For Taos Muncy, the comforts of his New Mexico home are hard to pass up.
Born, raised and still residing near Corona southeast of Albuquerque, Muncy is a ProRodeo cowboy who makes his living on the rodeo trail.
He‚Äôs a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider who has qualified seven times for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo over the last eight years ‚Äď the only year he missed the finale in Las Vegas was because of an injury in 2008. Traveling the country in search of rodeo gold is his dream job, but being on the family ranch for an extended time is, too.
‚ÄúTime goes too fast, so you‚Äôve got to enjoy your family as much as possible,‚ÄĚ said Muncy, who lives on the ranch with his wife, Marissa, and their daughter, Marley, 3, not far from his parents, Blaine and Johnnie. ‚ÄúMy family‚Äôs pretty tight. That‚Äôs the one good thing about rodeoing; I might be gone for 10 days tops, but when I‚Äôm home, I‚Äôm with them.
‚ÄúIn rodeo, we‚Äôre all one big family. It‚Äôs a great lifestyle.‚ÄĚ
Muncy also is part of another team, ‚ÄúRiding for the Brand‚ÄĚ of Tate Branch Auto Group, which has dealerships in Carlsbad, Artesia and Hobbs. It‚Äôs a great New Mexico bond, which also includes other ProRodeo greats: eight-time world champion tie-down roper Roy ‚ÄúSuper Looper‚ÄĚ Cooper and two of his sons, Clif and Clint; team ropers Jake and Jim Ross Cooper; and steer roper Marty Jones ‚Äď all have ties to New Mexico.
‚ÄúTate is a big New Mexico rodeo fan, and that‚Äôs really neat,‚ÄĚ Muncy said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an awesome team to be part of.‚ÄĚ
He is ‚ÄúRiding for the Brand‚ÄĚ proudly. As the No. 4 bronc rider in the world standings, he‚Äôs off to a hot start to the 2015 season. His goal, as always, is to win his third world championship. In order to do that, though, he needs to finish the regular season among the top 15 to secure his eighth NFR qualification.
In Las Vegas, though, cowboys and cowgirls will battle for an unprecedented purse, with more than $26,000 paying out to go-round winners all 10 nights.
‚ÄúThe season‚Äôs going pretty danged good,‚ÄĚ said Muncy, who has earned more than $30,000 so far this season. ‚ÄúI haven‚Äôt set the world on fire, but it seems like I‚Äôve been real consistent. I‚Äôve been placing and winning checks. As long as I‚Äôm making money, I‚Äôm happy.‚ÄĚ
Money is vital. In addition to paying bills and covering rodeo expenses, money also equals championship points. The contestants in each event who earn the most money at season‚Äôs end are crowned world champions.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm tickled,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúMy goal every year is to win the world (title), but if I stay in the top five all year, I‚Äôm really happy. I‚Äôd like a fighting chance when I get to the finals.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs the benefit of having great sponsorship agreements. In his association with Tate Branch Auto Group, Muncy has more than a relationship with a New Mexico business. He has a true partnership and, like anyone who uses the southeastern New Mexico auto group, can take advantage of all the incentives available.
‚ÄúTaos is a great champion and a great representative for New Mexico, and we‚Äôre excited to have him among our ‚ÄėRiding for the Brand‚Äô team,‚ÄĚ said Joby Houghtaling, the director of operations of the Tate Branch Auto Group. ‚ÄúHe can utilize Warranty Forever, a Tate Branch Auto Group exclusive warranty that covers the drive train of any vehicle purchased at one of our dealerships that has less than 75,000 miles.
‚ÄúWe are happy to be involved in rodeo, and we offer discounts to members of all the rodeo associations, whether they‚Äôre in the PRCA, the WPRA, college or whatever. We‚Äôre committed to rodeo and the cowboys and cowgirls in the sport.‚ÄĚ
That works great for any rodeo contestant, like Muncy. He‚Äôs spending time at home taking care of duties on the ranch that must be done. He returns to action Friday, May 1, at his ol‚Äô college stomping grounds in Guymon, Okla. He attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, just 10 miles from the Guymon rodeo arena.
In fact, he claimed the 2007 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association saddle bronc riding championship while part of the Panhandle State rodeo team. Later that year, he won his first PRCA world championship, becoming just the third cowboy in the history of the game to win a college title and the gold buckle in the same discipline in the same season, joining bull rider Matt Austin and all-around cowboy Ty Murray.
