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Inside Welcome Letter.....................................................9 Schedule..............................................................10 Entertainment.....................................................11 Calf/Ram Scramble ..........................................13 Celebrating Pat Mantle.......................................14 Travis Darling Memorial.....................................15 Rodeo Clowns....................................................16 Behind the Scenes..............................................22 Events/Who to Watch For ................................24 History ...............................................................31 Rodeo Terms .....................................................32 Arena Master Plan..............................................34 Stock Contractors................................................35 Photo by Zan Blundell
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elcome to the Rodeo! A big Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series welcome to those who come from all across the world and right down the road. We thank you, fans, for filling the stands and cheering on our competitors. We’re proud to put on one of the best professional rodeo series you’ll see anywhere. It’s the goal of the rodeo’s board of directors to produce the best series in pro rodeo each year, and that bar is set higher than ever in 2013. This year’s 21 performances will feature world-class stock contractors, animal athletes, cowboys and
About the cover
ullrider, barrel racer and bareback rider photos by Zan Blundell. Zan visits Steamboat Springs every year with camera in tow and graciously provides photos for the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Find more of her work at www.lovethecamera.com.
cowgirls. It says a lot about Steamboat Springs to have had more annual pro rodeos than any other community in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah or New Mexico. On behalf of our volunteer board of directors, the city of Steamboat Springs, our many sponsors and others that make this rodeo possible — including the riders and spectators — it’s my pleasure to tip my hat and invite you to enjoy an exciting evening of rodeo action. — Brent Romick, chairman of the board/arena director
red McClanahan Jr., has been shooting rodeo for more than 20 years and is a regular at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Fred has an amazing gift of capturing the essence of rodeo in his work. We thank him for use of his photos throughout many years. This year’s photos are of the flag girl and the ram scramble found on the program cover and in other marketing materials.
Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series Board of Directors Brent Romick (chairman) John Shipley (president) Ward Van Scoyk (treasurer) Steve Dawes Brian Dellen Dave Hartley John Kerst Walter Magill Ren Martyn Laura Sankey Michael Sisk Paul Strong Dean Vogelaar Chris Wilson Administrator and Corporate Secretary Char Mighton Rodeo Secretary Barbara Duggan Timers Linda Urie, Doris Mayhan, Kay Dellen The 2013 Official Program for the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series is produced by the Steamboat Pilot & Today Suzanne Schlicht Chief operating officer Scott Stanford General manager Eugene Buchanan Magazine editor Nicole Miller Managing editor Laura Tamucci Creative services manager Photographers Zan Blundell, Matt Stensland, John F. Russell Advertising design and production Severiano DeMarco, Lindsay Porter, Megan Maynard, Chris McGaw, Fran Reinier Advertising sales Christy Woodland
Photo by Zan Blundell
For advertising information, call Mike Polucci at 970-871-4215 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo | 9
ll performances are held at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill, 501 Howelsen Parkway in downtown Steamboat Springs. Tickets at the gate are $16 for adults; $9 for kids 7 to 15; and free for children 6 and younger. Pre-sale tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids 7 to 15 and are available at F.M. Light & Sons, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Visitors Center, Steamboat Central Reservations, Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Gondola General. All tickets are general admission. The main seating area is covered, overflow seating is not. Handicap parking and seating are available. Visit www.steamboatprorodeo.com for more information. The barbecue is open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Pre-rodeo entertainment appears from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.
June 14 and 15 — 7:30 p.m. 21 and 22 — 7:30 p.m. 28 and 29 — 7:30 p.m.
July 4 — 6:30 p.m. (followed by fireworks display) 5 and 6 — 7:30 p.m. 12 and 13 — 7:30 p.m. 19 and 20 — 7:30 p.m. 26 and 27 — 7:30 p.m.
August 2 and 3 — 7:30 p.m. 9 and 10 — 7:30 p.m. 16 and 17 — 7:30 p.m.
Order of Events Opening Ceremonies Bareback Riding Sponsor Flags Team Roping Calf Scramble Tie-Down Roping Ram Scramble Steer Wrestling Clown Act Saddle Bronc Riding Regional Team Roping Cowgirls Barrel Racing Junior Barrel Racing Pee-wee Barrel Racing Bull Riding
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Photo by Zan Blundell
(subject to change)
Let us entertain you
he riders giving it their all at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series aren’t the evening’s only entertainers. Joining them each fun-filled night are clowns, bands, specialty acts and more to ensure everyone leaves with smiles on their faces. Event staff scours the country every year for the best acts it can find, bringing in talent from far and near to keep you on the edge of your seat. Throw in calf scrambles, special kid zones, barbecues, vendors, bands, clowns and more, and there’s something for everyone every weekend of the series. Welcoming you on the music front is a variety of different bands, both local and from afar, that play on the entertainment stage from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. every night. Go ahead, kick up your heels and dance along. To fill in the gaps between the bucking and riding action, clowns and specialty acts take the stage, with this year’s rodeos hosting an all-star lineup of talent from across the country. “They’re some of the best in the business,” says Rodeo Series chairman Brent Romick, adding that a good bullfighter, or rodeo clown, has to be funny and banter with the announcer all while protecting the cowboys.
This year you’ll see the return of several longtime favorites — including J.W. Winklepleck; Troy “The Wild Child” Lerwill; Scot Allerdings; and Timber Tuckness — as well as the addition of such new performers as CrAsh Cooper. No matter which night you’re here, you’re guaranteed thrills, spills and a barrel of laughs from the country’s top rodeo performers. “Whether you go every night or once a year, you see stuff at a rodeo that you just don’t see anywhere else,” says announcer John Shipley. “It’s a true throwback to the old Wild West shows like Buffalo Bill.”
