postheadericon Lackey was solid for Rangers

ALVA, Okla. – Sometimes she who makes the fewest mistakes grabs great rewards.

Such is the case for Northwestern Oklahoma State University breakaway roper Katie Lackey of Ardmore, Okla., who posted two solid times this past weekend at the Garden City (Kan.) Community College rodeo. The result was a third-place finish in the southwestern Kansas community.

“It ended up working out in my favor that I played it safe in the short round,” said Lackey, a sophomore. “I just made sure I got a time put in.”

Northwestern-Logo-200Lackey posted a 3.1-second run to finish in a three-way tie for eighth place the first round, then followed it with a 4.5 to tie for second in the championship round. Her 7.6-second cumulative time on the two runs earned her a top 3 finish overall.

As the third breakaway roper to compete in the final round, she first made sure she wasn’t penalized at the start by breaking the barrier, which receives a 10-second penalty for not allowing the calf the adequate head start. Then she made sure to secure the catch, which took a little longer than she would typically like.

“I’ve watched a few short-goes, and I know there’s always going to be some situations where girls miss or they break the barrier,” she said. “At that point, I could’ve tried to risk it, but I didn’t know if I’d be fast enough to win the average.”

Slow and steady may not win the race, but it turned into a big move for the 20-year-old cowgirl. She was one of four Northwestern women to accumulate points in the seventh rodeo of the 2015-16 Central Plains Region, joining barrel racers Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., and Cassy Woodward of Dupree, S.D., and goat-tier Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D.

While Woodward made the final round in her event, Bynum put together two solid runs to finish in a tie for fourth place. Bynum is second in the region standings. Miller, who placed in both go-rounds and finished second in western Kansas, also sits in the runner-up position in the Central Plains.

The Rangers men were led by four steer wrestlers that placed among the top 6. J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the final round and finished second overall. He was followed by fourth-place finisher Mike McGinn of Haines, Okla.; Riley Westhaver of High River, Alberta, who placed fifth; and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, the No. 6 bulldogger; Joby Allen of Alva placed in the first round but was unable to place.

Tie-down roper Bryson Seachrist of Apache, Okla., finished fourth overall, capitalizing on a solid 9.7-second run in the final round, while bareback rider Austin Graham. Seachrist continues to lead the tie-down roping standings, while Graham is third in the region.

Though she’s been close several times, the Garden City rodeo marked the first time this season Lackey has qualified for a final round. She finished one spot out of the short-round field at the first rodeo of the season in Colby, Kan., and has suffered broken-barrier penalties that have forced her to miss other times. So being among the championship field was vital for the sophomore.

“I’ve made a lot of changes in my roping and horsemanship throughout the year,” said Lackey, who just started roping three years ago. “When you make those changes, it’s not always going to come smoothly. Now I’m becoming more comfortable.

“In the end, it’s rodeo, and there are a lot of variables. I drew well and took care of business. Sometimes you just have to have it all come together for you, and it did this time.”

postheadericon A passion for soccer leads to volunteerism for Samudzi

Cleo Samudzi coaches one of his Twisters teams during a tournament in August 2012. Samudzi donates many hours per week during the spring and fall to coach multiple Twisters teams, and many graduates of the program have gone on to success on the Maryville High School girls soccer team.

Cleo Samudzi coaches one of his Twisters teams during a tournament in August 2012. Samudzi donates many hours per week during the spring and fall to coach multiple Twisters teams, and many graduates of the program have gone on to success on the Maryville High School girls soccer team.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appeared in the Friday, April 1, 2016, edition of the Maryville Daily Forum. It’s reprinted in its entirety here. 

Cleo Samudzi unwinds a little differently than most.

As dean of the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, Samudzi has spent his lifetime educating young people. His teachings continue even in his down time as he chases his passions in soccer.

“I don’t look at it as volunteering,” he said while contradicting himself as he explains the many hours per week that are donated to the Maryville Twisters soccer program. “The way I started this competitive girls soccer here had a lot more to do with the fact that I love the game.”

