By Wrangler Network contributor Charlie Coon
The company name dates back several decades. In fact, Summit Rodeo took five saddle bronc horses, five bareback horses, and two bulls to the very first National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959. Major partners Les Gore and Pete Burns stayed together for several years eventually branching off on their own. The “Summit” name was then dormant but a reboot has them back, and in a big way.
Gore, 90, was inducted into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame earlier this month. “They asked us about bringing back the name before Pete died and we were just ecstatic,” Gore said. The Wheatland, WY rancher is still active and says Summit had a lot of success in its five-year run. “It is just wonderful to see the rebirth of the Summit Rodeo Company because it was very prominent in its day.”
Jesse Hill and J.D. Hamaker are the major partners of the new Summit Pro Rodeo which is based in both Wyoming and Colorado. They finished the regular season with a number of rodeos, big and small, under their belts as well as the earned recognition as one of the top new livestock contractors in the business.
Talk with ProRodeo bull riders and you will hear, to a man, if Summit is there the top contestants will try to make the entry deadline. A Summit bull called ‘Cross the Line’ has been voted “Bucking Bull of the Year” in 2014 and we have a couple of his outs to show you along with our chat with Jesse Hill who assumed ownership of Burns Rodeo Company after a long association with the Laramie, WY outfit:
‘Cross the Line’ has a buck-off rate of nearly 96 percent. He was not ridden for more than four seconds at fourteen PRCA outings this year. Guilhermi Marchi made the whistle on the bull at a PBR event in Billings, MT and that was the only scored ride in 2014.
Hill purchased ‘Cross the Line’ off the Internet from a company in Michigan. A bloodline review showed the bull’s sire was bred from a Burns Rodeo Company bull.
The state tourism office in Wyoming was approached by Summit Pro Rodeo and a contract is pending that will change the bull’s name from ‘Cross the Line’ to ‘Cross the Wyoming Line’ in time for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and all of 2015.
ProRodeo action video for this story was provided courtesy of MAV-TV and the PRCA.
Summit partner J.D. Hamaker had some interesting comments about the current state of affairs in ProRodeo in terms of the entertainment product as a whole and how best to keep shows vibrant and viable. We’ll hear from Hamaker in our next installment.
Travels with Charlie’ is a series of features by Charlie Coon produced exclusively for the Wrangler Network. Using the penname Curtis Scott, Mr. Coon has provided stories for the past 20 years to such outlets as The History Channel Magazine, American Heritage and the Denver Post. He is based in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he serves as coordinator for the state of Wyoming’s cowboy marketing program. Coon and cameraman Mike McCrimmon put together news, sports, and human interest features on a semi-regular basis for TV stations in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.