ARENA — Winter Issue

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INTERACTIVE RODEO MAGAZINE THE-ARENA-PRESS.COM ISSUE 04 FALL
Arviso James Prescott Frontier Days
2022
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INSIDE THE ARENA

MAKING IT WRIGHT

Statler Wright made his mark in two highly competitive rodeo worlds during the 2022 season. The 18-yearold from Beaver, Utah not only worked hard to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR), but also climbed steadily through both the world and Resistol rookie PRCA standings to finish 2nd in the.....

WRANGLER

NATIONAL FINALS RODEO OVERVIEW

The 2022 Wrangler NFR hits the arena floor of the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas December 1-10. With a $10.257 million purse, the ten-day competition offers thrilling payouts and gold buckle dreams for the 119 top rodeo contestants competing there......

ROAD TO

MISS RODEO AMERICAN PAGEANT Unexpected. That’s the one word Jackie Scarry, Miss Rodeo California 2022, uses to describe her reign as the current Miss Rodeo California.....

JOHN KING

a kid from Georgia, just trying to make it big in the country music world. “This last week was our last round. We’ve been touring since late spring,” King said. “We’ve done everything from fairs, festivals, rodeos to bigger.....

The Arena Press would like to thank all of our partners in business, contributors, writers, editor, the sales team, the entertainers and professional athletes who give so much of themselves to support our efforts in promoting the great American sport of rodeo.

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RASMUSSEN FROM BARRELMAN TO TV PERSONALITY

Flint Rasmussen is known for his work as the entertainer of the Professional Bull Riders, but lately he’s been taking off the

face paint and exchanging it for a sport coat, starched jeans and a cowboy hat.....

COUNTRY LIFE WESTERN STYLE

As a busy western woman living in South Dakota, unctionable fashion is a priority especially as the temperature drops. A simple black top, featuring a ruffle cuff sheer dot sleeve pairs perfectly with the vintage high waisted and wide leg jeans.....

HAILEY RAE

FOCUSED ON MORE

At just 25 years old, she’s been doing photography for the PRCA for just three years and was recently chosen to photograph her first National Finals Rodeo. “One of my best friends actually made it to the NFR in the bronc riding for the first time this year,” Rae said. “So, that is what really drove me.....

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CLICK TO CONTACT CREATIVE DIRECTOR KEVIN CARMONA thearenapress@gmail.com EDITOR LILLIAN LANDRETH thearenapress.editor@gmail.com SALES DIRECTOR KEN CARMONA thearenapress.ken@gmail.com EDITORIAL WRITER BRIANNA GARCIA EDITORIAL WRITER JORDAN MALDONADO LIFE AND STYLE CONTRIBUTOR CALLY MAE ANDERSON 24 36 34

MAKING IT WRIGHT

Statler Wright made his mark in two highly competitive rodeo worlds during the 2022 season.

The 18-year-old from Beaver, Utah not only worked hard to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR), but also climbed steadily through both the world and Resistol rookie PRCA standings to finish 2nd in the rookie standings and 20th in the nation in saddle bronc riding.

“It’s awesome! I just proved to myself that I should be up there [in pro rodeo], and I didn’t even have a full year and I got that close. Hopefully with a full year of rodeo I can make it to the WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo).”

All in the Family

The son of two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Cody Wright, and brother to Rusty, Ryder, and Stetson—plus numerous uncles who are WNFR qualifiers and world champions in rodeo’s classic event—Statler has an abundance of solid advice and bronc riders to look up to. He is yet to get on a bronc in pro rodeo that someone in his family hasn’t ridden. “Spring

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Tunes was probably my favorite bronc that I got on. Stetson got on that horse in Sisters, Oregon and was an 86—I personally thought it should’ve been a 96 because it was awesome. Rusty got on that horse in Tremonton, Utah and was a 92 and Ryder got on him in Canada and was a 94.5, so when I saw the draw in Ellensburg, I knew I had the one to win the round on, I just had to do my part. Lo and behold, Stetson beat me again,” Statler says with a laugh. “I still hate second place, but if I’m going to be there, I want to be behind those guys.”