That love affair started as a lad in Zimbabwe, where Samudzi began playing. It has continued through the years, including the last several in Maryville. He took the post at Northwest Missouri State University a dozen years ago and quickly engrossed himself into the local soccer scene.

That’s when he saw the need for more development for competitive play among the community’s youth. He established the Maryville Twisters girls soccer program in 2005, and he’s been instrumental in how the sport has grown locally over that time. The recent success of the Maryville High School girls soccer team has been proof of that.

“For a coach at that level, you’re only as good as the players who come to you and get that training before you get them,” Samudzi said.

He saw the need, which also fit into his passion.

“I’ve never been paid to coach,” he said. “I have donated my time to something that I love doing. It happens to be a service to another person.

“You don’t understand how much I watch the game. This past summer, I went to Canada for the Women’s World Cup; the year before, I went to Brazil for the men’s cup and to watch the game.”

That is considerable time devoted to the game, but there’s more. In addition to the hours of practice each week for the teams – he has two age groups this spring but has had as many as three – there is also the traveling to various competitions. The Twisters play a league that is based in the Kansas City area, so most weekends during the fall and spring seasons are taken up with those trips.

It sometimes means a bit of a juggle. One age group may play in Independence at a similar time as another team plays in Liberty. He leans on other volunteers to help coordinate the activities as occasions arise.

“It’s a privilege to have parents supporting this sport, parents supporting their kids,” Samudzi said. “In essence, the parents are supporting my habits.”

He chuckled at the thought, but he recognized there’s something more to it. So do the families that are involved. Most of the girls have been part of the Twisters for several years.

“Cleo’s very knowledgeable about the game of soccer, but he’s teaching them more than soccer,” said T.J. Allen, whose daughter, Tori, has been part of the Twisters for four years. “He teaches them how to work within themselves to be at the right place at the right time. You may not be the best athlete or the best team out there, but if you can work together, you can accomplish just about anything.”

Still, all this comes from a man willing to donate his time. He may not see it as volunteerism, but it is. The Twisters’ parents see it, and so do their girls.

Samudzi has found many rewards, the foremost being around the game he adores so much. But there’s more, from the relationships he’s crafted with dozens of families over the last dozen years.

“My greatest reward is to see the high school team do well,” he said. “Almost all of the players went through out program. It’s great to see the impact of their development and skill level and also that they are enjoying the sport.

“I start them very young (11 years of age and younger). That is satisfaction seeing them grow in the sport. When they go to high school, just watching them you know you’ve had an impact on a kid’s life. That’s extremely rewarding.”

To the coach and his players.

postheadericon Trio earns biggest payout at ERA opener

Derrick Begay

Derrick Begay

It took a bit of work, but with the help of a the ERA media relations, I was able to come up with the big money winners from this past weekend’s inaugural event in Redmond, Ore.

Clay O'Brien Cooper

Clay O’Brien Cooper

Because the association is a points-based system, the results show points instead of dollars. It’s similar to the way the PBR used points to define its year-end champions; the difference would be that the PBR also has included financial earnings with its results. Thankfully, Holly DeLaune provided me with the payout list per placing; from there, it was just about matching the contestants that placed with their prospective earnings based on the list.

The biggest money-earners from the two performances were bull rider Zack Oakes and team ropers Derrick Begay and Clay O’Brien Cooper, who pocketed $6,625 each. Begay and Cooper won Friday night, then finished as the runners-up Saturday. Oakes won on Night 2 after a second-place finish in the opener.

Bareback rider Richmond Champion, who won the first round and finished in a tie for second with Kaycee Feild on Saturday, pocketed $6,313.

In all, the ERA paid out $100,000 each night.

postheadericon Pioneer Days deserving of honor

GUYMON, Okla. – Oklahoma has a strong and powerful rodeo history.

From hosting the National Finals Rodeo to being the home of many world champions, the state is well known for its rodeo lore. Still, only this community in the heart of the Panhandle can boast of being home to Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame Rodeo.

