Sundell takes over world standings lead with win in Nampa, Idaho
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – These are heady times to be an Iowa cowboy.
Paul Mayo of Grinnell was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame earlier this month, Kollin VonAhn of Sac City is the reigning world champion team roping heeler, and then there is Wade Sundell.
Sundell, from the teeming metropolis of Boxholm, Iowa (population 215), took over first place in the saddle bronc riding world standings by winning the July 20-24 Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho.
Sundell tied for third place in the first round and won the finals with an 86-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Vitalix Hippie Chick to win the two-head average over Cody DeMoss by five points (170-165).
“I knew if I won it all at Nampa, I was pretty sure of moving to No. 1,” Sundell said, “but I tried not to think about it too much. I just want to ride broncs, have fun and let (the world standings situation) work itself out.
“When I was back in the pack (33rd in mid-March), I just looked at the person ahead of me in the standings and went to work trying to pick them off one at a time. So much good has happened lately, and now to move into the No. 1 spot for the first time in my career … I don’t know what to think or say.”
Sundell was happy to draw Hippie Chick for the final round at Nampa because she was a horse he knew and on whom he’d enjoyed a recent success – an 83-point ride in the Wild Card round at RodeoHouston.
“It seemed like she bucked even harder this time,” Sundell said. “I dang sure had to bear down. She gives you good effort every time you nod your head, and you know you can place well if you do your part.”
The $7,753 he earned at Nampa was enough to push him past the injured Rod Hay of Canada into first place, and with another check at Joseph, Ore., Sundell moved his season earnings total to $78,323.
If he were to carry his lead all the way through the Dec. 2-11 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Sundell would become the first Iowa roughstock cowboy to win a world championship since Mayo in 1970.
Does he see Mayo’s recent Hall of Fame induction as any sort of omen?
“That would be all right with me if it were,” Sundell said.
Team roping is the only one of Trevor Brazile’s events for which he does not have a gold buckle, the missing piece in an unprecedented career grand slam – all-around, tie-down roping, steer roping and team roping.
If he wins the team-roping gold buckle this year, mark down the week of July 22-26 as the turning point.
Brazile and partner Patrick Smith, the 2005 world champion heeler, won the Snake River Stampede three-head average with a time of 15.4 seconds and finished second at the Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City to earn a total of $8,243 each.
The parlay moved Brazile to fourth place in the heading standings and Smith to fourth among heelers. Brazile leads the PRCA World Standings in the all-around and tie-down roping and is ninth in steer roping as he tries to complete his record-breaking eighth all-around world championship season.
“He’s as good as any of them,” ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee Dean Oliver told the Idaho Statesman. “They say he works at it more than anyone. With his ability, (combined with hard) work and good horses, he (should have) several good years yet. He’ll win more all-around titles than anybody.”
The other champions at Nampa were bareback rider Clint Cannon (173 points on two head), steer wrestler Kyle Hughes (12.3 seconds on three head), tie-down roper Adam Gray (23.7 seconds on three head), barrel racer Sherry Cervi (31.76 seconds on two runs) and bull rider Steve Woolsey (163 points on two head).
It takes regular-season record to win team roping at Days of ‘47 Rodeo
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – You know it’s a tough team roping competition when you need a regular-season record time to win the title by a tenth of a second.
Ty Blasingame and Cody Hintz produced a 3.4-second run in the second round of the Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, just enough to edge Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith by that blink of an eye.
It tied the PRCA regular-season record set in the first round at the Maverik Center by Kelsey Parchman and Manny Egusquiza Jr., with both of those round-winning runs a tenth better than the previous PRCA record shared by three teams.
The overall record of 3.3 seconds was set at the Wrangler NFR last December by Chad Masters and Jade Corkill. The only other 3.4 on the books was by JoJo LeMond and Randon Adams, also at last year’s Wrangler NFR.
“Ty and I were joking about getting a 3.5 to tie (Brazile/Smith),” Hintz said. “Ty goes for everything like it’s a one-header, so I knew we would take our shot. We knew it was going to take something amazing to get the win, but we had seen this steer in the first round and knew he gave us a chance.
