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Twisted Rodeo

Stampede tabbed rodeo of the year

Twisted Rodeo - 2 hours 42 min ago
Members of the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo committee pose with dignitaries during an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, where the committee was recognized as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association small rodeo of the year. Pictured are, from left, Miss Rodeo America Paige Nicholson, Bob Morton, Dawn Petty, David Petty and Steve Miller with Montana Silversmiths.

Members of the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo committee pose with dignitaries during an awards ceremony on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, where the committee was recognized as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association small rodeo of the year. Pictured are, from left, Miss Rodeo America Paige Nicholson, Bob Morton, Dawn Petty, David Petty and Steve Miller with Montana Silversmiths.

CLAREMORE, Okla. – David Petty was in shock and couldn’t think of the words to say; his wife, Dawn, couldn’t stop crying. Bob Morton just grinned and took it all in.

Their hearts and souls – countless man-hours – have gone into the labor of love they call the Will Rogers Stampede. Claremore’s rodeo had just been named the 2014 small rodeo of the year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, determined by a vote of the organization’s membership and announced during the PRCA’s annual awards banquet on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, held in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“This is a tremendous honor for us,” said Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the rodeo every Memorial Day weekend. “We have a small group of people who work really hard every year to put on this rodeo for our community.

“Two years ago, we hired Pete Carr and his crew to produce the rodeo, and that’s made a major difference in the rodeo. It feels like all our years of hard work are paying off, and the people of Rogers County and surrounding areas can enjoy a world-class rodeo right here in Claremore, Oklahoma. It’s humbling to share this national spotlight with the Daddy of ’em All, Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, and rodeos like Deadwood (S.D.) Days and the San Antonio Stock Show.”

PRCA members felt the same way. Rodeos are classified in four categories: small, medium, large and large indoor. The small-rodeo category encompasses more than 400 PRCA rodeos nationwide and allows the smaller committees to be judged with events of the same size.

“We’ve been blessed to have produced that rodeo the last couple of years,” said Pete Carr, owner of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “That’s one of the hardest working committees in rodeo, and I’m glad to see they were recognized this year. Those people have earned that award.”

Carr was nominated for stock contractor of the year, while other pieces of the 2014 Stampede also were recognized: Sandy Gwatney was nominated for secretary of the year, while entertainer John Harrison earned the Coors Man in the Can and the Comedy Act of the Year awards.

Days later, Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Lauren Heaton became the first Oklahoma cowgirl to be crowned Miss Rodeo America; she, too, was part of the pageantry that is the Will Rogers Stampede.

“Claremore was part of my 10-day Oklahoma run,” she said. “That’s such a great rodeo that had John and Sandy Gwatney working with Pete Carr; all three of them are working the finals. John Harrison was the clown there.

“That shows me that Claremore is putting on a phenomenal rodeo. They know what they need to do and where they need to be headed. I’m really excited to see Claremore win that award.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Cord McCoy’s Western Days

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 1:31pm

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POPULAR COWBOY TEAMS WITH SYCAMORE SPRINGS RANCH FOR 4-DAY FESTIVAL

LOCUST GROVE, Okla. – Cord McCoy has traveled around the world three times and has crisscrossed this country more times than he can count.

The Oklahoma cowboy made a name for himself as a professional rodeo cowboy. He owns qualifications to the National Finals Rodeo, the Professional Bull Riders World Finals and the International Finals Rodeo, the latter of which is where he won five IPRA world titles.

“As I’ve traveled around, from Cheyenne to Calgary, some of my favorite events seem to be festivals,” said McCoy, who, with his brother, Jet, appeared three times on the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race.” “I just love the Western people, the Western events, the Western way of life.”

He has produced bull-riding events and been to countless rodeos. He knows the attraction people have with the West.

“When I saw the Sycamore Springs Ranch and looked at its 1,900-acres of an exotic ranch, I wanted to share that with the world,” he said.

That’s how he and ranch owner Jerry Rush came up with Cord McCoy’s Western Days, which will take place on the land south of Locust Grove from April 16-19, 2015.

