News & Notes from the rodeo trail
The Wrangler Network will be live streaming rodeo action from Jackson, Miss., Feb. 16-17. Live coverage of the final two performances of the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo will start at 7:30 p.m. (CT) both nights. Fans can watch by going to http://www.wranglernetwork.com
Bull rider Eddie Rawdon, who qualified for the 1980 National Finals Rodeo and was the 1981 Texas Circuit year-end champion, died of heart failure Dec. 16 in Grapevine, Texas. He was 57. Rawdon knew he wanted to be a bull rider from the age of 6 and never lost his love of testing himself against the rankest bucking bulls, often traveling to 150 rodeos in a year. “I wish money wasn’t such a big factor in the sport,” he once told the ProRodeo Sports News, “because I’d just as soon not ride for the money and have the challenge of the beast.” He turned pro at 15 and performed at the highest level of the sport for a dozen years when not struck down by injuries that included a leg broken in 13 places, a knee cut by a spur that required 100 stitches and a slipped disc that took two years to overcome. The year he qualified for the NFR in Oklahoma City, he won the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up, the Grand National Rodeo at San Francisco’s Cow Palace, the Roseburg (Ore.) Rodeo and won a round at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.
Thousands of Fort Hood (Texas) soldiers and their families enjoyed a free night Feb. 11 at the 29th Bell County PRCA Rodeo for Military Appreciation Night. The Belton Area Chamber of Commerce and Rodeo Committee gave out more than 2,000 tickets to soldiers and their families from Fort Hood. The rodeo opened with the 1st Calvary Horse Detachment Color Guard, and one of the 1st Calvary soldiers sang the National Anthem.
Two-time WNFR bull rider Reid Barker suffered a bruised left lower rib when he was bucked off Frontier Rodeo Company’s After Shock during his first ride of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Feb. 13. “I don’t know if I got hurt when I was riding or when I got bucked off,” said Barker, 23. “I just leaned too far in on my left side and I got hurt. I’ve been putting ice packs on my ribs as much as possible to try and get healed up fast. I’m just taking things day-by-day, but I will be back for the Xtreme Bulls in San Antonio (Feb. 27).”
The only cowboys who earned multiple rodeo victories this past weekend were tie-down roper Justin Thigpen and bull rider Michael Riggs Jr. Both men took the titles at the Mason ProRodeo Classic in Lakeland, Fla., and then went over to Okeechobee and took the victory lap at the Brighton Field Day Festival & Rodeo.
A bucking horse accomplished a double-dip of wins as well. Bar T Rodeo’s Miss Major carried riders to both the bareback riding and saddle bronc riding titles at the 71st annual Yuma (Ariz.) Jaycees Silver Spur Rodeo. Miss Major helped Cody Kiser to a 79-point ride in bareback riding and Lyle Welling to an 83.5 in saddle bronc riding.
The second installment of the Reno Rodeo’s “Rodeo Idol” contest began Feb. 15. The contest gives community members a chance to sing the National Anthem before one night of the rodeo, which runs June 16-25. The competition finals will be held at Gilley’s inside the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks April 27. During the first phase of the competition, contestants are asked to post videos of themselves singing the National Anthem to the Reno Rodeo Facebook page. These video submissions will be collected Feb. 15 through March 15. From those submissions, the top candidates will be selected and announced on the Reno Rodeo Facebook Page, where they will then enter a public voting phase. The top 10 finalists will then take the stage at Gilley’s April 27 at 8 p.m. for the final round … California Rodeo Salinas began accepting entries Feb. 16 for the Miss California Rodeo Salinas contest. The deadline for entering is May 9. Full contest details and a digital application can be found at http://www.carodeo.com/p/about-us/mcrs/mcrs2016info.
A four-year study by Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, has shown the economic impact the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has on the city. In 2015, the 18-day event had an estimated cumulative impact on the city of San Antonio of $252,816,879. The study includes the impact of patrons, exhibitors and volunteers for the rodeo, and also takes into account the number of visitors who travel from outside the city to attend the rodeo and all the activities associated with it.
Hood River Distilleries has announced the release of limited-edition bottles of Pendleton Whisky with new 2016 belt buckles designed by Montana Silversmiths on the lid. The belt-buckle bottles started in 2010, and have since become collector’s items for whisky and rodeo enthusiasts. The 2016 buckle features a rectangle shape with the Pendleton Round-Up “Let’er Buck” slogan, red bucking horse symbol and year stamp in gold detailing. Nearly 7,360 belt buckles will be available nationwide.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Someday, when rodeo people look back at what I’ve done, I’d like them to say these things: that I rode tough; that I could ride with pain and courage; that I was a fierce competitor in the arena, but a quiet, respectable man outside the gate. I just want to be remembered as a cowboy. That probably says it all.”
-The late five-time World Champion Lewis Feild
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Nebraska’s Big Rodeo put Burwell on the map, and now in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.