Rodeo wrecks, champs and racing | TSLN.com

Rodeo wrecks, champs and racing

For the Aug. 15, 2009 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

Many of you watched the dangerous dance of death performed by a cowboy, a horse and a roping calf in the Days of ’76 arena in Deadwood, SD during their recent pro rodeo. Zane Marty, from my home town of Newcastle, WY, had the misfortune of getting his foot and leg entangled in the calf rope and neck rope as he started to dismount after catching his calf during tie down roping competition. Thankfully the stirrup and stirrup leather was also bound in the ropes, which provided some stability and may have kept the leg bone from snapping with the stress of the prolonged wreck.

Eventually many cowboys who were in the arena came to the rescue and were finally able to cut the rope freeing the calf, then finish untangling Zane; who walked away with apparently not even a rip in his shirt or pants. Undoubtedly he carried plenty of bruises and felt like he’d been run over by a Mac truck, but it was quite amazing to observe the way his good Palomino horse managed to avoid stepping on him enough to cause deadly or major injury throughout the melee. There were times Zane’s head was between the horse’s hind feet… times all areas of his body were at high risk.

An amazing photographer was zeroed in on the action and just kept clicking. Many, many frames of the incident have been circulating on the internet, and everyone who watches is left breathless with the realization of what a potential tragedy was averted. Zane is one tough cowboy, and that is one good horse. No doubt it’ll take some time to de-program him.

I truly hope this unfortunate incident and the resulting photos will help aspiring young ropers be aware of the dangers and the potential for injury that exists every time even a practice run is made – not to be afraid but to be constantly watchful, careful and aware of all factors. And for heaven’s sake, always carry a sharp knife that’s easily accessible!

Speakin’ of young cowboys, a lot of Tri-State Country youth have done well at the recent Wrangler Junior High Division National Finals. One champion is Cameron Irwin out of Buffalo, WY, a very popular youngster who had relatives from ND, MT, AZ, and WY in his fan base at the Finals as he carried off the boy’s Goat Tying championship. Having won the Wyoming finals in goat tying, breakaway and ribbon roping, Cameron competed in three events in New Mexico. He credits his dad Arnie Irwin, former national high school champ, along with his uncle Rory Brown and friends Dave Belus and Jerry Kaufman as being his best mentors.

Riley Wakefield from O’Neil, NE is another cowboy we want’a congratulate for a good showing at the Wrangler Junior High Finals, where he finished among the top 10 in breakaway roping, at age 13. Riley’s been rodeoing since he was four, and says his dad Jim is his chief mentor, but he’s fortunate to have a whole raft of cowboy advisors, including multiple Linderman Award father/son winners Chip and Kyle Whittaker. Coming up a 7th grader, Riley’s gone to roping schools with Joe Beaver and Troy Pruitt, and competes in some 25 rodeos each summer. So we tip our ol Tri-State Stetson to those guys and the many other cowboys and cowgirls who did so well in junior high rodeo this year.

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We were really pleased to hear that young Tab Hildreth of Gunnison earned the Colorado High School saddle bronc crown and represented his state at National. My cowboy lived next to Tab’s folks, Tracy and Thelma Hildreth, in Kansas when their girls were born. That was a while ago – Tabitha is now 23, Tahnee is 21 and Torrie is 19. Tab’s the youngest, at 17, so he should have plenty of help putting stock in the chutes when he wants to practice. We visited with Tab on the phone, and disappointment hung heavy in his voice as he said he “didn’t do any good” at the National Finals, drawing horses that bucked him off both rounds – but he’s looking forward to next year! Along with riding broncs Tab bulldogs well enough to have qualified for the National finals in that event, too. When he’s not rodeoing, Tab enjoys working on the Moncrief Ranch where Tracy is foreman, managing some 500 pairs and a couple thousand yearlings in the beautiful high country of Colorado. Better luck next year, Tab!

Have you been wondering where Mine That Bird has gone since placing 1, 2, and 3 in the Triple Crown races? He went to West Virginia.

