The Outside Circle: Too young, Ranching Heritage winners, INFR & NRCA Finals |

The Outside Circle: Too young, Ranching Heritage winners, INFR & NRCA Finals

Jan Swan Wood

We got our calves preconditioned and the cows preg-checked while the weather was nice. I realized this morning that I can’t remember when I heard the last meadowlark. Geese and cranes have taken their place, though it’s their farewell songs, too.

My condolences go out to the family and friends of Quentin Tyrell “Ty” Kraft, Timber Lake/Kadoka, SD. Ty, 20, died as the result of a car accident. He was an accomplished bull rider and was the 2006 NLBRA finals winner and placed third nationally the same year. He’s survived by his son, Reese, his girlfriend, Shelby Livermont, his parents and four siblings, plus a large extended family. It’s always hardest to let go of one so young.

Six American Quarter Horse Youth Association members were recently awarded ranch-bred weanlings donated by Jim and Joni Hunt’s Open Box Rafter Ranch, Faith, SD. This is part of the Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Project offered through AQHA. Youth had to fill out an application and write a 400-word essay to be considered, and winners must present them as yearlings at AQHA Ranching Heritage shows. Winners of the Hunt weanlings are: Jacob Mustard, Lexington, NE; Shaina Brown, Winkler, Manitoba; Jaryd Quintero, Dallesport, WA; Colleen Bridges, Kilgore, TX; Tee Aune, Glasgow, MT; and Sivana Brewer, Stafford, MO.

Chuck and Mary Crago Performance Horses, Belle Fourche, SD, were recently accepted to be part of the Ranching Heritage Breeders program – congratulations to them.

Chuck, Mary and Jade Crago took a hard hit in July when they lost their stallion Ihavepromises Tokeep. Promises, a 1997 sorrel, was by First Down Dash and out of a daughter of What Luck. He had a 94 speed index and was a proven sire of barrel horses and a Stakes sire on the track. He had a great disposition, besides being very correct and beautiful, so was a pleasure to handle.

I didn’t mention Promises death when it happened as the Cragos just weren’t ready to talk about it, but I recently got the go-ahead from Mary. His death was due to a deep puncture wound in his shoulder and despite heroic efforts by all involved, the infection that ensued was too virulent to beat. The only upside to the whole ordeal is that they had collected about 100 straws of semen from him this past spring, so, along with the 2012 foal crop, his breeding life will continue for a while.

The SDHSRA calendar sales have begun. This fundraiser helps national qualifiers get to the Finals each year. Each high school rodeo member must sell at least five calendars in order to rodeo in the 2012 season. So if a nice kid from South Dakota approaches you to buy a calendar, be a sport and buy one. It’s for a good cause and you can even win money back in drawings held throughout the year.

Also, regarding South Dakota high school rodeo, hats off and many thanks to outgoing SDHSRA Directors Doug Doll, Doug Young, Randy Steinke and Kent Clarke. Your years of help and guidance are most appreciated. Some of you are mighty fine dancers, too, as exhibited during pole bending rakes at the State Finals.

If you are a Thoroughbred racing fan, you’ll probably be tuned in to watch the 2011 Breeders Cup races on Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs. I love to watch horse racing so will no doubt be tuned in myself.

The Indian National Finals Rodeo is coming up Nov. 8-12 at the South Point in Las Vegas, NV. Regional qualifiers will be headed that way soon and I wish them all the best and safe travels as well.

The Casey Tibbs Foundation Annual Tribute Dinner will be Nov. 12, 6 p.m., at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Ft. Pierre. Honorees include Kenny Badger, Past Rodeo Great; The Tope Sisters, Rodeo Cowgirl Greats; Gary Zilverberg, Rodeo Cowboy Great; Darrel and Marlene Griffith, Ranch Cowboy Family; the late E.W. Weisel, Rodeo Promoter; and Korkow Rodeo’s great saddle bronc, Slippery, Rodeo Animal Athlete. Congrats to all the honorees!

There will be a Low Stress Animal Handling Workshop held Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chadron State College (NE) Student Center. A hands-on field demonstration, as well as classroom instruction will be presented by Dr. Tom Noffsinger. It’s $55 for ranchers, $30 for students, and $8 for youth age 18 and under. Price includes lunch. Subjects covered include general stockmanship, application of cow-calf management, weaning and feedlot arrival procedures, and 4-H/FFA halter breaking a calf. Sounds like a dandy class to take to learn new ways of doing things to make it easier on you and your livestock. Call Kristol Cummings at 308-432-3932 or e-mail her at

Contract personnel have been chosen by their peers for the 2011 NRCA Finals, which will be held Nov. 25-27 at the Pennington County Events Center, Rapid City, SD. Announcers are John Costello and Alec Whipple, judges are Earl Smith and Lonny Harrowa, pickup men are Shayne Porch and Jesse Wilson, bullfighters are Cooper Waln and Jeremy Wells, barrelman is Jerry Norton, timers are Carol McInerney and Marion Schmidt, secretaries are Missy Olson and Karen Brown, music is by Becky Tinsley, and the arena director/chute boss is Casey Olson. Congrats to all!

From the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding” file, a federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales that are kept and perform at Sea World parks. PETA claims that Sea World violates the 13th Amendment ban on slavery. PETA’s five-member legal team has spent 18 months preparing the case. Of course, this is a publicity stunt with little chance of even getting a hearing, but think of the cost of the court and the time spent dealing with this nonsense. Also, this is only the beginning of such ridiculous lawsuits by animal rights groups trying to give animals the same rights as humans. Naturally, this is supported by the Humane Society of the United States.

Have any of the rest of you noticed that those people “occupying” in cities across the nation aren’t doing it in the less temperate climes? Not a single protest in Great Falls, Cutbank, Williston, Fargo or Minneapolis that I’ve heard of. Sissies. I suspect the ones tough enough to protest in those places already have jobs or are serving in our military, don’t you?

Have a wonderful week and keep sending me your results and items of interest.