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HIGHLIGHT

NHSRA Champ

Many of the rodeos outside of Utah were new to Statler, who particularly enjoyed the Reno Rodeo and splitting the win there with Sage Newman. Statler won a total of 10 PRCA rodeos this season, including the Resistol Rookie Roundup in Fort Worth, Texas. A week after his win in Reno, he competed in the NHSFR, making the decision to turn out of Salinas, which was tough but turned out to be a good move. Statler was crowned the 2022 NHSFR Saddle Bronc Riding Champion. “I almost felt more nervous because I felt I had more to prove to myself for some reason,” says Statler, who had 13 points to make up for in the final round and move him from second to first place. The leader missed out his horse in the short round and Statler’s 77-point ride cinched his first NHSRA title. “It was really big because everyone in my family has a national title, so to join that was very special.”

Vegas Dreams

While he anxiously awaits the start of the 2023 season, Statler is focusing on healing his meniscus, which he tore at the Caldwell Night Rodeo. He also competed in the Wilderness Circuit Finals in November and plans to be in Las Vegas for all ten rounds of the WNFR, cheering on his brothers Stetson and Ryder. Statler’s dad heads the horses out behind the bucking chutes during the WNFR, and Statler’s grandpa, Bill Wright, runs one of the gates. “Sitting in the stands makes me more hungry to get there,” says Statler, who will also be competing in the Smith Pro Rodeo Futurity while in Las Vegas. “I love that place.”

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MAKING IT WRIGHT CONTINUED
The-Arena-Press.com
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WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO OVERVIEW

The 2022 Wrangler NFR hits the arena floor of the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas December 1-10. With a $10.257 million purse, the ten-day competition offers thrilling payouts and gold buckle dreams for the 119 top rodeo contestants competing there.

Notable fan favorite and leading all-around cowboy, Stetson Wright, set two new PRCA regular season earnings records in bull riding and the allaround. The Milford, Utah cowboy beat the bull riding record of $297,026 set by Sage Kimzey in 2018, setting the new mark at $320,599. In the all-around he’s breaking his own record, having won $320,482 in the allaround in 2021 and pushing that number to $378,340 in 2022. This puts him more than $230,000 ahead of Belville, Texas roper Caleb Smidt, who is second in the all-around. Stetson sits first in the world standings in bull riding and second in the saddle bronc. With $320,599, he holds a considerable lead over Randlett, Utah bull rider Josh Frost, who is sitting in second with his own significant earnings of $228,557.

Roughies

The saddle bronc riding is led by Sage Newman of Melstone, Montana, who also set a new PRCA regular season earnings record with $253,191, surpassing the $224,488 record set by Ryder Wright in 2019. Sage leads the event by about $60,000 over Stetson Wright, while Stetson’s older brother, Ryder, a two-time world champion, is hot on his heels in the saddle bronc riding, trailing by $31,199 in fourth place. Among the field of saddle bronc riders, none of them are older than 28, making it the youngest group under the age of 30 to qualify for the NFR in its 63-year history.

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HIGHLIGHT

Also busting out of the yellow chutes is bareback riding leader Cole Reiner of Buffalo, Wyoming, who is looking to cinch his first world title. He is followed closely by Waverly, Kansas cowboy Jess Pope, with a margin of $1,711 separating them. Rookie sensation Rocker Steiner sits in fourth place with $134,327, while the Weatherford, Texas athlete also won the Resistol rookie bareback riding title. Three of the fifteen cowboys—Kaycee Feild, Tim O’Connell, and Clayton Biglow—have taken home the gold buckle in the bareback riding before.

Timed-Event Cowboys

At the timed event end of the arena, tie-down roper Shad Mayfield sits in first with yet another PRCA regular season earnings record. The Clovis, New Mexico cowboy surpassed the record of $190,445 set by Tuf Cooper in 2017 with his own of $203,508. A four-time NFR qualifier and the 2020 World Tie-Down Roping Champion, he has a lead of $36,779 over John Douch of Huntsville, Texas in second place, and a field of equally talented ropers stacked behind him, including four other world tie-down roping champions—Haven Meged, Caleb Smidt, Shane Hanchey, and Tuf Cooper.