BARREL MAN/CLOWN SPECIALTY ACT June 14 and 15 June 21 and 22 June 28 and 29 July 4 to 6 July 12 and 13 July 19 and 20 July 26 and 27 Aug. 2 and 3 Aug. 9 and 10 Aug. 16 and 17
J.W. Winklepleck Timber Tuckness Troy Lerwill CrASH Cooper Robbie Hodges Timber Tuckness J.W. Winklepleck Scot Allerdings Rodeo Girls Trick Riders Timber Tuckness J.W. Winklepleck
2013 Band Schedule June 14: Ragweed June 15: Quarter Moon June 21: Trevor G. Potter June 22: Instant Cash Band (Johnny Cash Tribute Band) June 28: Old River Road June 29: Yampa Valley Boys July 4: Quarter Moon July 5: Instant Cash Band July 6: Ragweed July 12: Yampa Valley Boys July 13: Jesse Christensen July 19: Old River Road July 20: Trevor G. Potter July 26 and 27: TBD Aug. 2: Instant Cash Band Aug. 3: Jay Roemer Aug. 9: Jesse Christensen Aug. 10: Ragweed Aug. 16: TDB Aug. 17: Quarter Moon Entertainment subject to change
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Photo by Zan Blundell 12 | 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo
Calf, Ram Scramble lets kids join the fun dren (usually at the west end of the arena), and then get ready to cheer them on as they try to grab a ribbon off the tail of a calf or ram. The calf scramble is for kids ages 6 to 12, while the ram scramble is for kids 5 and younger. The young ones compete just the same as the big kids, with a gentle sheep with an enticing ribbon on its tail substituted for a calf. “It’s one of our most popular events,” says the rodeo series’ Charlene Mighton, adding that as many as 100 kids take part in the
tail-grabbing action every night. “For a lot of visitors, it’s the highlight of their trip.” The format is simple: Kids gather in the arena, the calf or ram is released and the kids then try to grab the ribbon off its tail. Sometimes it takes a few seconds and others as much as 5 minutes as the calves and rams twist and turn at every outreached hand. Eventually, however, someone always winds up with the ribbon, winning bragging rights and special prizes, with every child walking away a winner for participating.
Photo by Zan Blundell
o your kids have a little extra energy to burn? Do they like being in the spotlight? Cowboys and cowgirls aren’t the only ones who get to perform in Romick arena at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Your young-uns can get in on the action every night, down to the dirt on their boots. All they have to do is join the calf and ram scramble. Just listen for the announcer to let you know when and where to line up your chil-
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Celebrating a legend The Pat Mantle Memorial Award
t the end of every Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series season, saddle bronc riders have a bit more riding on the line: The top six face off in the annual Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding, a single ride event whose winner gets $2,000 in prize money and a commemorative Winchester rifle. Last year’s title went to Colin Stalley, a 30-year-old rider from Riverton, Wyo. “I’ve always been right on the bubble of making the cut-off because I’m always doubled-up with other rodeos,” he says. “But this time I was able to make it down there enough times to pull it off and had a great ride at the end.” The contest celebrates Mantle, a Marlboro Man look-alike who grew up raising cattle and horses on his family’s ranch in Dinosaur National Monument and represents all things rodeo in Steamboat. Known for his annual horse roundups in nearby Brown’s Park, Mantle, who died in 1992, played an integral role in the development of Steamboat’s rodeo.
“When we were kids, if we told our daddy we were hungry, he’d hand us a stick and point at a jack rabbit,” he once told a reporter. A fierce rodeo competitor in bronc riding and roping, he created the 7-11 Rodeo Co., became a rodeo producer and rode as a pick-up man into his 50s. He also operated the Sombrero Ranch Stables in Estes Park, Boulder, Grand Lake and Steamboat, helping visitors enjoy time in the saddle. Every fall, some 600 horses were returned to Northwest Colorado to graze, and he’d round them up again come spring. How tough was he? Legend has it that once, while working at a rodeo in Boulder, an ornery bull named Long John known for jumping the fence threw a cowboy and made straight for the fence where two little girls were sitting. Riding his favorite horse named “Fritz,” Mantle roped Long John at the top of his jump and pulled him back into the arena.
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Remembering a Friend Special Saddle Bronc competition honors the late Travis Darling
ocal rider Travis Darling spent the last week of October 2012 riding horses from dawn to dusk in Rockdale, Texas, before a fatal accident in his truck. Cowboys at this year’s Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series will have a chance to honor him at the saddle bronc event July 19 and 20, competing for a larger purse while riding in memory of a fallen friend. On July 19 and 20, the series will honor one of its own by hosting a special Saddle Bronc Riding contest called the Darling Round. Paying tribute to Darling, the event’s purse will be doubled to $2,000 and a commemorative buckle, with additional cash prizes to the first- through third-place winners. “It’s our way to honor and remember someone who was an integral part of our local rodeo series,” says rodeo Committee President John Shipley. Darling grew up in Steamboat but moved
to southwest Colorado in high school, where he competed in rodeo for Ignacio High School near Durango. He was a three-time Colorado high school cutting horse champion and qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo as a saddle bronc rider, earning a rodeo scholarship to Casper College in Wyoming. Throughout five seasons, he won a share of 10 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association saddle bronc riding titles. He also won Steamboat’s coveted Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding in 2009, and in 2010, he finished ninth in the national rookie saddle bronc riding standings and topped the podium at the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla., and the Cold Lake Stampede in Alberta. Travis will be missed, but never forgotten. As mentioned at his celebration of life, his family and friends think of Travis “riding horses in heaven.”
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Steamboat’s Rodeo Clowns
ehind every cowboy is a clown (aka bullfighter or barrelman) protecting his back once he’s off his mount. While that’s the clown’s main job, protecting his own skin and entertaining the audience come second. That means that at every event, their hands are as full as each rider’s is with the bucking mass below him. Following are a few you’ll see jumping into barrels and backfiring jalopies this season.
the same. Winklepleck started riding in Steamboat in 1994, won the bareback competition in 2000 and almost another in 2007. “I enjoy both clowning and riding,” he says. “But you can’t ride bucking horses forever.” He’s since carved out a niche as a barrel-
June 21 and 22, July 19 and 20, Aug. 9 and 10
June 14 and 15, July 26 and 27, Aug. 16 and 17 If there’s a clown who knows how to walk the walk, it’s crowd favorite J.W. Winklepleck. On any given night, you’re as apt to see him riding a bucking bronc of his own as donning his clown gear to help others do
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man and performer, getting up close with the audience and interacting the whole time. His acts also include snowboarding behind a horse — something near and dear to those in Steamboat. He’s also known for his announcer rapport, with his banter providing some of the best entertainment of the night. “The atmosphere at the Steamboat rodeo is way above that at a lot of rodeos,” he says. “You can’t beat the scenery, and it’s a fun committee and town.”