‚ÄúGuymon is pretty much a hometown rodeo for me, because Corona doesn‚Äôt have a ProRodeo and the closest ProRodeo to my hometown is two hours away,‚ÄĚ Muncy said. ‚ÄúI still get nervous when I ride there, because I know they‚Äôre all watching me ‚Ä¶ all those great cowboys I looked up to and wanted to be like.‚ÄĚ
The Oklahoma Panhandle has a grand history in the game, with 12 world championships earned by cowboys who have ties to the region once known as ‚ÄúNo Man‚Äôs Land.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAll those guys helped me quite a bit,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI could ride broncs, but I wasn‚Äôt good enough to do it at this level until I got there and worked with those guys.‚ÄĚ
When he‚Äôs done with the Guymon rodeo, he‚Äôll return to Corona and handle the tasks around the ranch before committing to the big summer run. Now 27 years old, he understands the importance of taking care of business every time he prepares to ride.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt do a lot of extra stuff to stay in shape, but I try to stay active,‚ÄĚ Muncy said. ‚ÄúI stay plenty active when I‚Äôm around the place, because I‚Äôm usually running around here pretty good. If there‚Äôs stuff on my riding that I need to work on, I‚Äôll dang sure get on my spur board or get on practice horses to keep tuned up.
‚ÄúWhen we get to the summer run, especially over the Fourth of July, it helps me a lot when you‚Äôre getting on broncs every day. That‚Äôs when you feel the best. When you‚Äôre riding broncs, you‚Äôre using muscles you don‚Äôt ever use any other time.‚ÄĚ
It all adds up to him living a lifetime of dreams.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve wanted to be a cowboy as long as I can remember, since I was probably 2 or 3,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI figured out you could ride animals and get paid. I always thought it would be cool to get on broncs or bulls or calves or sheep. I played football and basketball and other stuff, but all I‚Äôve ever wanted to do was be a cowboy.‚ÄĚ
He‚Äôs pretty good at it.
BRIDGEPORT, Texas ‚Äď This community is tucked in north Texas is less than an hour‚Äôs drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
It‚Äôs home to about 6,100 people and one of the fastest growing events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Hundreds of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls make their way to this small Wise County city each May for 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.
‚ÄúOur rodeo is special because we get more than 450 cowboys and cowgirls from all over the world who attend our rodeo,‚ÄĚ said Susan Miller, an eight-year member of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. ‚ÄúWe get world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers that are part of our show, and they come back every single year.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs a tremendous benefit to the Bridgeport community. Contestants, their families and fans will flock to town for the two-day rodeo, eating at local restaurants, staying in hotels and utilizing fuel stops. In addition, it allows for an easy commute for a few elite cowboys and cowgirls.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs good for our local rodeo contestants, too,‚ÄĚ said David Turnbow, chairman of the rodeo committee, referring to numerous NFR qualifiers that live in Wise County, including three-time and reigning world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper; his father, eight-time titlist Roy Cooper; and Trevor Brazile, the 21-time gold buckle winner.
‚ÄúTrevor is just 20 minutes from his house. Besides that, we‚Äôre getting a lot of the other big-name contestants. It‚Äôs fun for the community to see that, too.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs just one ingredient that makes the perfect stew for the local rodeo. There are many, including a work force of volunteers that strive to make each performance the best it can be.
‚ÄúWe work all year long,‚ÄĚ Miller said. ‚ÄúI believe the rodeo gets better every year. We are super proud of the rodeo, but we always know there is room for improvement. Each year after the rodeo ends, we have a meeting to discuss what we could do to make it better.
‚ÄúThat is our goal.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs showing. The Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo is a hot commodity, both for contestants and fans. From an amazing competition to a true family friendly entertainment package, there has been plenty of talk about the Bridgeport rodeo.
‚ÄúI believe it will be the most talked-about, successful PRCA rodeo for our size of community,‚ÄĚ Miller said. ‚ÄúI believe that one weekend per year will continue to be scheduled in many date books across the nation.‚ÄĚ
CLARENDON, Texas ‚Äď Bret Franks is a cowboy.
For the past two years, the Guymon, Okla.-born man has served as the Livestock and Equine Center director and ranch horse coach at Clarendon College, a community college in the Donley County seat. Now he‚Äôs adding rodeo coach to his list of duties, recently hired to take over the 30-year-old program.
‚ÄúI feel like the Good Lord led me here,‚ÄĚ said Franks, a graduate of Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell and a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in saddle bronc riding. ‚ÄúWhen the rodeo coaching job came up, it was the perfect fit. It was almost like it was meant to be.‚ÄĚ
He was raised two and a half hours north in the Oklahoma Panhandle in an agriculture family. He participated in ag-based programs and attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on a livestock judging scholarship. He transferred to Panhandle State on a rodeo scholarship and won the Central Plains Region bronc riding championship while there.
He began a 10-year career in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1993, qualifying for the NFR as one of the top 15 bronc riders in world standings in 1997, ‚Äô98 and 2000. He won the Prairie Circuit saddle bronc riding title twice and was the 2002 National Circuit Finals Rodeo champion.
From 1995-99, Franks served as rodeo coach at his alma mater, guiding the men‚Äôs team to the national championship in 1997 and 1998. He did that while also juggling a prolific rodeo career.