Steer wrestling, led by Blackfoot, Idaho cowboy Stetson Jorgensen, is a tight race through the whole field, with only a few thousand or even hundred dollars separating the athletes. Stetson leads with $134,661 and a margin of $10,787 between him and three-time NFR steer wrestling champion Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana in second. Meanwhile, only $224 separates Tyler from J.D. Struxness in third place, and two-time NFR steer wrestling champion Hunter Cure is close at hand with $109,529 in fifth place.

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NFR OVERVIEW CONTINUED

Team roping also saw 2022 PRCA regular season earnings records reset by team Kaleb Driggers (Hoboken, Georgia) and Junior Nogueira (Presidente Prudente, Sa͂o Paulo, Brazil) who each won $227,877. Previously, Clay Smith set the header mark at $150,512 in 2019, while 2010 was the last time the record was touched by Travis Graves with $147,653. The current reigning world champions, Kaleb and Junior had an impressive season roping together and hold a substantial lead over the rest of the field.

How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls

Representing the cowgirls in the Thomas and Mack Center are the barrel racers, led by Jordon Briggs of Tolar, Texas, the 2021 World Champion Barrel Racer. She broke the 10-run record set by Nellie Miller in 2017 of 137.32 seconds with her own blazing fast time of 136.83 in 2021. Jordon leads with $177,779, while 64-year-old athlete Dona Kay Rule of Minco, Oklahoma is in second with $127,442. A tight grouping of horsewomen—many of them NFR veterans—are close behind her. Meanwhile, the 2022 National Finals Breakaway Roping backs into the box at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center November 29-30 with ten rounds in two days and a payout of $250,000. Martha Angelone of Stephenville, Texas leads the ropers with $109,097. Six of the ladies are seeing the NFBR for the first time, while the field also includes 2021 Reserve World Champion Shelby Boisjoli and longtime WPRA roper Lari Dee Guy, every one of them scoring lightning-fast times throughout the season.

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HIGHLIGHT
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THE ROAD TO THE MISS RODEO AMERICAN PAGEANT

Unexpected. That’s the one word Jackie Scarry, Miss Rodeo California 2022, uses to describe her reign as the current Miss Rodeo California.

Not in a bad way though. The Redding, California native found unexpected friendships, took unexpected adventures and had unexpected life-changing moments along the way. Like every rodeo queen’s journey, Scarry’s story is a unique one. Not growing up in a rodeo family meant paving the way for herself as a rodeo queen without many people outside of her family being in her corner.

“My journey started when I met my first rodeo queen in 2004, so I was about seven or eight,” Scarry said. “She was our local Miss Redding Rodeo. That kind of just spurred the desire to want to be a rodeo queen, but I didn’t compete for my first title until 2009, when I ran for the Red Bluff Junior Round-Up Junior

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ROYALTY

Rodeo Association Princess and got first runner-up.”

After focusing on high school, Scarry decided to run for Miss Redding Rodeo in 2016 and received first runner-up. Scarry wasn’t going to give up easily though and decided to run one more time. In 2017, Scarry was crowned Miss Redding Rodeo and her travels with the title led to her desire to pursue a higher title. In 2018, she competed for Miss Rodeo California and received first runner-up Miss Rodeo California.

Although feeling a little defeated, Scarry wanted to get one more title before going back to compete for Miss Rodeo California again. She competed for 2019 Miss Gold Country Pro Rodeo Queen and walked away with the title.

Then the coronavirus hit, and her title was extended to a two-year reign. Scarry had to rediscover the desire to be a public servant because of the unexpected feeling that came with the coronavirus.

Scarry persevered and decided she would give it one more try, but if it was not in God’s plans, then it was not meant to be. This time she walked away with the crown and the title of Miss Rodeo California 2022.

“It is a huge honor and a blessing in disguise,” Scarry said.Being a rodeo queen allows young women to be presented with many rewarding opportunities and experiences. Scarry said that the most rewarding part of her journey has been meeting, talking to and educating children. Her platform has allowed her to be an inspiration to kids just like her who did not grow up in the rodeo industry, but want to be part of the community.

