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Hazen Claims Second Buffalo Bill Buckle

by Jim Bainbridge | Jun 18, 2016
By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – The first ProRodeo buckle Jule Hazen ever won was at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in 2004, his first year of PRCA competition.

And he just got himself a second one.

The steer wrestler from Ashland, Kan., made a 3.7-second run on his first steer during slack on Wednesday, then made another 3.7 second run on his second steer the next day, to win the steer wrestling title with a time of 7.4 seconds on two head.

The buckle, plus the check for $2,663 is wonderful, but the best part is the self-assurance, he said. “It’s not just the money, it’s a confidence booster. Whenever we get ready to start out the summer run, it gets things on a roll. It’s major mental boost.”

He and his four traveling partners – Josh Clark, Lane Herl, Blair Jones and Richard Coat – left North Platte, headed for Reno, Nev.; Springdale, Ark.; Pecos, Texas; Santa Fe, N.M.; Greeley Colo., and Livingston, Mont., all by July 4th.

“It’s great,” Hazen said of traveling with a group of guys with common goals. “We can all tell each other what you’re doing right or wrong. Whenever you’re down, they pick you up. And whenever you get too high, they’ll knock you back down.”

Having a good hazer is important, too. Chad Van Campen hazed for Hazen on both of his runs, and Van Campen, also a steer wrestler at North Platte, hazed for him two of his three years at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The second steer Hazen drew had a tendency to stop to the right, and the hazer’s job was to keep him close to the steer wrestler.

“With Chad over there, there’s no room for that steer to get away. Chad never stubs his toe. Having him over there is kind of like having my binkie,” Hazen said with a laugh. “It makes it real simple.”

Barrel racer Hailey Kinsel turned the pattern in 17.37 seconds to win a gold buckle. The Cotulla, Texas, cowgirl just came back from competition at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., where she didn’t win a check.

“I’m just back from the College Finals, and didn’t have any luck up there,” she said. “I was down on myself, so I went in to make a confidence-builder run, and see what my horse could do, and he impressed the heck out of me.”

She has owned her horse TJ, a 12-year-old gelding whose registered name is Thunder Stones, for the last three years. She’s taken TJ to about two dozen rodeos, and he seems to prefer bigger arenas.

“The bigger, longer, stretch-out runs, he runs really hard,” Kinsel said. “I don’t think he loves the indoor (arenas). I’m starting to figure out what his niche is, and I think I’ve found it.”

Kinsel will be a senior this fall at Texas A&M University. This was her first time to compete at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.

The 2016 Trail Boss Award was awarded to Art Daly posthumously. Daly was born and lived his entire life in western McPherson County, Neb. Daly became a rodeo announcer, first at high school and college rodeos, then at Nebraska State and Mid-States Rodeos. It was at the urging of Buffalo Bill Rodeo announcers Hadley Barrett and Randy Corley that Daly got his PRCA announcer’s card, which took him to rodeos across the nation. He was selected to announce the 1990 Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, and was the voice of the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo when it was televised live.

The other 2016 champions were bareback rider Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa (85), tie-down roper Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas (17.3 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah (88 points), team ropers Adam Rose, Willard, Mo., and Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas (12.2 seconds on two head), and bull rider Bart Miller, Pleasanton, Neb. (85).

More NEBRASKAland Days activities take place from now until June 26. The U.S. Cellular Summer Jam Concert Series is Fri., June 24 with Sam Hunt and special guest Cassadee Pope. The Sat., June 25 concert is Dierks Bentley with Randy Houser. For more information, visit www.NebraskaLandDays.com.

Courtesy of PRCA