Grassroots cowboys gear up for All American ProRodeo Finals
WACO, Texas – The stories that emerge from this year’s All American ProRodeo Finals, presented by Pendleton Whisky, will have a distinctly different feel to them than the past two years when the event was known as the Heartland ProRodeo Championships.
The All American ProRodeo Finals won’t count toward the PRCA World Standings, but that won’t diminish the excitement.
The All American ProRodeo Finals are set for Oct. 8-16 in the Coliseum at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.
Action from the finals will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on In Country Television Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 on DISH Network (channel 230).
The top 30 qualifiers from the 2010 All American ProRodeo Series Standings will compete for a share of Waco’s $465,000 purse, which has helped shape this year’s field of up-and-coming talent, veteran circuit cowboys and perennial Wrangler NFR qualifiers.
“It’s a great deal, as far having an opportunity to win that kind of money without having to rope against a whole lot of guys,” said tie-down roper Blake Huckabee. “You only have to rope against 29 guys. And in my situation, as far as qualifying for San Antonio and Houston, I’m right there on the bubble (he was 45th in the Sept. 27 PRCA World Standings), because I didn’t go much this summer. Giving me an opportunity to rope and have a chance to qualify for those winter rodeos helps tremendously.”
Qualifying for the event in Waco has been a goal of Huckabee’s since the event’s inception in 2008.
“It gives a guy like me, who didn’t go a whole lot this year, an opportunity to make some kind of finals and make a little extra money at the end of the year,” said the 28-year-old, who has finished as high as 21st in the world, in 2008.
For young cowboys like rookie bareback rider Tanner Aus, the All American ProRodeo Finals provides an opportunity to gain experience in a championship event that can be carried forward into next season.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Aus, who was third in the Sept. 27 Resistol rookie standings. “It’s been a good season, and I’ve been able to win a little bit of money.”
The 20-year-old Minnesotan said he was appreciative of the fact that an event was in place for cowboys who had stuck primarily to All American rodeos over the course of the season, a fact that Huckabee points out might not have been as true a year ago.
“Since they’ve made it to where every rodeo under ($30,000 added money) was considered an All American rodeo, I think it’s made it a lot better,” Huckabee said. “It gives everybody the same opportunity. Being in the South and close to Texas (he hails from Shreveport, La.), there’s a lot of those rodeos around here, but a lot of guys up north didn’t have the same kind of opportunity (the past two years), because some of their rodeos didn’t count.”
When the PRCA transitioned from the Heartland ProRodeo Series to the All American ProRodeo Series and granted automatic inclusion in the series to the 400-plus rodeos with committee purses of $30,000 or less, the opportunity to compete for Waco’s big prize money became a more realistic goal for cowboys across the country.
PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman said the new faces are a sign that the series is heading in the right direction.
“The emphasis has to be on growth, and that’s why the series was created the way it was,” Stressman said. “It certainly looks like we’ve taken a step with the All American Series to provide more opportunities across the country. Statistically, we’re up nearly six percent on entries for All American rodeos as a whole.
“If we can create opportunities for guys so they don’t have to travel as far to make their 30 rodeos to qualify for Waco, then I think the PRCA is doing its job.”
Louisiana saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a three-time Wrangler NFR qualifier, will compete in Waco to help himself stay in shape for the Wrangler NFR, and he also is chasing the rich purse.
“Whether it counts for the world standings or not, I’m going to go make a living,” said DeMoss, who finished first in the 2010 All American standings, “because that is what I do for a living is ride bucking horses.”
Steer ropers will also have an opportunity to earn some big checks in Waco during the All American ProRodeo Steer Roping Finals Oct. 12.
The field will feature some of the PRCA’s top steer ropers and will serve as something of a preview of the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, Nov. 5-6.
“It’s going to be a good roping,” said Resistol rookie standings leader Gannon Quimby, who will get to compete in Waco for the first time. “For the guys who don’t get the opportunity to go to the National Finals Steer Roping, you can go to Waco, win yourself some money and finish the year with money in your pocket.
