Doin’ us proud |

Doin’ us proud

Our Tri-State Country cowboys and cowgirls have been doin’ us proud at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – with the 6th round finished as I write this column. Colorado’s Royce Ford, Nebraska’s Dean Gorsuch (who accomplished a superhuman feat in Round 6!), North Dakota’s Shaun Stroh and Dusty Hausauer, South Dakota’s Jill Moody and Billy Etbauer and Wyoming’s Bobby Welsh have all racked up some go-’round wins, and others are sitting well in average contention as the second half of the NFR unfolds. We wish each of them much good fortune through the end of the action in Las Vegas this weekend! In our next issue you’ll be reading all about the newly-crowned champions.

Speakin’ of “newly crowned,” that’s exactly the situation Maegan Ridley of Alta Loma, CA is in – “newly crowned” as the 54th Miss Rodeo America – and that Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold crown looks good on her hat! The statuesque blonde cowgirl looks forward to seeing all aspects or rodeo while traveling some 100,000 miles as MRA 2009.

“Life doesn’t always stand tied at the hitching post, sometimes you have to get a lope after it,” Ridley said.

Talk about Tri-State cowgirls doin’ us proud – we can’t wait to tip our ol’ Tri-State Stetson to Miss Rodeo Wyoming Stacy Jo Johnson who finished First Runner-Up in the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, along with winning the Speech, Congeniality and Personality divisions; to Miss Rodeo South Dakota Tara Trask who finished Second Runner-Up and second in Scrapbook Awards; and to Miss Rodeo Colorado Megan Grieve who is Third Runner-Up. Miss Rodeo Nebraska Kristen Schott and Miss Rodeo Minnesota Dayna Iverson were also among the Top-10 Finalists in MRS competition, and we’re truly proud of them all.

In a new MRA Pageant feature this year, the public was able to text vote for a “People’s Choice” winner. Miss Rodeo Texas Avery Gonzales was the winner, receiving a Montana Silversmith First Class sculpture.

Another son of Tri-State Country who’s much loved as a longtime rodeo announcer and host of a great live radio talk show, Jim Thompson, is takin’ bows in Las Vegas this week. Jim’s pickin’ up the John Justin Committeeman of the Year Award for his more than 20 years of work with the Deke Latham Memorial Rodeo in Kaycee, WY. No accolade could make him more special to us than he already is, but we’re still happy to tip the ol’ Tri-State Stetson to Jim for yet another fine honor, being selected from some 100 nationwide nominees.

Along with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Las Vegas is hosting Thunder Equigames at the South Point Casino. Touted as “a multi-faceted eight-day celebration of the Western lifestyle,” a variety of equestrian events are taking place there. Greg Kesler’s Double Dollar Ranch and guest consignors held a versatility, barrel and rope horse sale. The World Series of Team Roping (paying more than $3 million) and the Speed Williams Invitational Match Roping are also happening; along with mounted shooting, barrel racing and a freestyle bullfight.

“All the top ropers in the world are there for 10 days at the NFR,” Speed Williams said. “They’ll come over to the South Point where fans can see them in head-to-head matches. It will be a great way to cap off the Equigames. We couldn’t pick a more ideal time or place.”

I’m sure some of you are unhappy with me for not providin’ many great holiday shoppin’ tips, so get ready, ’cause here we go…

Shade trees have never abounded around roping arenas, so if you’re still workin’ on that Christmas list and there’s any rodeo wives on it, you couldn’t go wrong with a “Gooseneck Shade.” It’s a big patio umbrella rigged to fit the turnover ball hitch in the back of a pickup. The umbrella is secured, turning the bed of the pickup into a shady place for lawn chair observations of arena events. Made in Arizona, the product can be accessed by calling (520) 424-3417 or emailing

If there’s cowboy kids on your Christmas list, surprise them with tough toys that fit their lifestyle from The Happy Toy Maker at Happy, TX. These wire-welded 3/8″ solid rod corrals and loading chute can be set up to suit the little rancher’s needs and desires for portable pens, roping arenas or feed yard. Accessories include a trailer to haul panels, semi trucks, pickups, stock trailers, even a rough stock chute and return alley for the arena. Names, brands and short messages can be added to the loading chute to personalize the setup. Dad’s may be a little hard to get out of the house for a few days after the kids open these presents ’cause they’re bound to feel their advice and expertise are needed in settin’ things up, but the new will wear off by and by. Anyhow, check ’em out at; or contact maker Jerry Sims at (806)433-2123.

For the cowboys on that gift list, how about a pair of classy custom spurs? You’ll find some great buys at This talented older couple, Virginia and Pete Bennett, turn out a dandy product, in a variety of eye-pleasing, functional styles.

And of course, there’s nothing like a book, to give or receive. In case you’ve missed the ad elsewhere in this publication, LOFT Enterprises – dedicated to the preservation of the history and romance of the American West through the writing, producing, publishing and marketing of high quality, easy-to-read books – is running a holiday special on the horse history classics King P-234 and Spotted Pride (available in both hard cover and soft cover), and the Walter Merrick story Wire to Wire, available in soft cover only. Each is 11 x 8 inches in size, contains from 224 to 288 pages and features from 223 to 311 rare historical photos. They’ll be signed by author Frank Holmes, a horseman and breeder of great horses who’s been writing about great horses and their people for over four decades. There’s a nice discount for more than one book, and you can learn more from 785-598-2368;; Fax: 785-598-2507; or

Looks like we’ve come plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope for another time… an’ again, there’s no Christmas tree in the end of it! Guess it’s about time we ought’a fix that…

email rhonda at

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