Jockey Calvin Borel was pulled off him when trainer Chip Wooley insisted on a rider committed to ride him throughout the season and in the November Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. So, Mike Smith was in the irons for the Grade 2, $750,000, 1 1/8 mile West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track on Aug. 1. The day before the race the horses galloped on a sloppy track and Wooley said there was some “second guessing” of the Derby, since the Mountaineer track “has been so fast.”

Wooley said Big Drama could be tough to catch if past performances are any indication. “He may get a chance to steal an easy lead,” Woolley said. “This race is going to be a test to say the least. There’s not a horse in the race that has the speed to put pressure on Big Drama.”

Big Drama did grab the lead on the field of six 3-year-old’s early, and held it; sometimes at 10 lengths ahead of Mine That Bird. He led until the very end of the race, when Mine That Bird got up to 2nd at one point; then the 23-1 rated Steve Asmussen-trained Soul Warrior slid by everyone in the nick of time to win by a head. As a late pickup mount for jockey Dave Beckner, Soul Warrior made unexpected money for a lot of people with his 1:51.46 run, paying $48 to win. Big Drama finished 2nd with Mine That Bird in a photo for 3rd.

Soul Warrior and Big Drama did have 11 pound weight breaks on Mine That Bird; and Chip Wooley is happy with the gelding’s recent performance at Saratoga Race Course where he’s being prepped for the $1 million Grade 1 Shadwell Travers. On Aug. 10 he sped a half mile over the main track in :48.22, and will probably work twice more before the 1¼-mile “Mid-Summer Derby”, which will be run Saturday, Aug. 29. Wooley says the works will most likely come on Monday, Aug. 17, and again on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

“Mine That Bird was a little too fresh going into the West Virginia race,” the trainer said. “He didn’t get his best trip… In all the races he’s been beat in, he’s been beaten by an early move. We’ve talked several times, and Mike [Smith] sees now what it takes for this horse to be at his very best. These races at a mile and a quarter give you the opportunity to set up on a horse.”

So, we wish him well and will report to you the end of the month. For now, we’re plumb at the end of our ol’ lariat rope…

Many of you watched the dangerous dance of death performed by a cowboy, a horse and a roping calf in the Days of ’76 arena in Deadwood, SD during their recent pro rodeo. Zane Marty, from my home town of Newcastle, WY, had the misfortune of getting his foot and leg entangled in the calf rope and neck rope as he started to dismount after catching his calf during tie down roping competition. Thankfully the stirrup and stirrup leather was also bound in the ropes, which provided some stability and may have kept the leg bone from snapping with the stress of the prolonged wreck.

Eventually many cowboys who were in the arena came to the rescue and were finally able to cut the rope freeing the calf, then finish untangling Zane; who walked away with apparently not even a rip in his shirt or pants. Undoubtedly he carried plenty of bruises and felt like he’d been run over by a Mac truck, but it was quite amazing to observe the way his good Palomino horse managed to avoid stepping on him enough to cause deadly or major injury throughout the melee. There were times Zane’s head was between the horse’s hind feet… times all areas of his body were at high risk.

An amazing photographer was zeroed in on the action and just kept clicking. Many, many frames of the incident have been circulating on the internet, and everyone who watches is left breathless with the realization of what a potential tragedy was averted. Zane is one tough cowboy, and that is one good horse. No doubt it’ll take some time to de-program him.

I truly hope this unfortunate incident and the resulting photos will help aspiring young ropers be aware of the dangers and the potential for injury that exists every time even a practice run is made – not to be afraid but to be constantly watchful, careful and aware of all factors. And for heaven’s sake, always carry a sharp knife that’s easily accessible!

Speakin’ of young cowboys, a lot of Tri-State Country youth have done well at the recent Wrangler Junior High Division National Finals. One champion is Cameron Irwin out of Buffalo, WY, a very popular youngster who had relatives from ND, MT, AZ, and WY in his fan base at the Finals as he carried off the boy’s Goat Tying championship. Having won the Wyoming finals in goat tying, breakaway and ribbon roping, Cameron competed in three events in New Mexico. He credits his dad Arnie Irwin, former national high school champ, along with his uncle Rory Brown and friends Dave Belus and Jerry Kaufman as being his best mentors.