‚ÄúI think the biggest thing I can bring to the kids on the rodeo team is my ability to coach the mental aspect of the game,‚ÄĚ said Franks, who lives in Clarendon with his wife, Darla, and their sons, Clint and Cole. ‚ÄúWith my 20/20 vision of the past, I can look at the mistakes and struggles I had in the sport, and I can help them deter those problems and challenges before they ever get there.
‚ÄúI can help them mentally prepare to win.‚ÄĚ
Though he slowed down his rodeo career considerably after the 2002 season, he always was close to the game. He was the livestock supervisor and rodeo coordinator for Carr Pro Rodeo from 2005-09, then took a job as assistant manager at Cattlemen‚Äôs II Feedlot in Hedley, Texas, just a short drive from his Clarendon home. He worked there for four years until the business closed, then began his duties at Clarendon College.
The institution is the first Texas junior college to have a ranch horse team, which promotes the college and agriculture in ranches and stock horse events. As the Livestock and Equine Center director, he is in charge of all events at the facility, including ropings, barrel racing competitions, bull ridings, clinics and practices, just to name a few. Now he‚Äôll add to that list.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a big undertaking and a huge responsibility, but I‚Äôm really looking forward to everything,‚ÄĚ he said
Bret Franks has a powerful career of rodeo experiences to use in order to help teach the young rodeo stars at Clarendon College.
GUYMON, Okla. ‚Äď Oklahoma‚Äôs richest rodeo in Guymon has long been considered one of the best by the cowboys and cowgirls who play the game.
The rodeo world has taken notice.
The Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo will be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame during a special ceremony Aug. 8 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The honor is recognition for the work by the local volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo.
‚ÄúThis is a huge honor for Guymon, for Texas County and for all the people that have put in so much hard work over the years,‚ÄĚ said Ken Stonecipher, the production coordinator for the rodeo and a longtime member of the committee. ‚ÄúI got the call (Thursday) telling me we were going to be inducted, and I couldn‚Äôt believe the timing.‚ÄĚ
Rodeo action will begin Monday morning and last seven straight days, culminating in the four performances 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.
‚ÄúBeing inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame is an incredible honor for us,‚ÄĚ said Jim Quimby, the committee chairman, noting that the committee is part of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce. ‚ÄúWe are very proud of our rodeo. We have a core group of people who work all year to put this on, but this is a community event. We wouldn‚Äôt have the kind of rodeo we have without our community.‚ÄĚ
That community includes all of Texas County and most of the Oklahoma Panhandle. The rugged terrain is home to some of the greatest cowboys in the history of the sport, many of whom still make their homes on the soil not far from the storied arena. It‚Äôs the perfect place to test a cowboy‚Äôs mettle and talents.
Texas County also is home to Oklahoma Panhandle State University, which has a strong rodeo tradition. In fact, a number Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champions have ties to the area, including team roping heeler Jhett Johnson and saddle bronc riders Billy Etbauer, Robert Etbauer, Tom Reeves, Jeffrey Willert and Taos Muncy; together they own 12 gold buckles.
‚ÄúWe call OPSU Bronc Riding U. because there are so many great bronc riders who went to school there,‚ÄĚ Stonecipher said. ‚ÄúThe reality is there just a lot of great cowboys who have gone to school in Goodwell, but there are a lot of outstanding cowboys and cowgirls who grew up around here, too.‚ÄĚ
Each year, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo features a who‚Äôs who of top contestants with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle. This past December, two of those returned home with the reserve world championships: saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer, a two-time runner-up to the world champion, and Joe Frost, a senior at Panhandle State who is riding this weekend at the Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo, the final event of the 2014-15 regular season.
They all return to Guymon for Pioneer Days Rodeo. This year‚Äôs event features more than 950 entries, which bodes quite well for a rodeo of this stature. Not many other professional rodeos have a contestant field that large.
‚ÄúWe pride ourselves in being a rodeo for the cowboys,‚ÄĚ Quimby said. ‚ÄúWe want to have the best hospitality, and we want them to know they‚Äôre welcome here. It all comes back to be a huge benefit on our community.‚ÄĚ
The induction also says a lot about the labor produced by the hard-working committee.
‚ÄúEveryone looks forward to coming to Guymon for Pioneer Days every spring, and it‚Äôs an honor for our company to be a part of that event,‚ÄĚ said Pete Carr, owner of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the top five livestock firms in the PRCA each of the past two years. ‚ÄúGuymon‚Äôs rodeo and its surrounding communities have some of the richest history of any place that we have the privilege of working with.
‚ÄúThe fans there are some of the most knowledgeable in the rodeo industry, and they have come to expect an NFR-caliber show during each and every performance.‚ÄĚ
So have the cowboys. In August, the rest of the rodeo world will know, too.
BRIDGEPORT, Texas ‚Äď Wise County, Texas, is quickly becoming the Home of World Champions.
