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Virtually Everywhere -- Your Cash May Be a Thing of the Past

Lifestyles - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 1:18pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Coins jangling in a pocket is likely to be a thing of the past if companies that promote virtual currency (VC) have anything to say about it. The attraction of using VC stems from massive credit card hacks to retailers, such as Home Depot and Target -- all of which have raised questions among consumers about how safe their personal information is.

Currently, consumers have much of their information on display with their credit card company of choice and, for anyone with mediocre knowledge of technology and a laptop, it means open season. This is why it makes sense to consider how blockchain technologies (i.e., virtual currency) may help.

One of the problems is that there are only about 80,000 merchants worldwide that recognize and use VC, but from a business standpoint, it is worth exploring. Not only does it fit into a global economy, but it also offers consumers a higher level of security. The upside for retailers like Overstock and Dell (which support the use of virtual currency) is that it reduces credit card and debit card fees from 3 percent to 1 percent after the first $1 million in sales, which in turn defrays outgoing business costs and puts that money back into retailers' bottom line.

While much has been made of VC, it is clear that companies are using it and creating better ways to bridge old-world payment systems and new, coming technological advances. As an example, MovoCash (www.movocash.com) is a digital currency that allows consumers to link peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers that can be spent in-store, through e-commerce and m-commerce.

Consumers link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported merchants. Eliminating the need for merchants and consumers to adopt closed-loop systems like near field communication (NFC), such as that used by Apple Pay.

Another benefit of MovoCash is that consumers' personal credit or bank information is not stored on merchant servers, but rather in a PCI-compliant environment, where tokenized form factors are generated to secure transactions using gateway technology and existing merchant POS terminals.

MovoCash follows bank rules and regulations, which are designed to protect consumers and merchants. The reality is that both are hesitant to adopt VC, which is why MovoCash is working on a product feature called BARK -- Bitcoin Account Relay Key -- which will allow consumers to convert Bitcoin to MovoCash (in a PCI-compliant environment) and enable them to spend anywhere Visa & MasterCard are accepted.

In this way, MovoCash catapults itself to the forefront of payments by integrating the old-world way of doing payments with new-world technology and advancement, with the opportunity to take a bite out of a $190 billion annual fraud problem for consumers, banks and merchants.

Eric Solis is a fin-tech entrepreneur and innovator, with three award winning start-ups under his belt.

Bulldog Women’s Tennis Returns to Action This Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:42pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After an almost two week hiatus, the Mississippi State women's tennis team (4-1) will resume regular season play this weekend, hitting the road for a pair of matches against Winthrop (2-5) on Friday, and a neutral site match against East Tennessee State (5-0) on Saturday.

Soccer Opens Spring Slate March 6

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 8:49pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State will host four of five spring exhibitions beginning March 6, head coach Aaron Gordon announced Wednesday.

5-0 Softball To Host February Freezer This Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 5:29pm
Coming off of an opening weekend of success and growth, the young Mississippi State softball team will look to build on its 5-0 start as it hosts the February Freezer at the MSU Softball Field, Thursday to Sunday.

No. 13 MSU Heads To Lexington To Face No. 10 Kentucky Thursday

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 4:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following one of the most impressive wins of the Vic Schaefer era, No. 13/15 Mississippi State looks for an even bigger victory Thursday when it travels to Lexington for a Bluegrass State showdown against No. 10 Kentucky.

3 Ways to Give Your Business a Competitive Edge in 2015

Lifestyles - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 2:41pm
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - In case you are unaware, major changes to the shipping industry are afoot this year, which could cost businesses big bucks.

To better understand the transformation that is coming and find ways to save, read on:

* Beware of FedEx and UPS's New Pricing. The two shipping giants recently implemented dimensional weight pricing for all Ground shipments. What that means for business owners is that the cost of shipping a package will be based in part on how much space it takes up in a truck, as opposed to just its weight. As a result, sending large, lightweight items by UPS or FedEx could end up costing as much as 50 percent more. With this new pricing in place, businesses should re-examine how they send merchandise or risk paying extra to ship some of their packages. Companies should consider alternative carriers, such as the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), to offset this new pricing model.

* Get Lower Rates With the Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service chose to forego a price increase in January and also recently lowered rates for Priority Mail, making it an affordable option for packages weighing as much as 40 pounds. Priority Mail is a great alternative to FedEx and UPS Ground, which takes five to six days to deliver coast-to-coast. To compare, Priority Mail generally takes only two days to cross the country.

* Make Money on Returns. According to a survey conducted by Endicia, a provider of ecommerce shipping solutions, 89 percent of shoppers say they will revisit an online store following a positive returns experience. To this end, business owners need to offer a convenient returns process or risk losing customers to competitors. One option is to use Endicia's Pay-on-Use Returns, which allows retailers to create USPS return shipping labels to include in an outbound package or send via e-mail upon request from your customer. Postage for the label is deducted only if and when it is actually used. This means business owners won't have an outlay of money in pre-paid shipping labels and can take advantage of low shipping rates from the USPS.

