The Outside Circle: Winter’s here, goodbye friend, rodeo news and Zenyetta wins Horse of the Year |

The Outside Circle: Winter’s here, goodbye friend, rodeo news and Zenyetta wins Horse of the Year

I think winter is here for sure. Took a trip to Glendive, MT, this past weekend, and it took about five hours to get there. It took me the next 24 or so to get home, thanks to freezing rain and drifting snow. It was sure a slow trip, but I got a good look at the country (when I could drag my eyes from the road). There is serious snow up that way. All the way across from Wibaux, MT to Belfield, ND and down around Bowman, ND, it is just plain white. I’m going to quit feeling sorry for myself for our snow and ice. At least we still have grass sticking out and the cows are grazing.

The Black Hills Stock Show is just around the corner. I can hardly wait. The events and rodeo and everything are great, but best of all, it’s a gathering of so many of the people I enjoy most in the world. The ranchers, horse folks, old friends, cattlemen, etc… just come out of the woodwork and it’s always such a wonderful visit when they do.

I lost one of those special friends this week. He and I had such a good visit last year at the Stock Show. We sat at one of those little bitty tables in the food court and visited about everything. Larry Vroman, Buffalo, SD, passed away Jan. 18 of cancer. A rancher always, he and his beautiful bride, Claudia, raised two fine sons, Taylor and Ryan, and a lot of good cattle over the years. They were my neighbors for a stretch of time, and better neighbors couldn’t be found. He was a cattleman and a good cowboy. A good hand on a horse, he was also a good pilot and I flew with him a time or two. I’m sure there will be an obituary in this paper in the near future, telling about the other details of his life, but the details that were important to me were that he was an honest man, a great neighbor, always ready to share a laugh, and he and Claudia helped me through a difficult time in my life when I needed the support and encouragement of dear friends. In the shoulda-woulda-coulda area, I wish I would have taken the time to go visit him this winter. I’m sure sorry for that. I thank the Lord for the friendship over the years, and for letting me know him. I’ll see you on the other side, old friend. Enjoy that new body!

There’s a new rodeo idea that has been in the works for a while but is now going public. Paul Tierney, viewing the successful pro rodeo team that Wyoming has, decided that South Dakota needed a team, too. We have so many excellent rodeo cowboys and cowgirls in South Dakota, it’s a superb idea to have them be ambassadors for our state by sponsoring them. Wyoming has given this crew their blessing to pattern it after their program, so now it’s just a case of getting it done. State legislators are in favor of it, and since rodeo is our state sport, the goal is to get the powers that be in Pierre to jump on board. If you’re interested in circulating a signature petition, please contact Sharon Baker at 605-415-7460 or, or e-mail me at, and I’ll e-mail you one. Sharon is also the one to go to for more information on this. Call or write your legislators so they know you’re in favor of it, too.

The NDQHRA Stallion Service Auction is going on now. You can still donate a stallion service until Jan. 21 and the auction ends Jan. 31. The offspring of the stallions on this auction are eligible for the 2014 Northern Plains Stallion Stakes Futurity with $10,000 added, and then 2015 Northern Plains Stallions Stakes Derby. For more info, either to donate a stallion service or bid on a service, call 701-425-0804 or e-mail

The Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo, Odessa, TX, had our region being well represented. The bareback average had a five-way tie for third, including Ty Breuer, Mandan, ND. In steer wrestling, there was a three-way tie for fourth, with Sean Mulligan of OK; Dru Melvin, Tryon, NE; and Jake Rinehart, Highmore, SD. Also pulling a check in a round was Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD. The team roping average had Clay Tryan, Billings, MT and Travis Graves, winning it, with Jess and Paul David Tierney, Hermosa and Oral, SD, respectively, at second, and Britt Williams and Bobby Harris, Highmore, SD, in a tie for fourth. Cort Scheer, Elsmere, NE tied for third in the saddle broncs. In the tie-down roping, Trevor Thiel, Greeley, CO, but formerly of Belle Fourche, SD, was fifth. In barrels, Nikki Steffes, Vale, SD, won round one and Jill Moody was third in round two. In the bull riding, Garrett Vig, Mud Butte, SD, pulled a check.

Incidentally, Nikki Steffes was riding the good mare Dash Ta Vanilla for that win. The mare is owned by Alan Woodbury, and was bred by Carissa Shearer. She’s by Dash Ta Fame and out of the great barrel mare SX Frenchmans Vanila. Congrats to all!

At the National Western Timed Event Qualifier in Denver, our area cowboys did really well. Beau Franzen, Sidney, MT, won the steer wrestling average and also the first go-round. Also placing were Kody Woodward, Dupree, SD and Clay Cowan, Highmore, SD. Paul David Tierney, Oral, SD, pulled a check in the tie-down roping, as did Grady Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, Will LaDuke, Gillette, WY, and Tyler Thiel, Belle Fourche, SD. In the team roping, Jess Tierney, Hermosa, SD, and his brother Paul David Tierney, also won some money. I’ll have more results from Denver next week.

Another great horse has gone on to greener pastures. Sticks And Stones, one of the last sons of Easy Jet and out of Hop Skip and Jump by Tiny Charger, died on Dec. 30 at age 27. With a speed index of 104, the Stakes Winner earned $155,541 on the track, then went on to sire many successful racehorses and performance horses. He was at Victory Farms in Oklahoma when he died.

Great news! Zenyetta won Horse of the Year! She was crowned at the Eclipse Awards Jan. 17, 2011. This amazing mare was also named Champion Older Mare. She won 19 of 20 career starts. The only time she was beat was by Blame, named Older Male Horse of the Year, and that was only by a nose, in the Breeder’s Cup in November 2010. She did more for Thoroughbred racing than all the talking heads ever could. She did it by her speed and her personality and style. She knew she was the best there was and wasn’t afraid to show off a little for her adoring fans. She’s now retired and awaiting the decision on whose court she will visit this spring as an upcoming broodmare. I think her story will just keep making us smile.

See you all at the BHSS!

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