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Fire Away: How to Prepare For Hunting Season

Lifestyles - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 8:33am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Although hunting season may still be months away, it's never too early to start checking things off your to-do list. After all, no matter how you slice it, there is a lot of work that goes into getting ready.

Fortunately, for today's hunter, things have changed drastically from decades past. It used to be that hunters slept in tents, heated tin cans of beans over an open fire, wore puffy down parkas to keep warm, and stayed near paved roads in case they got stuck.

Now, lodges, guides, cooks, cell phones and all-terrain vehicles make hunting a more enjoyable and safer experience.

With that in mind, the following tips will help you get prepared for this year's hunting season:

* Check your hunting license. Ensure that it's valid and covers all varieties of wildlife you intend to hunt. Even if you've hunted in the same location, check that permit requirements haven't changed. Regulations get updated yearly, so don't assume that what was valid last year still applies to your favorite watering hole.

* Pack your bag. This tip is two-fold: if you're planning to head out of town, you'll need a hunting permit for that state. If you're staying local, you should pack a bag filled with essential items that will help you survive any unexpected situation, be it weather or something more dire. These include a cell phone, GPS, first aid kit, lighter, maps, binoculars, small rope, pocket knife, bottled water and a few high-energy snacks.

* Bring the right clothing. Depending on where you're headed, you'll need a light or heavy jacket, gloves, hat and layers for nights when the temperatures dip. And don't forget the rain gear. If in a warmer climate, you can dress down with lighter clothes, but whatever the case, don't forget your orange hunting vest. One caveat: wash any clothes you intend to wear with unscented laundry detergent. Animals will (literally) be able to smell you a mile away and not come near you.

* Take any necessary accessories. This could include extra ammunition, maps, flashlight, whistle, and if you're a smokeless tobacco user consider bringing a portable spittoon such as those created by Atlanta-based FLASR (OTCQB: FLSR). The new 4-ounce FLASR pocket-sized spittoon is designed to allow users to open and shut it with just one hand, making it an ideal solution for taking the pleasure of snuff, dip or chew, hunting, fishing or any other outdoor activity. FLASR's spittoons also help eliminate the scent of chewing tobacco spit, which could ward off animals.

For more information, visit www.flasr.com.

Novel Program Brings Hope to African Nation

Lifestyles - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 8:30am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - For decades, Angola's government has focused on its natural resources as its number one commodity. Now, however, there is a paradigm shift that may have an even greater potential -- the country's young people.

In cooperation with Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), a leading Swiss business school that has recently earned the AACSB International business accreditation, Angola wants to train select students in international business and start a new phase of economic development.

But can the formation of a new financial elite be enough for lasting change in a country that is still inherently poor?

Of course not, says Jose Filament Dos Santos, a representative from the Angolan sovereign wealth fund Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), which is funding the project. "But we firmly believe that you have to start somewhere, and it's best to get going in an area where it will have a big impact."

Other countries have already seen the benefit of investing in education and a younger generation, but it is no small step for a country whose majority still live in abject poverty.

The focus-shift of the FSDEA, from the investment in real estate to the social sector, justifies Dos Santos with the growing investment interest for years from foreign companies:

"In order to understand and draw up major contracts in international business that will bring in long-term revenues not only for investors, but also for the country and its people, Angola needs experts."

Enter the 'Future Leaders of Angola,' a six-month executive program that offers Angolan students advanced training in management at an international level.

A statement released by the 'Future Leaders of Angola' reads, "We believe [the graduates] will produce a noticeable effect, not least because they will pass on what they have learnt in their future jobs in Angola."

For its part, the university said it sees the course as a chance for students to contribute to an improvement in its citizens' lives.

"In the curriculum, we put a lot of emphasis on topics such as corporate responsibility, compliance and corruption, and give the participants greater awareness of these issues," stresses Daniel Seelhofer, head of the Department of International Business at ZHAW.

While proponents understand the program and the selection of students according to "purely objective criteria" will have its challenges, ultimately it could move the country forward in ways it never thought possible -- until now.

Roundup a key stop for rodeo’s best

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 10:39am
Trevor Brazile, the most decorated cowboy in ProRodeo history with a record 21 world championships, typically competes in all of his disciplines at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. He owns world titles in tie-down roping, heading, steer roping and the all-around. He is one of numerous gold buckle winners that compete annually at Roundup Rodeo.