In this 932-square-mile pocket of north Texas are 32 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association gold buckles. This beautiful landscape is quickly turning into rodeo central and has become the perfect home for ProRodeo‚Äôs elite.
That‚Äôs an awfully effective drawing card for 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.
This is the hometown rodeo for the greatest names in the game.
Take Trevor Brazile, the reigning all-around champion in Bridgeport. In 2014, he moved his gold buckle earnings to 21, adding his record 12th all-around world title and fifth steer roping championship. He is expected to return for this year‚Äôs competition, as are members of his family and his extended family.
Enter Tuf Cooper, Brazile‚Äôs brother-in-law ‚Äď Cooper‚Äôs sister, Shada, also competes and qualified for the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in barrel racing. Cooper earned his third tie-down roping crown in four seasons last year. He is the youngest of three sons to Roy Cooper; the ‚ÄúSuper Looper‚ÄĚ is an eight-time world champ that also lives in Wise County.
In all, this expansive community of 61,000 residents boasts of 103 NFR qualifications, led, of course, by Brazile. Between the NFR and the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, he has 45 qualifications. He is followed by Roy Cooper‚Äôs 32, then a tie between Tuf Cooper and steer wrestler K.C. Jones with eight.
The oldest Cooper son, Clint, is a five-time qualifier in tie-down roping, and middle son, Clif, is a four-time qualifier.
‚ÄúI think getting those big-name contestants is big for our rodeo,‚ÄĚ said David Turnbow, chairman of the volunteer rodeo committee that produces the rodeo. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got some of the greatest cowboys in the world that are just 20 minutes from our arena. It‚Äôs fun for our community to see that.‚ÄĚ
This is the perfect place to watch talent blossom. It‚Äôs one of the reasons members of the Bridgeport community volunteer their time to produce a world-class rodeo in Wise County.
‚ÄúWe want to put on the best rodeo possible, for the fans, for the contestants and for the sponsors,‚ÄĚ Turnbow said. ‚ÄúThis is truly a community event, and we‚Äôre building it for our community.‚ÄĚ
ALVA, Okla. ‚Äď It‚Äôs been a long time coming for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team.
For the first time in seven years, the Rangers have won the Central Plains Region‚Äôs women‚Äôs team title, clinching the championship this past weekend by winning the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo.
Through nine of 10 events ‚Äď the final rodeo of the 2014-15 season will be this coming weekend at Oklahoma Panhandle State University‚Äôs Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo in Guymon, Okla. ‚Äď the Northwestern women have won five titles.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm very proud of our women‚Äôs team this year,‚ÄĚ said Stockton Graves, the Rangers rodeo coach. ‚ÄúWe set our goal at the first of the year to win the region, and we‚Äôve accomplished that. We have one more rodeo this season, and we‚Äôd like to close that one out with a win.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs highly possible. Northwestern is 849 points ahead of the second-place team, rival Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and nearly 1,100 better than No. 3 Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Winning at least half the events in a 10-rodeo season is a major statement.
‚ÄúOur team has really worked together, and we try to build each other up,‚ÄĚ said Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., who won goat tying in Hays to clinch the region title. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm pretty sure we all had that (team title) on our mind.‚ÄĚ
In Hays, Miller won the first round with a 7.7-second run, then finished second in the final round to win the title with a two-run cumulative time of 15.9 seconds ‚Äď half a second faster than the field, which included three other Rangers: Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz.; Elli Price of Leady, Okla.; and Tearnee Nelson of Faith, S.D. Barnes finished tied for third, while Price was sixth.
For the third time this season, Miller led the way for the Rangers.
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs had a huge impact on our women‚Äôs team,‚ÄĚ Graves said of Miller. “She‚Äôs scored over 1,000 points in goat-tying. She‚Äôs a real hard worker and gives those girls something to look up to. She‚Äôs had a big influence on our team.‚ÄĚ
That makes a difference, especially on a team that has seen some success in recent years. The last two seasons, the Northwestern women also qualified as a team to the College National Finals Rodeo by finishing second in the region.
‚ÄúEven though I‚Äôm leading it, Karley (Kile) and Lauren have put a lot of points in there,‚ÄĚ Miller said. ‚ÄúWe wouldn‚Äôt be winning the region if it wasn‚Äôt for all of us together.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs a great building block for the team‚Äôs future. Any time a group sees success, it helps each individual in the group see how the work pays off.
‚ÄúIt gives them some sort of pride and gives us something to look forward to and proves that we can do it,‚ÄĚ Graves said. ‚ÄúThey take pride in being one of the top two teams in the region and hopefully one of the top two teams in the nation.‚ÄĚ
Other short-round qualifiers for the women were breakaway roper Samantha McGuire of Backus, Minn. and barrel racer Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla. The Northwestern men were led by Laine Herl of Goodland, Kan., who placed in both heading and steer wrestling.