“We will have four arenas going simultaneously,” McCoy said. “We will have every event that you can think of and maybe more.”

As with any festival, there will be a variety of events: a trade show, cowboy poets, a competition trail run, an exotic trail ride a bareback riding clinic with world champion Kelly Timberman and a Professional Roughstock Series event that serves as a qualifier to The American all kicks off opening day.

“We want to have a lot of events, because we want to appeal to just about everybody’s interests,” McCoy said. “We’d love for everybody to take in as much as they can, because they’ll get a great feel for the Western way of life. We’ll have a rodeo and a barn dance every night to close it all out.”

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS|
THURSDAY, April 16, 2015
Noon: Sycamore Springs Ranch Welcome Reception
Noon: Western Music with The A-Bar Bunkhouse Band
Noon: Chuck Wagon Cook Off Lunch
12-7 p.m.: Western Trade Days Trade Show 
2 p.m.: Cowboy Poet in Mule Barn
3 p.m.: Competition Trail Run
3 p.m.: FREE Bareback Riding Clinic w/ Kelly Timberman
5 p.m. THE AMERICAN QUALIFIER w/ Pro Rough Stock
5 p.m.: Exotic Trail Ride across 1200 Acres
7:30 p.m.: Nightly Rodeo 
10 p.m.: Barn Dance in The Mule Barn

FRIDAY, April 17, 2015
9 a.m.-7 p.m.: Western Trade Days Trade Show
10 a.m.: Numbered Team Roping
10 a.m.: Exotic Trail Ride 1200 Acres
Noon: Chuck Wagon Cook Off Lunch
1 p.m.: Ranch Sorting
3 p.m.: Competition Trail Run
3 p.m.: Mounted Shooting
3 p.m.: Steer Roping
4 p.m.: Competition Trail Run 
5 p.m.: Exotic Trail Ride 1200 Acres
7 p.m.: Nightly Rodeo 
10 p.m.: Barn Dance in The Mule Barn

SATURDAY, April 18, 2015
8 a.m.: Horse Sale Preview
10 a.m.: Silver Select Horse Sale
10 a.m.: Numbered Team Roping
10 a.m.: Exotic Trail Ride 1200 Acres
Noon: Chuck Wagon Cook Off Lunch
1 p.m.: Ranch Sorting
3 p.m.: Competition Trail Run
5 p.m.: Exotic Trail Ride 1200 Acres
7 p.m.: Nightly Rodeo 
10 p.m.: Barn Dance in The Mule Barn

SUNDAY, April 19, 2015
9 a.m.: Western Worship Service
10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Western Trade Days Trade Show
10 a.m.: Barrel Racing
10 a.m.: Numbered Team Roping
10 a.m.: Exotic Trail Ride 1200 Acres
10 a.m.: Ranch Rodeo
Noon: Chuck Wagon Cook Off Lunch

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Pierce earned big money in Vegas

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 8:06pm

LAS VEGAS – Barrel racer Carlee Pierce has made more money in Las Vegas during her two previous qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Carlee Pierce

Carlee Pierce

She never had a better 10 days.

On Saturday night, the Edmond, Okla., cowgirl raced around the cloverleaf pattern in 13.97 seconds to place third in the 10th go-round, adding $11,340 to her payroll. More importantly, she held on to sixth in the average with a cumulative time of 151.61 seconds, which paid her another $12,000. She finished the NFR with $63,750.

“That is the first time I have ever won an average check,” said Pierce, who rode all 10 nights on Streakin Easy April, a 6-year-old sorrel mare she calls Lolo. “I had no expectations this year because my horses were so young, so I’m beyond tickled to have such a good finals.”

The talented tandem placed in six go-rounds. Pierce finished the season with $154,181, sixth in the world standings.

“I’m very excited about the future with Lolo,” she said. “I knew she had the ability, but she proved to me this week that she’s ready. That’s awesome.”