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NFR OVERVIEW CONTINUED

“My platform for the year has been to be the lights to everyone I meet,” Scarry said. “Whether it’s offering a small smile, a “hello”, asking how their day has been, or being an inspiration for them to chase after something that they don’t know anything about but to just do it anyway.”

Holding the title of Miss Rodeo California allows Scarry to compete for the prestigious title of Miss Rodeo America Nov. 27- Dec. 4 at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa in Las Vegas.

Scarry has been vigorously preparing for the eight-day marathon that is the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. Not only does the job of Miss Rodeo America require knowledge of the rodeo industry and current events, the titleholder should also be an excellent horsewoman.

“I have been doing a little bit of everything that I possibly can,” Scarry said. “Riding horses as much as possible. I participated in the 50 Pink Horses Challenge, where we ride 50 horses in October. So my goal was to ride different horses from different backgrounds with different training levels.”

One thing that is keeping Scarry motivated throughout the exhausting process of preparing for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant is a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all who wander are lost.” She has learned that it is okay to find things out as she goes and take things stride for stride.

“Whether it’s in your plan in God’s design for you to win, or to not win, you’re going to go out there and have fun and make memories,” Scarry said. “If you don’t win, that’s okay, you still had an opportunity that not everyone gets to have.”

Upon completion of her reign as Miss Rodeo California and potentially Miss Rodeo America, Scarry plans to apply to Florida State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Crime Scene Investigations to become a Crime Scene Investigator. Public safety has always been in Scarry’s blood, her grandfather is a retired California Highway Patrolman, and her father is a retired investigator for the Shasta County District Attorney’s office. For Scarry, following in her family’s footsteps as a public servant just seems natural.

Along with pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Scarry also plans to get back into the show ring with her horse, Loki. They compete in ranch riding events at local level school shows in the state of California.

Scarry has been a wonderful representative of the state of California and the sport of rodeo throughout 2022. She is sure to do great things at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant and in her life following the conclusion of her rodeo queen career.

The-Arena-Press.com

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ROYALTY

GET A GRIP

INDUSTRY HILLS,

CA — DAKOTA ELDRIDGE tackling steers in Southern California at Industry Hills Charity Pro Rodeo. The 2018 NFR Champion finished fourth in his second rodeo of the 2023 season. It looks like Dakota will be back in Las Vegas making his eighth appearance at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December.

HIGHLIGHT
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JOHN KING

A KID FROM GEORGIA, JUST TRYING TO MAKE IT BIG IN THE COUNTRY MUSIC WORLD.

“This last week was our last round. We’ve been touring since late spring,” King said. “We’ve done everything from fairs, festivals, rodeos to bigger headlining support slots for Blake Shelton over the past year.”

Traveling with Blake Shelton, King was lucky enough to make his way to Cheyenne Frontier Days for the first time. “Forever one of my favorite shows. It was such a memorable night,” King said. “25,000 screaming fans, they were an unbelievable crowd. It goes from a rodeo to a massive music festival within an hour or two. It was really cool and the people were great.”

King has recently begun to host campfire sessions around Wyoming and Montana. His most recent one was in Dubois, Wyoming. “It was a lot of fun. A cool way to close out the year,” King said. “Dubois is awesome.

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MUSIC
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The Absaroka mountain range there is beautiful. We get to go out there and we’ve done it for two years in a row. We go out there every summer, kind of late summer and do a concert out at the ranch there and then we’ll hang around for a few extra days and do a campfire session.”

Not only does King get to spend a few days in Wyoming and Montana hosting campfire sessions but he gets to do it with his family. “Family is everything to me,” King said. “One thing you learn throughout this career is if you can bring your family on the road with you it just makes it that much sweeter to get to share all these experiences together and meet all these wonderful people. So the past two years, I’ve been really lucky to have the ability to do that. My wife was a teacher for years and she decided to stop working when we had our baby girl and they’ve really been my little sidekicks ever since and it’s been really fun.”

King put out his debut album, Always Gonna Be You, this past year. It’s his first full length album.

“I’ve always wanted to have a full length album that people can put on and listen to from top to bottom,” King said. “Something that told a story in my own words. Some of those songs are a few years old. I’ve just been kind of holding onto them, waiting for the right time and it came within the last few months and I felt like they completed the album. It’s really my story.”

