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Twisted Rodeo

Phil Hamilton takes music to Bridgeport

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 1:04pm

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – If music is deep in Phil Hamilton’s heart, Texas music is his soul.

He will put it all on the line Saturday, May 9, during a special concert as part of the annual Butterfield Stage Days celebration. The two-day gathering also features the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at Sunset Retreat Arena, formerly the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.

Phil Hamilton will perform Saturday, May 9, after the second performance of the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo.

Phil Hamilton will perform Saturday, May 9, after the second performance of the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo. (PUBLICITY PHOTO)

Hamilton originally is from Burleson, Texas, about an hour southeast of Bridgeport. His style of music is the perfect fit for the Butterfield Stage Days celebration, and it’s why event organizers made plans for the Texas native to be part of the show.

“We’re very excited to have Phil Hamilton being the entertainment Saturday night,” said Susan Miller, a key member of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “It’s generated a great deal of excitement for us, and I think the community feels the same way.”

Hamilton has loved music since childhood, growing up in a musical family. His grandmother sang opera, and his aunt sang country. As a young adult, he discovered Texas acts like Robert Earl Keen, Charlie Robison and Pat Green, and Hamilton found his niche.

“I started writing some originals, but it didn’t come natural to me at first,” Hamilton said in his biography. “Back then I hadn’t had enough experiences with love and loss and all that stuff to make great songs.”

He continued to practice his writing skills and focusing on it.

“That’s when things started to take off,” he said. “The next thing I knew I was being offered a deal with Winding Road Music to record a full record.”

Nothing To Lose was released in 2009 and featured two singles that reached the top 15 on the Texas charts. His second album, Renegade Rock N Roll, featured three No. 1 songs: “Bad,” “Running” and “Back of a ’73.” He followed that with a third album from a legendary Fort Worth, Texas, club, Live At The Whiskey Girl Saloon.

“I was excited to show what we do live,” Hamilton said. “My only rule was that it had to be real authentic and 100 percent live, not re-cut or re-tracked, and we did it that way and it worked. It was just a phenomenal experience, and we captured the music just the way I wanted.”

When he’s not on the road playing before raucous audiences, Hamilton enjoys his time at home in Grandbury, Texas, where he combines his passion for music with the outdoors. It’s a great place for him to unwind and open the possibilities for his songwriting.

“I live on the road, but I don’t write on the road,” he said. “There are too many things going on, and it’s too tough for me to put my thoughts down out there. Hunting and the outdoors are my main things. When I’m home, half of the week I’m always out in the woods hunting or fishing.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Rangers women dominate rodeo

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:56pm

ALVA, Okla. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University women’s rodeo team has inched closer to a major goal for this season.

With a dominating performance this past weekend, the Rangers are well within reach of clinching the Central Plains Region title. Northwestern posted 355 points to win the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo title and push its lead in the circuit standings to more than 700 points with just two events remaining on the 2014-15 season.

Karley Kile

Karley Kile

“I was proud of everybody,” said Stockton Graves, the Rangers coach. “We competed well. The women did well. The men actually did well, even though it didn’t show up in the points.”

Senior Karley Kile of Overbrook, Kan., led the way with Northwestern, winning both the all-around and breakaway roping titles in Weatherford. But she wasn’t alone. In fact, Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., was second in the all-around and, like Kile, qualified for the championship round in breakaway roping and goat tying.

Kile is third in the region in breakaway and is tied for eighth in goat tying. She has a chance to move to the top of the standings in the all-around heading into the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo this coming weekend and the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Doc Gardner Memorial rodeo the final weekend of April.

“This really doesn’t change anything,” said Kyle, a two-time goat-tying qualifier for the College National Finals Rodeo. “I’m still going to go for every rodeo.

Shayna Miller

Shayna Miller

“It’s pretty exciting, since I’ve never done any good in the breakaway.”