“The most important thing is to get a steer that runs straight, and this one was perfect. I’d like to rope him every week. It was pretty crazy. It didn’t really hit me right away. The fastest I’d ever been was 3.8 at the 2005 (Wrangler) NFR. I called my dad, my mom and my brother to tell them about it.”
Hintz says he’s at a loss to explain why there would be a pair of 3.4s at Salt Lake. He acknowledges that it’s a lot shorter arena than most PRCA competitors see – although not as short as the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas.
“Maybe there was something in the air,” Hintz said.
The other champions in Salt Lake City were bareback rider Tom McFarland (85 points), steer wrestler Shawn Greenfield (7.4 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Cody Wright (88 points), tie-down roper Monty Lewis (16.1 seconds on two head), barrel racer Sue Smith (13.54 seconds) and bull rider Tyler Willis (87 points).
Trevor Knowles knifes to the top of leader board at Spanish Fork
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Trevor Knowles figures sometimes your best ally can be patience.
After weeks of just kind of treading water, Knowles put together something special at the July 21-24 Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo, a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver event presented by Justin Boots.
Knowles finished fourth in the first round of the steer wrestling and third in the second round to claim the two-head average with a time of 9.3 seconds to beat two-time World Champion Luke Branquinho by eight-tenths of a second.
“I’ve had a heck of a time drawing two steers I can catch, it seems like,” Knowles said with a laugh. “I placed or would be right in place in the first round of a two-header, then come back with one I couldn’t catch. So, I was kind of whittling away at the go-rounds, but I hadn’t had two or three steers in a row where I could pick up an average check.
“You can’t always count on having chances, and I’ve made my mistakes and cost myself money like everybody does sometimes. It’s nice to know that when you back into the corner, all you need to do is do your job.”
He did his job even a little better in Joseph, Ore., where he won a round and the two-head average in the steer wrestling in 8.6 seconds, then added some cash by tying for second place in a round of the tie-down roping. He ended up with weekend earnings of $9,055 in steer wrestling and $10,267 overall.
The other champions at Spanish Fork, the 15th of 22 Wrangler Million Dollar Tour events, were bareback riders Ryan Gray, Tilden Hooper, Justin McDaniel and Kelly Timberman (87 points), team ropers Brooks Dahozy/Bobby Baize and Matt Sherwood/Randon Adams (12.2 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Jesse Kruse (86 points), tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa (16.8 seconds on two head), barrel racer Shelby Maxfield (17.04 seconds) and bull rider Wesley Silcox (88 points).
Other rodeo headlines from the week of July 8-11:
• An Etbauer double at Woodward, Okla.: The 150-mile trip across Oklahoma from their home in Edmond to the Woodward Elks Rodeo turned out to be well worth the trouble for the Etbauer clan. Five-time World Champion Billy Etbauer won the saddle bronc riding with an 84-point ride on Beutler & Son’s Popeye, and wife Hollie Etbauer won the barrel racing in 17.07 seconds for combined earnings of $4,248. Billy’s check for $2,155 brought his career earnings to $2,998,602, leaving him just $1,398 away from joining Trevor Brazile as the only cowboys to surpass $3 million and $2,733 from becoming the first rodeo contestant to earn $3 million in a single event. (He has $1,335 in team roping money).
• Tom Duvall clocks fastest steer wrestling time of season: At 47, Tom Duvall is just a part-time competitor in PRCA rodeos these days, which is not to say he isn’t competitive. The Henryetta, Okla., steer wrestler won the July 23-24 Barber County Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Hardtner, Kan., with a time of 3.1 seconds, which is both an arena record and the fastest time in a PRCA rodeo this year. Duvall, cousin of ProRodeo Hall of Fame steer wrestler Roy Duvall and himself a two-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (1996-97), had earned just $142.50 in 11 rodeos before this past weekend, when he banked $1,253 for the win in Hardtner and another $1,047 for winning a round at the Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo with a rodeo-best time of 3.9 seconds. “I had a 3.0 in San Angelo (Texas) when I won the average there in about 1992 or ’93,” Duvall said. “You don’t ever plan for a 3.1. I tell the guys I coach that to go fast, you have to do everything right. If you try to go fast, you make mistakes. It’s hard to be competitive when you get older; you stay home more and your mind is on different things. But I can tell you this felt great.”
