is the fact that this year its back with the fair,” said Lecile Harris, organizer of the annual rodeo, set for set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Landers Center in Southaven. “I moved the dates of the rodeo from April back to September so it could be with the fair.

“It’s indoors at one of the most up-to-date venues. It’s a beautiful coliseum, and it’s got all the sound, electronics and light show to help make for great production of the rodeo.”

It all adds to the mix of the rodeo, which will be produced by the crew of Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, one of the top companies in professional rodeo. Each of the past two seasons, the Carr firm has been nominated as stock contractor of the year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Last year, Carr earned contractor of the year honors in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

“I have so much confidence in Pete Carr and his company that once they drive up and once the crew goes to work, I don’t have to worry about that part of the rodeo,” said Harris, a longtime rodeo clown that has been named PRCA clown of the year four times; he also is enshrined in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“I don’t have to worry about the production of the rodeo once. I never have to worry about his crew, and I don’t have to worry about the stock. He’s got some of the best livestock in rodeo. I know when Pete and his crew get here, it’s going to be first class and everything’s going to be done right.”

That is a winning formula for rodeo fans and the cowboys and cowgirls who make a living in the sport. The Mid-South Rodeo falls on the final weekend of the 2015 regular season, making Southaven an even bigger destination for contestants all vying to finish among the top 15 in each event to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“I think a lot of the cowboys that are on the bubble (for making the NFR) will show up in Southaven,” Harris said.

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

A key ingredient will be the Carr animals. Each of the past two season, no other stock contractor in the PRCA has had more animals selected to the year-end championship, which takes place in December in Las Vegas.

That kind of animal athletes makes rodeos like Southaven an important stop along the rodeo trail.

“Pete’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. “You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something.”

When it’s mixed in with a strong production, a modern facility and great rodeo action, it’s the perfect home for fans.

postheadericon McCoy highlights fair’s concert lineup

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Neal McCoy has twice been named entertainer of the year, and his showmanship is one reason why he will be the featured entertainer at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo.

The exposition, set for Friday, Sept. 25-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead, will include four top-flight concerts, with McCoy closing the fair on Oct. 3.

Neal McCoy

Neal McCoy

“We have worked to get the kinds of acts that everyone will enjoy when they come to our fair and rodeo,” said Steven Pfeiffer, the Waller County Fair Board’s entertainment committee chairman. “I’m very excited about our concert lineup from start to finish.”

All associated with the event should be excited. The series begins Texas-born artist Aaron Watson, who released his most recent album, “The Underdog,” earlier this year. Watson, who released the rodeo hit “July in Cheyenne” in 2013, has been around the music industry for better than 15 years. He will perform Saturday, Sept. 26.

Jeff Woolsey, who grew up on the north side of Houston, was raised around traditional country music. He started his own band at age 19, and throughout the 1990s, he and his band were big hits on the dancehall circuit. The group was the 1994 band of the year in the Houston area. After a few years away from the trade, he returned to the music scene in less than a decade ago playing the music he loves. He takes the stage Thursday, Oct. 1.

Country legend John Conlee has been a top act for decades with memorable hits like “Rose Colored Glasses,” “Miss Emily’s Picture,” “Common Man,” “I’m Only in It for The Love” and “Got My Heart Set on You,” just to name a few. He performs Friday, Oct. 2.

“We have a strong group of entertainers coming to town, from traditional country with Jeff Woolsey and John Conlee to Aaron Watson, who has been taking country music by storm,” said Dustin Standley, the fair board’s sponsorship chairman. “It’s very exciting for us to have this kind of show for the people who come to our fair.”

McCoy, who won his entertainer of the year awards in 1998-99, has released 34 singles to country radio. He had back-to-back No. 1 singles with “No Doubt About It” and “Wink” in 1993. He had three platinum albums and several top-10 hits in the 1990s and 2000s.

In addition to the concerts of top artists, the newly remodeled Ole Wagon Wheel dance hall will feature dances throughout the week:

  • Brian Loftin and Texas Reflections from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26
  • DJ with karaoke from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, and Wednesday, Sept. 30
  • Aubrey Lynn Band from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1
  • Lacy Booth and Tim Nichols from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2
  • Texas Special Band, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3

postheadericon Cowboys stompin’ mad at new CPRA logo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Guest columnist Graeme Menzies is a director of marketing communications at the University of British Columbia and was the director of communications at the Vancouver (British Columbia) 2010 Winter Olympics. Born in Alberta, he now lives in Vancouver.

