Bursts of pro-rodeo | TSLN.com

Bursts of pro-rodeo

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns

For the July 4, 2009 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

Bright bursts of pro-rodeo action, like colorful fireworks celebrating Independence Day, are detonating across Tri-State Country as this issue goes to press. Mobridge! Chadron! Killdeer! Red Lodge! Cody! Livingston! Belle Fourche! Old Glory is unfurled, carried by beautiful cowgirls on fast horses around arena after arena… masses of humanity stand at attention, hands and hats over their hearts… then grandstands rock with cowboy yells and applause as strains of our National Anthem die out and the first bareback horse rockets from the chutes. What a tradition – what a privilege to live where we can take it all for granted!

The denim pockets of winning cowgirls and cowgirls will be lined with silver as another Cowboy Christmas goes into the record books… and niches are carved ever deeper for the rodeo legends in-the-making; the ones who’ll someday stand to be recognized by Halls of Fame who commemorate their accomplishments.

One of those occasions unfolds next weekend at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Meanwhile the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has announced its 2009 Class of Inductees, including one sprung from Tri-State roots. Nebraska native Kay Whittaker Young is being recognized for her international barrel racing activities, inside and outside arenas since the age of 12. She has been Vice President and President of the GRA/WPRA, working tirelessly to get her chosen event recognized as part of rodeo and rewarded with better purses. She was a National Finals contestant seven times and has held barrel racing clinics across this nation and in Brazil.

Joining Kay in the October 15th Induction at Fort Worth will be Cornelia “Ninia” Wadsworth Ritchie, successor of the JA Ranch, oldest established ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Ninia has been instrumental in keeping the historic ranch (begun by her great-grandfather John Adair in partnership with the famous Col. Charlie Goodnight) in operation by the same family for 130 years. Stewardship of the land, preserving history and integrity are important to Ninia. These qualities and goals were well-represented as she donated the original Molly and Charles Goodnight herd of buffalo to the State of Texas, to roam Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, TX.

The late Mary Jane Colter (1869-1958) will join the Class of 2009, honored as one of a rare few female architects of her era. Her goal was to create structures maintaining harmony with the natural environment, a style that became known as National Park Service Rustic. Five of Mary Jane’s buildings have been designated National Historic Landmarks, and 11 are on the National Register of Historic Places. Beginning in 1901 Colter was associated with Fred Harvey as designer and architect of famous “Harvey Houses” – she completed 21 projects for Harvey, including a series of landmark hotels and commercial lodges throughout the southwest.

Artist Deborah Copenhaver Fellows rounds out the list of National Cowgirl Hall of Fame2009 honorees. Ranch-reared in northern Idaho and formally educated in Italy, studying techniques of the European Masters, Fellows started sculpting on the side while wrangling dudes in Arizona. Pioneer women and ranchers have provided much of Deborah’s inspiration and she enjoys “making important statements in bronze sculpture about the unspoken heroes, the women of the West.” Among Deborah’s innumerable honors are selections of her work in the Reagan White House Collection and the United States Capitol Building.

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To learn more about the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, or induction ceremonies for these ladies, go to http://www.cowgirl.net or phone 1-800-476-FAME.

Coming to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy Museum & Hall of Fame in late October will be the Rodeo Historical Society (RHS) Weekend, when Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees will be honored for 2009. RHS members are now voting on eight living and eight deceased nominees to select the Class of 2009. Some of the nominees (including the late Tom Tescher and Joe Chase, Jr.) hail from Tri-State Country and we plan to highlight them here next week.

One member of the Class of 2009 has already been selected, Florence Price Youree. Florence is the RHS Board of Director’s “Director’s Choice” inductee – an honor long overdue! Since starting a pro rodeo career in 1953 Florence has placed in every major rodeo and qualified for the National Finals eight times, but what she’s done outside the arena is perhaps even more impressive. She was instrumental in moving barrel racing from a sidebar to the steer roping finals to a main event at the National Finals Rodeo. She served 17 years in official capacities with the Girls Rodeo Association, holding the reins as president, secretary/treasurer and director. She’s also responsible for starting the first GRA publication, serving as longtime editor of the GRA News. The 1996 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree was also named 1993 Coca-Cola Woman of the year and 2004 Barrel Racing Pro Tour Hall of Fame Inductee. Way to go Florence – we’re really proud you’re being recognized as you so richly deserve.

Meanwhile, I want to mention another young lady who’s currently competing in the Wrangler Junior Division Finals Rodeo in Gallup, NM. I mentioned several here earlier; after which Kaye Nelson let me know about her neice Samantha Jorgenson, an 8th grade student from Watford City High School who is representing North Dakota in breakaway, ribbon and team roping as well as barrel racing in Gallup.

Samantha comes by her rodeo prowess honestly. Her dad, Bill Jorgenson, is a well-known steer wrestler and team roper in the North Dakota Rodeo Association. Her mother, Pam Miller Jorgenson, was state high school champion in breakaway roping, and has since been North Dakota Rodeo Association’s champion breakaway roper. Samantha is holding up family tradition, winning that event along with the ribbon roping, while placing second in team roping and barrel racing and being named All Around Cowgirl of the North Dakota Junior High Finals.

We tip the ol’ Tri-State Stetson to this top cowgirl; and wish all our young cowboys and cowgirls the best in Gallup!