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JOHN KING CONTINUED
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IMAGEHOUNDS

FLINT

RASMUSSEN FROM BARRELMAN TO TV PERSONALITY

Flint Rasmussen is known for his work as the entertainer of the Professional Bull Riders, but lately he’s been taking off the face paint and exchanging it for a sport coat, starched jeans and a cowboy hat.

“It’s been kind of nice to dip my toe in TV commentary a little bit,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve done radio, talk show hosting, all of that for years. In my mind, it’s as much a part of who I am and what I do as the in-arena stuff. The clowning stuff.”

Along with being the eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association clown of the year and eight-time Wrangler National Final Rodeo Barrelman, Rasmussen has also hosted a live talk show called Outside the Barrel at the NFR.

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ENTERTAINER

FLINT CONTINUED

“It’s

as maybe a lot of people thought,” Rasmussen said. “It’s kind of a natural transition for me because I’ve had a microphone in my hand for a very long time, so it’s kind of a fun transition and not that unusual for me.”

Growing up in Montana, Rasmussen grew up around rodeo and around the PRCA but he never saw himself being a rodeo clown. “Growing up I was more into football, basketball, track, baseball, those sports. I have a brother, Will, who is a great rodeo announcer. He’s nominated as Pro rodeo announcer of the year.”

“I was in college and we were having a conversation about rodeo clowns and entertainers,” Rasmussen said. “I just kind of said I can probably do better. I think that I would do this blah, blah. I gave my scenario and they dared me to do it. So, it turned into my summer job in college and it was fun.”

At 21 years old, Rasmussen was traveling around Montana to the little rodeos as the entertainer. “You don’t just start at Cheyenne,” Rasmussen said. “I did all these little rodeos in the summer and I taught school once I graduated college. I taught for a couple of years and really thought it was just a fun little summer job. I kept getting phone calls, so I quit teaching after two years and thought I’d give it a try.”

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not as big a job

Rasmussen has been the in-arena entertainer for the PBR since 1998. “My style fit the PBRs,” Rasmussen said. “The PBR was new, and as they developed, my style fit the direction they wanted to go. So, I was doing rodeo and PBR for a very long time together, a little half and half.”

Observation has been part of Rasmussen’s life for quite a while.

Rasmussen’s style of comedy has never been scripted. It has never been just telling jokes. It has always been observational. “There’s never really been a direction. It’s just what is all of this going to give me? What’s the rodeo or the bullriding going to give me? What’s the crowd going to give me that I can play off of?”

Working with the PBR for more than 23 years, Rasmussen has seen more bull riding than many other people. “I’ve had a really good view of bull riding and rodeo for a very long time,” Rasmussen said. “I don’t try to be a former bull rider that analyzes a ride. Even though I probably could, I don’t think as far as fans looking in from the outside, they’re like, how would he know how to ride a bull?

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ENTERTAINER

I’ve never been on a bull. But, I still think I can do that because I’ve watched tens of thousands of rides.”

With the knowledge and comradery Rasmussen has with the bull riders and coaches, he is able to get a deeper insight to what goes on behind the chutes.

“It was always a case of my mind always working really fast and to just pay attention to what’s going on and make something of it,” Rasmussen said. “The role I’ve been given with TV isn’t a play by play role. It’s behind the chutes and that’s exactly what it is. I’m paying attention. I’m listening. I know the riders, I know the guys that are coaching these riders and they’ll talk to me. So I just pay attention and contribute to the broadcast with it.”

Rasmussen has had many years entertaining. Whether it’s entertaining the crowd during a PBR event or being in front of the camera, Rasmussen has had many opportunities in his life. “I’m gonna hold onto that for my career here and in the arena for good,” Rasmussen said. “Through the years, I’ve had up and coming musicians on my show. It’s been fun to be a part with those kinds of people as well as rodeo contestants that have gone and made it. So it’s been a valuable part of my life for sure.”

FLINT CONTINUED
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HIGHLIGHT
2022 Redding Rodeo JorDee Nielsen vs Mr. Ramos

COUNTRY LIFE WESTERN STYLE

With Cally Mae Anderson

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Jewelry completes every outfit. Navajo pearls with a custom signature lightning bolt pendent gives this winter weather look the finishing touch!