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Champion finishes ’14 at No. 3

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 7:37pm

LAS VEGAS – The Nevada desert was a pretty good home for bareback rider Richmond Champion.

Over 10 days, Champion rode bucking horses to the tune of $108,140, pushing his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association season earnings to nearly $200,000. He placed six of the last seven go-rounds at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, including two round wins. He also finished second in the average, scoring a cumulative total of 814.5 points.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

The biggest accolade, though, came in the form of a third-place finish in the year-end standings, being crowned the third best bareback rider behind to the hottest man in the game, four-time reigning gold buckle winner Kaycee Field.

“It’s nuts,” said Champion, who earned $1.3 million this season riding bareback horses, all but $200,000 of which came from winning the title at a non-PRCA event, The American. “I was just sitting in the locker room trying to wrap my head around this whole deal. Everybody was congratulating me, but I couldn’t tell you what I did yesterday. This week’s gone by so fast.

“All of the sudden, you blink your eyes, and you’re here; blink your eyes again, and you’re leaving. I never would’ve imagined it would go like this.”

Only Feild earned more money than Champion among bareback riders. That’s quite a statement to the NFR rookie. He finished with a bang, too, riding Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet Fever for 85 points to finish in a three-way tie for third place in the 10th round.

“I think I had my ups and downs, but toward the end, I think I made up for it,” said Champion, of The Woodlands, Texas. “It wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit to make a drive over to Las Vegas again next year. I’m going to take a few days and re-access what I want to do, but obviously next year I’m going to go after that gold buckle. That’s my No. 1 goal.”

That’s a pretty good one to have. Champion came closer to catching Feild than anyone else, so his goals need to be pretty high.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Irwin wins reserve world title

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 7:20pm

LAS VEGAS – It didn’t take steer wrestler Kyle Irwin long to reflect on his 2014 season.

Just moments after making his final run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Saturday, the Robertsdale, Ala., cowboy knew he’d lived a magical season, including $88,000 earned over 10 December nights in Sin City.

Kyle Irwin

Kyle Irwin

“It was everything I have ever dreamed of and everything I thought it would be and more,” said Irwin, 24, who attended Western Oklahoma College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University on rodeo scholarships. “It was a great experience, and it did something for me nothing else could have: It’s got me wanting to get back here.”

He should. The NFR is the sport’s grand finale, and only the top 15 contestants in each event earn the right to play for the biggest pay in the game. Irwin finished the campaign with $147,699, second in the world standings in a field that included many Las Vegas regulars. It was an outstanding performance for a first-time cowboy.

He placed in six go-rounds and earned at least a share of the go-round win on three nights – he split the second and eighth rounds and won the third outright. His cumulative time of 60.7 seconds on 10 runs was fourth best.

What did he learn most from his experience?

“Winning and losing, if that makes sense,” Irwin said. “I knew I had the talent and the capability, but once you put yourself in this situation with 14 of the best, you test yourself. I knew I could do it and believe in myself, but it’s still a test.

“Losing is going to help me mature. I’m not going to say if I didn’t make a few of the mistakes I made this week I would’ve been the world champ, because Luke was tough this week, but it would’ve made things a little more interesting. It gives me a little more humbling experience to go home and work on some things and do a little fine-tuning for when we come back.”

He plans to return, but he proved over the season why he earned the right to compete among steer wrestling’s elite.

“This is big for my family,” he said. “My family and my hometown was already behind me, but now we just took it to another level. It was great to share this experience with my family and my friends.

“I’m honored to get to do that again and already look forward to doing it again next year.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Bennett wins final round at NFR

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 3:55pm

LAS VEGAS – It takes a strong faith and belief in oneself to battle through pain and struggles in order to persevere and find victory.

Caleb Bennett has that. Bennett placed in just two go-rounds at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and earned $27,000 over the 10 nights of the championship. That’s an outstanding week of work, but 11 bareback riders in the field earned more.