Trevor Brazile, the most decorated cowboy in ProRodeo history with a record 21 world championships, typically competes in all of his disciplines at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. He owns world titles in tie-down roping, heading, steer roping and the all-around. He is one of numerous gold buckle winners that compete annually at Roundup Rodeo.

DODGE CITY, Kan. – When most people think of Dodge City, they conjure up images of the Old West and Matt Dillon.

Rodeo folks look at the western Kansas community of nearly 28,000 as the home of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, an important roadway as an important path on the rodeo trail. This year’s event is set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 29-Sunday, Aug. 2, at Roundup Arena.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

“This rodeo has helped a lot of people make the finals and win the world,” said Wade Sundell, the reigning Roundup saddle bronc riding champion. “I’ve always wanted to do good at this rodeo.”

Until 2014, the Iowa-born cowboy had just about anything but success inside Roundup Arena.

“I’ve done bad at it every year,” said Sundell, a six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Coleman, Okla., who posted a 92-point ride in the championship round to win the two-ride aggregate and earn more than $4,000. “This is awesome to win it.”

Roundup is one of just 18 events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association that has a championship round. That says a lot considering there are more than 600 ProRodeo events in a given year.

Christine Laughlin

Christine Laughlin

Sundell was one of 12 contestants who won titles at the 2014 Roundup Rodeo. Barrel racer Christine Laughlin of Pueblo, Colo., had the biggest earnings of all, pocketing just shy of $8,000 by placing in all three go-rounds – she won the first round and final rounds and finished fifth in the second.

“I had my hopes high when I went back last year, because Sabrina (Ketcham) had won that year and barely beat me,” said Laughlin, who qualified for the NFR and finished the campaign 14th in the world standings. “That’s one of those big rodeos that you’re really excited with you win that buckle. It felt just as prestigious as any other because it was Dodge City. It’s a pretty neat deal.

“That committee tried really hard, because the conditions with all the rain and mud weren’t ideal. Hats off to the grounds crew; they did an awesome job.”

She was one 10 winners in 2014 to have qualified for the NFR. In fact, just steer roper Tyrel Taton and steer wrestler Timmy Sparing – who shared the title with Bray Armes and K.C. Jones – have not finished any season among the top 15 in the world standings.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

Of the remaining reigning champions, only all-around winner Landon McClaugherty failed to qualify for either the NFR or the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping last season. All the rest of the cowboys were part of the elite field in Las Vegas this past December:

  • Bareback rider Richmond Champion parlayed his $5,191 in Dodge City with his first qualification. He finished third in the final world standings.
  • Steer wrestlers Armes, a three-time NFR qualifier and the 2013 average champion, and Jones, an eight-time NFR qualifier, found themselves solidly in the top 10 by the time they got to Las Vegas.
  • Team ropers Kaleb Driggers, a four-time qualifier, and Patrick Smith, an 11-time finalist and two-time world champion heeler, placed in five NFR go-rounds and finished among the top 10 in the final world standings. They won more than $6,600 in Ford County last August.
  • Tie-down roper Cody Ohl, a six-time world champ with 20 NFR appearances, earned $4,451 in Dodge City and finished the year ranked fourth in the world standings with nearly $150,000.
  • Bull rider J.W. Harris, a four-time champion nine-time NFR qualifier, was the only cowboy to ride two bulls. He won $5,462 and finished 2014 with nearly $110,000.

“Every year, we get the top cowboys and cowgirls in the game,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the Roundup committee. “We are always excited to have world champions win a Roundup buckle. We do everything we can to make sure they keep coming back to Dodge City.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

What Health Care Really Costs

Lifestyles - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 10:32am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Unexpected medical costs and a lack of health care coverage can have an adverse impact on an employee's personal finances and quality of life. In fact, unpaid medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy. Voluntary policies work with major medical insurance to help provide financial protection by paying cash benefits to help cover medical fees or other everyday costs such as a mortgage or monthly utility bills. For more information, visit www.aflac.com.