Herl won the short round in steer wrestling with a 5.4-second run and finished second in the two-run aggregate. He and heeler Chase Lako of Hunter, N.D., finished third in team roping. Another two-event star, Tyler Batie of Black Hawk, S.D., placed fifth in bulldogging and team roping, competing with heading teammate Edgar Fierro of Kingfisher, Okla. Another steer wrestler, Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, finished sixth.
The top Ranger in team roping was header Dalton Richards of Hawkinsville, Ga., who placed second with heeler Ben Whiddon of Southeastern. They finished in a tie for second place in the first round with Herl/Lako, then posted an 11.8-second run to finish second in the short round. Richards sits second in the region heading into the final event of the season.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve been this close before, so I‚Äôm not really trying to think about it too much,‚ÄĚ said Richards, who will, ‚Äújust keep roping my game and see how it goes.‚ÄĚ
GUYMON, Okla. ‚Äď Lauren Heaton is quite proud to represent the state of Oklahoma as she travels the rodeo circuit in 2015.
She is the first Miss Rodeo Oklahoma to win the Miss Rodeo America title, and she will be in the Oklahoma Panhandle for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, 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.
‚ÄúI was raised in Oklahoma rodeo,‚ÄĚ said Heaton, a 2013 Oklahoma State University graduate from Alva, Okla. ‚ÄúIt gave me so much. It created so much of who I am today. I want to take so much of what Oklahomans are. There‚Äôs such a spirit to Oklahomans.
‚ÄúI really hope to take that across the country and showcase that to the rest of the rodeo industry.‚ÄĚ
Heaton was crowned last December during the pageant that took place in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. She‚Äôs spent the last five months as the sport‚Äôs primary ambassador.
Now she‚Äôs adding a home state rodeo to her list of events this season.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre very excited to have Lauren coming back to Guymon this year,‚ÄĚ said Becky Robinson, a longtime member of the Pioneer Days Rodeo committee. ‚ÄúIt was important to us to have the first Oklahoman Miss Rodeo America in Guymon.‚ÄĚ
Heaton is one of many rodeo queens who will be part of the festivities. It‚Äôs just part of the overall package that is Pioneer Days Rodeo, which will feature seven straight days of competition with ‚Äúslack‚ÄĚ beginning at 8 a.m. through the weekdays ‚Äď steer roping will take place Monday, April 27, and Tuesday, April 28; team roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping will be Wednesday, April 29, and Thursday, April 30; and barrel racing will be Friday, May 1.
In all, nearly 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls will be battling through the week for Oklahoma Panhandle cash. Guymon is a major stop on the ProRodeo tour.
‚ÄúWe take a lot of pride in being a rodeo that the cowboys want to come to,‚ÄĚ said Jim Quimby, chairman of the rodeo committee. ‚ÄúWe have a great history of more than 80 years, and the contestants know that we‚Äôre going to cater to them.‚ÄĚ
It makes sense. After all, cowboys with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle have earned 12 gold buckles: saddle bronc riders Billy Etbauer (5), Robert Etbauer (2), Taos Muncy (2), Tom Reeves and Jeffery Willert join heeler Jhett Johnson as world champions. All six cowboys were part of the rodeo team at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in nearby Goodwell, Okla.
But there are many more contestants with ties to Texas County that are or have been NFR regulars, including two-time reserve world champion saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer, another Panhandle State rodeo team alumnus.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre very proud of the cowboys and cowgirls that are from here and look forward to seeing them every year when they come back for our rodeo,‚ÄĚ Quimby said. ‚ÄúTo me, it shows everyone that we have some of the best cowboys in the world from right here.‚ÄĚ
BRIDGEPORT, Texas ‚Äď Commitment to the community is the key reason several locals are part of the volunteers who orchestrate the Bridgeport rodeo.
‚ÄúWith Butterfield Stage Days, we try to draw some people from all walks of life to come and see what all we have to offer,‚ÄĚ said Katherine Hudson, now in her 20th year as one of the volunteers for 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.
‚ÄúWith the rodeo and the festival, we want to have enough to do to attract not just those who are in the rodeo, but the people who follow the rodeo. We have something for them to do during the day time.‚ÄĚ
The rodeo will feature a brilliant mix of true athleticism and family entertainment, showcased by the brightest stars in professional rodeo. That includes the likelihood of Wise County world champions like Trevor Brazile and his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, both of whom brought more gold buckles home to north Texas in 2014.
But there‚Äôs so much more to the rodeo than the incredible competition; for the first time in the event‚Äôs history, highly decorated entertainer Troy ‚ÄúThe Wild Child‚ÄĚ Lerwill will showcase his talents and brand of comedy for the Bridgeport crowd.
‚ÄúYou learn something new every year, and you learn things you can do to make it better,‚ÄĚ said David Turnbow, chairman of the volunteer committee. ‚ÄúWe want to bring in things that will interest the crowd and try to get the whole community out there.‚ÄĚ
When competition and entertainment are combined, it makes for quite an entertaining two days.