Caleb Bennett

Caleb Bennett

“It’s been a rough week, not able to draw the right horses and a bad shoulder,” said Bennett of Tremonton, Utah. “But I couldn’t be more blessed and ask for anything more than to end it the way I did on Dirty Jacket.”

On Saturday night during the 10th round, Bennett rode the Bareback Horse of the Year, Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, for 86.5 points to win the title. Most of his NFR earnings came in the final night of the season, when he pocketed $19,000. It helps to have the best horse going; in addition to guiding Bennett to the Round 10 title, the 10-year-old bay gelding also helped Richmond Champion to the fifth-round crown.

“That’s a phenomenal horse and definitely one of the wants you want to have in this round,” he said, noting that the fifth- and 10th-round horses are considered the greatest animals from the season. “It feels awesome to just get another go-round buckle under my belt.”

Now competing at the NFR for the third straight year, the Utah cowboy has won one round each December. He won the first round in 2013, then waited until the final round this year. He already has adjusted the goals he had before the finale began.

“Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll ever say again that I want to finish stronger than I started,” Bennett said with a laugh. “Maybe I should say I want to finish as strong as I start.”

The reality is his season is finished. He closes the book on 2014 with $111,299, good enough for 12th in the world standings.

“That $27,000 is a great chunk of change for 10 days, so I’m not going to complain a bit,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed with the way things turned out, but this is still great, and it gives me an extra $30,000 to go home and put toward things to get ready for next year.”

The main focus will be on healing. Bennett’s left shoulder has caused him considerable pain, which is even more difficult in bareback riding, where he is locked onto the horse through the ride.

“I’m going to get my shoulder healed up and get to feeling better and be in even better shape,” Bennett said. “I’ve already set in my mind that I’m coming for them next year, and I want to be a top three or four contender at this deal next year and not just top 10 or 15.

“This week was actually a true test for me. But I kept thinking positively and kept replaying my good rides from this year. It might take me until the 10th round to win the go-round buckle, but I did it.”

That positivity went a long ways through a rough NFR. It will help next year, too.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Cooper cleans up on final night

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 1:35am

LAS VEGAS – For all his struggles over the 10 nights of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Jim Ross Cooper ended the 2014 season with a bang.

Jim Ross Cooper

Jim Ross Cooper

The “Riding for the Brand” team roping heeler from Monument, N.M., placed in just three go-rounds with partner Brandon Beers. On Saturday night during the 10th go-round, the team stopped the clock in 4.1 seconds to win $19,002. In all, they earned nearly $37,000.

That’s still a pretty solid week and a half of work for the cowboys. This was Cooper’s fifth qualification to the NFR, and their second-best finish.

It wasn’t a solid finish for the other two Tate Branch Auto Group cowboys, saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy and tie-down roper Clint Cooper.

Muncy, a two-time world champion from Corona, N.M., failed to record a score Saturday night. Still, he finished seventh in the 10-round average, riding eight horses for a cumulative score of 612.5 points. He pocketed almost $23,000 at the NFR and finished sixth in the world standings.

Clint Cooper, who grew up in Lovington, N.M., and lives in Decatur, Texas, suffered a no-time in Round 10. Still, he earned nearly $39,000 in Sin City and finished 12th on the money list. His half-brother, Tuf, won his third world championship.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Only 2 ride in bull riding

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 12:16am

1. Tyler Smith on Frontier Rodeo’s Dirty Cop, 84.5 points, $19,002; 2. Beau Hill, 60, $15,018; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Sage Kimzey, 671 on eight head, $48,732; 2. Joe Frost, 490.5 on six, $39,537; 3. Beau Hill, 374 on five, $31,262; 4. Tyler Smith, 322.5 on four, $22,987; 5. Cody Teel, 322, $16,550; 6. J.W. Harris, 310.5, $11,953; 7. Elliot Jacoby, 254 on three, $8,275; 8. Trey Benton III, 252.5, $4,597. World champion: Sage Kimzey, $318,631.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Fallon takes the crown