• “Super Looper” takes early lead in Cheyenne: ProRodeo Hall of Fame cowboy Roy “Super Looper” Cooper of Decatur, Texas, holds the lead in the first round of the steer roping at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo with a time of 13.6 seconds. So, why is this surprising? Cooper, 54, has not competed in another PRCA rodeo this season. The Cheyenne rodeo is called “The Daddy of ‘em All,” and the same might be said of Copper. His three sons, Clint, Clif and Tuf, are all ranked among the top 25 tie-down ropers in the current PRCA world standings.
• Veteran saddle bronc rider hospitalized: Three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Chet Johnson is recovering from multiple skull fractures, a broken eardrum and sub-arachnoid bleeding after having the back of his head stomped on by a horse at the Days of ’47 Rodeo on July 20, according to Dr. Pepper Murray of the Justin Sportsmedicine Team. Johnson was released from the intensive care unit of a Salt Lake City hospital on July 24 and hopes to return to competition in a month. The Gillette, Wyo., cowboy was bucked off his horse in the saddle bronc riding competition at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City. He landed in front of the horse and was kicked in the back of the head while scrambling to get clear. Johnson lay in the middle of the arena motionless for five minutes before walking out of the arena with help from rodeo officials. A winner of the Canadian National Finals Rodeo in 2009 and the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2004, Johnson qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2005, 2007 and 2008. He was 34th in the PRCA World Standings at the time of his injury.
• Injury report: Chance Smart, the 2008 reserve world champion bull rider, underwent surgery July 23 to repair a fractured left shoulder blade (scapula) and may be out of action for as long as three months. Smart was 19th in the world standings at the time of the surgery … Bull rider Mario Ramirez of Morgan Hill, Calif., is sidelined with a broken left arm.
July 26 Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, ongoing
July 28 Eagle County Fair & Rodeo, Eagle, Colo., begins
July 29 Dodge Truck Seneca County Fair ProRodeo, Tiffin, Ohio, begins
July 29 Kit Carson County Fair & Rodeo, Burlington, Colo., begins
July 29 Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, Burwell, Neb., begins
July 29 Desertview ProRodeo, Castle Dale, Utah, begins
July 29 Deadwood (S.D.) Days of ’76 Rodeo begins
July 29 Last Chance Stampede, Helena, Mont., begins
July 29 Medicine Hat (Alberta) Stampede begins
July 29 That Famous Preston (Idaho) Night Rodeo begins
July 29 Red Desert Roundup, Rock Springs, Wyo., begins
July 29 Deep South PRCA Rodeo, Winnsboro, La., begins
July 29 Strathmore (Alberta) Stampede begins
July 30 Painted Pony Championship Rodeo, Lake Luzerne, N.Y.
July 30 Lake County Fair PRCA Rodeo, Grayslake, Ill., begins
July 30 PRCA Kootenai River Rodeo, Libby, Mont., begins
July 30 Mesquite (Texas) Championship Rodeo begins
July 30 Sonoma County Fair, Santa Rosa, Calif., begins
July 30 Steamboat Springs (Colo.) ProRodeo Series begins
July 30 Mighty Fraser Rodeo, Abbotsford, British Columbia, begins
July 30 San Luis Valley Ski-Hi Stampede, Monte Vista, Colo., begins
July 31 Sheidan Saddle Club Rodeo, Plentywood, Mont.
July 31 Cowtown Rodeo, Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J.
July 31 Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo, Iron River, Mich., begins
Aug. 1 Rock County 4-H Fair ProRodeo, Janesville, Wis., begins
Rodeo News and Notes
Meroshnekoff captures bareback riding at NHSFR in Gillette, Wyo.
Sixteen-year-old Casey Meroshnekoff of Red Bluff, Calif., the son of longtime PRCA roughstock cowboy Alex Meroshnekoff, won the bareback riding title at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo., with a total of 245 points on four head.
Meroshnekoff’s winning 80-point ride on July 24 pushed his margin to 18 points over second-place Casey Breuer of Mandan, N.D.
Randlett, Utah, cowboy Joe Frost, a second-cousin of Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee Lane Frost, was an equally dominating winner in the bull riding. Frost tied for first place in the final round with an 86-point ride and finished 15 points ahead of Casey White of Weiser, Idaho.