Fresh off its induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame last summer, the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo will show the world just why during four performances, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“We have an 84-year history that we’re very proud of,” said Jim Quimby, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “Every year we work very hard as a community to pull off the best rodeo in the state, in the country.

“Being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame is an incredible honor for us. We are very proud of our rodeo. We have a core group of people who work all year to put this on, but this is a community event. We wouldn’t have the kind of rodeo we have without our community.”

Robert Etbauer

Robert Etbauer

It’s a rodeo that’s well-respected by the contestants that play the game. Nearly 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls make their way to the Oklahoma Panhandle every spring for the event. Virtually every world champion in recent history has played the game inside Hitch Arena, and they always look forward to returning.

“The community really got behind this rodeo,” said Robert Etbauer, a two-time world champion from Goodwell, Okla., now serving as the rodeo coach at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. “The community’s the one that got the rodeo (to the hall of fame). Larry Jeffus and the rest of that committee … my hat’s off to them, because they did a heck of a job.”

There have been a number of volunteers over the years that have held significant roles in the rodeo’s success. From Melyn Johnson to Ken Stonecipher to Earl Helm to Quimby and the countless others who have been part of the event’s success, it takes a small village for Pioneer Days Rodeo to continue to be a top-tier event for the contestants.

Etbauer and other cowboys had a big hand in helping put the Guymon rodeo on the map in the early 1990s. He and others with ties to Texas County worked hard to help increase the purse, thereby making it a big event in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Bret Franks

Bret Franks

Prior to the early ’90s, Pioneer Days Rodeo had the smallest committee bankroll to make it eligible to be a PRCA event – local organizers raised $500 per event, which was then combined with contestants’ entry fees to make up the entire purse. Over the last two-plus decades, the local event boasts of one of the larger overall purses in the association.

“It’s a rodeo that came from humble beginnings, just a $500 circuit rodeo,” said Bret Franks, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who grew up in Guymon. “It hasn’t always been a big celebration for the community.

“The big deal was getting sponsors behind it. I remember Robert going around and knocking on doors, introducing himself. We all kind of did it in little ways, but Robert was the driving force for us contestants, a lot of us Panhandle State alumni.”

It didn’t hurt that Etbauer was wearing one of his two world championship gold buckles while visiting with sponsors, but that was just the start.

“It was our hometown rodeo, and we wanted to see the best for it,” said Etbauer, who, along with brother Billy, was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2012 – they were joined a year later by youngest brother Dan as inductees into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City. “We loved this community and liked our hometown rodeo. We wanted to do whatever we could.”

There were a lot of big names who jumped on board. The Etbauers were joined by traveling partner Craig Latham, Franks and just about anyone who had ties to the Panhandle State rodeo team. Most were big names on the ProRodeo trail at the time.

“We appreciate all those that voted,” Robert Etbauer said. “Those that voted are the committees and your peers, the people you rode in front of and got to know them through the years. It’s just fun to be thought of in that way.”

Now Pioneer Days Rodeo is part of the grandest hall in the sport.

“The town has grown so much in the last 10 years that it’s unbelievable,” Franks said. “There have been a lot of people that have gotten behind that rodeo and improved it. They have always tried to do whatever would set us apart and improve it, whether it was bringing in all the different contractors to roping muleys (hornless steers used in team roping).

“They were doing things that were innovative and outside the box when we started. Now all the good rodeos are doing what we were doing then.”