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association has announced that it is replacing its old logo with something new, but a lot of cowboys are saying, “Whoa!”

Some of that reaction was probably anticipated. For those in the design business, resistance to new logos is almost a proverb, and examples are logos disasters are plentiful. Ad Age magazine cites the 2010 re-launch of The Gap’s iconic logo as one of the most colossal brand missteps in recent history. But there are plenty of other examples: the London 2012 Olympic Games logo (cost: $800,000) was widely lambasted; more recently, the University of California’s updated monogram was ridiculed as “an aerial view of a flushing toilet.”

Graeme Menzies

Graeme Menzies
Guest Columnist

What about the CPRA? Is its new rodeo logo a no-go?

The announcement boasted that the new logo’s stylized hat represented both genders and honored Western heritage. Fans of the old logo have been left wondering what that means. Was there a problem with the cowboy image – was the cowboy too masculine? Surely there was no serious concern that the cowboy image failed to represent western heritage. What about the bold red Canadian maple leaf? Did someone think it was un-Canadian to be so blatantly patriotic?

Members of the CPRA, which has 1,400 members and sanctions more than 50 rodeos in Canada each year, were confused. Some were downright angry. Ted Stovin, a former bull rider and the main force behind the website, felt so strongly about the logo change he posted a lengthy blog about it, even including dozens of examples of how other sports organizations represent themselves through graphic design. Response to his article came fast and furious.

CPRA member Mac McKie wrote that the new logo communicates nothing about Canada and “as far as rodeo, only resembles an abused hat after the rodeo dance.”

Jake Vold, whose family has a proud multi-generational rodeo reputation, was a just as flustered by the move.

“I can’t believe they took away the maple leaf,” said Vold, a bareback rider that has qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Others complained that the new logo looks too much like the city of Calgary’s “Heart of the New West” logo, doesn’t represent rodeo sports, is too bland, fails to leverage the history and brand equity of the old design, and “will look like hell on a belt buckle.” Ouch!

Are these criticisms legitimate, or is this proverbial resistance that one comes to expect?

Yes and no, said Marty Yaskowich, vice president of strategy at DDB, a renowned communications and design agency in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Brand design is definitely one of the most challenging areas of marketing because there will always be differing opinions on what looks good,” he said. “You really have to separate the subjective from the strategic. The real question, when evaluating the logos, is what’s the strategy behind it?”

Yaskowich, whose cousin is two-time PBR Canadian champion bull rider bull rider Aaron Roy and who has experience working with major international and iconic Canadian brands, said much of the criticism could be ameliorated if the strategy for the change was more transparent.

“There could have been a strategic decision to create a new public-facing logo that is more about promotion of dynamic, exciting, rodeo events while also creating a more accessible and friendly brand to attract a broader audience,” he said. “There may be a strategic rationale for the change … there may be business reasons behind this, but they are not immediately clear.”

I like the old logo. It has the unsophisticated charm that only a legitimately established organization can pull off; that kind of old-school authenticity is hard to come by these days. But you’d get no argument from me if, like the Toronto Maple Leaf’s logo, it was given a periodic design refresh.

Feedback from CPRA members may have had an effect.

“The old CPRA logo has not changed,” said Dan Eddy, the CPRA’s general manager. He noted that the Pro Rodeo Canada logo is a brand of the CPRA.

While not categorically contradicting the original intent to replace the old one entirely, Eddy’s comment holds out some hope that the beloved old logo may not be on its way to the slaughterhouse after all.

Graeme Menzies is an international marketing and communications professional, who also is the author of The Rodeo Guide for City Slickers.

postheadericon Rodeo clown plays to strengths

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is one good reason Cody Sosebee has been nominated five times as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year.

He’s funny.

“I’ve always said that it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, if people don’t buy into you, they’re not going to buy what you’re selling,” said Andy Stewart, a ProRodeo announcer who will be the voice of the American Royal PRCA Rodeo this year. “That’s where Cody is one of the best; he’s such a likeable guy. What you see in the arena is him all the time. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself.”