This Wyoming native does more than 100 performances per year across the United States and Canada and has made multiple television and film appearances. A former high school and college finals all-around cowboy, rodeo entertaining runs in his blood. He’s a third generation entertainer and has been doing rodeos for the past 31
Photo by Zan Blundell Troy Lerwill brings his high-flying fun to Steamboat.
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Troy Lerwill June 28 and 29
That Troy Lerwill’s nickname is The Wild Child should say something about what’s in store in his act. Hint: It usually involves motorcycles. The Payson, Utah, native started his rodeo career before he reached puberty and was competing on a motorcycle by age 10. By age 18, Lerwill was the top-ranked professional motocross rider in Utah. Now he’s moved onto safer sports, like
bullfighting. Lerwill started his bullfighting career in 1994, first as a barrelman. But his lifelong love for motorcycles took over, and he quickly incorporated them into his acts. In 1998, The Wild Child was born. Now celebrating his two-wheeled act’s 15th year, Lerwill has performed at rodeos across the country, including the granddaddy of them all, the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, bringing his high-flying, wheel-spinning fun to crowds wherever he goes.
Ash “Crash” Cooper July 4 to 6
years. “I’ve been doing rodeo and ranching all my life,” he says. What makes his act pop is that it’s one of the newer and unique acts on the circuit. He says it’s hard to find new acts that work year in and year out. He said he thinks he has one of the freshest acts in the business — at least as fresh as the manure he’s continually dodging. He won’t divulge what exactly he’s planning to do, but says he’s glad to be back in Steamboat Springs. “Expect the unexpected and have fun,” he says.
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After spending years of playing high-level hockey and rugby, Ash “Crash” Cooper simply looked for the roughest sport he could find. “So I started fighting bulls,” he says. It’s resulted in carving a career he never expected. A four-time winner of Canada’s Entertainer of the Year, Cooper has taken his athletic background and comedic flair to the rodeo circuit. This season marks the second year he’ll be performing in Steamboat. Expect plenty of athleticism. He has stilts with springs, but says most of his act is never planned. Instead, he feeds off the audience and improvises as much as
Ash “Crash” Cooper the cowboys whom he’s trying to protect. “Every show is different with lots of ad libbing,” he says. Believe it or not, he’s also an accomplished Western painter. But he loves the rodeo arena the most. “When they blow the whistle in rugby or hockey they stop beating up on you,” he says. “Bulls? They don’t listen.”
After 13 years riding bulls in rodeos from Jackson, Wyo., to the Dodge National Circuit Finals, he’s now switched gears to ply his expertise as a barrelman, while still providing a laugh a minute. And at this year’s show, he’s appearing with the Rodeo Girls Trick Riders. “I look forward to bringing my best each and every performance,” he says, highlighting his Rodeo Chicken, King of the Throne and Granny at the Rodeo acts. “I just love to entertain people, especially kids. Putting a smile on a kid’s face is a great feeling.” Allerdings grew up around rodeo, joining his grandfather and dad at contests throughout the country. After riding bulls in high school and college, he attended a bullfighting school and eventually earned his PRCA card. “When I was young, I always paid close attention to the bullfighters and clowns,” he says. He’s well familiar with Steamboat, as well, competing and bullfighting here before. “I love Steamboat’s Western, mountain
town atmosphere,” he says. “Everyone is friendly and supportive of the rodeo, and it’s a first-class event every weekend.”
Robbie Hodges July 12 and 13
Rockin’ Robbie Hodges has established himself as one of the top barrelmen in the business and was awarded his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appearance in 2010. He’s bringing that award-winning act to Steamboat again this year. Thanks to his quick wit and well thought-out acts, crowds stay entertained throughout as he bonds with the audience. His acts entertain people of all ages, but especially children and families — thanks in large part to the fact that his own family helps create his acts. Hodges began his career as a PRCA contestant, having a championship career as a bareback bronc rider. After dislocating his shoulder in 1999, he had to give it up. Not wanting to leave rodeo, the Cave Springs, Ga., native seamlessly transitioned into life as a barrelman in 2004, and he has been keeping spectators in stitches — and cowboys out of them — ever since.
Plus Rodeo Girls Trick Riders Aug. 2 and 3 A high school PE teacher and wrestling coach, Scot Allerdings, 35, of Gillette, Wyo., has the perfect pedigree for bullfighting.
Photo by Zan Blundell
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Photo courtesy of Fred McClanahan
Photos by Zan Blundell 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo | 21
Behind the Scenes
s well as lining up the best twoand four-legged athletes, organizers work tirelessly behind the scenes to produce the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. So tip your hat to:
Brent Romick Arena Director
As arena director and chairman of the board, Brent Romick wears a big hat. He’s responsible for the event’s entire production, coordinating the rough stock and timed events, specialty acts and chute boss to ensure everything fits into a two-hour performance. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun,” says Romick, a member of the PCRA since 1975.
Romick has competed since his youth in riding and roping events and is a former series champion in team roping, bull riding, bareback, calf roping and steer wrestling. He still competes in team roping today while striving to produce the best pro rodeo series in the nation.
Ward Van Scoyk Site Manager
As a local attorney, Ward Van Scoyk is used to troubleshooting. That fits in perfectly with his position as site manager for the Steamboat rodeo, where unexpected glitches can occur anytime. On the rodeo board since 1992 and current treasurer, his arena responsibility
is to ensure that everything runs smoothly, which means doing everything from turning the lights on and off to flagging the rough stock events. He also makes sure equipment is where it needs to be, from sponsor flags for the flag girls to electric eyes for barrel racing. “The Steamboat rodeo is great,” says Van Scoyk, whose family started Denver’s Colorado Saddlery Co. in 1946. “I love being involved with performances, working in the arena and having fun with contestants and fans.”