Maybe that’s just another big reason why Pioneer Days Rodeo will forever be enshrined in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame along with all the other greats in the game.

postheadericon A rodeo worth celebrating

Cody Canada and The Departed will be one of the featured concerts during this year's 70th anniversary of the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo. The group will perform on Sunday, May 29, to close out the weekend of rodeo and music. Adam Hood will perform Friday, May 27, and Cooder Graw will play Saturday, May 28. (PHOTO FROM THE CODY CANADA AND THE DEPARTED WEBSITE)

Cody Canada and The Departed will be one of the featured concerts during this year’s 70th anniversary of the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo. The group will perform on Sunday, May 29, to close out the weekend of rodeo and music. Adam Hood will perform Friday, May 27, and Cooder Graw will play Saturday, May 28. (PHOTO FROM THE CODY CANADA AND THE DEPARTED WEBSITE)

WILL ROGERS STAMPEDE WILL FEATURE CONCERTS WITH CODY CANADA AND THE DEPARTED, COODER GRAW AND ADAM HOOD

CLAREMORE, Okla. – Any significant birthday deserves a party, and organizers at the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo are planning a big one for this year’s event.

“We’re literally setting the stage for our 70th anniversary,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual Memorial Day weekend rodeo. “We want the whole community to come out and celebrate with us.”

The rodeo is set for Friday, May 27-Sunday, May 29, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena. Local bands will kick off each performance by playing at 6 p.m. The rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by concerts in the arena. Tickets are on through the event’s website, www.WillRogersStampede.com, and include family packs and adult passes offered at a significant discount online. Gates will open at 5 p.m.

Committee members are working to set up the stage area for the three shows, which will feature Texas Music/Red Dirt Music artists Adam Hood on Friday, Cooder Graw on Saturday and Cody Canada and The Departed on Sunday.

“We really wanted to tailor these concerts to the music we know people around here will love and appreciate,” Petty said. “We’re excited to have these great artists coming to Claremore this year, and we want this to be the best show in the area that weekend.”

Cody Canada and The Departed are no strangers to Oklahoma music fans. The four-piece band is built around Oklahoma music legends who have been entertaining the state’s rock, country and Americana fans for more than two decades.

Canada and bass player Jeremy Plato are holdovers from Cross Canadian Ragweed, one of the premier bands to come out of Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Music scene; Ragweed sold more than a million albums between 1994 and 2010. They are joined by drummer Eric Hansen and guitarist/keyboardist Ross Smith, both veterans of the Texas Music genre.

“To have Oklahoma music legends like Cody Canada and The Departed is a big deal to our rodeo,” Petty said. “They have a huge following across the country, but they’re legendary here in Oklahoma.”

Cooder Graw was a top-flight band in the genre for years. The group recently reunited to begin touring again, and they’re bringing their show to Rogers County for Memorial Day weekend.

“We spend a lot of time on the road back in the day doing 150-plus dates a year, and we needed some time away from the road and more time with our families,” front man Matt Martindale said on the band’s website. “It’s been a long time now, and I just can’t wait. I’m excited to see the guys, hang out with our old friends and reignite that part of our lives.”

Living in Alabama hasn’t stopped Hood from excelling in the Texas Music genre. He will kick start the festivities following the first performance of the rodeo. He will be the first artist to take the new stage being created on the rodeo grounds.

“We are building the stage on the east side of the arena in full view of the stands,” Petty said. “We’ll open the gates and let people get up close to all the acts to enjoy the show. We’ve been blessed to be the PRCA’s Small Rodeo of the Year the last two years, and we want everyone to enjoy this with us and see why we’re proud of the event we put on here in Claremore, Oklahoma.”

postheadericon Willis, Edwards united in the arena

Pete Carr Pro Rodeo pickup man Jeremy Willis trips the flank on a bucking horse during a rodeo last year. Willis and partner Josh Edwards will be working together quite often this year, including the Nacogdoches (Texas) Pro Rodeo & Steer Show next week.

Pete Carr Pro Rodeo pickup man Jeremy Willis trips the flank on a bucking horse during a rodeo last year. Willis and partner Josh Edwards will be working together quite often this year, including the Nacogdoches (Texas) Pro Rodeo & Steer Show next week.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – They are horseback in the arena more than any other cowboy at any given rodeo.