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:53pm

1. Mary Walker, 13.90 seconds, $19,002; 2. Fallon Taylor, 13.96, $15,018; 3. Carlee Pierce, 13.97, $11,340; 4. Michele McLeod, 13.99, $7,969; 5. Christy Loflin, 14.00, $4,904; 6. Lisa Lockhart, 14.02, $3,065. Average: 1. Lisa Lockhart, 144.93 seconds on 10 runs, $48,732; 2. Fallon Taylor, 145.1, $39,537; 3. Kaley Bass, 147.15, $31,262; 4. Britany Diaz, 147.37, $22,986; 5. Michele McLeod, 151.06, $16,550; 6. Carlee Pierce, 151.61, $11,953; 7. Jana Bean, 151.97, $8,275; 8. Trula Churchill, 154.84, $4,597. World champion: Fallon Taylor, $276,441.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Tuf wins his third world title

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:41pm

1. Cody Ohl, 6.8 seconds, $19,002; 2. Adam Gray, 7.2, 415, $15,018; 3. (tie) Reese Reimer and Tyson Durfey, 7.3, $9,654; 5. (tie) Clint Robinson and Hunter Herrin, 7.6, $3,984. Average: 1. Tuf Cooper, 89.7 seconds on 10 runs, $48,732; 2. Trevor Brazile, 93.1, $39,537; 3. Matt Shiozawa, 97.6, $31,262; 4. Ryan Watkins, 100.7, $22,987; 5. Cade Swor, 110.4, $16,550; 6. Shane Hanchey, 123.3, $11,953; 7. Clint Robinson, 108.2 on nine, $8,275; 8. Reese Reimer, 110.1, $4,597.

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Spencer wins Wrights’ 4th title

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:13pm

1. Cody DeMoss, 86 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat, $19,002; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 83, $15.018; 3. Wade Sundell, 82, $11,340; 4. Jesse Wright, 81.5, $7,969; 5. Spencer Wright, 79, $4,904; 6. Jake Wright, 78, $3,064. Average: 1. Spencer Wright, 807.5 on 10 head, $48,732; 2. Cort Scheer, 764, $39,537; 3. Jake Wright, 704.5 on nine, $31,262; 4. Jesse Wright, 688, $22,987; 5. Wade Sundell, 647.5 on eight, $16,550; 6. Jacobs Crawley, 623, $11,953; 7. Taos Muncy, 612.5, $8,275; 8. Dustin Flundra, 598.5, $4,597.

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Waiting on results, but Spencer Wright is champ

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:09pm

The youngest of the NFR Wright brothers won the average and gold buckles.

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Tryan, Corkill repeat as champs

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:01pm

1. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 4.1 seconds, $19,002; 2. Tom Richards/Cesar de la Cruz, 4.6, $15,018; 3. Aaron Tsinigine/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 5.5, $11,304; 4. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 6.0, $7,969;  5. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira and Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 6.5, $3,985 each. Average: 1. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 70.1 on 10 head, $48,732; 2. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira, 57.1, on nine $39,537; 3. Aaron Tsiningine/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 71.4, $31,262; 4. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 52.8 on eight, $22,987; 5. Trevor Brazile/Travis Graves, 60.5, $16,550; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 61.2, $11,953; 7. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 73.8, $8,275; 8. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 58.0 on seven, $4,597.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Branquinho wins fifth gold buckle

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:01pm

Steer wrestling: 1. Dru Melvin, 3.4, $19,002; 2. Casey Martin, 4.0, $15,018; 3. Clayton Haas, 4.1, $11,340;  4. Seth Brockman, 4.2, $7,969; 5. Cole Edge, 4.4, $4,904; 6. Kyle Irwin, 4.5, $3,065. Average: 1. Luke Branquinho, 41.6 seconds on 10 head, $48,732; 2. Ty Erickson, 49.3, $39,537; 3. Dakota Eldridge, 56.0, $31,262; 4. Kyle Irwin, 60.7, $22,987; 5. Cole Edge, 71.8, $16,550; 6. Casey Martin, 41.1 on nine, $11,953; 7. Nick Guy, 43.3, $8,275; 8. Clayton Hass, 44.5, $4,597.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Feild wins average and the world