‚ÄúI enjoy putting on something in a small city that brings out a wide variety of people that like to watch but don‚Äôt go anywhere else to watch,‚ÄĚ Hudson said. ‚ÄúThey have a chance at watching a professional cowboy that they might not have seen.‚ÄĚ
The local rodeo typically features regular qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Take the 2014 event, for example: Three-time world champion Will Lowe won the bareback riding title in Bridgeport, while Brazile ‚Äď who owns a ProRodeo record 21 world titles ‚Äď won the all-around crown. Other winners included National Finals qualifiers like saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley and steer roper Chet Herren.
‚ÄúOur rodeo and the festival downtown are pretty darn huge for the community,‚ÄĚ Turnbow said. ‚ÄúJust the tax dollars that this thing brings in is incredible, with people staying in hotels, eating in the local restaurants and stopping at our fuel stations.
‚ÄúI think the rodeo and the festival goes hand in hand very well and does some great things for our community.‚ÄĚ
BRIDGEPORT, Texas ‚Äď Like everyone else who volunteers each year to help produce the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo, Susan Miller‚Äôs focus is on the community and not for any rewards that might come her way.
She has received one anyway. In 2014, Miller was named the rodeo‚Äôs committee person of the year, an honor chosen by her peers as recognition for the time and talents she‚Äôs shared as a volunteer.
‚ÄúI have spent seven years working on this rodeo, not for my own personal gain or to win an award, but for this community to have something special as this successful professional rodeo,‚ÄĚ said Miller, whose full-time post is as the marketing director for James Woods Motors in the neighboring Texas communities of Denton and Decatur. ‚ÄúTo be recognized for what I would have done to contribute to the success is absolutely awesome.‚ÄĚ
The work continues as the committee prepares for this year‚Äôs rodeo, 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.
‚ÄúSusan has the mentality of getting after it,‚ÄĚ said David Turnbow, chairman of the rodeo committee. ‚ÄúI can call her and ask her for help, and she‚Äôs all over it. She‚Äôll do anything at any time, and she never complains. The key is she does it with a smile on her face every time.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs good to have people who enjoy volunteering and doing this.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôve always been a community-minded person,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm raising my kids in this community, and I want it to thrive, be prosperous and be a place they can be proud of. The rodeo is just one small part of the overall, picture, but when that event is successful, many other factors in the community during that weekend are also successful.
‚ÄúI have a son that rodeos, so being involved specifically in this rodeo helps me better understand everything he participates in.‚ÄĚ
She also has realized how much work goes into producing the Bridgeport rodeo. The planning began shortly after last year‚Äôs event concluded, and the labor has intensified over the last few months. The core group of volunteers handles everything necessary to make the one weekend a year a success. That means a lot of man-hours for each person on the committee.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt just show up out there on Friday and Saturday night of the rodeo weekend,‚ÄĚ Turnbow said. ‚ÄúThere are so many little things that take place, from having the right relationships with sponsors to making sure the promotion is done to setting up the arena.
‚ÄúEverything that seems so flawless during the weekend of the rodeo has taken months to prepare. We wanted to go back to having the concert like we used to have, so having Phil Hamilton come in has been a big change. Somebody had to make sure it all happened.‚ÄĚ
The work is a vital part of making sure the community benefits.
‚ÄúBridgeport may be a small town, but it is made up of people who have big ideas for our community,‚ÄĚ Miller said. ‚ÄúThose ideas are not just talked about; they are considered to be done. We welcome growth, and we welcome new ideas. I think we prosper at the thought of innovation.‚ÄĚ
BRIDGEPORT, Texas ‚Äď If music is deep in Phil Hamilton‚Äôs 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.
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‚Äôs why event organizers made plans for the Texas native to be part of the show.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre very excited to have Phil Hamilton being the entertainment Saturday night,‚ÄĚ said Susan Miller, a key member of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs generated a great deal of excitement for us, and I think the community feels the same way.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúI started writing some originals, but it didn‚Äôt come natural to me at first,‚ÄĚ Hamilton said in his biography. ‚ÄúBack then I hadn‚Äôt had enough experiences with love and loss and all that stuff to make great songs.‚ÄĚ
He continued to practice his writing skills and focusing on it.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs when things started to take off,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe next thing I knew I was being offered a deal with Winding Road Music to record a full record.‚ÄĚ
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: ‚ÄúBad,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúRunning‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúBack of a ‚Äô73.‚ÄĚ He followed that with a third album from a legendary Fort Worth, Texas, club, Live At The Whiskey Girl Saloon.
‚ÄúI was excited to show what we do live,‚ÄĚ Hamilton said. ‚ÄúMy 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.‚ÄĚ
When he‚Äôs 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‚Äôs a great place for him to unwind and open the possibilities for his songwriting.