As highly visible as the pickup men are, they’re at their best when they are virtually anonymous. Their roles are to be unseen, to allow the action of the competition dictate the performance and to showcase the athletes in the middle of a world-class contest.

For Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, Jeremy Willis and Josh Edwards fit those roles perfectly.

“Working for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo has been a blessing,” said Willis, a former bareback rider who is still living his dreams on the rodeo trail. “Pete always hires really good people, then he trusts them to do what they do.

“He buys and raises a lot of good horses, and he trusts you to handle them the way they need to be handled. It’s nice to be trusted with horses that are so valuable. It says a lot about how he feels about us.”

Willis and Edwards will be a big part of the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo & Steer Show, set for 7:45 p.m. Thursday, March 24-Saturday, March 26. There they will showcase their true cowboy talents throughout every performance.

“For me, picking up culminates all of the things I enjoy doing,” Edwards said. “I was a timed-event contestant for years, but I was raised on ranching and cattle. Picking up is a culmination of all things cowboy.

“I like to train colts and start horses. I get to rope a little bit and catch broncs. I like the job requirements.”

The requirements are many. In addition to their tasks during each performance, Willis and Edwards also care for their own horses as well as all the livestock that are part of the rodeo. From feeding to sorting, there are many segments to the preparatory work that takes place.

Once the performances begin, they ensure the timing of the production and serve as a rescue squad for the cowboys in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding while also being protectors on horseback during bull riding.

“Bareback riding and bronc riding are my favorite parts of the rodeo,” Edwards said. “We get to watch the horses buck, and we’ve got the best seats in the house.”

The cowboys appreciate it, too. Both men have been selected to work some of the biggest events in the game. Willis has been selected to pick up at the RAM Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo three straight years and also has worked the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo; he was one of the finalists for the 2015 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Pickup Man of the Year.

“That’s a pretty good feeling,” Willis said. “The best thing about it is knowing you’re appreciated, that the guys you’re trying to help appreciate what you’re doing.”

Edwards also has been honored to work major events, including the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“Getting selected to do the National Finals Rodeo is the biggest thing that’s happened to me as a pickup man,” Edwards said. “As a professional rodeo cowboy and a professional pickup man, there’s not a greater honor than that.

“There are just as many proud moments as an individual; those are all the rodeos I love going to, the people I’ve met and working those high-caliber events. Without those events, I never would’ve gotten to showcase what I could do and ultimately be selected to work the National Finals Rodeo.”

The tandem has worked together quite often through the years, and they’ve developed a rapport.

“I know where he’s going to be and what he’s going to do without looking around,” Willis said of Edwards. “Our minds set everything the same way without talking or even strategizing. We can just read the situation and know where each other’s going to be.”

That serves everyone involved and helps further cement Pete Carr Pro Rodeo as one of the top firms in ProRodeo.

“Just like with any professional entity or organization, continuity is the large part of success,” Edwards said of the Carr crew. “You really get to know someone and how they work and how you work with them. You develop a working relationship, and that carries over to the rest of the year.

“If you watch the guys that are really good at this, 85 percent to 90 percent is positioning. It’s reading the animals and anticipating where you need to be when the buzzer goes off to be in the right place.”

Edwards and Willis are in the right place together inside the rodeo arena.

postheadericon Nacogdoches rodeo still improving

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Great changes have been made to the main arena make the overall fan experience better at the Nacogdoches County Exposition and Civic Center.

It will come in handy when the complex hosts the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo & Steer Show, set for 7:45 p.m. Thursday, March 24-Saturday, March 26. The highlight is a vendor area under the bleachers inside the arena that features a tin roof, wood fence backing and a cobbled, concrete flooring.

“We have created a new venue for our vendors in order to place them in the center of the action at the rodeo,” said Anita Scott, the executive director for the expo and civic center. “We previously had the vendors inside the civic center away from the crowds. Now the attendees can browse and shop, and they will not miss a second of the rodeo.”