John Shipley Announcer Shortly after arriving in Steamboat in 1982, John Shipley announced that he was going to ride bareback horses at the Friday Night Jackpot Rodeo. So he attended two rodeo schools and got bucked off week after week. It wasn’t until a last minute substitution for a missing announcer that he realized he had “more aptitude describing it than doing it.” The switch — especially after tutoring
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under hall of fame announcer Hadley Barrett — led to joining the PRCA as an announcer in 1987. Since then, he’s announced rodeos from Montana to Florida, receiving the PRCA’s coveted life membership Gold Card. Career highlights include announcing the National Finals Steer Roping, the Ram National Circuit Finals and Cheyenne Frontier Days. A 25-year president of the rodeo committee, he now concentrates his efforts solely on Steamboat, to the benefit of riders and spectators alike. “I love playing a small part in keeping an important part of our heritage alive,” he says.
cowboy gets on the right ride in the correct order. He also informs the announcer of who’s riding what when and keeps things safe for rider and animal. A one-time saddle bronc and bull rider and bullfighter, he’s a good man for the job. “This lets me stay involved in a sport I really love,” says Dellen, who also has worked the chute crew at the National Finals Rodeo. “It’s my way of still rodeoing.” Dellen loves the Steamboat series because many riders come back every year. “You need two things to have a successful rodeo — contestants willing to give it their all and great spectators,” he says. “And Steamboat has both.”
Chute Boss The clowns aren’t the only jugglers at the Steamboat rodeo. As chute boss, it’s Brian Dellen’s job to keep the bucking chutes organized to make sure the right
Administrator Paperwork piles up as high as the manure at a rodeo. Managing all that red tape for the Steamboat series is Char Mighton, the rodeo’s administrator since 1998. “There’s
quite a few logistics to deal with,” says Mighton, who also hires personnel, handles ticket distribution, supervises the gate and maintains standings. “I love the rodeo’s Western way of life, the people I work with, and our guests’ excitement during each and every performance. It’s also great to watch the competitors progress through the season toward the season championships.”
Send Us Your Photos! Have a great picture from tonight’s action? Send it in (like 10-year-old Ellie Troller did with this artwork) to admin@steamboatprorodeo. com and we’ll enter it to run in our special Reader Submitted section next season. And remember to Like us on Facebook (SteamboatProRodeo) and follow us on Twitter (@SteamboatRodeo) to stay abreast of all the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series action.
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2013 Event Round-up Who and what to watch for at this year’s rodeo series
f last year’s tight-as-a-belt-buckle rodeo season was any indication, reaching the overall winner’s podium this year will be even tougher. Each event came down to the wire, with many category winners determined by the last ride or run of the season. While you might not see all of these competitors tonight at the rodeo, part of the magic of being a rodeo cowboy is entering events in different locations. We’ve profiled a few names to watch for this year at the Steamboat series.
Bareback Riding Sponsor Ski Town Cleaners
Photo by Mark Metzler
The most physically demanding event in a pro rodeo may be bareback riding. Cowboys use one hand to grasp a leather “rigging” to stay on the horse and are judged on their spurring technique and bucking action of the horse. To score higher points, riders must turn the toes of their boots outward and lean way back. No score will be given if the cowboy does not “mark out” the horse. Judges watch closely to ensure that as the horse comes out of the chute, the cowboy’s feet are above its shoulders. The feet must remain there until the horse’s front feet hit the ground. A bareback rider must remain on the animal for eight seconds.
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Who to watch for: In bareback riding, the rider to beat this year is Kersey, Colo.’s Craig Wisehart, who won last year’s Bareback title as well as season honors in 2009 and 2010. But Larry Streweler, who won the title in 2008, and David Streweler, who captured the crown in 2011, have Wisehart in their sights to secure this year’s bareback crown. Look for one of these cowboys to give Wisehart a literal run for his money.
Sponsor Steamboat Village Brokers Team roping demands close cooperation between two cowboys (“header” and “heeler”) and their horses. The steer is given
Photo by Zan Blundell
a head start as the header waits behind a rope barrier. If the header breaks the barrier, a 10-second penalty is assessed. The heeler follows. The header is the first one to rope and must catch the steer either around the horns, neck or one horn and the head. As soon as the header secures the loop, he “dallies” the rope around the saddle horn and rides to the left, turning the steer away from a right-handed heeler. As the header rides away, the heeler tries to rope the steer’s hind feet. A five-second penalty is assessed if the heeler catches only one foot. The two riders then back their horses to take the slack out of their ropes. The clock stops when all the slack has been taken up and the ropers are facing each other.
horse and rider begin their chase. As the cowboy throws his loop, the horse comes to a stop. With his horse still skidding to a stop, the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground and ties any three legs together with a “pigging string.” The horse must keep slack out of the rope but not pull so tight that the calf is dragged. When the roper finishes tying, he throws his hands in the air to signal to the flag judge. Then, he gets back on his horse and rides toward the calf, putting slack back into the rope. The calf must remain tied for six seconds after the rope is slack or the cowboy
will receive a “no time.” Who to watch for: After coming down to the last event of the season in 2012 with cowboy Jake Hamilton hot on his heels, the hit or miss tiedown roping title went to Chase Johnston, 28, from Kersey, Colo., who won the crown by less than 10 points overall in his seventh year riding in Steamboat. “It was super close all season,” he says. “It came down to the last calf of the season. The events at the end of the season score double points, so it’s important to show up in August. I love
Who to watch for: In team roping, the duo of Lee Hagler (Fort Lupton, Colo.) and Riley Pedro (Nunn, Colo.) are the team to beat, with Pedro also co-winning the title in 2009. But the fatherson team of Lee and Luke Lancaster, which won it in 2010, will be chasing them down, as well as Lance Allen and Jake Day, who won the title in 2011. But their dallies will have to hold.
