The Outside Circle: Ice-capades, rookies, lots of barrels and sad news | TSLN.com

The Outside Circle: Ice-capades, rookies, lots of barrels and sad news

A freezing rain came through our area this past week and made it a treacherous place to try to get around. We had a skiff of snow on top of it and I saw a spot out by the garage that a cat actually slipped and fell, leaving the tracks in the snow as evidence. Now that’s slick! It thawed after Christmas and finally melted the ice off of the house and vehicles, so that was a big improvement. Still slick enough out there that we’re not going to hit a lope but stay at a more sedate pace.

At the Annual Permit Challenge held at Benny Binion’s Bucking Horse and Bull Sale at the South Point Casino Dec. 4-5, the top five rookies in each roughstock event were invited to compete for some pretty sweet paychecks. Based on the most money won through the end of the 2010 rodeo season, it was a good way to encourage the rookies with a little traveling money for the new season. Justin Miller, Billings, MT, won the barebacks, Keith Brauer, Freeburg, IL, won the saddle broncs (one doesn’t usually equate Illinois with Saddle Bronc riders, but, this guy is good), and bull riding was won by Ty Pozzobon, Merritt, BC.

Did you know that more than 20 of the 119 WNFR contestants came away with injuries serious enough to make it onto the Justin Sportsmedicine injury report during the Finals? That doesn’t count the ones that didn’t get treatment for their owies. Some of them just tough it out and keep on going despite some pretty bad scuffs and bruises.

All those contestants are probably hoping to be healed up in time for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo at Denver starting Jan. 8-9 with the second leg Jan. 13-23. That big show naturally leads right into the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in Rapid City. Ah, Stock Show Season… I can almost smell the shavings and hear the rodeo action.

I mentioned a good mare, SX Dr Peacharita (Dr Nick Bar x SX Frenchmans Peach, Frenchmans Guy) recently as she had really been smokin’ them in the barrels down in the warmer country of Oklahoma and Texas. This mare has more South Dakota roots than just being Frenchmans Guy’s grandfilly. Her mother is owned by Stefanie Wheeler and Carisa Shearer and they are SX Dr Peacharita’s breeders. Stefanie Wheeler, Mississippi, owns SX Dr Peacharita and the mare is ridden by her son Brian in the Youth Division at the barrel races. Also, Carisa Shearer, a Wall, SD-native, was named Derby Rider of the Year by Barrel Horse News and that’s a pretty big feather in her cap with all the great riders out there. Congrats Carisa! Her Grandma Pete proudly shared that news with me in a nice e-mail this week, so I’m very happy to pass that along.

The Dreamin’ of Summer Barrel Series #3 will be held Jan. 8 at Bowman, ND. Call Bailee Murnion at 605-381-0390 for info and updates.

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Seven Down continues its Winter Series with their #4 (which is probably #3 since it was canceled in December) on Jan. 15. Call Sam Martinez at 605-578-3518 for info.

Also on Jan. 15 is the Black Bluffs Winter Jackpots-NWBRA #2 at Mitchell, NE. Thea Chesney is the contact person at 308-623-3133.

Before loading up and heading to one of those runs, if the weather is iffy, call first to make sure it’s still on. There can be quite a difference in the weather between, say, Gillette and Bowman.

The Franzen family recently suffered a horrible loss when A.J. Franzen, 26, died in a car accident the week before Christmas. A.J., Carpenter, WY, was a successful rodeo hand and turned pro in ’04 after a stellar college rodeo career. He competed primarily in the Mountain States Circuit while working full-time for the Laramie Public Works Department. A.J. grew up on the family ranch near Sidney, MT, son of Al and Lois Franzen. He often team roped with his brother Tim, including their annual trip to rope at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

He was part of a large extended family that is heavily involved in rodeo. His uncle Hank owns Powder River Rodeo Company, his cousins John and Beau are PRCA Steer Wrestlers, and his cousin Jalea is a PRCA secretary/timer.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, young son Jace, and an unborn child due in May. His parents, Al and Lois, brother Tim, and both of his grandmothers also survive him.

Services were held at Sidney Dec. 22. My deepest sympathies go out to that family.

When I hear of this sort of thing happening, I usually have a bit of a melt down. It’s bad enough when we lose someone who has had a long, full life, but a young man or woman who dies in the very prime of life, often leaving a young family, is just so much harder. I guess it reminds us that we just never know what the day is going to bring and that the opportunity to tell someone how important they are to us may not come again. I am going to strive in the New Year to tell the people I care about that I really do care. Many families I know would dearly love to have the chance to say one more time that they love someone who is no longer here with them.

One last quick bit of news – there will be an All Nations Rodeo Announcer School Jan. 7-9 at the Prairie Winds Casino in Pine Ridge, SD. It’s for beginning and new announcers. Instructors are Alec Whipple, PRCA and Native American announcer; Jim Thompson, PRCA Gold Card Announcer; John Costello, PRCA Announcer; Mike McFarland, Pro Clown and Barrel Man. Student numbers are limited and tuition is $150. Call Alec Whipple at 605-484-2587 or 605-464-6133.

As we finish this circle, I tip my hat to you all and wish you all a blessed, safe and healthy 2011.

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