Miller leads the region standings in goat tying, followed by teammate Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz. In Weatherford, the Rangers women held eight spots in the short go-round: four in breakaway and two each in goat tying and barrel racing. In addition to Kile winning the breakaway title, Elli Price of Leady, Okla., finished in a three-way tie for third place in the average. They were joined in the final round by Sage Allen of Pawhuska, Okla.

Kile won the opening round with a 2.7-second run, then finished second in the short round with a 3.4. Her 6.1-second cumulative time on two runs was four-tenths of a second better than the field. Miller, meanwhile, placed second in the goat-tying aggregate with a two-run time of 16.2 seconds.

“It was just a matter of time,” Graves said of Kile’s top finish. “We needed her to do well, and I was plenty excited for her.”

In barrel racing, Kelsey Cloud of Elk City, Okla., finished third with a two-run time of 35.33 seconds, while Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., also made the final round. Every move helped pave the way for the team to return to the college finals, set for June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.

Dustin Searcy

Dustin Searcy

“Shayna has obviously helped a lot, and Lauren has (too),” Kile said. “All the rest of the girls have stepped up their game this year. If we can take a team out there, it definitely helps out the school at the college finals.”

The Northwestern men finished fifth at Southwestern but had seven cowboys qualify for the short round – five were in team roping, led by senior heeler Dustin Searcy of Mooreland, Okla., who won both rounds and the average while roping with header Hunter Munsell of Western Oklahoma State College.

“I’ve known (Hunter) since I was a little kid,” Searcy said. “We practiced a lot when we were kids. “We’ve always had a natural partnership where we roped good together and have always had a lot of success.”

Searcy was joined in the short round by Northwestern teammates Jonathan Nixon of Paradise, Texas and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah,who together finished fifth in the average, and Mike McGinn of Haines, Ore., and Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia. Tie-down roper Maverick Harper finished sixth with a two-run cumulative time of 21.0 seconds, while Allred finished fifth in steer wrestling with a two-run time of 15.2.

The Northwestern men sit fifth in the team standings but have several cowboys who are in position to qualify for the college finals by the time the season concludes in a week and a half.

“We’ll just keep them focused on their goals and the plan, and hopefully we’ll succeed,” Graves said.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Locals battle for Guymon titles

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 10:51am

GUYMON, Okla. – There’s something in the water in Texas County, Okla.

This place is the breeding ground for great cowboys, whether they’re raised here or have transplanted to the Oklahoma Panhandle. There are plenty of great ones.

The proving ground has always been the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. It will be again during this year’s championship, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 1; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

Trell Etbauer

Trell Etbauer

“It’s an important one for me, for sure,” said Trell Etbauer, a four-time Linderman Award winner from Goodwell, Okla., just 10 miles southwest of Guymon. “It’s my hometown rodeo and the closest big rodeo I go to all year.”

The son of two-time world champion Robert Etbauer and his wife, Sue, Trell grew up in this neck of the woods. He was a star athlete at Goodwell High School and a champion cowboy from youth rodeo through college at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

But he’s one of many elite rodeo cowboys with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle who have made their name on the ProRodeo trail. A list of world champions from the area is a good indication of that.

Jhett Johnson

Jhett Johnson

In addition to Robert Etbauer, there are 10 other gold buckles that have been earned by cowboys from the area once known as No Man’s Land: Billy Etbauer has the most with five saddle bronc riding world titles, followed by Taos Muncy, who has two; fellow bronc riders Tom Reeves and Jeff Willert join heeler Jhett Johnson with one apiece.

They are just a few of the elite contestants who make their living in ProRodeo who have ties to the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Atop the list, though, is Trevor Brazile, a 21-time world champion who grew up in nearby Gruver, Texas. He is a 45-time qualifier to the National Finals that also owns a record 12 all-around gold buckles.

He isn’t the only north Texas Panhandle cowboy to make the NFR; he was joined by Bray Armes, who also grew up near Gruver. This past December, they were joined in Las Vegas by Muncy and fellow bronc riders Cort Scheer, a Panhandle State alumnus and two-time Reserve World Champion, and Tyler Corrington, who lives near Gruver; and Joe Frost, a senior at Panhandle State who finished the 2014 season as the Reserve World Champion.