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Harrison Crowned Tuscaloosa ITA Summer Circuit Singles Champion

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 8:26pm
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Continuing her stellar summer play, incoming Mississippi State women's tennis transfer Madison Harrison captured her second singles title on the ITA Summer Circuit on Monday, winning the Tuscaloosa Open singles championship.

Dan Mullen To Go Through ESPN 'Carwash' Tuesday

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 5:08pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen will join seven other Southeastern Conference coaches at ESPN Headquarters to participate in the annual ESPN ‘Carwash' Tuesday.

Summer Ball Q&A: Senior Infielder John Holland

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 4:13pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. - For the month of July, HailState.com will interview select Mississippi State baseball players competing across the country in summer leagues.

Work on local fair is a labor of love

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 4:00pm

LOVINGTON, N.M. – It takes a small army to handle even the tiniest of details that come with producing a large event.

“We’re blessed that we have a strong core group of volunteers who donate their time and energy to our fair and rodeo and also have the county staff that makes a lot happen,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the board that organizes the annual Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for Friday, July 31-Saturday, Aug. 8, in Lovington.

Lea County Fair LogoFrom set-up to take-down to everything in between, it takes a crew of dedicated people to make sure every aspect of the exposition is covered.

“We have a countless number of people who help us every year,” Helton said. “This fair wouldn’t be able to function without the volunteers. That’s how important they are to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.”

Most of the work is done behind the scenes, and the average fairgoer will never comprehend the amount of labor that goes into each activity. That’s done for a reason, and it’s been that way for all 80 years of the local fair.

“For the livestock shows, each animal species has its own superintendent,” Helton said. “Each one is in charge of that species of animal at the fair, so it’s very important.

“I can’t even estimate how many man-hours are involved, especially when you add in the year leading up to the fair. We often forget about all the hours of volunteer work before the fair even gets here, much less during fair week.”

In Lovington, though, it goes well beyond those who donate all that time and their own talents. There are Lea County staff members that also handle a good portion of the heavy lifting. The fair is underwritten by the Lea County Commission, so staff members take care of numerous aspects of getting everything ready.

“The reality for our fair and rodeo is that we have some great people who do outstanding work to make it all happen,” said Greg Massey, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We couldn’t do any of our work without Jim Kemp.”

Kemp works in the facilities department for the county. He oversees much of the work at Jake McClure Arena, among other aspects of his job. He also takes care of the arena dirt to make sure the ground conditions are in the best shape possible for the competition.

“Jim takes a lot of pride in our rodeo, and he has reason to,” Massey said. “He works tirelessly to make it as close to perfect as he can.”

That kind of community effort makes for an incredible experience for anyone attending the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Elite cowboys crave Carr livestock

Twisted Rodeo - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:16pm

DALLAS – World-class cowboys crave the opportunities to be matched with world-class bucking animals.

They get that with the athletic buckers from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, the livestock producer at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22-Saturday, July 25, at Johnette Phillips Arena on the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

Luke Creasy

Luke Creasy

“I think Pete’s just tried to fortify a herd of animals that a guy has a chance to win on,” said Luke Creasy, a top-10 bareback rider from Lovington, N.M. “With a lot of horses he has, you have a chance to be 90 on a horse any day of the week at his rodeo. That’s important when we’re rodeoing.”

Creasy knows. In June, the Alberta-born cowboy matched moves with Carr’s Night Bells for 90 points to split the victory in Weatherford, Texas, with Winn Ratliff, a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who rodeo Dirty Jacket to share the title.

They are two of four bareback riders that have been marked at least 90 points in 2015, joining Jessy Davis and Ryan Gray. Davis, a six-time NFR qualifier, was 93 points on Dirty Jacket to win the Cinch Shootout in San Angelo, Texas, in January; Gray, an eight-time finalist, was 92 points to win in Pecos, Texas, in late June.

Winn Ratliff

Winn Ratliff

But those weren’t the only rides in the 90s on Carr animals so far this year. A trio of bull riders also hit that magic mark in June: Caleb Robinson rode Vegas and Cameron Bland rode Salty Dog for 90 points to share the victory in Weatherford, while Scottie Knapp scored 93 points on Half Nutz.