Nacogdoches-Rodeo-LOGOThat’s just a small portion of the experience fans can expect during the annual rodeo and steer show. As a key east Texas stop in rodeo, the event also will showcase top cowboys in the game, thanks in large part to the animal athletes and top-level production from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo.

“I think having the Pete Carr with us helps draw the bigger-named cowboys, and we are blessed to have him at the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo & Steer Show,” Scott said. “He’s got a great reputation, and the guys want to come and want to win this rodeo. If it says Pete Carr on it, they know it’s going to be good and it’s going to be the caliber they want and get them the scores they need in order to win.”

That makes the Nacogdoches rodeo an important stop for the sport’s brightest stars. It’s part of the family-friendly entertainment that fans have come to expect. In addition to the world-class competition, the rodeo will also feature the comedy of veteran rodeo clown Rudy Burns.

Having an established veteran entertainer like Burns is another feather in the cap of the organizers that produce the local rodeo. Scott and her staff are assisted in the preparatory work by the Nacogdoches Jaycees, and all were recognized last year by being nominated for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Small Rodeo of the Year.

“For us to get that recognition was truly a miracle and an honor,” she said. “For our town, for our rodeo, to get that kind of recognition is priceless. When you look at the list of all the PRCA rodeos, it’s a huge list. The fact that we were among the best in the PRCA last year is amazing to me.”

The rodeo committee was joined by other honorees that work the annual rodeo, including Sandy Gwatney, who was nominated as secretary of the year; Clay Heger, a bullfighter of the year finalist; Jeremy Willis, a nominee for pickup man of the year; Andy Stewart, the longtime announcer of the event who has been a finalist in his category for several years; and the Carr firm, which has four nominations over the last few years.

“We’re blessed to have the best in the business here,” Scott said. “Pete is just a great guy. He and his entire crew are very involved and dedicated to our success.”

It pays off for the fans, who get an enhanced experience because of the many modifications.

“The announcer’s stand has been moved to ground level to allow Andy the best perspective during the event,” she said. “Our staff is always finding new ways to enhance the experience for rodeo fans.”

That includes renovating the former announcer’s stand above the bucking chutes and turning it into a private party venue.

“It was booked for all three nights of the rodeo within a week of announcing its availability,” said Scott, who noted that the opening night of the rodeo will be sponsored by Southern Power; in lieu of an admission charge, Southern Power requests a $2 donation to the Cushing ISD Angel Tree.

The rodeo and steer show also will include the return of the Ultimate Tailgate Party, sponsored by Townsquare Media and Kicks 105. Winners of the ticket-giveaway will watch the performances from the tailgate of a RAM pickup truck bed mounted above the bucking chutes.

“During the rodeo each night, we have four seats right above the bucking chutes,” Scott said. “People love it.”

It adds to the flavor of the overall rodeo experience. Those changes might just be a key reason why the Nacogdoches rodeo was in line for rodeo of the year.

postheadericon Rodeo is a big deal for Guymon

GUYMON, Okla. – There is much in this community to celebrate.

With a population of more than 12,000, Guymon is the largest town in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It will get considerably bigger the first week of May for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

In addition to the four world-class rodeo performances over the weekend, the week proceeding will be filled with the top cowboys and cowgirls in ProRodeo; they all will be battling for one of the most prestigious titles in the game.

Guymon Pioneer Days Logo-100“The town basically triples in size that week,” said Jada Breeden, the executive director of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce. “We have studies that show we have a $7 million economic impact that week of the rodeo, including all of the Pioneer Days festivities that are part of our annual celebration.”

The rodeo features nearly 1,000 contestants competing over eight days of competition, beginning Monday, May 2. Because Pioneer Days Rodeo always takes place the first weekend in May, the schedule works great for cowboys and cowgirls to make the region their home for the week.

“They stay here, they refuel their vehicles here and they eat here, and that makes a big difference in this community,” said Jim Quimby, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “Rodeo is a big part of Guymon, and having an event like this in our community is special.”