“There’s going to be $15,000 added, and I’m tickled to death to be able to rope for that money.”
Those who finished first in the All American ProRodeo Series Standings were: bareback riding – Bo Casper, Fort Scott, Kan.; steer wrestling – Stan Branco, Chowchilla, Calif.; team roping (heading) – Cody Graham, Everton, Mo.; team roping (heeling) – Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas; saddle bronc riding – Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.; tie-down roping – Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas; bull riding – Clayton Savage, Casper, Wyo.; steer roping – Rocky Patterson, Pratt, Kan.
All American ProRodeo Finals
Presented by Pendleton Whisky
When: Oct. 8-16
Where: Coliseum at the Extraco Events Center
What: The culmination of the 2010 All American ProRodeo Series, which features all PRCA rodeos with $30,000 or less added money.
Who: The top 30 qualifiers (teams in team roping) in each event from the All American ProRodeo standings advance to the All American ProRodeo Finals.
No. of contestants: 239
Total purse: $465,000
Schedule: Nine performances at 7 p.m. (CT) nightly, except at 4 p.m. on Oct. 10; the semifinals and championship round are at 7 p.m. Oct. 16.
Format: Contestants compete in a two-head average competition. Then, all previous scores and times are erased. Progressive, clean-slate rounds of 12, 10, eight and four are held. The All American ProRodeo Finals champion is the winner (or winners in team roping) of the final-four rounds.
Web coverage: Check back on ProRodeo.com for daily recaps, photos and stories.
Print coverage: The ProRodeo Sports News will have in-depth coverage of the All American ProRodeo Finals in its Oct. 29 edition.
TV coverage: The top action from All American ProRodeo Finals will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 on In Country Television, DISH Network Channel 230.
Rodeo qualifiers list: See ProRodeo.com All American page
Steer Roping Finals: 8 a.m. Oct. 12 in the Coliseum at the Extraco Events Center; four rounds, and the winner of the four-head average is the All American ProRodeo Finals champion.
Steer Roping qualifiers list: See ProRodeo.com All American page
2009 winners: Bareback riding – Clint Cannon; steer wrestling – Chancey Larson; team roping – Luke Brown and Martin Lucero; saddle bronc riding – Wade Sundell; tie-down roping – Ryan Jarrett; bull riding – Tyler Willis; steer roping – Trevor Brazile.
Visit the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo website to purchase tickets and get more information: http://www.hotfair.com/
2. Kibbe doubles his pleasure at Dodge Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – J.D. Kibbe is hoping that Shakespeare fella had it right – that past really is prologue.
The Portales, N.M., tie-down roper won both the Dodge Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo and the Turquoise Circuit year-end titles Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Las Cruces, N.M., and the last time he managed that double (in 2005), he went on to earn “the biggest win of my career.”
Kibbe won the 2006 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho; an 8.1-second run in the Wrangler Round earned him $4,698, free use of a Dodge truck for one year and a national championship buckle in his first DNCFR appearance. Now, he’s got a return ticket for the 25th DNCFR, March 31-April 3 in Oklahoma City.
And he’s going back with something akin to a secret weapon.
He’s got a new horse who he believes can be “real special,” the best he’s ever had. Bear Doc is a 6-year-old Kibbe raised himself, and who he believes is ready to be his primary horse, possibly as early as this week at the All American ProRodeo Finals in Waco, Texas.
“It wasn’t hard to be patient,” Kibbe said. “He has so much athletic ability. I knew if I waited, it would pay off in the long run. I’ve tried not to push him too hard. I’ve kind of babied him, and now I think he’s ready.”
It’s easy to understand his excitement.
Kibbe has been a steady earner since joining the PRCA in 2003, but he has never been able to break through to the top level – his 33rd-place finish in the regular season this year was his best – for lack of horsepower.
His primary horse, Levi, had a broken bone in a back leg in 2005, and that led to foot problems that just about wiped out his 2008 season.
A year ago, he’d be able to ride Levi seven-to-10 days and then would have to turn him out in the pasture to rest for 10 days. This year was the first since the leg injury that Levi was at something like full strength.