Looks like that’s the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more….

Bright bursts of pro-rodeo action, like colorful fireworks celebrating Independence Day, are detonating across Tri-State Country as this issue goes to press. Mobridge! Chadron! Killdeer! Red Lodge! Cody! Livingston! Belle Fourche! Old Glory is unfurled, carried by beautiful cowgirls on fast horses around arena after arena… masses of humanity stand at attention, hands and hats over their hearts… then grandstands rock with cowboy yells and applause as strains of our National Anthem die out and the first bareback horse rockets from the chutes. What a tradition – what a privilege to live where we can take it all for granted!

The denim pockets of winning cowgirls and cowgirls will be lined with silver as another Cowboy Christmas goes into the record books… and niches are carved ever deeper for the rodeo legends in-the-making; the ones who’ll someday stand to be recognized by Halls of Fame who commemorate their accomplishments.

One of those occasions unfolds next weekend at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Meanwhile the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has announced its 2009 Class of Inductees, including one sprung from Tri-State roots. Nebraska native Kay Whittaker Young is being recognized for her international barrel racing activities, inside and outside arenas since the age of 12. She has been Vice President and President of the GRA/WPRA, working tirelessly to get her chosen event recognized as part of rodeo and rewarded with better purses. She was a National Finals contestant seven times and has held barrel racing clinics across this nation and in Brazil.

Joining Kay in the October 15th Induction at Fort Worth will be Cornelia “Ninia” Wadsworth Ritchie, successor of the JA Ranch, oldest established ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Ninia has been instrumental in keeping the historic ranch (begun by her great-grandfather John Adair in partnership with the famous Col. Charlie Goodnight) in operation by the same family for 130 years. Stewardship of the land, preserving history and integrity are important to Ninia. These qualities and goals were well-represented as she donated the original Molly and Charles Goodnight herd of buffalo to the State of Texas, to roam Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, TX.

The late Mary Jane Colter (1869-1958) will join the Class of 2009, honored as one of a rare few female architects of her era. Her goal was to create structures maintaining harmony with the natural environment, a style that became known as National Park Service Rustic. Five of Mary Jane’s buildings have been designated National Historic Landmarks, and 11 are on the National Register of Historic Places. Beginning in 1901 Colter was associated with Fred Harvey as designer and architect of famous “Harvey Houses” – she completed 21 projects for Harvey, including a series of landmark hotels and commercial lodges throughout the southwest.

Artist Deborah Copenhaver Fellows rounds out the list of National Cowgirl Hall of Fame2009 honorees. Ranch-reared in northern Idaho and formally educated in Italy, studying techniques of the European Masters, Fellows started sculpting on the side while wrangling dudes in Arizona. Pioneer women and ranchers have provided much of Deborah’s inspiration and she enjoys “making important statements in bronze sculpture about the unspoken heroes, the women of the West.” Among Deborah’s innumerable honors are selections of her work in the Reagan White House Collection and the United States Capitol Building.

To learn more about the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, or induction ceremonies for these ladies, go to http://www.cowgirl.net or phone 1-800-476-FAME.

Coming to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy Museum & Hall of Fame in late October will be the Rodeo Historical Society (RHS) Weekend, when Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees will be honored for 2009. RHS members are now voting on eight living and eight deceased nominees to select the Class of 2009. Some of the nominees (including the late Tom Tescher and Joe Chase, Jr.) hail from Tri-State Country and we plan to highlight them here next week.

One member of the Class of 2009 has already been selected, Florence Price Youree. Florence is the RHS Board of Director’s “Director’s Choice” inductee – an honor long overdue! Since starting a pro rodeo career in 1953 Florence has placed in every major rodeo and qualified for the National Finals eight times, but what she’s done outside the arena is perhaps even more impressive. She was instrumental in moving barrel racing from a sidebar to the steer roping finals to a main event at the National Finals Rodeo. She served 17 years in official capacities with the Girls Rodeo Association, holding the reins as president, secretary/treasurer and director. She’s also responsible for starting the first GRA publication, serving as longtime editor of the GRA News. The 1996 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree was also named 1993 Coca-Cola Woman of the year and 2004 Barrel Racing Pro Tour Hall of Fame Inductee. Way to go Florence – we’re really proud you’re being recognized as you so richly deserve.

Meanwhile, I want to mention another young lady who’s currently competing in the Wrangler Junior Division Finals Rodeo in Gallup, NM. I mentioned several here earlier; after which Kaye Nelson let me know about her neice Samantha Jorgenson, an 8th grade student from Watford City High School who is representing North Dakota in breakaway, ribbon and team roping as well as barrel racing in Gallup.

Samantha comes by her rodeo prowess honestly. Her dad, Bill Jorgenson, is a well-known steer wrestler and team roper in the North Dakota Rodeo Association. Her mother, Pam Miller Jorgenson, was state high school champion in breakaway roping, and has since been North Dakota Rodeo Association’s champion breakaway roper. Samantha is holding up family tradition, winning that event along with the ribbon roping, while placing second in team roping and barrel racing and being named All Around Cowgirl of the North Dakota Junior High Finals.

We tip the ol’ Tri-State Stetson to this top cowgirl; and wish all our young cowboys and cowgirls the best in Gallup!

Looks like that’s the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more….

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