Other champions at the NHSFR included Dalton Richards of Hawkinsville, Ga. (all-around and tie-down roping), Dalton Davis of Holcomb, Kan. (cutting), Joe Harper of Paradise Valley, Nev. (saddle bronc riding), Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia (steer wrestling) and Dustin Hodge/Tyler Worley of Berryville, Ark. (team roping).
Famed PRCA trick rider Vicki Taylor dies
Vicki Taylor, a PRCA trick rider for 20 years who carried the American flag during the grand entry at the 2001 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, died of cancer July 18 at Hill Country Specialty Hospital in New Braunfels, Texas. She was 59.
Taylor was a regular with the Great American Wild West Show for 14 years, making her final appearance with them at the 2008 National Western Livestock Show in Denver.
She was also a teacher and speech therapist for more than 37 years, teaching at Crockett Elementary School in San Marcos, Texas, until cancer forced her to quit last year.
Taylor lived in Wimberley, Texas, with her husband, Jimmy Cleveland, a former PRCA bull rider and bareback rider.
ProRodeoLive.com to air live audio coverage of Cheyenne Frontier Days
ProRodeoLive.com, the radio and Internet broadcast home of the PRCA, will be at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo to air live audio coverage of the final two performances of the long round, July 30-31, and the championship round Aug. 1.
Steve Kenyon, the 2009 recipient of the PRCA Media Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, will be the announcer for the audio webcasts, which will begin at 12:45 p.m. (MT) each day.
Snake River Stampede reaches $300,000 in five-year fight against breast cancer
The Snake River Stampede rodeo committee has reached $300,000 in its five years of raising money to fight breast cancer. Funds were raised through sponsorships and donations.
The Nampa, Idaho, rodeo surpassed the mark at the 95th edition of the rodeo, which ran July 20-24. Stressing the importance of early detection is among the committee’s goals. Money raised is used to pay for mammograms for the underinsured and for mammogram awareness campaigns through the media. So far, the fund has paid for 963 mammograms.
“Some of them have detected cancer early, for which we are grateful,” said publicity director Jimmie Hurley.
News and notes from the rodeo trail …
The Grant Harris family was one of five groups recognized with the Cowboy Keeper Award this year as part of the celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy July 24. The Harris family produces the annual Cowtown Rodeo series in Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J., which was founded by Grant Harris’ great-grandfather, Howard Sr., in 1929. The other recipients are Don and Sharon Endsley, producers of the Great American Wild West Show; the Desert Cowboys, who protected freedom in the Middle East; acclaimed singer and poet Doc Stovall and the Western Jubilee Recording Company … Abe Morris, a two-time qualifier for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo as a bull rider, has been selected for induction into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum & Hall of Fame (formerly known as the Cowboys of Color Hall of Fame) in Fort Worth, Texas. The induction ceremony will be held Nov. 20. Morris is joined in the 2010 class by Charles “Hank” Banks, Harold Cash, Paul J. Matthews, Lowell “Stretch” Smith, Robert Strauss, Walter Clarence “Buck” Taylor III and Nolan Ryan, a member of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund Board of Directors … Ticket sales for the Tops in Texas Rodeo in Jacksonville, Texas, were up this year, and ticket chairman Roland Adams told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that the committee helped its bottom line by eliminating costly post-rodeo entertainment while reducing ticket prices to the rodeo … Estelle Christopherson Johnson is the 11th recipient of the Driver Family Memorial Award for her more than 20 years as a volunteer at the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo … This year’s Ogden (Utah) Pioneer Days celebration theme, “Continuing the Legacy,” was given special meaning in that, for the first time in the rodeo’s history, the chairman was the son of a past chairman. Dave Halverson’s father, Ron Halverson, was chairman twice … Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell sold all of its old wooden chute gates (at $500 each) within a week of putting them on the market. One of the chutes went to a former competitor who told publicity chairman Teresa Seidel, “I don’t care which one I get, it’s going to have some of my blood on it.” Burwell replaced all of its chute gates with new metal gates from Priefert and also put in new suites behind the chutes for this week’s rodeo … Pete Lambert, who has been a member of the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo Association for 56 years, will celebrate his 90th birthday with friends and family on July 31 at the Redding Rodeo grounds.