“I ride a good horse,” Kibbe said, “but there are levels. It’s like going from college to the pros. He’s good, but he’s not a $100,000 horse like you see Trevor Brazile, Cody Ohl or Joseph Parsons ride.
“If I draw well, I can still win once in a while, but it’s not the same.”
Kibbe considered taking Bear Doc or another 6 year-old he has back home in Portales to the Dodge Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo. He ran four steers with both of them during practice sessions, “but in the end, I (took) the old one (Levi’s 12), and it worked out.”
Kibbe won the first round in 8.6 seconds and the second round in 8.5 seconds to clinch the regular-season title in the Turquoise Circuit, then came back to tie for second place with Kyle Dutton in the final round to easily claim the three-head average.
His combined time of 25.4 seconds was 2.4 seconds faster than Dutton, the rodeo’s defending champion.
Cutter Parsons was the all-around champion at Las Cruces. The winners in the three-round average standings were bareback rider Trey Bissett (227 points), steer wrestler Damian Padilla (14.3 seconds), team ropers Tom Richards/Tyler Getzwiller (16.7 seconds), saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy (232 points), barrel racer Sydni Blanchard (51.06 seconds) and bull rider Marvin Begay (167 points on two head).
CORRECTION: Last week’s release incorrectly stated the number of Australian saddle bronc riders who, with the addition this year of Sam Spreadborough, have qualified for the Wrangler NFR since 2000. The sentence should have read:
That last day, that last ride, was just enough to make him the fourth Australian saddle bronc rider this decade to qualify for Vegas, joining Scott Johnston, Glen O’Neill and Anthony Bello.
CLARIFICATION: The item in last week’s release referring to the six-hour block of PRCA coverage due to air on ESPN Classic on Nov. 7 should have specified that it is comprised of four hours of Xtreme Bulls coverage from Reno, Nev.; Cody, Wyo.; Bremerton, Wash., and Ellensburg, Wash., along with full rodeo coverage of the Justin Boots Playoffs in Puyallup, Wash., and the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, Neb.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “He’s been knocking on the door of the top 20 for a long time. This year, he stepped it up a notch. I am extremely happy for Scott Miller. With him making the Finals, it’s absolutely a great accomplishment. I hope he wins a round and then he’ll have a buckle that says the WNFR.”
— Four-time Reserve World Champion Cody DeMoss on the emergence this year of fellow saddle bronc rider Scott Miller of Boise, Idaho.
• Heith DeMoss overcomes injury for win in Hope, Ark.: Despite competing with a fractured bone in his right foot, Heith DeMoss won the saddle bronc riding at the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Southwest District Livestock Show & Rodeo in Hope, Ark. His 83-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s Huckleberry was enough to beat former Heartland ProRodeo Series champion Kobyn Williams by one point. Fellow Wrangler NFR qualifier Kanin Asay won the bull riding with an 86-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s J19 that paid $1,083.
• White/Chaves complete double win in California rodeos: Clay White and John Chaves, the team ropers who were nudged toward forming a partnership last year by their wives, might want to consider upgrading their spouses’ Christmas gift list. White and Chaves won the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo in an upset last spring, and they got the 2011 season off on the right foot by winning both the San Dimas (Calif.) Western Days Rodeo and the Kern County Fair Rodeo in Bakersfield, Calif., to take over the lead in the world standings after one week with $2,452 apiece.
• Brazile watch: Just a week removed from breaking his own all-around regular-season earnings record ($268,334), Trevor Brazile kicked off his 2011 season at the Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo in Rosenberg, Texas, with a pair of victories. He won the tie-down roping with a time of 7.1 seconds and paired with Patrick Smith to complete a run of 4.3 seconds to share the team roping title with JoJo LeMond and Marty Becker.