‚ÄúI live on the road, but I don‚Äôt write on the road,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThere are too many things going on, and it‚Äôs too tough for me to put my thoughts down out there. Hunting and the outdoors are my main things. When I‚Äôm home, half of the week I‚Äôm always out in the woods hunting or fishing.‚ÄĚ
ALVA, Okla. ‚Äď The Northwestern Oklahoma State University women‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúI was proud of everybody,‚ÄĚ said Stockton Graves, the Rangers coach. ‚ÄúWe competed well. The women did well. The men actually did well, even though it didn‚Äôt show up in the points.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôt 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.
‚ÄúThis really doesn‚Äôt change anything,‚ÄĚ said Kyle, a two-time goat-tying qualifier for the College National Finals Rodeo. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm still going to go for every rodeo.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs pretty exciting, since I‚Äôve never done any good in the breakaway.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúIt was just a matter of time,‚ÄĚ Graves said of Kile‚Äôs top finish. ‚ÄúWe needed her to do well, and I was plenty excited for her.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúShayna has obviously helped a lot, and Lauren has (too),‚ÄĚ Kile said. ‚ÄúAll 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.‚ÄĚ
The Northwestern men finished fifth at Southwestern but had seven cowboys qualify for the short round ‚Äď 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.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve known (Hunter) since I was a little kid,‚ÄĚ Searcy said. ‚ÄúWe practiced a lot when we were kids. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve always had a natural partnership where we roped good together and have always had a lot of success.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll just keep them focused on their goals and the plan, and hopefully we‚Äôll succeed,‚ÄĚ Graves said.
GUYMON, Okla. ‚Äď There‚Äôs something in the water in Texas County, Okla.
This place is the breeding ground for great cowboys, whether they‚Äôre 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‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an important one for me, for sure,‚ÄĚ said Trell Etbauer, a four-time Linderman Award winner from Goodwell, Okla., just 10 miles southwest of Guymon. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs my hometown rodeo and the closest big rodeo I go to all year.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs 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.
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôt 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.
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.
‚ÄúA lot of times, Guymon falls after the California run, so a lot of the guys heading back to Texas can hit it,‚ÄĚ Trell Etbauer said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs also one of the bigger rodeos, and all the guys go to those.‚ÄĚ
Those are the attractive features for the sport‚Äôs 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‚Äôs all mixed together, it allows for a cut-throat approach to the big purse.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve placed in some rounds and placed in the average in calf roping and steer wrestling, but I‚Äôd really like to win it at least once,‚ÄĚ Etbauer said. ‚ÄúYou always want to win your hometown rodeo, and it‚Äôs usually the toughest to win. Guymon is especially tough, because so many great cowboys are there.‚ÄĚ
TOP ARTISTS, WESTERN EVENTS MAKES FOR FUN 4 DAYS AT SYCAMORE SPRINGS RANCH
LOCUST GROVE, Okla. ‚Äď A beautiful spring leads to incredible nighttime views in picturesque eastern Oklahoma.
There‚Äôs no better setting for star gazing than in the rolling hills near this historic community. The stars get a little brighter during Cord McCoy‚Äôs Western Days, set for Thursday, April 16-Sunday, April 19, at Sycamore Springs Ranch just south of Locust Grove.
‚ÄúWhen 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,‚ÄĚ said McCoy, a champion rodeo cowboy who, with brother Jet, was a three-time fan favorite on ‚ÄúThe Amazing Race,‚ÄĚ a CBS-TV reality series. ‚ÄúWhat we‚Äôve come up with is so much more.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to have great country Western artists the first three nights, including legendary Red Stegall, David Frizzell and the Jason Roberts Band. I‚Äôm excited about that, because it‚Äôs a great way to conclude a full day.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúWe want to make every day exciting,‚ÄĚ McCoy said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs why we‚Äôre having the concerts and why we want to feature rodeo every evening.‚ÄĚ
This is the perfect venue for cowboys of all types ‚Äď from those who have lived their lives horseback to those who have just dreamed about it. That‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúI was raised around all this and love it, but I wanted it to be more,‚ÄĚ McCoy said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve 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.
‚ÄúI 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‚Äôll enjoy, too.‚ÄĚ
GUYMON, Okla. ‚Äď Dirty Jacket is one of the most decorated bucking horses in ProRodeo.
The 11-year-old bay gelding from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo is the reigning Bareback Horse of the Year as voted on by members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He also has been one of the top three horses in the year-end voting each of the past three seasons.
