Jan Swan Wood: Wet arenas, Black Hills Roundup action, keep pressure on in Washington
The northern plains have had some wild weather go through recently. Everything from hail, high winds, tornadoes, torrential rains and flooding have visited the area. The northern hills of South Dakota had a bad hail storm go through that sure wiped out a lot of the first cutting hay and other crops. One can hope that it’s early enough for some of the crops to recover or be replanted. We had a half inch of rain that was driven by a 50 mph wind but no hail. It moved some windrows around for the neighbors but they didn’t lose much hay. With hay such a precious commodity, it’s a shame to lose one stem.
The South Dakota High School Rodeo finals were going on during that stormy weather. I think most of the regional rodeos were held in rain and mud, so they were certainly prepared to compete anyway. There was water standing in the arena before the short go on Sunday, but the rodeo went on anyway. Rodeo hands, young or old, are tough and they just pull their soggy hats down and go perform. I have it on good authority that the dust wasn’t a problem even late in the day.
Belle Fourche’s team won the team trophy for the SDHSRA finals, so congrats to them.
That same arena will be the place to be for the Black Hills Roundup that runs from July 3-6. The Ranch Rodeo kicks arena action off on Wednesday, July 3. It’s the best ranch rodeo I’ve seen outside of the WRCA sanctioned events and I have hopes of going this year. The PRCA rodeo starts on the fourth with performances through Saturday night. It’s also a great rodeo with tough stock and the top contestants in the business competing.
The Calgary Stampede is coming up July 5-14 and they’ve had quite a job on their hands cleaning up after the big flood. Calgary, Alberta itself got hammered by the flooding and my heart goes out to all of those who had flood damage to their homes and businesses. I am so glad I wasn’t on the rodeo committee though, as the rodeo grounds were underwater for days from the flooded Bow and Nose Rivers which converge in Calgary. They’ve been working 32 hours a day getting it cleaned up and the show is still set to start on time and be the go-to rodeo of the year for the sheer volume of purse money offered. I tip my hat to the people doing the cleanup and restoration of the grounds.
The Ride A Horse Feed A Cowboy shindig is fast approaching at beautiful Hulett, Wyo. The date is Aug. 23-25 with the night of the 23rd featuring the usual rough stock rodeo, plus ranch bronc riding, wild cow milking, an auction, barbeque and dance. Saturday will have more great arena action and another dance. There’s an old west trade show and sale going all three days too. This wonderful fundraiser benefits individuals or families in the area who need financial assistance. It’s a wonderful event, lots of fun, and believe you me, Hulett knows all about how to have fun!
We need to keep up the pressure on our reps in Washington, DC. There are amendments on both the House and Senate bills that would prevent horse slaughter. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted for Senator Landrieu’s (D-Louisiana) slaughter ban as Amendment to the Ag. Appropriations Bill FY14. This bill would also prevent the transport of horses for slaughter, so they couldn’t even be shipped out of the country as they are now. Apparently the committee hadn’t bothered to read the G.A.O. report on the necessity of returning humane slaughter to the U.S. This Senator Landrieu is hand in glove with HSUS and shows other signs of intelligent life by stating on the senate floor that South Dakota was on the Canadian border during the immigration debates.
Anyway, the campaign to return the horse industry to a viable enterprise is a long and costly on for those in D.C. fighting for all of us and all of livestock production (don’t think for a minute that the cattle, sheep and hog industries won’t be targeted next if they win this). The United Horsemen is one of the groups that are there pushing for the return of horse slaughter and it’s costing plenty, so a renewal of membership ($20), a new membership ($25) or a donation would be a great way to help them keep up the fight. You can find them on Facebook, or on the internet at http://www.united-horsemen.org, or mail it the old fashioned way to United Horsemen, Box 454, Hermiston, OR 97838.
Gina Jesperson, Hemingford, Neb., is the 2014 Miss Rodeo Nebraska. She is 23 and a student at Black Hills State University where she’ll graduate in December with an elementary education degree. Congrats, Gina.
Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., barrel racer, has shot up the rankings to third place in the WNFR standings. Jane Melby, Backus, Minn., is seventh and Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb., is eleventh. There’s so much money to be won over the “Cowboy Christmas” run over the 4th of July that these rankings can change pretty fast.
Well, you folks have a safe and fun 4th and I’ll probably report on some of the great action that took place in next week’s column. Send me your news and suchlike and I’ll share it here.
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The road has been long, but saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell hasn’t lost his passion for rodeoing.