Rodeo clown Cody Sosebee returns to the American Royal PRCA Rodeo this year to be one of the featured entertainers. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Rodeo clown Cody Sosebee returns to the American Royal PRCA Rodeo this year to be one of the featured entertainers. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

That’s a key ingredient that Sosebee brings to the table at this year’s rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Hale Arena inside the American Royal complex.

“Maybe someone in the crowd is feeling bad about themselves, maybe their job or their body or their marriage,” Stewart said. “When Cody steps into the arena, he’s making fun of himself and cracking jokes about the problem he’s having. People tend to relax and think, ‘I feel comfortable with him; he’s just like us.’

“Through making fun of himself, we’re laughing at ourselves. That’s a very unique trait that he has that makes him a really special clown.”

This isn’t the first time Sosebee has worked the American Royal. In fact, he’s been a regular at some of the biggest events in the country, including rodeos in Cheyenne, Wyo.; Dodge City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; and the Calgary (Alberta) Stampede.

In addition to his clowning nomination, the former competitor also has been nominated for the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year two of the past three seasons. But there’s much more to Sosebee than meets the eye. Over his lifetime, he’s competed in nearly every rodeo event possible and was at the top of his game in bareback riding.

It’s part of the life growing up in a family that was heavily involved in rodeo. His father was a pickup man, so Sosebee has been part of the sport as long as he can remember.

“I got into clowning by accident by filling in for guys,” said Sosebee, who also owns a barbecue restaurant in his hometown of Charleston, Ark., just 25 miles east of Fort Smith, Ark. “I didn’t know where I was going to go with my rodeo career when I quit riding barebacks, and it turned into a good living. I get to see the world.

“I live in a community with one four-way stop, and I get to go to a lot of other great places where as soon as you pull into town, you are considered a rock star for a week.”

A born competitor, the clown has made the adjustments he needed to get the true fix after a lifetime of being part of the contest.

“I’ve always been a competitor in anything I did, from football to basketball to when I was in freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “I miss putting my hand in the riggin’ and nodding my head to be 80 points to win the rodeo, but I’m a realist. I’m 43 years old. While most of the guys I rodeoed with have slowed down and have found jobs, I get to be in the arena and get to make a living in rodeo doing something I love.”

Sosebee also plays to his strengths. Bigger than many in the game, he showcases a true athleticism that is rarely seen among men of his stature. It’s comedy at the purest level.

“Having the ability to laugh at myself is probably my biggest strength,” he said. “I don’t take anything too serious. When I’m watching a comedian, the funniest thing I see is when they’re honestly open and having a good time. I want the fans to see that I’m a real person and I’m having fun, and they can have fun with me.”

That’s why Sosebee has excelled as one of the premier rodeo clowns in the game. That’s why the volunteer committee is bringing him to town. It’s another key reason the American Royal is always at the top of the game.

postheadericon Rodeo provides high-flying action

TEXARKANA, Ark. – The high-flying action of the 71st Four States Fair and Rodeo won’t be limited to the midway.

The exposition will be home to a world-class rodeo, featuring the top athletes in the game. That includes the great animals from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and the graceful – yet comedic – motorcycle antics of Troy Lerwill. It’s all set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16-Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Four States Fair Entertainment Center in Texarkana.

PeteCarrsClassicLogo“Troy has never been in our area, and I think everyone will love him here,” said Lisa Barr, vice president of the fair and rodeo. “He will be the specialty act and our clown during the rodeo. We’re excited to have him.”

Lerwill is one of the most honored clowns in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, having been honored with the comedy act of the year six times.

“Troy is one of the funniest guys out there, not just in rodeo,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm. “I try to get him as often as I can because he brings a whole new dimension to each show. He’s the best entertainer in rodeo because of how he handles the crowd.

“Then you add his motorcycle act into the mix, and it’s just over-the-top. Everybody wants to come back the next day just to see it again.

The motorcycle act involves Lerwill’s alter-ego, “The Wild Child,” who jumps a Bloomer trailer and a Ram pickup in a showcase of comedy mixed with athleticism.”