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HAILEY RAE PHOTOGRAPHER FOCUSED ON MORE

At just 25 years old, she’s been doing photography for the PRCA for just three years and was recently chosen to photograph her first National Finals Rodeo.

“One of my best friends actually made it to the NFR in the bronc riding for the first time this year,” Rae said. “So, that is what really drove me. I was like ‘okay, well Cade made it and we’ve always said we’re going to go together. So I at least need to try. I can’t just not apply. It would be really cool if we could go together in the first year.’”

After applying for a chance to photograph at the NFR for the first time, Rae continued to photograph rodeo as well as other events like weddings, western lifestyle and livestock shows. “I applied, then I kind of forgot about it. I knew the day they were meeting but I was driving to rodeos and I’d forgotten about it,” Rae said. “I got a call from the media office and so I took an exit off the interstate, pulling my computer out because I thought they needed a picture for a web story. So, I answered the phone and it was a different woman than Terry and she told me that I had been selected and I was like ‘what?’ Like I have no idea, it didn’t even phase me that that was what they wanted.”

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Rae started photography in high school for 4-H. “I didn’t grow up with any kind of ranching or rodeo background, like at all. But I went to my first rodeo when I was eight and I told my mom that I don’t know how, but someday I’m going to be down there with those guys and do that,” Rae said. “She was just kind of like, okay. So, I did 4-H in high school and I ended up finding a way to show cattle. I was on the livestock judging team and I realized I kind of enjoyed photography but I realized photography was my way into the Western world and to rodeo, livestock and everything.”

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HAILEY RAE CONTINUED

Many rodeo photographers like to focus on the action of the rodeo, Rae tries to focus on more.

“I really enjoy the behind the scenes stuff. The things that everyone in the crowd isn’t seeing. Like I want to tell the stories that aren’t really told. Everyone goes to rodeos, they watch the action and see what happens is really cool,” Rae said. “But I like to show the part of rodeo that no one else gets to see. Whether that’s guys traveling, getting stuff ready behind the chutes. The big thing that I really focus on is making sure that when I’m taking pictures is that I’m really capturing the rodeo in the very best way and that I’m making the contestants look the best they can. I really focus on trying to be a big advocate for rodeos.”

With this being Rae’s first year photographing the NFR, there aren’t really many expectations that Rae has.

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“I think just shooting the best that I can and not getting nervous. Just remembering at the end of the day, it really is another rodeo and just treat it like another rodeo,” Rae said. “I’m very honored and I know it’s a privilege to go there. My biggest goal is just not get overwhelmed by the size of it or what it is and still keep my head on straight.”

Eventually, one of Rae’s dreams is to one day be photographer of the year.

“Definitely before I die, I want to be photographer of the year,” Rae said. That’s just one of those things to keep meeting people and making connections. Shooting photos the best I can and I would definitely love to be photographer of the year at some point.”

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STU WRIGHT

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Introducing the next winning Wright to enter the Pro Rodeo scene. Saddle bronc Rookie Stuart Wright pictured here winning Industry Hills Charity Pro Rodeo in California. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Posse wrapped up the 2022 PRCA Rodeo on Saturday with Red for Rumohr night, in honor of bull fighter Greg Rumohr, who passed away in 2015. Tom Tackett and friends from Tackett Service Dogs visit with the Arizona Ridge Riders before the PBR Team Series performance in Anehiem, CA.

PAYTON’S PLACE

INDUSTRY HILLS, CA — Payton Schoeppach, an exciting young California cowgirl, raced the pattern in 17.36 on board The Mafia Boss, taking second place at Industry Hills Charity Rodeo.

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RESERVED. THE ARENA PRESS™ Weatherford, Texas — Resistol’s Bareback Rookie of the Year, Rocker Steiner shares stories about his incredible 2022 season.

Southern California —

LUKASEY MORRIS

VS TERMINATOR

San Bernadino County Sherrif’s Rodeo 2022. Although Terminator threw the Oklahoma cowboy to the dirt early, Lukasey qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for his first time. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.

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