Joe Frost

Joe Frost

This is the perfect proving ground, but Pioneer Days Rodeo is a tough place to win. Nearly 1,000 contestants sign up to be part of the week long competition that concludes the first weekend in May each season.

“A lot of times, Guymon falls after the California run, so a lot of the guys heading back to Texas can hit it,” Trell Etbauer said. “It’s also one of the bigger rodeos, and all the guys go to those.”

Those are the attractive features for the sport’s greatest stars, but there are many more. The prize money is a key ingredient, but so is the competition. All steer ropers participate in four go-rounds, with the top 32 times returning for a fifth round. In tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling, each contestant is afforded two runs, with the top 40 teams returning for a third round.

Barrel racers all compete in the first round on Friday morning, then the top 40 times are brought back during the performances for the second round. When it’s all mixed together, it allows for a cut-throat approach to the big purse.

“I’ve placed in some rounds and placed in the average in calf roping and steer wrestling, but I’d really like to win it at least once,” Etbauer said. “You always want to win your hometown rodeo, and it’s usually the toughest to win. Guymon is especially tough, because so many great cowboys are there.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Western Days full of activities

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 11:00am

TOP ARTISTS, WESTERN EVENTS MAKES FOR FUN 4 DAYS AT SYCAMORE SPRINGS RANCH

LOCUST GROVE, Okla. – A beautiful spring leads to incredible nighttime views in picturesque eastern Oklahoma.

There’s no better setting for star gazing than in the rolling hills near this historic community. The stars get a little brighter during Cord McCoy’s Western Days, set for Thursday, April 16-Sunday, April 19, at Sycamore Springs Ranch just south of Locust Grove.

CordAd-250“When I came up with the idea for Western Days, I wanted to attract people to the lifestyle we live every day and show everyone all the things that go into a true Western festival,” said McCoy, a champion rodeo cowboy who, with brother Jet, was a three-time fan favorite on “The Amazing Race,” a CBS-TV reality series. “What we’ve come up with is so much more.

“We’re going to have great country Western artists the first three nights, including legendary Red Stegall, David Frizzell and the Jason Roberts Band. I’m excited about that, because it’s a great way to conclude a full day.”

Western Days is loaded with plenty of opportunities for festival-goers. In addition to the plethora of events going on at the various arenas on the sprawling Sycamore Springs Ranch, a nightly rodeo will be part of each day’s festivities. In fact, the event will conclude at 6 p.m. Sunday with the Cord McCoy Bull Riding Challenge, which will feature a $10,000 bounty bull and Frank Newsome Freestyle Bullfights.

“We want to make every day exciting,” McCoy said. “That’s why we’re having the concerts and why we want to feature rodeo every evening.”

This is the perfect venue for cowboys of all types – from those who have lived their lives horseback to those who have just dreamed about it. That’s why there are numerous festivities taking place throughout each day: Western events and competitions, chuck wagon feasts and a daily exotic trail ride across the beautiful Sycamore Springs Ranch.

A Western trade show will be a major part of each day’s activities. The opening day will feature a Western showdown, ranch sorting practice, the Ultimate Western Challenge and Dick Pieper Horsemanship, appealing to all levels of cowboys.

Friday’s festivities will include those and a cattle dog demonstration, the ranch sorting competition, a team roping championship, a steer roping contest and a miniature rodeo tour. Added on Saturday will be the Silver Select Horse Sale and a barrel racing challenge, while Sunday will include the Western Worship Service and a ranch rodeo.

“I was raised around all this and love it, but I wanted it to be more,” McCoy said. “I’ve traveled around the world three times, and I wanted to appeal to every person that has ever watched a Western or ever thought about being a cowboy.

“I want the guy who wears a suit every day to come and enjoy and trade out his business shoes for cowboy boots for a few days. I think this is something he’ll enjoy, too.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

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