“When you go to Pete’s rodeos, you know you’re going to have a shot to win first,” said Ratliff, who also added victories at Carr events in Nacogdoches, Texas, and Crosby, Texas. “You have to do your part and ride good, but if you do your job, you’re going to have the opportunity to win the rodeo.”

Gray has two big victories on Carr animals this season. It’s one of the reasons he’s among the top 15 in the world standings with just weeks remaining in the 2015 campaign – only the top 15 at the end of the regular season qualify for the NFR. In addition to the Pecos victory, Gray followed that a week later with an 89-point ride on Carr’s Outa Sight to win in Window Rock, Ariz.

Ryan Gray

Ryan Gray

“I love going to Pete’s rodeos because he’s got great horses,” Gray said. “You want to have the opportunity to be a lot of points, and he’s got the horses that you can. I love going to his rodeos and having that opportunity every time.”

The Carr herd includes about 100 of the best bucking animals in the world. In both the 2013-14 seasons, 27 Carr animals were selected to perform at the NFR; that’s a record of animals coming from one contractor.

“I just think it’s a phenomenal herd, and you have a good opportunity to win any time when you draw the top animals,” Ratliff said, pointing great buckers like Dirty Jacket, Night Bells, Outa Sight, Half Nutz, Big Tex, Spur Strap, Good Time Charlie, Scarlet’s Web, Footloose and a host of other top animal athletes. “When you have your name next to theirs, it makes rodeoing a lot easier.”

That’s why Carr-produced rodeos are sought after by the game’s top cowboys.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Today's Convenience Stores are Healthier and Hipper Than Ever

Lifestyles - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 1:21pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - You're kidding, right? That surely must've been the initial reaction four years ago when Anthony Bourdain -- the chef-turned-TV host who's a god among foodies -- named Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que one of the "13 Places to Eat Before You Die."

Joe's, you see, is housed inside a convenience store that also sells gas.

And, no, far from being a joke, its inclusion on that list, along with the hyper-priced likes of New York's Per Se restaurant, symbolized the huge changes that have swept the nation's more than 152,000 convenience stores over the past several years.

"Convenience stores are increasingly becoming food markets for time-pressed consumers seeking fast and healthy choices," says Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores (nacsonline.com).

In fact, these days while you can still be in and out with your purchases in a flash -- and gas up your car while you're at it at most stores -- the shelves are also likely to be stocked with the kinds of fresh food normally associated with supermarkets and even traditional restaurants. Sushi. Gourmet sandwiches. And lots and lots of fruit and yogurt "better-for-you" items.

Some stores have gone way beyond that -- winning new fans with convenient ways to get fresh food fast. And if that corner store isn't convenient enough, there are ways to make it even more convenient.

Casey's General Stores, for example, with 1,880 locations throughout 14 states in the Midwest, not only makes its own pizza onsite, but in 2011 started delivering them to customers' homes -- ultimately becoming the fifth largest pizza operation in America behind Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's and Little Caesars. "Folks in a lot of these small towns don't have pizza parlors, so it became a natural for us," says Terry Handley, the firm's president and chief operating officer.

Still others have totally smashed all preconceptions. Chef Point Cafe in Watauga, Texas, routinely draws lines that wrap past the gas pumps for its gourmet lobster bisque and roast duck specialties. The Tioga Gas Mart in Lee Vining, California, makes a mean mango margarita that's especially popular at the outdoor concerts it stages. And if you're really in a rush for good seafood, Han-Dee Hugo's in Duck, North Carolina, will sell it to you without even leaving your car, at its drive-thru window.

"The world is changing, and people want new experiences," says John Litton Clark, Han-Dee Hugo's vice president of operations.

So, has all the industry's updating paid off? Well, with touches like expanded coffee bars and a better overall ambience, last year saw a record $213.5 billion in food and merchandise sales with the highest growth (9.8 percent) coming from edibles like salads and sandwiches.

Millennials Cited for Rise in ETF Popularity

Lifestyles - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:50pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Credit investors for being shrewd. Weary of forking over what can be large fees for traditional mutual funds, they've poured $3 trillion into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) -; with $2.09 trillion of that held right here in the U.S. And according to TD Ameritrade, it's millennials, especially, who've been allocating more and more of their portfolios to these baskets of securities that trade intraday like individual stocks.

