The Outside Circle: A great cowboy has passed, NRCA/SDRA rodeo, clinics and fundraisers |

The Outside Circle: A great cowboy has passed, NRCA/SDRA rodeo, clinics and fundraisers

There’s a lot of country to cover, so let’s hit a lope. I think if we stay up on the ridges the mud shouldn’t be too bad.

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this tonight. A man I’ve known and admired my whole life and who has been a dear friend of my Dad’s since 1949, passed away this week. Dale Richards, Newell, SD, grew up on Willow Creek northeast of Newell. A cowboy, rancher, horseman and best neighbor in the whole world describe him to a “T.” My Dad always said that he would rather run horses with Dale than with any man he ever rode with. In the early years after my folks moved here (in 1949), it was open range country and the ranchers rode a lot to keep their stock where it belonged. After it was all fenced, Dad and Dale shared fence lines and the Jug Creek watergap. Dad was always hard pressed to get to the watergap ahead of Dale after a flood and sometimes suspected that Dale slept there just to get there first. He did more work before 10 a.m. than anyone in the country and would have a full day’s work in by noon.

Besides raising a family and running cattle, Dale was an early breeder of Paint horses and had the grand old foundation sire Kingfisher. I remember as a girl seeing dust at the Richards Corrals north of our place and knowing that Dale was working his horses. I’d finish up my bog lines and go up there and watch. He always visited with me and I just loved watching all the mares, colts and the studs in those corrals.

Dale was a soft spoken man, always a gentleman, never swore around us ladies, and had the greatest, slow talking humor I’ve ever known. He could say something quite ordinary and just tickle you with the delivery. He used to stop by and just visit a while and always made us laugh until we had tears running down our cheeks. His old blue pickup would go by the place really slow and I know it was because he was looking at whatever horses we had in the corral or at the mares in the pasture by the road. He really loved horses and spent most of his life astraddle one. I think Spotted Eagle was the name of his last horse and he was kind of an old timer too, so they got along great.

Dale leaves behind his wife Noreen, son Monte, Vale, SD, daughter Rhonda and Randy Vallery, Nisland, SD, and son Rick and Debbie, Newell, SD. He was a very proud Grandpa as well. He will sure be missed. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore.

The N.I.R.A. Alumni committee is still looking alumni to invite them to the big shindig they are having in their honor during the college finals in Casper June 17-18. Team roping champs from the Tri-State area are: 1992 Seth Weishaar; 2001 Logan Oleson, Flandreau, SD; 2004 Dustin Forre, Newman Grove, IA, and his partner Chad Day, Fonanelle, IA; 2007 Cody Tew (header), Harlowton, MT; and 2007 Matt Robertson (heeler), Augusta, MT. In 2007 they started giving points specifically for headers or heelers. These ropers need to get ahold of Sylvia Mahoney at 940-357-1269.

National Champion team ropers from our area include 1975 Bill Parker, Huntley, MT and his partner Phil Lumen, Forsyth, MT. That was the first year that team roping became a standard event at all the rodeos. Paul Griemsman, Piedmont, SD was champ in 1995, and partners Dustin Forre and Chad Day in 2004.

The NIRA Alumni president Butch Bratsky, Billings, MT, was the 1974 NIRA National Champion Bull Rider, then went on to be the president of Stockman Bank for 15 years and is now working for the Bank Holding Company. He’s proof positive that the college rodeo/education system works. Many contestants get their degrees because they want to rodeo. One of the goals of the Alumni is to raise money for rodeo scholarships.

There’s a NRCA/SDRA Rodeo March 25-26 at the Pennington County Event Center, Rapid City, SD. The 7 p.m. performances will feature the excellent Wilson Rodeos and Lance Lesmeister Stock. What a great kickoff for the season.

Some of the Leachman horses are going to finally be gathered. The BIA has been given the authority to gather the horses off of Tribal Lands and they will then be auctioned off March 25. Many of them are unbranded and I doubt there will be any papers to go with the good horses, but what an opportunity to get ahold of some fine ranch bred horses. It’s estimated that there are over 500 horses on Tribal Lands. Leachman, by law, could still gather them before the BIA, but it’s doubtful that will happen. If he claims them after they are gathered it would cost him the $45,000 that Crow Agency has the contract for. His jury trial is June 3.

There will be a fundraiser for the Spearfish High School Rodeo club on Friday, March 25 at the Seven Down Arena, Spearfish, SD. Enter at 5:30 and start at 6 p.m. for goat tying, breakaway, and tie-down roping. There’s something for all ages and levels and a person can enter on multiple horses too. There’s an interesting “handicapping” system on the times to level the playing field. Call 605-641-4957 or 307-660-1000, or e-mail for more information.

There will be a Rickey Green Team Roping clinic, limited to 11 headers, 11 heelers on April 9-10 at the Circle T Arena, Hermosa, SD. It’s $400 with a $200 deposit. Call Jim Tiltrum at 605-209-8064.

Also at the Circle T, with the same contact person, is a Brent Lewis clinic with breakaway May 23, tie-down roping May 21-22, and advanced tie-down roping May 24-25. There’s room for 16 breakaway and 12 tie-down ropers in each division.

There’s the A.J. Franzen Memorial Team Roping April 23 at J & A Indoor Arena at Glendive, MT. Enter at 1 p.m. and rope at 2. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to A.J.’s children’s college fund. Call Ron Paschke at 406-951-3011.

Congrats to Beau Franzen, Sidney, MT, for winning third place at the 27th Annual Lazy E Arena Timed Event Championship at Guthrie, OK, on March 4-6. That’s quite an accomplishment! Won a tidy little check for $15,000, too, so that should pay for some diesel going down the rodeo road.

Well, that’s the circle for this week. I had more country to cover, but that’s all the “horse” I have. I’ll finish riding out that corner next week.

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