In fact, Pioneer Days Rodeo was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame last year and will forever be enshrined in the Colorado Springs, Colo., museum. That’s a pretty strong statement for the largest single event in the Oklahoma Panhandle every year.

“Rodeo is our history, our heritage,” Breeden said. “There’s only been one time in the last 84 years that they didn’t have it, and it was because of World War II.”

That legacy also includes many cowboys and cowgirls that have ties to Texas County, whether it’s because of their alumni status to Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s rodeo team or just carrying on a strong legacy that’s been part of the ranching lifestyle that is living in that part of the country.

This has been the home to world champions like Robert Etbauer, Billy Etbauer, Tom Reeves, Taos Muncy, Jeffrey Willert, Rocky Patterson and Jhett Johnson.

“By having rodeo competition for eight straight days, the contestants feel at home here and stay,” Quimby said. “They all have these specialized rigs that they live in when they’re rodeoing, so that makes it nice and convenient for them.

“We have great community support, and, in turn, the cowboys and cowgirls recognize that and support this community while they’re here. It’s a big deal for our community.”

That win-win situation is proof why Pioneer Days Rodeo is special for all involved.

postheadericon Nelson has Faith in Rangers rodeo

ALVA, Okla. – There’s something in the water in Faith, S.D.

There is a boatload of rodeo talent that originates in the tiny western South Dakota town, and much of it seems to find its way to Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The proof has been there for years, but it received a powerful explanation point this past weekend at the Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College rodeo.

Tearnee Nelson

Tearnee Nelson

“We just migrate down here,” junior Tearnee Nelson said with a laugh. “It’s just the thing to do.”

Several Northwestern cowgirls from Faith made their way to the championship round in Fort Scott, including three goat-tiers: Nelson, Shayna Miller and Katy Miller. They were joined by Laremie Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, and all four cowgirls collected points.

When the dust cleared, Nelson earned the Fort Scott title, tying down two goats in a cumulative time of 14.6 seconds; she was just two-tenths of a second better than Shayna Miller, who finished second. Katie Miller, who finished second in the long round, and Allred, who placed sixth in the opening round, were a little slower than necessary on their second runs and failed to place overall.

“We’ve been competing against each other for a long time,” Nelson said. “It’s cool to have three Faith girls in the short round.”

Nelson also qualified for the short round in breakaway roping with a 3.0-second run to kick start her weekend in a six-way tie for third place in the first round. She was saddled with a no-time in the final round.

“The short-go didn’t go quite as well as I wanted it to,” she said.

Maverick Harper

Maverick Harper

The Northwestern women won the team title, earning 280 points in the process; they were 40 points better than the runner-up, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The Rangers women sit second in the Central Plains Region’s team standings behind leader Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“At Manhattan (two weekends before), we ended up third,” said Nelson, who credited coach Stockton Graves with providing the needed motivation for success in Fort Scott. “Stockton let us know that we needed to step up. We got our game-face on and wanted to win. We have a lot of talented girls on our team, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be placing first or second at every rodeo.”

Sarah Bynum of Beggs, Okla., placed second in barrel racing to add points to the Rangers women, while breakaway roper Cheyenne Jones of Tioga, Pa., finished third.

The Northwestern men were led by a powerful contingent, which included several cowboys who had qualified for the championship round in steer wrestling. That included Maverick Harper of Stephenville, Texas, who won the all-around, also earning points in team roping, where he and partner Noel Hernandez of Pratt (Kan.) Community College finished second.

The Rangers band of steer wrestlers included four who placed in the two-run aggregate. Brock White of Earlville, Iowa, finished second in the short round and second overall, while Laine Herl of Goodland, Kan., and Joby Allen of Alva, Okla., finished in a tie for third. Harper placed fourth. J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the first round but failed to score a time in the short round. He also qualified for the final round in tie-down roping.

While the Northwestern women sit No. 2 in the Central Plains standings, the men are third. The teams have four events remaining on the schedule to secure their spots at the College National Finals Rodeo, which takes the top two teams and the top three competitors in each event during its run, scheduled for mid-June in Casper, Wyo.

