News & Notes from the rodeo trail
Barrel racer Lara Dewees of Dade City, Fla., died Feb. 28, one day before her 28th birthday, as a result of injuries sustained after her run at the Feb. 19-20 Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo in Hattiesburg, Miss. Dewees lost control of the reins, and was eventually thrown from the horse. She was transported to Forrest General Hospital, where she remained in a coma until passing away. A Go Fund Me account has been set up on her behalf to help her family with expenses. It can be accessed at http://www.gofundme.com/jtr7582s.
Dennis Gee, a PRCA Gold Card member and father of 1999 World Champion Steer Wrestler Mickey Gee, passed away Feb. 26, in Dean, Texas. He was 67. Gee rodeoed professionally for more than 30 years, becoming one of the most respected hazers and horse trainers in the business. Funeral serviceswill take place at 2 p.m. March 1 in the arena of the Henrietta Cowboy Church.
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo made substantial donations to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame during the rodeo performance on Feb. 25. A check for $40,000 was presented to Cindy Schonholtz, president and CEO of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, and a $25,000 check was presented to Kent Sturman, executive director of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. The donations represent money raised at the Cowboy Golf Classic organized by a volunteer committee to support the rodeo charities.
Erich Rogers, a team roping header and four-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2011-15), will likely be out at least a month while he recovers from a right thumb injury. Rogers was competing at an unsanctioned rodeo Feb. 21 when the injury occurred. “I burned my thumb to the bone and severed an artery. They went ahead and did surgery and told me to lay up for about three or four weeks,” Rogers said. “I’m hoping I can return at Kissimmee (Fla.) for the Circuit Finals.” The RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo takes place April 7-10 in Kissimmee.
Plans for the new Mosaic Arena in Arcadia, Fla., were unveiled recently as part of opening ceremonies for the 87th annual Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, which runs March 10-13. The new $6 million arena will be made possible thanks to a $3 million grant from The Mosaic Company Foundation, as well as support from other major donors and members of the local community. The new 8,593-seat Mosaic Arena will provide increased capacity and functionality for the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, which has been sanctioned by the PRCA since 1973, as well as provide new opportunities to host other community events. The new state-of-the-art facility will attract more participants and spectators to DeSoto County – improving the economic landscape by benefiting local businesses and civic organizations. The construction of the new facility is also expected to have a regional economic impact of more than $9.5 million. Donations for the arena can be made at http://www.arcadiarodeo.com/new-mosaic-arena/.
The Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo board recently elected Andy Andrews to replace retired board member Myron Linder.Andrews initially became involved with the Ellensburg Rodeo by volunteering with the Top Hands and served as president of the rodeo’s lead volunteer group from 2013-15.
Two-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Mel Hyland and Ivan Daines, asix-time Wrangler NFR saddle bronc rider, were both extras in the movie The Revenant. The movie was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning for best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), best director and cinematography. Hyland and Daines’ tasks included riding along in the background, bringing in groups of mules and organizing a herd of 100 horses. Hyland was asked to perform a special role as a grizzled old trapper, and grew a beard for the role.
Rodeo Austin invites the public to attend its Cowboy Breakfast at 6 a.m. March 4 at the Long Center. The free event is hosted by the Rodeo Austin team and Farm Credit. The Texas-sized breakfast will feature about 60 gallons of hot chocolate, more than 5,000 breakfast tacos, more than 300 pounds of sausage and donuts.
Jared Lavergne, a former PRCA bareback rider who qualified for the 2002 WNFR, has been hired as a coach for Louisiana State University of Alexandria. Lavernge was brought on by head coach Chase Hammons, a former PRCA steer wrestler.
The award-winning rodeo documentary Man in the Can has been invited to screen at the Oneota Film Festival in Decorah, Iowa. The free screening, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Noessa Higa, is scheduled for March 5 at 11 a.m. The screening is at Valders Hall on the Luther College Campus, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101. More information can be found at http://www.oneotafilmfestival.org.