"It's important for businesses to take a look at their shipping mix this year since there are many significant changes happening in this industry," said Endicia Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Harry Whitehouse. "If not addressed, increased shipping fees will certainly impact a business's bottom line."

For more small business shipping tips, visit endicia.com/edge.

5 Ways to Be Sweet and Healthy on Valentine's Day

Lifestyles - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 8:00am
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - NewsusaInfographic - Get healthier this Valentine's Day by following these five healthy alternatives from Kaiser Permanente's registered dietician, Ricia Taylor. For more information, visit kp.org.

See full-sized image here.

Bulldogs Drop Heartbreaker To Alabama

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:17am
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Another hard-fought Southeastern Conference battle went the visitor's way Tuesday night.

Thirty MSU Student-Athletes Named To SEC Fall Honor Roll

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 4:59pm
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Thirty Mississippi State student-athletes were named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league office announced Wednesday.

Baseball Announces Schedule Changes For Opening Weekend

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 4:05pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – To ensure an enjoyable fan experience for baseball fans, the Mississippi State baseball team has moved up the times of its first three games of the season at Dudy Noble Field.

MSU Climbs Four Spots To No. 15 In USA Today Coaches Poll

Bulldog Beat - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 3:26pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A day after climbing four places into the Top 15 of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Mississippi State women's basketball team made a similar rise to 15th in Tuesday's USA Today Coaches Poll.

NFR legacy strong in Guymon

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 1:04pm

GUYMON, Okla. – There is a powerful rodeo legacy in Texas County, Okla.

It might be the vast grasslands or the Western heritage that encompasses the landscape. It might be that there is a terrific proving ground just miles away from the county seat, at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Cort Scheer

Cort Scheer

The reality, though, is that this vast land is home to many of the greatest cowboys who have ever made a living on the rodeo trail. Those that still compete are already making their plans to return home 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.

“I love that rodeo,” said Cort Scheer, the 2014 Reserve World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider from Elsmere, Neb. “I’ve never won it, but that’s on the bucket list. In fact, it’s closer to the top of the bucket list. It’s pretty much a hometown rodeo.”

Scheer is a four-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and is one of five men who competed in Las Vegas this past December with ties to the area. He was joined by Taos Muncy, Tyler Corrington, Joe Frost and Trevor Brazile.

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

Brazile, the 21-time world champion who earned steer roping and all-around gold buckles in 2014, grew up near Gruver, Texas, just south of Guymon. He is the King of the Cowboys with world titles in three of four roping disciplines and a record 12 all-around championships. In Vegas, Brazile won more than $191,000 in team roping and tie-down roping.

Now living in Decatur, Texas, he is a multi-time Pioneer Days Rodeo champion. That’s one of a couple of comparisons he shares with Muncy, a two-time world champion saddle bronc rider from Corona, N.M. While a sophomore at Panhandle State, Muncy won the college bronc riding championship, then followed it up in December with the world title.

Joe Frost

Joe Frost

He added another championship in 2011. His run in 2014 was worth a sixth-place finish. He is one of just three men to have won a college championship and a world championship in the same discipline in the same calendar year, joining all-around titlist Ty Murray and bull rider Matt Austin.

Frost had a chance at that run. As a junior at Panhandle State, he won the college bull riding title, then qualified for the NFR. From Randlett, Utah, he pocketed nearly $105,000, winning two go-rounds and finishing second in the average. He also finished as the Reserve World Champion.

Corrington is from Hastings, Minn., but now lives near Gruver. He earned more than $26,000 in Las Vegas and finished 11th in the world standings. His traveling partner, Scheer, had a big payday in the City of Lights, cashing in for more than $93,000. He won the opening round and finished second in the average.

Now they’re eyes are set on Texas County the first weekend in May. For Scheer, he’ll carry on a strong legacy that comes with being a Panhandle State rodeo team alumnus.

“With that, you’ve got motivation and pressure,” he said. “You want to make them all proud. I don’t know if I’ll ever do what they did, but I’m dang sure going to try.”

That’s quite a quest. In all, cowboys with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle own 12 gold buckles: saddle bronc riders Billy Etbauer (5), Robert Etbauer (2), Muncy (2), Tom Reeves and Jeff Willert, and team roping heeler Jhett Johnson.

“It’s an honor to ride in front of those guys,” Scheer said. “Guymon is made for bronc riding. A lot of guys say it’s South Dakota, but after the Etbauers moved down here from there, this is bronc riding territory. There are a lot of old guys around this area that rode broncs and rode them right.

“There ain’t no sugar-coating going on around here. You have a lot of world champions on the back of the bucking chutes. You can just get better because of the level of competition.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

William Named SEC Freshman Of Week; MSU Up To No. 13 In AP Poll

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 4:36pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following a thrilling overtime win against then-No. 13 Texas A&M, Mississippi State's Morgan William was named SEC Freshman of the Week while the Bulldogs jumped to No. 13 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

Second Annual Baseball #CowbellYell Set For Tuesday Night

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 2:16pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State baseball has partnered with the MSU Student Association to host the second annual baseball #CowbellYell Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Dudy Noble Field on campus.