“I just need to go out there and make my run, then let it play out the way it’s supposed to,” Nelson said, saying she leans heavily on her primary goat-tying mount, Hiko, a 12-year-old gray gelding. “My horse is really solid. If something happens, it’s my fault not his. He gives me an opportunity to win every rodeo.”

postheadericon Tierney doubles up at CTEC

GUTHRIE, Okla. – At just 26 years of age, Paul David Tierney has found his calling at the CINCH Timed Event Championship.

In just three days inside the Lazy E Arena, the Oral, S.D., cowboy made 25 runs in a record cumulative time of 267.9 seconds to win his second Timed Event title in three years. In all, he pocketed $113,000, nearly doubling his earnings from the previous four years in this unique competition.

Paul David Tierney

Paul David Tierney

“That’s a lot of money, life-changing money,” said Tierney, who also won the title in 2014 and became just the second cowboy in the event’s 32-year history to earn the $100,000 prize for first place overall. “That feels pretty dang good right now.”

In addition to his record run over the five-round, three-day affair, Tierney finished twice among the top six in the fastest-rounds portion of the competition. He added $10,000 by finishing second (48.5 seconds) and fourth (50.8), then pocketed another $3,000 for the record run.

“Winning this feels great,” he said. “Just being able to compete in this is an honor, and to be able to win it is even better.”

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

This title marks the sixth Timed Event gold buckle in the Tierney family. His father, Paul, was a four-time winner, earning his championships in 1987, ’91, 97 and 2000. The Tierney patriarch earned his first title before his youngest son was born, but the legacy has definitely been passed on.

“It all just lined up this year,” Paul David Tierney said.

In fact, it was a two-man race for most of the weekend between him and seven-time champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas. Tierney held just a 6.8-second lead heading into Sunday’s final go-round, but he expanded that lead after the second event, tie-down roping. After Brazile was saddled with a long time, the event was Tierney’s to lose. Brazile finished as the reserve champion and has pushed his Timed Event earnings to $779,000, the most ever.

Trell Etbauer

Trell Etbauer

By finished second and fourth in the fastest rounds, Tierney matched round earnings with Trell Etbauer, who won the fastest-rounds competition with a 44.7-second run worth $10,000. It marked the first solid day for the Goodwell, Okla., cowboy since the Timed Event began Friday afternoon.

“I drew some really good cattle today, so I knew I had a chance to set up a good round,” Etbauer said. “I’ve been sick all week, and I finally woke up this morning feeling a lot better. I guess I could think better, too.

“This is an event I wait for every year.”

So do all the other elite all-around timed-event cowboys in the game.

RESULTS
AVERAGE: 1. Paul David Tierney, 267.9, $100,000; 2. Trevor Brazile, 295.9, $25,000; 3. Dustin Bird, 361.5, $15,000; 4. Josh Peek, 367.7, $10,000; 5. Cody Doescher, 369.1, $7,500; 6. Rhen Richard, 388.7, $5,000; 7. JoJo LeMond, 416.8, $4,500; 8. Kyle Lockett, 427.6, $3,000.

FASTEST ROUND: 1. Trell Etbauer, 44.7 seconds, $10,000; 2. Paul David Tierney, 48.5, $6,000; 3. Jess Tierney, 50.0, $5,000; 4. Paul David Tierney, 50.8, $4,000; 5. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Dustin Bird, 51.1, $2,500 each.

RECORD TIME: Paul David Tierney, fastest average, $3,000

TOTAL MONEY: 1. Paul David Tierney, $113,000; 2. Trevor Brazile, $27,500; 3. Dustin Bird, $17,500; 4. (tie) Josh Peek and Trell Etbauer, $10,000 each; 6. Cody Doescher, $7,500; 7. (tie) Rhen Richard and Jess Tierney, $5,000 each; 9. JoJo LeMond, $4,500; 10. Kyle Lockett, $3,000.