News & notes from the rodeo trail
The state of Colorado could contribute $250 million toward a new National Western Complex in Denver under a bipartisan bill highlighted by state legislators April 13. The bill would allow the state to raise up to $250 million through lease-purchase agreements to fund new Colorado State University buildings at the National Western site near Interstate 70 north of downtown. Proposed are an equine sports medicine clinic, a veterinary clinic, classrooms, laboratories and more.
A silent auction will be held at the Nothin’ But Try Steer Wrestling event in Coleman, Okla., May 9 with the proceeds going to help Julie Mankin, a rodeo publicist and writer who worked at the PRCA from 1998-2001 as public relations coordinator. Mankin was involved in a serious car accident March 24 near her home in Fairfield, Texas. She underwent surgery to repair facial lacerations on March 25, and had another surgery March 27 to fuse three fractured vertebrae in her neck. She is expected to make a full recovery. To donate items for Mankin, contact Susan Kanode at 817.307.6336.
ProRodeo Hall of Famer Cotton Rosser was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners in Oklahoma City April 19. Rosser, 86, joined the likes of former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt in the hall. The Hall of Great Westerners recognizes those who have lived and encouraged the Western lifestyle. The ceremony was hosted by Patrick and Ethan Wayne, the sons of late actor John Wayne.
Lonnie Bergeron, a former steer wrestler, bull rider, bareback rider and team roper, passed away April 9 in Gainesville, Fla. He was 72. Bergeron was a retired Broward County road building company executive.
Ron Long, a former president of the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup, and member of the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, passed away March 16 in Hutchinson. He was 90.
KC Baine Longbrake, a PRCA saddle bronc rider, and nephew to NFR saddle bronc rider Bud Longbrake, passed away April 11. He was 24.
The St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo was the recipient of the Gene Leo Memorial Award, given by the Oregon Tourism Commission as part of their 2014 Travel and Tourism Industry Achievement Awards. The award recognizes an outstanding contribution for a tourism-related activity or attraction focused on Oregon’s natural beauty or outdoor recreation. The rodeo’s board of directors were on hand in Eugene, Ore., at the Tourism Commission’s annual awards ceremony April 12 to receive the award. This year’s St. Paul Rodeo is June 30 through July 4, with the parade July 4 at 10 a.m..
Jim Olson, owner of Western Trading Post in Casa Grande, Ariz., recently purchased the saddle won by Earl Thode during the World Series Rodeo at Madison Square Garden in 1929. Thode earned the saddle for being the first-ever recognized all-around world champion. Thode, a saddle bronc rider and steer wrestler originally from South Dakota, won the rodeo when he was 28 years old. Thode eventually moved to Casa Grande and died in 1964. The saddle somehow made its way to a saddle collector in Bristol, Tenn., until Olson – a collector of rodeo memorabilia – purchased it. “I just thought it was neat, the fact that he was the first recognized world champion all-around cowboy and that he was a local hero,” Olson said.
Reba McEntire’s new album “Love Someone,” being reviewed as among the best work of her career, includes the emotional ballad “Just Like Them Horses,” a tribute to her late father, three-time World Champion Steer Roping Champion Clark McEntire, written by Reba’s friends Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James.
According to Rusty Davis, the president of the Walker County Fair Association, the livestock auctions which accompanied the (April 3-4) Walker County Fair & Rodeo in Huntsville, Texas, raised $753,000. Davis said that number does not count the money made on admissions to the fair or rodeo, and the total amount earned is said to be about $1 million. “That’s better than we’ve ever done in 37 years. This is the best (fair and rodeo) we’ve ever had,” Davis said.
The Clovis (Calif.) Rodeo Association has teamed with Rodeo Education and Character (REACh) – a nationwide program – to bring rodeo education to Clovis area schools. The program’s main messages include educating school children on rodeo events and teaching them to “be an independent person, like a cowboy.” “Kids in general are the future of our sport,” said Clovis Rodeo Association President Greg Gillard. “This is my first exposure to this program, and I am hearing rave reviews about it. It’s not just about rodeo, it’s life lessons. Reaching kids at this age is investing in our future.”.
The 2015 Clark County Fair in Logandale, Nev. – including the rodeo – had the second-highest official attendance since 1986 at 82,796.