Finalists announced for 2010 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year Award, presented by Purina
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is proud to announce the five finalists chosen out of an accomplished field of nominees for the 2010 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year Award, presented by Purina. The winning veterinarian will be recognized at the PRCA Contract Personnel Banquet on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas and also will be honored Dec. 4 at the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The award was created to recognize dedication to the health and welfare of rodeo livestock by veterinarians across the country. It was made possible by a new partnership with Purina Mills to sponsor the award.
“Purina greatly appreciates the opportunity to partner with the PRCA in honoring the nominees and their dedication to the care and welfare of all animals, and in particular, rodeo livestock,” said Dr. Randel Raub with Purina.
The field of 12 outstanding nominees was narrowed to five distinguished veterinarians and they are William C. Anderson, DVM, Haltom City, Texas; Dr. Charles Graham, Elgin, Texas; Dr. Ben Konishi, Alamosa, Colo.; Dr. Norm Swanson, Cheyenne, Wyo., and Dr. Gregg Veneklasen, Canyon, Texas.
“All of the nominations were of exceptional quality, absolutely outstanding, and that made it very difficult to make a decision,” stated Doug Corey, DVM, ProRodeo Hall of Famer and Chairman of the PRCA Animal Welfare Committee. “It makes me proud to be associated with the PRCA and to know that contestants, committee members, stock contractors, judges and others think so highly of the veterinarians they work with.”
Photos of the five nominees may be viewed on ProRodeo.com and are available upon request. For more information, call PRCA Director of Industry Outreach Cindy Schonholtz at 719.440.7255.
William C. Anderson, DVM, Haltom City, Texas; nominated by the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show: Dr. Anderson has been affiliated with the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth for more than four decades, serving as the Official Rodeo Veterinarian for 30 years. His experience with the rodeo started in 1965 when he assisted his father, Dr. Dan Anderson, who served as the rodeo veterinarian from 1965 to 1980. In 1980, he assumed the title of official rodeo veterinarian and has donated countless hours insuring the livestock at the rodeo has the best care possible. He spends more than three weeks away from his mixed animal practice to be on-site at the Fort Worth rodeo. In addition, Dr. Anderson serves on both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. His other civic activities include serving as the official veterinarian of the Fort Worth Mounted Police Patrol and the veterinarian and consultant to the iconic Fort Worth Herd – the majestic herd of longhorn steers that are on display in the historic Stockyards. He is an advisory board member to Tarrant County Collect and a Board Member for Allied Bank Corp. Jim Gay of Rafter G Rodeo Company stated, “Dr. Anderson is always available with his expertise of the large animals, both horses and bulls. I know there are a lot of unsung heroes out there, but there is none more deserving of this award.”
Dr. Charles Graham, Elgin, Texas; nominated by Wrangler National Finals Rodeo General Manager Shawn Davis, who is a three-time world champion saddle bronc rider: Dr. Graham serves as the chair of the Animal Care Committee for Rodeo Austin as well being a member of the Board of Directors and has served on the Executive Committee in the past. Dr. Graham and his team proactively monitor the health of 6,183 head of livestock, 454 show horses and 1,000 head of rodeo livestock. He personally designed and funded Rodeo Austin’s Animal Care transport trailer. In 2006, he was awarded the “Top Hand” volunteer of the year award from the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo. He has served as a veterinarian for many top PRCA timed-event competitors. ProRodeo Hall of Fame roper Joe Beaver has this to say about Dr. Graham. “When Dr. Graham told you to bring your problem to him, he would take care of it, he meant it. You could fill the Thomas and Mack completely full of people he has helped and influenced in his lifetime.” He has been inducted into a number of Halls of Fame including the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, the AQHA Hall of Fame and the Texas Horseracing Hall of Fame. His civic involvement in Elgin has led to being awarded the Most-Worthy Citizen Award, the 2002 Agriculturist of the Year and he also was named the 2003 Man of the Year in Agriculture by the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association.
Dr. Ben Konishi, Alamosa, Colo.; nomninated by Dawn Honeycutt, Honeycutt Rodeos and Alamosa Roundup. Dr. Konishi has been serving the needs of ranchers, farmers and rodeo producers in the San Luis Valley and throughout Colorado for 60 years. Walt Alsbaugh was the first rodeo producer that Dr. Konishi started working with fresh out of veterinarian school in the 1950’s. In 1997, he performed surgery on a buckskin horse named Wounded Knee, who had cancer in his left eye. Dr. Konishi removed the cancer and the horse bucked at the NFR that year and the next. He has served as the Veterinarian for Honeycutt Rodeos for almost 60 years and at the age of 84, he still answers every call. He has helped thousands of cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country. He was the volunteer veterinarian for the Alamosa (Colo.) Roundup that became a PRCA rodeo this year after being an amateur event for 15 years. He has volunteered hours of service and teaching to the San Luis Valley Chapters of the 4-H, FFA and other youth programs. John Kissel says, “I have known Doc Ben for 40 years. He has served as the attending veterinarian at many PRCA rodeos where I have been a contestant, pickup man and now judge. He is always present when the duty is his and is readily available for any need.”
Dr. Norm Swanson, Cheyenne, Wyo.; nominated by the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo: Dr. Swanson has served as the arena veterinarian for the Cheyenne Frontier Days for 42 consecutive years. In this capacity, he coordinated with the General Committee, the Contestants Chairman, PRCA judges and stock contractors to oversee the health and care of all livestock on-site during the event. Cheyenne had nearly 1,700 competitors this year and the rodeo lasted twelve days with nine sections of slack and nine performances. The total number of livestock exceeded 4,000. Dr. Swanson has been an active member of the Contestants Committee in Cheyenne for more than 40 years, volunteering his time to ensure the contestants and hired personnel at Cheyenne are taken care of during their stay. His involvement with the committee has been to provide immediate medical attention to animals if needed. A rodeo judge at the 2010 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo had this to say about Dr. Swanson, “Dr. Swanson has shown outstanding dedication during the entire slack and rodeo. He was always on the spot and well prepared, if any injury occurred.”
Dr. Gregg Veneklasen, Canyon, Texas; nominated by 11-time World Champion Trevor Brazile and 10-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo team roping qualifier Travis Tryan: Dr. Veneklasen has served on the Executive Committee of the Tri-State Fair and as its on-site veterinarian, along with serving on the National Finals Steer Roping Committee. He serves as the veterinarian to many top PRCA competitors and volunteers much of his time to local 4-H and FFA youth. He has been a pioneer in developing ways for rodeo horses to reproduce, while not slowing down their careers through embryo transfers. This service helps rodeo contestants and stock contractors carry on the legacy of their horses while allowing the horses to continue competing. Dr. Veneklasen understands what equine athletes go through by being in trailers, competing on different ground conditions and in various temperatures. He works with cowboys and cowgirls to keep their horses healthy and sound. His commitment to his clientele has included getting board certified in Nevada, in case he is needed by his clients during the Wrangler NFR. Eight-time World Champion Heeler Rich Skelton, owner of four-time AQHA Heeling Horse of the Year, Roany, had this to say about Dr. Veneklasen, “A lot of vets don’t understand rodeo horses and how they work and what they go through. Dr. Gregg does, and he keeps them going down the road. I say with confidence that the success I have had, as well as my horses' success, is largely due to Gregg. He has a passion like none other for rodeo horses.” Brazile added: “It is refreshing for a veterinarian to treat our horses the way we see them; as members of our family and partners in our business!”