The Outside Circle: Update on Zach, fire and smoke, Newell playday |

The Outside Circle: Update on Zach, fire and smoke, Newell playday

It’s been another hot, dry, windy week here in the northern plains. We’ve had some thunderstorms blow through, but no more than a sprinkle out of any of them. I helped work on our sewer lines on one balmy day when it was 108+ in the shade and we were definitely not in the shade. Makes one almost miss winter. Almost.

For those of you who were at the Philip Bronc Match a while back, I’m sure you’ve wondered how Zach West, Philip, SD, is doing since his wreck. For those of you who weren’t there, here’s what happened. The matched bronc ride was going to have a turnout since one of the guys couldn’t make it. Zach didn’t want to see that, so, despite having been in “retirement” for 10 months, he elected to try to ride the good Wrangle National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) saddle bronc Free Sample in a borrowed saddle. He bucked off and when he went off, his toe hung in the stirrup, whipping him under Free Sample. He was on his belly when the horse’s hind foot came down on his back with full force. He has nine broken ribs (five of them in three pieces) on one side, some less badly broken ribs on the other side, one severely bruised lung and a dislocated collar bone. They put a chest tube in to drain off the accumulated fluid and help the lung to recover. As of this writing, Zach’s still in the hospital, but, they are sure hoping to get him home soon. He’s able to move around pretty well, though understandably slow. I don’t have this directly from Zach, but I’m assuming the retirement from bronc riding will resume immediately.

For all of you who have known of and done business with Capriola’s in Elko, Nevada, you’ll be saddened to hear of the loss of Paula Wright. She died in a horse accident near Spring Creek, Nevada on June 20. She was trying to get on a horse when it stumbled, causing her to fall. Apparently her hold on the reins caused the horse to rear and it fell on her. She was pronounced dead at the Elko hospital. Paula and her husband Doug have owned the famous J.M. Capriola company since buying it from her parents in 1985. She knew literally thousands of people by name, having greeted cowboys, buckaroos and want-to-be’s for decades. I’m sure Cap’s will stay in business, but it won’t be quite the same without her there to greet everyone. Capriolas has been one of the greatest sources of cowboy gear, whether saddles, bits or spurs, for generations. Paula will be sorely missed.

I’m sure tickled to tell you about this next item. The Newell Family Playday Series will start after the July 4th celebrations, at the Newell, SD, Rodeo Arena. Dates are July 9, 16, 23, 30 with a rain date (we can only hope they need it) on August 4. You enter at 3 p.m. and it starts at 4 p.m. There will be all age divisions for barrels, poles, flag race, and keyhole, plus another event which will be different each time. Membership is $10 per person or $20 per family and entry fees are a reasonable $1 per event per member or $3 per event per non-member. You can check it out on or call Cheyenne Winkler at 605-456-3297 or 605-515-1137.

On Sept. 9, there will be an Introductory AQHA/OPEN Horse Show at the Frontier Arena in White River, SD. Halter and performance classes will be offered in three age divisions and prizes will be awarded. It starts at 9:30 a.m. (CST). For entries or information, call Helen Schwarting at 605-259-3244 or email her at Thanks, Donna, for sending me this item.

The high population areas, like Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins, Colorado make the national news, but, there are hundreds of thousands of acres burning everywhere else too, from New Mexico to Montana. Lots of grassland, hence grazing land, has burned in Wyoming and Montana. Some ranchers can’t even get into their country to check on the stock due to the unpredictable winds, fire and smoke.

The fire near Colorado Springs brought on a mandatory evacuation of the PRCA headquarters. Entries for PRCA rodeos were delayed as a result, until the system could be set up in a new location. How handy would that be, just before the big July 4, Cowboy Christmas run? I’d sure love to be in charge of all that.

There are 31 pro rodeos scheduled between July 1-7 with a whopping $3.3 million in money up. Wow! No wonder the pro rodeo people run so hard over the 4th.

Speaking of pro rodeo, Les Shepperson, Midwest, WY, won the lucrative Reno Rodeo’s steer wrestling, the coveted spurs, and a sweet little check for $10,625. He placed third in the first round, then won the finals and the average.

At High River, Alberta, Nikki Steffes and Dash Ta Vanila placed second and the win keeps them firmly in the 12th spot in the WPRA standings.

Kaleb Asay, Powell, WY, won the All Around at the Steamboat Springs, CO, rodeo with checks in the saddle broncs and tie down roping. Now THAT’S versatility! He tied for first in the saddle broncs with Chancy Miller from Faith, SD.

Well, I’d better slack my cinch and cool the back on my horse. Have a good week, be careful with any fire, and pray for rain.

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