The Outside Circle: Miss Rodeo America, WNFR notes, tough bullfighters, Faith and big kitties |

The Outside Circle: Miss Rodeo America, WNFR notes, tough bullfighters, Faith and big kitties

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) will be over by the time you read this, with World Champions named in all the events and all the money tallied for the season. So, it puts me in limbo, because as I write this, the finals are only half over.

Miss Rodeo America is a South Dakota lady! McKenzie Haley, 23, is from Winner, SD, and is a student at Black Hills State University. Crowned at the WNFR, McKenzie also took honors in appearance, personality, photogenic and speech categories. This talented, smart young woman won a bunch of great prizes, plus a $25,000 scholarship. She can expect to travel over 100,000 miles and attend about 100 rodeos in 2011.

There have been three previous South Dakotans win the Miss Rodeo America title. The most recent was Leslie (Patten) White, then of Belle Fourche, in 1985. In 1982, Donna Keffeler, from way out east of Sturgis, was the honored one. Pat (Koren) Sanmartin was crowned in 1965.

I want to tell you a little more about Lisa Lockhart’s horse that has run so phenomenally at the finals. She’s been riding Louie (An Okie With Cash) and he’s actually her back-up horse! The 2003 buckskin gelding is sired by Biebers Okie, who is a grandson of Doc’s Lynx and Doc’s Oak, both outstanding sons of Doc Bar. His dam came from pure running stock as she’s by the Dash For Cash son Judge Cash (speed index 110) and out of a Mr Kaweah Jet mare. Quite the combo of cowhorses and racehorses and it sure works well. Of course, having a great hand like Lisa in the driver’s seat sure didn’t hurt either.

Sherry Cervi’s been riding her homebred palomino mare, Stingray, and has surpassed WPRA career record earnings of $2 million during the finals. Her 2002 mare has South Dakota roots as her sire, PC Frenchmans Hayday, is a Cowan-bred full-brother to the great barrel horse Bozo. Incidentally, he’s also run at the WNFR several times and is a backup horse for Sherry at this one as well.

The bullfighters at the Finals sure took a beating this year. Several different bullriders got caught in their bull ropes and in the process of getting them loose, the bullfighters and bullrider all got the whey tromped out of them. The barrelman even got into the fray to help. (Whatever they are paying those guys, it’s not enough!) Those great bullfighters were Darrel Diefenbach, Azle, TX, Dusty Tuckness, Meeteetsee, WY, and Kenny Bergeron, Iola, LA. Barrel man was Robbie Hodges, Cedartown, GA. If not for the protective gear those guys wear, I’m afraid they would have been badly injured, or worse.

As it is, I imagine they are black and blue and skinned up over a whole lot of their bodies and glad that the Finals are over so they can take a break and get healed up.

Our Northern Plains region was well represented by more than just the contestants at the finals. The rodeo personnel included Officials Tom Miller, Red Owl, SD and Marty Jandreau, Kennebec, SD. Timers included Roberta Sankey, Joliet, MT and Kathy McCloy, Ottumwa, IA. Pickup men were Gary Rempel, Ft. Shaw, MT, and Chase Cervi, Roggen, CO. Jerry Wayne Olson, Auburn, NE was one of the contract acts.

One of the great rodeos and celebrations in the region won the South Dakota Rodeo Association (SDRA) Rodeo of the Year. Faith Stock Show and Rodeo is a great place to be in early August and I’m so happy for them to be honored by the SDRA in this way.

Faith, SD is one of those really great communities that pulls together for everything that happens there, whether school, rodeo, county fair, or what have you. I’d like to ask a favor of you readers out there. Faith needs a new school in the worst way. Their old school building was condemned and the kids go to school in a collection of mobile units. They have to cross a busy street (well, busy for Faith anyway, though not exactly the LA Freeway) to get to some of the school functions. The Pepsi company has a contest going on right now to see how many will vote for a particular organization or group. There’s a $250,000 prize at stake. The Faith School is one of the contestants. All you have to do is get online and go to, and vote for Faith, SD.

One of the other organizations vying for the $250,000 is, get this, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) Yes, you read that right, the multi-million dollar counterfeit HSUS thinks they need that money too. So, let’s keep them from getting it! Get online and vote for Faith! You can vote once every day until the contest ends, so keep voting, too. It’s for such a good cause.

A sobering thing happened in the Black Hills near Johnson Siding this past weekend. Two ponies were killed by a mountain lion (or lions) in a pen next to the owner’s residence. A third pony was also injured but survived. The owners, Susan Goodwin and her daughter, Kim, are keeping that pony in their garage and doctoring it. A lion returned to the scene the next night and was killed by a State Wildlife Officer. It was a two-year-old male that weighed 108 pounds. Goodwin has changed her previously “don’t kill mountain lions” stance since this happened, and now sees that some of them have to be destroyed if they become a problem. So sad that she had to go through this experience though. Sadder for those ponies.

If you’re interested in getting in the Slot Barrel Race at the Event Center during the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS) and Rodeo on Feb. 4, you need to be getting your name in the hat. It’s limited to 75 runs with a 4D format. You can contact Jill Swanhorst at the BHSS office by calling 605-355-3861. This is a pretty slick way to promote your business, a stallion, or a ranch, plus have fun and potentially make some money. Great watching, too!

The Queen of the Thoroughbreds has been retired. Zenyetta made appearances before huge crowds at Hollywood Park in California and then Keeneland in Kentucky for the retirement ceremonies. The beautiful mare captivated the onlookers with her regal bearing and customary dance. She will be making her home at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky and is slated for broodmare duty next. The stallion hasn’t been determined yet, but with the fabulous lineup at Lane’s End, including A.P. Indy and Curlin, it shouldn’t be hard to find a worthy match. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Hopefully, the title of Horse of the Year will be added to her resume in January.

That’s our circle for this week. Send me your news items!