• Injury update: Steer wrestler Steve Gaines, the Southeastern Circuit year-end champion in 2008, suffered multiple fractures of the C-1 and C-2 vertebrae in his neck during a practice pen accident Sept. 20 at his home in Brandon, Miss. He is in St. Domine Hospital in Jackson, Miss., awaiting word on when he might be released. If doctors rule he is a candidate for a neck brace, Gaines, 52, may be able to go home in two or three days. He may yet have to undergo surgery and wear a halo-type brace.
Next Up (2011 rodeos)
Oct. 7 Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo, Bonifay, Fla., begins
Oct. 7 Leesville (La.) Lions Club Rodeo begins
Oct. 7 Guadalupe County Fair & PRCA Rodeo, Seguin, Texas, begins
Oct. 7 Dodge Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, Minot, N.D., begins
Oct. 8 Tulsa (Okla.) State Fair PRCA Rodeo begins
Oct. 8 All American ProRodeo Finals, Waco, Texas, begins
Oct. 9 Wayne Wilson Children’s Charity Rodeo, Cave Creek, Ariz., begins
Oct. 9 Industry Hills (Calif.) Charity Pro Rodeo begins
Oct. 9 Mountain States Steer Roping Circuit Finals, Sterling, Colo., begins
Rodeo News and Notes
PRCA rule change makes it easier for contestants to make go-round trades
ProRodeo cowboys will have more flexibility in setting their competitive schedule during the 2011 season thanks to a rule change passed by the PRCA Board of Directors during their meeting in Omaha, Neb., late last month. Rule R220.127.116.11 was altered to allow contestants to trade positions in the first round of PRCA rodeos for any reason, as long as they adhere to the deadlines set by the PRCA of four days following the original callback for a rodeo with $7,500 or more added money, or two days for a rodeo with $7,499 or less. Previously, contestants had to demonstrate that the schedule they were seeking to alter put them in conflict with another rodeo’s schedule.
Among other rule changes approved by the board were:
• The maximum number of rodeos that a contestant can officially count in the world standings was altered in two events. Saddle bronc riding went down from a maximum count of 100 rodeos to 85, and tie-down roping went down to 75 after one year at 100.
• Effective in 2011, there will be a PRCA All-Around Rookie of the Year, but no longer an Overall PRCA Rookie of the Year. Earnings from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each December will be included in the All-Around Rookie of the Year standings.
• Rodeos never before sanctioned by the PRCA must submit an application for approval no later than 150 days prior to the date of the first performance. The prior rule specified a submission date of 120 days prior to the first performance.
Former NFR bull rider Thomson dies at 56
Canadian bull rider Jordie Thomson, a two-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo and one of the most colorful cowboys of his generation, died Oct. 1 at his home in Okotoks, Alberta. He was 56.
Thomson qualified for the NFR in 1978, won Round 8 on Circle D’s Rapid Fire and finished 10th in the world standings. The following year, he returned to the NFR, won Round 4 on J. Bradford Ivy’s Thundering Velvet and finished eighth in the world.
He also finished among the top five bull riders in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association standings five times from 1975-80, including second-place results in 1976 and 1979.
Although Thomson fell short of the world or Canadian championships that his peers felt he was capable of winning due to a long history of injuries, he always managed to earn the fascinated attention of rodeo fans.
“He was the guy who wore the vest with the fringe on it and his pants inside his boots,” former Canadian champion Don Johansen told the Calgary Herald. “Back in the early 1980s, there were three bull riders who dominated rodeo conversations – Don Gay, Bobby DelVecchio and Jordie Thomson.
“I always tell the story that, after I won the Canadian title in 1978, I’d be sitting on a plane flying somewhere and the guy next to me would ask if I was in rodeo. When I told him I was a bull rider, he’d say, ‘Oh, do you know Jordie Thomson?’ I wanted to say, ‘Hey, I’m the Canadian champion.’ But everybody knew Jordie.”
Thomson once said he was, “a cowboy before I even had a choice.” He came from a prominent rodeo family. His father was the first president of the Canadian Protective Association, and three uncles were Canadian rodeo champions.
Thomson, who looked after stock contractor Bruce Flewelling’s bucking horse colts and a herd of his own, is survived by partner Chantell Anderson; daughters, Joanne and Tessa, and son, Robert; niece, Logan, five grandchildren and two stepchildren.