Carr knows quite about quality. Each of the past two seasons, he has been nominated as PRCA stock contractor of the year. Over that same time, he also has had more bucking horses and bulls selected to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo than any other contractor.

“I think Pete Carr has a fabulous rodeo company, and everybody on his staff puts on a wonderful rodeo,” Barr said. “It’s professional, and the crew just works great with us.

“When they get to town, they take the pressure off us. You don’t have to worry about things or if everything’s in place. They take care of it all and produce an outstanding rodeo.”

That’s just one aspect of the Carr brand. The crew of professionals put a priority on top production for fans while having the type of animal athletes that are attractive to rodeo cowboys. That helps make the Four States Fair and Rodeo a vital stop for the top contestants in the game.

“Pete brings outstanding rodeo livestock to our rodeo year after year,” Barr said. “A lot of people don’t understand that the animals are as much of our rodeo as the cowboys and cowgirls.”

In addition to its traditional kids night on Wednesday, in which children get in free with an adult admission, the fair will feature a Colt Ford concert after Friday’s rodeo.

It’s a great way to celebrate family-friendly entertainment in Texarkana.

postheadericon Rodeo stars are aligning

Eliminator, 8-Second Bareback Shootout to showcase top rodeo athletes

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The very best contestants in professional rodeo make their way to southeast Texas in the early fall every year.

Part of the attraction is the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead. It offers an outstanding purse and a great opportunity to show off the sport’s top animal athletes.

Fred Whitfield

Fred Whitfield

It also is home to a couple of incredible added events in the Eliminator, an eight-man tie-down roping challenge, and the 8-Second Bareback Shootout, which will feature two two-man teams of the top bareback riders in the game going head-to-head.

The Eliminator will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, while the 8-Second Bareback Shootout will be part of the Friday, Oct. 2, performance of the rodeo.

“We’re bringing together many of the top cowboys in these events to showcase them for our great crowds,” said Chad Kersh, a member of the Waller County Fair Board’s rodeo committee. “We have invited great cowboys to be part of these events this year, and I think everyone is really going to enjoy this aspect of our rodeo.”

Cory Solomon

Cory Solomon

It’s true. The Eliminator will feature the best of the best in tie-down roping, including world champions like Fred Whitfield of Hockley, Texas, and Shane Hanchey of Sulphur, La. They will be joined by Cory Solomon of Prairie View, Texas; Caleb Schmid of Bellville, Texas; Matt Shiozawa of Chubbuck, Idaho; Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla.; Marty Yates of Stephenville, Texas; and Timber Moore of Aubrey, Texas.

“We will have several go-rounds, with all eight competing in the first round,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the rodeo committee. “The slowest time in each round is eliminated, and we’ll get down to where we have the final two guys roping for the championship in the final round.”

Hunter Herrin

Hunter Herrin

Whitfield is an eight-time world champion, while Hanchey won the gold buckle in 2013. Of the others, Herrin and Shiozawa are heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the eighth time in their careers, while Moore has secured his fourth, Solomon his third, and Yates and Schmid their second. Moore also is the reigning champion of The Eliminator

Both events will feature a $10,000 purse.

“We wanted to give these guys something big to rope and ride for,” said Dustin Standley, the fair and rodeo’s sponsorship chairman. “These types of special events, in conjunction with our PRCA rodeo, gives us the opportunity to continue to state that Waller County is a rodeo community and that this is the place to be every fall.”

Clint Cannon

Clint Cannon

The 8-Second Bareback Shootout will feature homegrown cowboy Clint Cannon of Waller, Texas, and Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, riding against Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas, and Evan Jayne of Rockwall, Texas. The team with the best aggregate score will take home the lion’s share of the purse.

Cannon has secured his fifth NFR qualification, while Champion is coming off the most successful bareback riding years in 2014, in which he not only qualified for the NFR but also won $1 million at The American. Lowe, a three-time world champion, is battling for his 14th trip to Las Vegas, while Jayne, who is originally from Marseille, France, has been atop the world standings for much of the summer and has secured his first NFR qualification.

“This is an awesome way for us to showcase the kind of rodeo talent that comes to our fair and rodeo every year,” Shollar said. “Both events were a big hit last year, so we’ve expanded both of them. I know these are two events that fans are really going to love.”