News and Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Jan. 19

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo inducted three volunteers into its Hall of Fame Jan. 14. James “Fully” Clingman, Fred Petmecky and the late Sheri Petmecky were the inductees. Clingman has been part of the rodeo’s Executive Committee for all but two years since 1993. Fred Petmecky served as the president of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo from 2009-12, and has been on the Executive Committee for the past 11 years. His late wife, Sheri, had a tenure of more than 30 years with the rodeo, serving as a director in 1988 and chairing two other committees related to the rodeo. She passed away April 19, 2015.

The 42nd annual Cowboy Downhill took place Jan. 18 in Steamboat Springs, Colo., where 75 professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls competed in two different events. Bareback rider Grant Denny won the timed event, saddle bronc rider Jesse James Kirby won the Stampede and saddle bronc rider Audy Reed took home honors for the best crash. The event was created by Billy Kidd, Steamboat’s director of skiing, and eight-time World Champion Larry Mahan more than four decades ago. It has become a fundraiser for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, and has raised more the $40,000 over the past 11 years.

Several PRCA cowboys joined cowgirls and rodeo queens at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora Jan. 19 to visit with children battling serious illnesses. Activities included roping and stick horse races. Singer Austin Wahlert also performed, signed autographs and took pictures. It was the second straight year the rodeo community has coordinated with the hospital for the event.

The Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo is looking for another huge year after posting big numbers in attendance in 2015. Last year, the 23-day event attracted 414,058 people, generating 1,248,500 visitor days through repeat visits, the fourth time the visitor-day count passed the 1 million mark in the event’s history. It was a 9.8 percent increase from 2014, with 191,413 rodeo tickets being scanned, which was 4,658 more than in 2014. The 2016 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo runs Jan. 22 through Feb. 6.

The 38th annual Cowboy Breakfast, the unofficial warm-up to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, will take place Jan. 29 in the parking lot of Cowboys Dancehall. Thousands of people are expected to attend the breakfast, and the menu includes sausage and egg tacos, chorizo and egg tacos, biscuits and gravy, tamales, juice and coffee. The event was recognized in 2001 as the World’s Largest Cooked Breakfast by the Guinness Book of World Records.

John Douglas (Bud) Fitzpatrick, a member of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, passed away Jan. 8 in Bandera, Texas. He was 99. Fitzpatrick started rodeoing in his early 20s, and in 1940 he became a member of the original Turtles, receiving association number 1114. His rodeo career led him to compete at Madison Square Garden in 1943. In 2014, Fitzpatrick was inducted into the Frontier Times Museum’s Texas Heroes Hall of Honor as part of the Bandera, Texas, annual celebration of the National Day of The American Cowboy.

Charles Davis “Charlie” Rankin, the first president of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, passed away Jan. 8 in Boerne, Texas, after a five-plus year battle with emphysema. He was 90. Rankin was well-known for reporting on farm news over radio and television. He worked from 1954 to 1990, when he officially retired, but he didn’t stop broadcasting and worked part-time with his son, Davis Rankin.

Alan Keith Etherton, a rodeo cowboy, clown and father of PRCA steer wrestler Shayde Etherton, passed away Jan. 10. He was 55. At 5 years old, Alan Etherton was competing in horse shows. He moved up to Little Britches rodeo at 8, and that led him on a path to Southern Illinois and rodeos at Arch View Stables in Belleville.

The Four Seasons Arena – host of the just-completed RAM Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo in Great Falls – recently underwent a $100,000 upgrade, which included improving the flooring in parts of Four Seasons Arena and adjoining Exhibition Hall. Old carpeting was replaced by a tactile, epoxy style, painted floor. The county also spent about $62,000 to upgrade and reroute electrical outlets at Four Seasons Arena.

Lonnie and Charmy LeaVell of Gooding, Idaho, have been honored with the prestigious Historic Preservation Recognition Award from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in recognition of their work with both the Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame and the restoration of the Schubert Theater in Gooding. The national award is designed to recognize worthy individuals and groups for outstanding achievements in all areas of historic preservation. The nomination for the LeaVells was supported by articles, photographs and letters of recommendation from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Sandra Callen, chairman of the chapter’s Historic Preservation Committee.

The Cowboy Downhill has a lot of wrecks, and is a lot of fun. It’s really good if you can find a first-time cowboy who has never skied before – those are the guys who are fun to watch. It was the first time skiing for Will Smith, a saddle bronc rider from the east, and he busted pretty good right in front of me.

-Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion Jacobs Crawley telling Rob Matthews about first
timers at the annual Cowboy Downhill in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Courtesy of PRCA