At the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December, the athletic horse proved the accolades, guiding cowboys to go-round victories both times he bucked inside the Thomas & Mack Center: Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, won the fifth round, while Caleb Bennett of Tremonton, Utah, claimed the 10th-round title.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs not another horse like him,‚ÄĚ said Champion, who also won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days title after a 91-point ride in July. ‚ÄúDirty Jacket might‚Äôve even looked better than he did that day in Cheyenne.‚ÄĚ
The fifth and 10th rounds featured the greatest bucking horses in rodeo, an elite list of phenomenal athletes. Even then, Dirty Jacket stood out. Now he will have a chance to stand out again at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, 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. It‚Äôs a place where he‚Äôs guided cowboys to the prestigious Guymon title four times in the last seven years.
‚ÄúThere wasn‚Äôt a bad horse in the pen, but to have Dirty Jacket again at the NFR and to win the round was awesome,‚ÄĚ said Champion, who shared the Guymon title last year on Fancy Free, another great Carr bucking horse. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs not another night that you get to walk down the alley with that caliber of horse standing all next to each other.
‚ÄúThat same feeling runs in all of us to see that kind of horse lined up for us, just standing outside the Thomas & Mack. That‚Äôs what dreams are made of in this sport.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs the same feeling Bennett had when he prepared for the final night of the competition. It had been a rough week for the Utah cowboy, who had placed in just one round prior to the 10th night.
‚ÄúI couldn‚Äôt have been more blessed and ask for anything more than to end it the way I did on Dirty Jacket,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a phenomenal horse and definitely one of the ones you want to have in this round.‚ÄĚ
The powerful gelding is one of four Pete Carr horses that have received the top honor in bareback riding, joining pasture-mates like Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night. In 2013, when Dirty Jacket was named Reserve World Champion Bareback Horse, he helped cowboys to at least a share of the title 12 of 13 times he performed during the regular season. In 2014, his wins were just as miraculous.
Champion‚Äôs 91 in Cheyenne was one of two of the highest marked rides of the campaign. The other was by Steven Dent, who rode Dirty Jacket for a matching 91 on the final weekend of the regular season at the Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas, in September.
‚ÄúAny time you can draw one that everybody wants, you‚Äôre happy with it whether you‚Äôre in that situation or it‚Äôs a regular-season rodeo,‚ÄĚ said Dent, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Mullen, Neb. ‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt have the opportunity to get on a horse that you can be that many points on and that‚Äôs that fun to get on very often in your life, much less the last week of the year when you‚Äôre trying to make the NFR.
‚ÄúThat is a really great horse. There are not very many of them like him that do it every time, that are that electric, jump that high in the air and that you can be that many points on.‚ÄĚ
The horse has been selected to buck at the NFR each of the past seven seasons. Earlier this year, Jessy Davis scored 93 points during the Cinch Shootout at the San Angelo Stock Show Rodeo.
‚ÄúHe has a huge frame, but he‚Äôs so athletic from nose to tail. He just looks like an athlete. If you could pick a horse out of a herd that could jump nine feet in the air, he‚Äôs that horse,‚ÄĚ Champion said. ‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre going to win a big rodeo, that‚Äôs the horse you want.‚ÄĚ
Dirty Jacket is powerful, athletic and consistent, but what makes him a proven winner year after year is in the effort he puts forward every trip. He has the heart of a champion.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ‚Äď Over the course of the last century, the American Royal has been one of the top giving organizations in the Midwest.
In 2014, the American Royal issued more than $1 million to its mission of supporting youth, education and agriculture.
Its charity is going to increase starting in 2015.
The examples are plenty, from increasing the scholarships for various programs to providing more opportunities for youth to learn more about agriculture‚Äôs place in today‚Äôs society. The purpose of the American Royal continues to hold tight those beliefs that helped establish Kansas City so many years ago.
For instance, the Royal will increase by $10,000 the amount of scholarship funds awarded to the University of Missouri and Kansas State University through the Veterinary Scholars Program. Through the end of 2014, the organization provided $7,500 to each vet school; that increases to $12,500 this year.
‚ÄúOur education committee will also develop additional opportunities for the vet scholars to interact with other American Royal programs,‚ÄĚ Mitchell said. ‚ÄúWe believe the American Royal is a great teaching opportunity for vet scholars, and we want to develop other ways to improve those relationships and build our future leaders.‚ÄĚ
The association also will increase the number of scholarships for the Royal Scholars Program from six to 10 while also increasing the scholarship by twice the amount to $5,000. The Royal also expects to increase the number of Calf Scramble invitees while continuing its commitment to funding the program.
‚ÄúEvery step we take is to provide greater opportunities and hopefully build on the agrarian values we deem so important,‚ÄĚ Mitchell said.
The association also is partnering with the Agriculture Future of America organization, which, like the Royal, supports education, scholarship and leadership development for students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. The American Royal will team with the AFA with a $10,000 scholarship.
‚ÄúWe believe in the Agriculture Future of America‚Äôs mission, and we want to show our support for another organization that has the same values with the American Royal,‚ÄĚ Mitchell said. ‚ÄúThis partnership will enable us to keep building for future agriculture leaders.‚ÄĚ