Sponsors Christy Sports, SportStalker After giving the calf a head start, the
Photo by Zan Blundell
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Photo by Mark Metzler
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competing in Steamboat — it’s a great facility and great crowd. Everyone likes to win a Steamboat series.”
Steer Wrestling Sponsor Steve Fraysher
Steer wrestlers, also known as bulldoggers, try to toss a steer onto its back after jumping off a Quarter Horse. Courage, timing and balance are essential. The objective: Get the steer on the ground the fastest using only strength and leverage. Done correctly, the event takes only three to five seconds. The cowboy starts his run behind a barrier with another cowboy called a hazer, who keeps the steer from turning away. The steer then is given a head start. When it reaches the “scoreline” and the rope barrier is released, the steer wrestler and the hazer chase the steer until the wrestler can make his jump. The wrestler then hooks his right arm around the steer’s right horn, grasps the left horn with his left hand, and digs his heels into the dirt and uses leverage to bring down the animal. Who to watch for: In the rough and tumble steer wrestling event, look for Sheridan, Wyo.’s Tony Larsen to try to retain his 2012 crown, but not without heavy competition from three-time series
champion Shawn Mills.
Saddle Bronc Riding Sponsor Mountain Valley Bank
Unlike bareback riding, where the cowboy grabs a rigging fastened to the horse’s back, a saddle bronc rider grips a thick rein attached to the horse’s halter. He must then mark out the horse as in bareback riding. As the horse bucks, the rider bends his knees to pull his heels back and then snaps his feet back to the horse’s shoulder as the animal’s front feet hit the ground, synchronizing spurring with the horse’s movements. The rider is judged on spurring action, body control and the degree to which he keeps his toes turned out. The horse’s bucking action contributes to the score, just as in bareback riding. Who to watch for: Riverton, Wyo.’s Colin Stalley rode away with last year’s Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding award, pocketing an extra $2,000 and a commemorative rifle. But Brandon Munn, who’s won the award four times in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011, and took the overall saddle bronc crown last year, is riding fast on his heels. Wheatland, Wyo.’s Munn also won the saddle bronc season championship in 2007 and 2008, so he is no stranger to the podium.
“The Steamboat rodeo’s always great,” says Stalley, 30, who’ll fight hard this year to keep his crown. “There are always great animals and a great crowd.” As he guns for his fourth overall title, Munn adds that you have to place well in the majority of events to win the overall crown; you need two or three top two finishes, and three or four top four results. “It takes consistency and a little luck,” he says.
Sponsor RAM Rodeo Pee-wee and Juniors Sponors Steamboat Flyfisher The goal of barrel racing is to run a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels in the fastest time. The horses pivot on their haunches at high speeds and execute each
Photo by Zan Blundell
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turn with only inches to spare. Normally, Quarter Horses are used in barrel racing. A knocked-over barrel incurs a five-second penalty. Who to watch for: In the tight-turning barrel racing event, Sami Jo Sweeney, from Fort Lupton, Colo., won her first season championship last year, but not without pressure from perennial favorite and five-time winner Julie Haskins, from nearby Maybell, Colo., who again might make an appearance at this year’s series.
Pee-wee, Junior barrel racing crowd favorites While grown-up riders put on quite a show last year, it was the youngsters who stole the crowd’s heart. Under the watchful eye of parents Erin and Toby Knez, 6-yearold sensation Katie Jo Knez, of Craig, Colo., guided her trusty steed Duke to win the Pee-wee Barrel Racing season championship for the second year in a row, her first win coming at age 5. Steamboat local Lacey Sherrod, 9, won 2012’s inaugural junior barrel racing championship, an event for riders ages 9 through 12 that will be held again this year. “We’re proud to offer events that allow future rodeo stars an opportunity to compete,” says the rodeo committee’s Laura
28 | 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo
Sankey. “Not only is it good for the athletes, but these events are also crowd favorites. There’s nothing like a horse that carefully works the barrel pattern with its young rider on top.”
Sponsor Yampa Valley Bank In what is hoped to be an eight-second
ride, the rider holds a flat-braided rope in his glove hand. As he settles onto his bull in the chute, he pulls the rope’s tail through a loop and wraps the rope around his riding hand, at times weaving it through his fingers for better grip. Each bull has a different style of bucking; some spin, others circle, others throw in jumps or kicks, and others move sideways in mid-air. As the cowboy waves his free hand to counter the bull’s gyration and maintain his balance, he must avoid
touching the bull with his free hand or he is disqualified. The cowboy’s control and the bull’s bucking efforts each account for half of the score. Who to watch for: In the high-flying bull riding event, the final category held each night, look for Dillon Kujala, from Burns, Colo., to defend his first-ever overall win in 2012 with a similar performance this year. But it won’t come easily, especially with pressure from threetime champion Clayton Savage, 2010 overall champion Lonny Graham and 2011 winner Brady Menge. “Bull riding is always one of the crowd favorites,” says rodeo series announcer John Shipley. “And it always seems to come down to the wire for the overall title.”
According to three-time series bronc riding champion and four-time Pat Mantle trophy winner Brandon Munn, a cowboy’s results rely largely on the horse. “A lot of it depends a lot on what horse you draw,” says Munn, who competes in up to 50 rodeos a year. Organizers essentially pick numbers out of a hat four days before each event, assigning rides to certain cowboys. They then post the results online, where cowboys can learn who they have to ride. Munn says that if he draws up at two different rodeos on the same day, he’ll often attend the one with the better horse. “Sometimes you get on a hot streak and draw good horses
several times in a row,” he says. “There are a bunch of horses that everyone wants to get.” He adds that he likes Steamboat’s rodeo because organizers rotate the horses through the events well. “Horses don’t get burned out there,” he says. He also says that sometimes a rider can adjust his style depending on the horse he draws. “If you draw one that’s known to be real long (i.e. a long jumper), you can shorten your rein or drop your halter to try and hold him up,” he says. “There are little tricks like that that help.” Apparently, these tricks work for Munn, who’s shooting for his fourth title in this year’s series.