Griffin, Pottmeyer race to RNCFR

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 12:48pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written for Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA. It appears in the February edition of the magazine.

 

When Sarah Griffin looks down at her No. 1 barrel horse, she sees more than the beautiful black mane.

“He’s such an amazing horse,” Griffin said of Dash N Sparks, a 19-year-old black gelding out of Savanah Hit Song by Dash For Perks. “People know him everywhere. It’s unreal that he’s in my barn. I still wake up and can’t believe I own Dash N Sparks.”

It’s a good thing she does. Even though she rodeos only part time – “I went to the minimum number of rodeos you could go to in order to qualify for the (Ram First Frontier) Circuit Finals,” she said – she took advantage of the opportunity Jan. 15-17 in Harrisburg, Pa., by winning the average championship and earning the automatic qualification to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

WPRA-logo“I went in third in the standings, a little over $3,000 behind Alicia Pottmeyer,” said Griffin, of Buffalo, N.Y. “I knew if I wanted to go to Kissimmee (Fla.), I had to win the average. I knew trying to win the year-end title would be very hard. I just focused on making three solid runs, and I did.”

She and Sparky rounded the cloverleaf pattern in a three-run cumulative time of 43.01 seconds, 35-100ths of a second ahead of runner-up Jennifer Oberg. Griffin also won the first two go-rounds and finished second in the final, pocketing nearly $5,300 in the process.

“To be able to qualify for the RNCFR is a great opportunity,” she said. “We don’t have those types of events up here. It’s very gratifying to know that I have an opportunity to compete against the best in the country.

She also will showcase her great gelding, which she acquired three years ago.

“He was trained by Bo Hill,” Griffin said, referring to the well-known trainer. “He’s very quirky. He’s very high maintenance. He has to get to know you, and he doesn’t like a lot of change.

“We hit it off immediately. I placed at one of the very best barrel racings I went to. It’s almost like he knows who he is. I just think he throws out that kind of attitude. He’s one of the greats.”

A strong ego seems to work in Sparky’s favor.

“He loves the attention in a way; it’s very bizarre,” she said. “Everybody that’s ridden says it’s like a crazy ride. He runs so hard and uses his whole body. It’s wild, but it’s so fast. It’s not smooth. He’s like a sports car.”

Griffin grew up in New York, and she annually attended the rodeo in Attica, N.Y., with her father. That’s where she first noticed affection for barrel racing. She was in the sixth grade when she started running but didn’t start rodeoing until she got to college at the University of Tennessee-Martin, where she qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo.

This past September, she married Tom Griffin. Now she leans on her husband for that support.

“It’s not easy, because I do work full time,” she said. “When anybody does something really good, they make it look so easy. I think it’s so amazing to be able to communicate with a horse. It’s a constant challenge for me, and it gives me the drive to do it well.

“My husband is an amazing support to me. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without him. I owe a lot of my success to him.”

While Griffin had the lion’s share of success in Harrisburg, Pottmeyer had enough gusto to hold on to the year-end championship. Pottmeyer and her horse, Nick Of Shine, placed in two of three go-rounds and finished third in the average. She earned $2,800 maintain her spot atop the standings and join Griffin in Kissimmee in March.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Pottmeyer, a 2014 rookie who leaned heavily on her horse, Nick, a 7-year-old sorrel gelding. “I had no idea it was even possible a year ago. I’d never been to a ProRodeo, so I was pretty intimidated.”

Once she got to work in the arena, the cowgirl didn’t show any worry. She placed a lot throughout the year, all while traveling to the First Frontier Circuit events from her. She travels with her fiancé, Zach Kilgus, a team roping header who won the circuit finals average title with Justin Yost.

“I’ve been riding horses as long as I can remember,” Pottmeyer said. “I grew up team roping. I’ve been on rope horses my whole life. I didn’t take barrels real serious until later.”

It’s a good thing she did, because she has something special in the little red gelding. which stands just 14.1 hands tall.

“He’s really little, but he has a huge attitude,” she said of Nick. “He makes the exact same run every time. I can count on one hand the number of barrels I’ve hit on him. He handles any kind of ground. He runs harder the madder he is. If he’s in a good mood and being lazy, I know he’s not going to run very fast.”

Nick ran fast to earn the trip to Florida, and she’ll make the trek with her fiancé.

“That was my biggest goal,” said Pottmeyer, who works full time as an oil and gas abstractor. “It was my fiancé’s goal, too. It’s a big deal to both of us. We might not get to do this very often.

“We live out of the circuit, and it takes eight hours for us to get to Cowtown (in Pilesgrove, N.J.), so it’s 16 hours round trip.”

Still, she finds the time to make the trips worth it.

“It’s an addiction; it’s a way of life,” she said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Nor should she.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
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