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 10:30pm

Average: 1. Kaycee Feild, 818.5 points on 10 head, $48,732; 2. Richmond Champion, 814.5, $39,537; 3. Winn Ratliff, 813, $31,262; 4. Jake Vold, 812.5, $22,987; 5. Austin Foss, 811, $16,550; 6. Bobby Mote, 809, $11,953; 7. Will Lowe, 797, $8,275; 8. Tilden Hooper, 790.5, $4,597.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Dirty Jacket wins again

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 10:20pm

1. Caleb Bennett, 86.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, $19,002; 2. Kaycee Feild, 86, $15,018; 3. (tie) Richie Champion, Winn Ratliff and Jake Vold, 85, $8,071 each; 6. Will Lowe, 82, $3,065.

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A Night (Jacket) to remember

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 9:06pm
Casey Colletti rides Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo's Scarlet's Web for the 10th-round victory at the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Scarlet's Web is one of five horses sired by the famed Night Jacket that will buck in the 10th round, reserved for the top bucking animals from the season. (MIKE COPEMAN PHOTO)

Casey Colletti rides Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web for the 10th-round victory at the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Scarlet’s Web is one of five horses sired by the famed Night Jacket that will buck in the 10th round, reserved for the top bucking animals from the season. (MIKE COPEMAN PHOTO)

One of the greatest bucking horse lineages in ProRodeo history will be on display during the 10th go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo tonight.

There are five horses that were sired by Night Jacket that will be featured in the TV pen in both bareback riding and saddle bronc riding. It should be magnificent action.

BAREBACK RIDING
Winn Ratliff-Shady Nights, Pickett Pro Rodeo
Caleb Bennett-Dirty Jacket, Pete Carr Pro Rodeo
Kaycee Feild-Scarlet’s Web, Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo

SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Cody DeMoss-Resistol’s Top Hat, Stace Smith Pro Rodeo
Wade Sundell-Big Tex, Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo

Scarlet’s Web helped Casey Colletti to the 10th-round win last December and also helped him win the fifth round in 2012. The 12-year-old bay mare also matched moves with Tilden Hooper for 90 points to win the 10th round in 2008 and Tom McFarland to the sixth-round victory in 2007.
Dirty Jacket, the 2014 Bareback Horse of the Year, helped Richmond Champion to the fifth-round victory on Monday. The 10-year-old bay gelding was the 2013 Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse and finished third in 2012.

Big Tex, the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year, helped Sundell to the San Antonio title earlier this year with a 90-point ride. He also is part of the highest-marked bareback riding score in NFR history, matching with Bobby Mote for 91.5.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

This place has Grand(view) convenience

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 6:12pm

There’s a reason Steve Kenyon and his ProRodeo Live team stay at The Grandview in Las Vegas: It’s the perfect fit for those staying for more than a few days.

It’s been my perfect home since I arrived.

Grandview-LogoThe Grandview is next to the South Point, home of the nightly Montana Silversmiths Go-Round Buckle Presentation. It’s convenient to the host of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo events: the Gold Buckle Gala, the Welcome Reception and the awards events. The South Point is home to the PRCA national convention, and being so close is a great opportunity for committee members.

For me, each suite has a nice bathroom with shower and an adjacent Jacuzzi tub. The kitchen is bigger than some apartments I’ve lived in, and each room has a washer and dryer. Between cooking for yourself and taking care of your own laundry, hundreds of dollars are saved.

I’ve stayed at non-smoking, non-gaming suite resorts before, including one attached to one of the major locations on The Strip. While the elegance was superb, it wasn’t the most convenient. Even though it was only blocks from the Thomas & Mack Center, it oftentimes took 15 minutes to get to the arena.

But from The Grandview, the only 15-minute commute I’ve encountered was when traffic was heavy. It’s actually easier to make my way to the arena than it was a year ago, when I might wait half an hour for the valet-only complex to deliver my car.