Photo by Zan Blundell
2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo | 29
Photo courtesy of Tread of Pioneers Museum
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A history of rodeo in steamboat Springs 115 years and counting
odeo is a time-honored tradition in Steamboat Springs that has seen cowboys hopping on bucking bulls and broncs for bragging rights for more than a century. “Ranching and rodeo have been important here forever,” says longtime rodeo announcer John Shipley. “They’re part of our whole tradition.” Ever since the first white settlers arrived in Steamboat Springs in the late 19th century, roping and riding have been a part of life here. The sport blossomed by necessity. Early settlers established homesteads, raising horses and livestock as a way of life. Every year, cattle would have to be rounded, ornery bulls corralled and calves roped. Those same skills still are used today on area ranches as well as at rodeo venues like Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. Eventually, rodeo skills migrated from ranches to competitions, becoming a
vital part of town gatherings. Spectators would form a rodeo ring by positioning their horses in a circle, heads turned inward. In later days, cars formed the circle. The makeshift arenas didn’t dampen competitiveness. In the early 1900s, Steamboat reared some of the toughest buckers in the business, including such famous horses as Pin Ears, Carrie Nation and General Pershing, ridden by the likes of Tuffy Wren, Bill Corbett and Kid Vaughn. The “Friday Night Jackpot” weekly festivities arose in the mid-1970s where riders competed for their combined entry fees. “Those original Friday night rodeos were pretty wild,” says rodeo board member Brent Romick. “They were pretty loosely regulated.” In 1982, local Steve Dawes helped the Jackpot Rodeo grow to include Saturday night and the Steamboat Springs Rodeo
Series was born. In 1989, the 10-week series became sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and saw its name changed to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Throughout this 115-year history — from the first Cowboy Roundup Days, now celebrated every July 4, to today’s weekly pro series, a winner of the PRCA’s Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year — the town has hung its hat on its ranching roots. In fact, many of town’s original homesteads still provide stock for the events. The event attracts some of the nation’s top competitors trying to earn their way to the National Finals. So as you enjoy the show from the stands, tip your hat to the cowboys keeping one of town’s most lost-lasting heritages alive in the Yampa Valley. And don’t be surprised if they ask you to form a circle with your cars after the show is over.
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Rodeo terms 101
on’t be alarmed if you hear a few new words or phrases that aren’t in your vocabulary at an event. It’s all part of the jargon here at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. The following alphabetized guide will help you so you’re not left in the dark: All-around cowboy A title given to the athlete who accumulates the most money in two or more events. Barrier Two pieces of rope connected by a piece of kite string in front of the chute. In timed events, if the cowboy breaks through the barrier before it is released by another rope tied to the steer or calf, a 10-second penalty is assessed. Chute The area where an animal is held prior to the event. In rough stock events, this is where the cowboy gets on the animal just in front of the grandstands. The timed-event chutes are at the west end of the stadium. Hazer The cowboy who rides alongside the steer to keep it running straight in steer wrestling. Generally, steer wrestlers give 25 percent of whatever they win to their hazers. Often, one hazer will haze for several steer wrestlers, and many wrestlers haze for other wrestlers. Hooey The knot a tie-down roper uses to secure the calf. Header/heeler In team roping, the cowboy who catches the steer’s horns (header) and hind legs (heeler). Initial contact rule Term used in bareback and saddle bronc riding referring to where the cowboy’s heels, or spurs, are positioned on the animal when it leaves the chutes. The cowboy’s feet are required to be above the horse’s shoulders; if not, a judge will throw a yellow flag, nullifying the ride. The rule doesn’t apply to bull riding. Mountain States Rodeo Circuit One of 12 professional rodeo regions, including rodeos in Colorado and Wyoming. Cowboys earn points for each performance, with those earning the most qualifying for the National Finals. National Circuit Finals Rodeo This rodeo awards more than $500,000 in prize money and features contestants from each of rodeo’s 12 geographic circuit systems. World champions and weekend cowboys alike qualify based on how they do in their home circuits. National Finals Rodeo The biggest rodeo of the year, the National Finals Rodeo is held every December in Las Vegas. Only the top 15 money winners in each event qualify for the 10-round rodeo, which has a purse of more than $5 million. The National Finals Rodeo decides the world champion in each event. Rank A term cowboys use to describe a particularly vicious bull or 32 | 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo
bucking horse. Most often, it is used as a compliment — generally, the ranker a bull or bronc, the higher the score.
to rope a steer’s hind legs. A good time to cover your child’s ears with your cowboy hat.
Riding events A term used to refer to the saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding events.
Hyah! A one-syllable version of “Giddyup” used to spur a horse along.
Rough stock Livestock used in riding events as opposed to timed events.
Manure That byproduct that comes from horses and livestock’s derrieres responsible for the arena’s fragrant aroma.
Slack Often, more cowboys enter a rodeo than there are slots to compete. Cowboys not scheduled to compete post their times or score during slack, held after the Friday night performance. Scores and times from slack count just like those posted during the regular performance. Timed events Any event in which a competitor is racing against the clock. Steer wrestling, tiedown roping, team roping and barrel racing are the most common.