A service at Okotoks is pending.
Cowboy Reunion returns to Las Vegas Dec. 9-11
The Cowboy Reunion – the brainchild of ProRodeo Hall of Famers June Ivory, Jim Shoulders and Harry Tompkins – is returning to The Orleans Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, Dec. 9-11, for a chance, “to tell old rodeo stories, share and make memories, visit with those we may only see once a year, and remember those we lost.”
A non-profit organization, the Cowboy Reunion has donated thousands of dollars to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and other organizations with a portion of the proceeds from registration fees, donations, auctions and drawings.
Reunion organizers have secured a special rate at The Orleans for attendees ($35 Sun.-Thurs., $75 Fri.-Sat.) if the reservation is made by Nov. 12.
For further information, contact Liz Kesler at 940.895.3747 or 940.782.5370 or e-mail CowboyReunionInc@aol.com.
Gold Buckle Gala set for Nov. 29 in Las Vegas
The Third Annual Gold Buckle Gala is Nov. 29 at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa Ballroom in Las Vegas. Doors open at 6 p.m. This year’s event will honor eight-time World Champion Larry Mahan as a Legend of ProRodeo. Mahan was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 1979. Along with six all-around world titles, Mahan claimed bull riding gold buckles in 1965 and 1967.
This year, Mahan served as a member of the In Country Television team, which broadcast Wrangler Million Dollar Gold Tour Rodeos presented by Justin Boots and other top PRCA events.
The previous Legend of ProRodeo selections were seven-time Team Roping World Champion Jake Barnes, 16-time World Champion Jim Shoulders, 11-time PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year Harry Vold and the late ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer Clem McSpadden.
The Gold Buckle Gala is an annual fundraiser for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, located in Colorado Springs, Colo. The event helps kick off the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Dec. 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Evening festivities include dinner, entertainment, dancing and silent and live auctions. It is a cash bar. Tickets cost $100 each or $950 for a table of 10. To purchase tickets, call 719.528.4748 or 719.528.4714. The deadline to RSVP is Nov. 19. Visit www.prorodeo.com for coverage of the event.
Spurs & Spikes golf tourney, Dec. 10 in Las Vegas
The 24th Annual Spurs & Spikes Golf Tournament is set for Dec. 10 at the Las Vegas National Golf Club. There will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
The tournament is a fundraiser for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., and is held to coincide with the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Dec. 2-11 in Las Vegas. The entry free is $250 per player, and the deadline to sign up is Dec. 3. To register, call 719.528.4714.
Notes from along the rodeo trail …
Jayne Harris Voiles, the mother of 1991 World Champion Team Roper Bobby Harris, died in her sleep Sept. 28 in Billings, Mont. She was 70. Funeral services were held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Oct. 1, in her hometown of Gillette, Wyo. … The committee at the San Dimas (Calif.) Western Days Rodeo provided 5,500 free tickets for elementary school students from the Bonita Unified School District to attend the Oct. 2-3 rodeo in Horsethief Canyon Park. “This is one more wonderful opportunity to expose our students to something new, something different,” said school district superintendent Dr. Gary Rapkin. “One thing we know for sure is so much of education doesn’t take place in the classroom.” The Oct. 9-11 Industry Hills (Calif.) Charity Pro Rodeo has invited 4,000 area students in third to fifth grades to attend a private performance Oct. 8 on the annual Community Kids Day. Prior to the event, elementary school teachers will use materials in the classroom to explore the history of the West, along with information about rodeos provided by the committee (www.industryhillsprorodeo.org) … An all-star cast of PRCA cowboys will serve as instructors for the 7th annual Thanksgiving Rodeo School Nov. 26-28 in Mesquite, Texas, to benefit the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The school, for all ages and skill levels, is $425 with a $100 non-refundable deposit. Instruction is available for bareback riders, saddle bronc riders, bull riders and bullfighters. For more information, visit www.thanksgivingrodeo.org.