When I wanted to visit my friends on The Strip, it was quite a jaunt from my room to the casino and party area. Now, I cross the street and am inside the South Point in three minutes. I’ve missed just one round buckle presentation because of another commitment, and I’ve got to spend time with some very dear friends.

That’s so much more important to me than the “prestige” of staying off Las Vegas Boulevard. I hope to make The Grandview my home every December.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Champion finishing great season

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 3:35pm

LAS VEGAS – It took Richmond Champion four go-rounds to find a match-up that worked well for him at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Since then, it’s all worked out pretty good for the 21-year-old cowboy from The Woodlands, Texas. He has placed in five of nine rounds, two of which were wins. On Friday night, he matched moves with J Bar J Rodeo’s Painted Brush for 83 points to finish in a ninth-round tie with four-time world champion Bobby Mote.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

Both men added $9,654. More importantly for the young Texan, he sits second in the average race with 729.5 cumulative points on nine rides. He trails three-time reigning champion Kaycee Feild by just three points heading into Saturday night’s 10th go-round. Feild has a fairly solid grasp of his fourth straight gold buckle, but it will come down to the final night of the season to confirm it.

Champion has had a phenomenal season. He has earned more than $1.25 million riding bareback horses – he won The American in March, which paid him $1.1 million, and has added more than $150,000 in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association earnings. Of that, more than $60,000 has come over the last nine nights in Sin City.

More importantly, he has a big chance to make more. Should he remain second in the average when the NFR concludes Saturday night, he will add $39,537 in the average payout. Should he scoot past Field, the average champion will earn $48,732.

Of course, there’s also the chance to win $19,000 for winning the go-round. The 10th round features the very best bareback horses in the sport. The blind draw has matched Champion with Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet Fever, so the opportunity is there. Champion won the fifth round, which also featured this same group of horses, when he rode Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket for an 88.5-point score, the highest marking in bareback riding at this year’s NFR.

Just a few days shy of his 22nd birthday, Champion will close out the greatest earnings season in the sport’s history. He just hopes to gift-wrap his own present in Round 10.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Irwin in solid position for 10th round

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 3:06pm

LAS VEGAS – Rodeo is a business; in Las Vegas, it’s big business.

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo has a purse of $6.375 million with nightly payouts of more than $61,000 in each of the eight disciplines. Steer wrestler Kyle Irwin has been taking care of business.

Kyle Irwin

Kyle Irwin

That was most evident in Friday night’s ninth round, where he posted a 4.3-second run to finish in a tie for fifth place with Oklahoman Cole Edge; both men earned $3,984.

“I was going to try to win the round, just like I want to do every night,” said Irwin, 24, of Robertsdale, Ala. “You win the round every night, you’ll win the world (title) at the end. But with Dakota Eldgridge going right before me and being 3.3 (seconds), I’m not going to make a dumb mistake and break the barrier to try to be 3.2.”

A broken barrier – not giving the steer the appropriate head start – results in a 10-second penalty. Sitting fourth in the all-important average race, Irwin didn’t need that type of delay heading into the final night of the 2014 season.

“I should have been a little faster, but I felt like that was a pretty smart business move we made tonight,” said Irwin, who attended Western Oklahoma College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University on rodeo scholarships. “I just need to knock my steer down tomorrow. If I can go out and be fast, make a good run on whatever steer they give me, I can put pressure on those other guys.

He has more than doubled his season earnings in Las Vegas, placing in five rounds, including at least a share of the win on three nights. He has pocketed nearly $62,000 and has moved to fourth in the world standings with $121,647.

He trails leader Luke Branquinho by about $32,000. Branquinho, a four-time world champion, is the average leader and has a stranglehold on his fifth gold buckle. But Irwin is well within reach should something happen Saturday night. He’s placed himself there with a solid performance on the biggest stage in which he has ever competed.

“This has been an awesome experience, no matter what happens from here on out,” Irwin said.

That’s just the way it should be for a man taking care of his business.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
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