A few from the lighter side %&$! AKA Gosh Darnit!, a term you might hear when a bull rider fails to ride the necessary eight seconds or a heeler fails
Photo by Zan Blundell
Photo by Zan Blundell
Howdy Typical cowboy greeting, morning, noon and night. Sometimes doubled-up to “Howdy, Howdy.” Chaps (pronounced “shaps”) Leather leggings worn over jeans to prevent derrieres and thighs from getting chafed. Pronounce it “chaps” and you’re referring to a Ralph Lauren cologne. Yeehaw! Multi-purpose exclamation of approval or encouragement. Lawn-darted/chilled Terms used to describe various degrees of ugly, head-landing buck-offs. Use: “Boy, Big Red lawn-darted you. You got chilled.” Buckle bunny/polisher Female rodeo fan. 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo | 33
Arena improvements on the way
he Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series is one of the most successful rodeo series in the country and an integral element in the culture of the Yampa Valley. At the heart of it is the Brent A. Romick Rodeo Arena, a vital part of the landmark Howelsen Hill Park complex and an important amenity for residents and visitors. With the last major rodeo facility improvement completed in 1990, which added the main grandstands, awnings and the current arena, after 20 years of toplevel performances by two- and four-legged rodeo athletes, the grounds are ready for additional improvements. At the forefront: a plan that creates a multi-use facility for different community events and uses. The proposed plan includes several plaza spaces promoting year-round community gathering and accommodating a variety of activities and group sizes. Benefits of the new plan include: • Increased safety for animals, contestants and visitors
• A better guest experience • A centralized, multipurpose plaza, amphitheater, vendor and kids play area that’s attractive to a broad range of user groups • Improved efficiency for operations and maintenance, making the facility more sustainable • More parking, including a centralized parking area in Howelsen Hill Park • Improved rodeo arenas, pens and chutes • Allowance for more efficient winter (Nordic) and summer (rodeo) activities
• Better spectator seating • Improved vehicular and pedestrian circulation and access • RV hook-ups The Rodeo Facility Improvement Committee is working with the Steamboat community to raise funds to help make these improvements a reality. The Schematic Design Plan is available online at http://steamboatsprings.net/recreation. Details can be found at www.steamboatprorodeo.com.
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Inside the animals providing the ride
ure, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series draws high caliber cowboys from across the country. But the animals beneath them are every bit the athletes the riders are, bred specifically for riding. These valuable assets are well taken care of by the best stock providers in the country, arriving as fresh and ready to every rodeo as the cowboys are. And that’s where the Steamboat rodeo truly shines, with its animal needs subcontracted to some of the best stock contractors in the country. “The Steamboat rodeo uses a bunch of different stock contractors so they always have great horses,” says last year’s Pat Mantle Memorial Saddle Bronc Riding Award winner Colin Stalley. “I love coming down there to ride.” This year’s lineup of contractors promise a high-flying fun for riders and spectators alike. In all, the 10-week series will see animals from three stock contractors, ensuring the series has the best buckers in the business. “Every contractor has its own following
of competitors, so getting stock from three contractors ensures well-rounded participation,” says rodeo administrator Char Mighton. “Everyone’s always excited about riding fresh mounts.” The contractors will provide stock for anywhere between one to three weeks (two to six rodeos). Leading things off for the first two weeks is Picket Pro Rodeo, of Fairfield, Texas, followed by longtime series stock provider Glenn Southwick, of Southwick’s Rocky Mountain Rodeo of Jay Em, Wyo., which will provide stock for the next four weekends. The rest of the season will see buckers provided by Harry Vold Rodeo Co. from Avondale, Colo., which has been supplying rodeos for 60 years. Finding top-notch stock is paramount to luring in top-notch riders, and Steamboat has rolled up its sleeves to ensure the 10week series has nothing but the best. “Quality animals are the key to a great rodeo,” says stock provider Kirsten Vold, whose family moved from Canada to Colorado 43 years ago. “Riders and spectators will see quality buckers in Steamboat this year.”
Vold’s 32,000-acre Avondale ranch houses more than 600 horses and 150 bulls, with the company bringing 40 horses and 25 bulls to Steamboat this summer. Southwick, which raises all its own stock and knows its animals intimately, does about 35 rodeos per year. Owner Glenn Southwick says longtime fans will recognize some of his horses and that first-timers will be in for a good show. “We have good, fat, healthy livestock that will buck,” he says proudly. “And we know everything about them — from the up-andcomers to the potential superstars.”
STOCK CONTRACTORS: Pickett Pro Rodeo, Fairfield, TX June 14 and 15; June 21 and 22 Southwick’s Rocky Mountain Rodeo, Jay Em, WY June 28 and 29; July 4 to 6; July 12 and 13; July 19 and 20 Harry Vold Rodeo Co., Avondale, CO July 26 and 27; Aug. 2 and 3; Aug. 9 and 10; Aug. 16 and 17