Riley Wakefield from O’Neil, NE is another cowboy we want’a congratulate for a good showing at the Wrangler Junior High Finals, where he finished among the top 10 in breakaway roping, at age 13. Riley’s been rodeoing since he was four, and says his dad Jim is his chief mentor, but he’s fortunate to have a whole raft of cowboy advisors, including multiple Linderman Award father/son winners Chip and Kyle Whittaker. Coming up a 7th grader, Riley’s gone to roping schools with Joe Beaver and Troy Pruitt, and competes in some 25 rodeos each summer. So we tip our ol Tri-State Stetson to those guys and the many other cowboys and cowgirls who did so well in junior high rodeo this year.

We were really pleased to hear that young Tab Hildreth of Gunnison earned the Colorado High School saddle bronc crown and represented his state at National. My cowboy lived next to Tab’s folks, Tracy and Thelma Hildreth, in Kansas when their girls were born. That was a while ago – Tabitha is now 23, Tahnee is 21 and Torrie is 19. Tab’s the youngest, at 17, so he should have plenty of help putting stock in the chutes when he wants to practice. We visited with Tab on the phone, and disappointment hung heavy in his voice as he said he “didn’t do any good” at the National Finals, drawing horses that bucked him off both rounds – but he’s looking forward to next year! Along with riding broncs Tab bulldogs well enough to have qualified for the National finals in that event, too. When he’s not rodeoing, Tab enjoys working on the Moncrief Ranch where Tracy is foreman, managing some 500 pairs and a couple thousand yearlings in the beautiful high country of Colorado. Better luck next year, Tab!

Have you been wondering where Mine That Bird has gone since placing 1, 2, and 3 in the Triple Crown races? He went to West Virginia.

Jockey Calvin Borel was pulled off him when trainer Chip Wooley insisted on a rider committed to ride him throughout the season and in the November Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. So, Mike Smith was in the irons for the Grade 2, $750,000, 1 1/8 mile West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track on Aug. 1. The day before the race the horses galloped on a sloppy track and Wooley said there was some “second guessing” of the Derby, since the Mountaineer track “has been so fast.”

Wooley said Big Drama could be tough to catch if past performances are any indication. “He may get a chance to steal an easy lead,” Woolley said. “This race is going to be a test to say the least. There’s not a horse in the race that has the speed to put pressure on Big Drama.”

Big Drama did grab the lead on the field of six 3-year-old’s early, and held it; sometimes at 10 lengths ahead of Mine That Bird. He led until the very end of the race, when Mine That Bird got up to 2nd at one point; then the 23-1 rated Steve Asmussen-trained Soul Warrior slid by everyone in the nick of time to win by a head. As a late pickup mount for jockey Dave Beckner, Soul Warrior made unexpected money for a lot of people with his 1:51.46 run, paying $48 to win. Big Drama finished 2nd with Mine That Bird in a photo for 3rd.

Soul Warrior and Big Drama did have 11 pound weight breaks on Mine That Bird; and Chip Wooley is happy with the gelding’s recent performance at Saratoga Race Course where he’s being prepped for the $1 million Grade 1 Shadwell Travers. On Aug. 10 he sped a half mile over the main track in :48.22, and will probably work twice more before the 1¼-mile “Mid-Summer Derby”, which will be run Saturday, Aug. 29. Wooley says the works will most likely come on Monday, Aug. 17, and again on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

“Mine That Bird was a little too fresh going into the West Virginia race,” the trainer said. “He didn’t get his best trip… In all the races he’s been beat in, he’s been beaten by an early move. We’ve talked several times, and Mike [Smith] sees now what it takes for this horse to be at his very best. These races at a mile and a quarter give you the opportunity to set up on a horse.”

So, we wish him well and will report to you the end of the month. For now, we’re plumb at the end of our ol’ lariat rope…