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Four Selected To 2015 Media Days Preseason All-SEC Team

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:39pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Four Mississippi State football players were named to the 2015 Southeastern Conference Media Days Preseason All-SEC Team, the league announced Friday.

Softball Facility Update – July 17

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:21pm
With an expected completion date of January 2016, progress continues on the construction of the new MSU Softball Stadium.

Xtreme Bulls key for top cowboys

Twisted Rodeo - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 11:27am

DODGE CITY, Kan. – In any sport, momentum can be the key between success and failure.

The pendulum can swing in either direction. When it’s heading in the positive direction, great things can happen.

Bull rider Tim Bingham felt that last summer in his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It all began at the Dodge City Roundup Xtreme Bulls competition, where Bingham rode two bulls and earned the event title. He carried that momentum and found himself playing on the sport’s biggest stage in Las Vegas this past December.

Tim Bingham

Tim Bingham

“It set me off on the right foot,” said Bingham, 23, of Honeyville, Utah. “That was my first one for that little run as the week went on. It set me up to make a really good run in the end.”

He will try to defend that title during this year’s Xtreme Bulls, set for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, at Roundup Arena. He needs all the help he can get if he hopes to return to the NFR in a little more than four months, but he has a good idea of what can happen in a short amount of time.

Starting with Xtreme Bulls in Dodge City, Bingham placed that same week in Abilene, Kan., and Sidney, Iowa. A week later in Lovington, N.M., the Utah cowboy won both rounds and the overall championship at the Lea County Xtreme Bulls. In just eight days, he earned $18,293; more than $5,200 came in western Kansas.

“I drew two really good bulls, Centerfold and Swamp Dog,” he said of his Dodge City victory. “I knew as long as I stayed on, they’d do their part. I’ve never seen any one of those bulls have a bad trip.”

It worked out quite well. Bingham finished the regular season with more than $85,000 in earnings. He then added another $30,000 at the NFR to have his best season ever. He began the 2015 campaign with a bang by winning the rodeo in Billings, Mont., then suffered a severe injury at a bull riding in January.

“I broke my left leg and ankle, and I had to have a plate and five screws put in,” he said. “I broke my right foot in three spots. I also broke my right elbow and had to get a long rod in my elbow down to my forearm.”

But his cowboy mentality kept him on the sidelines for just four months. He returned in May in time to win the Helldorado Days Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“Things haven’t gone too hot since,” Bingham said. “Right off the bat, I thought it would be OK, but it’s been pretty slow.”

As of mid-July, Bingham sits outside the top 50 in the world standings. He’s a long ways from earning a spot at the NFR – only the top 15 contestants in each event at the end of the regular season qualify for the finale.

“I haven’t stressed about it one time, because I know how the last couple of months play the biggest role in rodeo,” he said. “I’m positive. I’m still visualizing making the NFR. There are plenty of bulls and time to get there. I’m still planning on getting there.”

Dodge City Xtreme Bulls features a night of strictly bull riding. The Roundup committee has done everything possible to ensure the top players in the game will be on hand for the competition by coming up with sponsorship dollars. That money, combined with the cowboys’ entry fees, will make up a hefty purse.

“We’ve been very pleased with Xtreme Bulls,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We want our fans to see the top bull riders rodeo, and they know they’re going to get that on Tuesday night.”

For the cowboys, Xtreme Bulls is a major part of each rodeo season.

“It’s very important, because they pay good and it’s just bull riding,” Bingham said. “In the money I won last year, $20,000 came in the Xtreme Bulls. It made a big difference to my standings and placing in the world.

“When it comes down to it, consistency lays a big roll. If a guy can get hot and stay hot, a lot of things can happen. If you can get on that roll, it can be easy for you. Nobody knows how it clicks and how it doesn’t. If a guy could figure out the difference, they’d win the world every time. It’s nice when it comes around, that’s for sure.”

Dodge City’s a good place to get that roll started.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Bulldog Tennis Teams Earn ITA Academic Awards

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 07/16/2015 - 6:22pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After putting together a pair of successful seasons on the court, the Mississippi State men's and women's tennis programs also continued their success in the classroom, earning team and individual academic honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for the 2014-15 season, the ITA announced Thursday.
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