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Past Rodeo Series Champions Bareback Matt Webber, 1985; Tracy Lawton, 1986; Mark Darling, 1987; Brian Swingle, 1988; Jesse Banek, 1989; Gordon Griffith, 1990; Gordon Griffith, 1991; Shane Call, 1992; Shane Call, 1993; Rick Bradley, 1994; Rick Bradley, 1995; Rick Bradley, 1996; George Harty, 1997; Rick Bradley, 1998; Mitch Walz, 1999; J.W. Winklepleck, 2000; Travis Carlson, 2001; Gary Burgener, 2002; Zach Curran, 2003; Cody Fox, 2004; Jerad Schlegel, 2005; Jerad Schlegel, 2006; Micky Downare, 2007; Larry Streweler, 2008; Craig Wisehart, 2009; Craig Wisehart, 2010; David Streweler, 2011; Craig Wisehart, 2012
Saddle bronc Marty Forester, 1985; Wes Hertzog, 1986; Steve Claypoole, 1987; Clay Keller, 1988; Dane Noyce, 1989; Wes Hertzog, 1990; Harry Virden, 1991; Chuck Halloway, 1992; Tommy Cress, 1993; Wes Hertzog, 1994; Brett Brooks, 1995; Colt Bruegman, 1996; Marty Forester, 1997; Mitch Walz, 1998; Mitch Walz, 1999; Josh Bilbrey, 2000; Bryan
Costner, 2001; Chet Johnson, 2002; Ryan Rodewald, 2003; Ryan Rodewald, 2004; Britt Trumbull, 2005; Chance Skelton, 2006; Brandon Munn, 2007; Brandon Munn, 2008; Travis Darling, 2009; Jake Griffin, 2010; Jake Griffin, 2011; Brandon Munn, 2012
Bull riding Steve Cooper, 1985; Ty Rinaldo, 1986; Steve Baker, 1987; Nick Buckley, 1988; Scott Pofahl, 1989; Jeff Cathcart, 1990; Kevin Malovich, 1991; Doug Joseph, 1992; Trent Knez, 1993; Eddie Faircloth, 1994; Hunter Cathcart, 1995; Troy Hipsag, 1996; John Pinnt, 1997; Scott Jacobson, 1998; Sid Killingsworth, 1999; Clint Walker, 2000, Justin Mildenberger, 2001; Jarrod Ford, 2002; Josh Koschel, 2003; Ryan Greenlee, 2004; Josh Kaine Johnson, 2005; Luke Gray, 2006; Clayton Savage, 2007; Clayton Savage, 2008; Clayton Savage, 2009; Lonny Graham, 2010; Brady Menge, 2011; Dillon Kujala, 2012
Tie-down Jerry Green, 1984; Ben Grave, 1985; Jerry
Kraft, 1986; Lyle Horn, 1987; Dan Johnson, 1989; K.C. Jones, 1990; Dan Johnson, 1991; Lane Johnson, 1992; Dick Carroll, 1993; Lyle Horn, 1994; Cory Zion, 1995; Charlie Kingsbury, 1996; Jack Hadley, 1997; Jake Clark, 1998; J.D. Crouse, 1999; K.C. Jones, 2000; Cory Zion, 2001; Chris Downey, 2002; J.G. Marshall, 2003; K.C. Jones, 2004, Joe Colletti, 2005; Trevor Theil, 2006; Trevor Theil, 2007; Joe Colletti, 2008; Troy Hubbard, 2009; Darnell Johnson, 2010; Mark Black, 2011; Chase Johnston, 2012
Steer wrestling Mardell McKnight, 1989; Mark McNamee, 1990; Dick Schneider, 1991; Eric Pickering, 1992; Eric Pickering, 1993; Craig Stein, 1994; Dan Cathcart, 1995; Eric Pickering, 1996; R.C. Harbour, 1997; Doug Cox, 1998; Leon Vick, 1999; Wade Corliss, 2000; Wade Corliss, 2001; Jimmy Allen, 2002; Eric Pickering, 2003; Bill Claunch, 2004; Cole Fritzlan, 2005: Shawn Mills, 2006; Jake Simmons, 2007; Wyatt Johnson, 2008; Theo Federer, 2009; Shawn Mills, 2010; Shawn
Bill loves Steamboat & Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Bill found everything he needs to know about the rodeo and fun things to do afterward on ExploreSteamboat.com. Be like Bill. Start your night with ExploreSteamboat.com.
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Photo by Zan Blundell 2013 steamboat springs pro rodeo | 37
Mills, 2011; Tony Larsen, 2012
Team roping Merrit Linke, 1985; Port Toft, 1986; Dan Haskins, 1987; Marty Seeley, 1988; Port Toft, 1989; Lee Lancaster and Chris Glover, 1990; Steve Winnery, 1991; Kevin Norell, 1992; Joe Roderick, 1993; Grant Scheer, 1994; Lee Lancaster and Lynn Lancaster, 1995; Greg Barrier and Dennis Hathcock, 1996; Randy Mekelburg and Lee Lancaster, 1997; Dwight Arnold and Mike Christnick, 1998; John Oâ€™Connor and Taz Green, 1999; Paul Griesman and Bret Tonozzi, 2000; Troy Kreutzer and Tim Kreutzer, 2001; Paul Beckett, 2002; Luke Lancaster and Jason Gilchrist, 2003; Lance Allen, 2004; Lance Allen and Paul Beckett, 2005; Shawn Hagler and Alan Erickson, 2006; Jerod Farella, 2007; Jay Tittel, 2008; Shawn Harler and Riley Pedro, 2009; Lee and Luke Lancaster, 2010; Lance Allen and Jake Day, 2011; Lee Hagler and Riley Pedro, 2012
Photo by Zan Blundell
Tina Lenard, 1985; Coleen Burman, 1986; Casey Fawcett, 1987; Susan Campbell, 1988; Sonja Rose, 1989; Vicki Donaho, 1990; Raedene Spears, 1991; Julie Haskins, 1992; Julie Haskins, 1993; Mary Anderson, 1994; Mary Anderson, 1995; Mary Anderson, 1996; Mary Anderson, 1997; Gayla Shaefer, 1998; Mary Anderson, 1999; Casey Shelsted, 2000; Bonny Wheatley 2001; Belinda
The Cut Above
Brownell, 2002; Ranette Taylor, 2003; Bonnie Austin, 2004; Margie Ward, 2005; Margie Ward, 2006; Margie Ward, 2007; Kelly Koeppen, 2008; Julie Haskins, 2009; Julie Haskins, 2010; Julie Haskins, 2011; Sami Jo Sweeney, 2012
All-around cowboy Steve Claypoole, 1987; Dar Haskins, 1991; Shane Call, 1992; Shane Call, 1993; Tammy Brennan, 1993; Tyke Bennett, 1995; Tyke Bennett, 1996; Randy Mekelburg, 1997; Mitch Walz, 1998; Mitch Walz, 1999; Chris Downey, 2001; Jarrod Ford, 2002; Luke Lancaster, 2003; K.C. Jones, 2004, K.C. Jones, 2005; Mario Baleztena, 2006; Joe Colletti, 2007; Mario Baleztena, 2008; Mario Baleztena, 2009; Cole Dorenkamp, 2010; K.C. Jones, 2011; Calvin Brevik, 2012
Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding Marty Forester, 1993; Eudell Larsen, 1994; Brett Brooks, 1995; Justin Miller, 1996; Brett Brooks, 1997; Mitch Walz, 1998; Todd McCaughey, 1999; Mitch Walz, 2000; Mitch Walz, 2001; Chet Johnson, 2002; Britt Trumbull, 2003; Brandon Munn, 2004; Andy Kurtz, 2005; Chad Mosher, 2006; Tate Owens, 2007; Brandon Munn, 2008; Travis Darling, 2009; Brandon Munn, 2010; Brandon Munn, 2011; Collin Stalley, 2012
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Photo by Zan Blundell
Photo by Zan Blundell
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