News and Notes from the Rodeo Trail, July 27

Jim Charles, an eight-time National Finals Rodeo bull rider, died July 26 in Oakdale, Calif. He was 79. Charles was a judge at the National Finals Rodeo twice, both times in Oklahoma City, and judged PRCA rodeos throughout the country. He also served on the PRCA Grievance Committee for more than 15 years. On July 30, friends are invited to stop by the H-B Saloon in Oakdale for some “Brandy, Burritos & B.S.” in Charles’ honor, from 8-11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Oakdale Cowboy Museum at 355 East “F” Street Oakdale, CA 95361 or Community Hospice at 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356.

Legendary PRCA rodeo clown Leon Coffee is resting at home in Blanco, Texas, after a trip to the Intensive Care Unit. Coffee, 60, was working a rodeo in Cuero, Texas, July 25 when he started experiencing chest pains. He was released from the hospital July 26.

The Wrangler Network will provide live coverage of the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Aug. 1-2, with coverage starting at 9 p.m. (ET) at

The total attendance at the Cheyenne Frontier Days event in 2015 was 266,030, compared to 250,264 in 2014. The 2015 number is the second-highest attendance in Cheyenne’s history. The total rodeo attendance at CFD was 98,246, which was a considerable increase from the 87,310 in 2014.

A 20-year plan to improve and expand the Kittitas Valley (Wash.) Event Center was unveiled to the public at a July 22 open house. The plan covers facility improvements, construction and expansion 20 to 30 years into the future. The initial inventory of the present facility showed it lacked capacity to handle the year-round events it hosts, as well as the annual county fair and Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo. More future meetings are being scheduled.

The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth inducted nine new members July 25, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Walt Garrison and actor/singer Jamie Foxx. To see the complete list of inductees, visit

Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Texas) has hired two assistant rodeo coaches – Trevor Ervin and Jacalyn Walker-Austin – to join head coach Mark Eakin in overseeing collegiate rodeo’s largest team in the nation. Ervin, who has served as a part-time assistant coach at TSU since 2013, will work with the men’s rodeo team, and Walker-Austin, a four-time College National Finals Rodeo qualifier in both goat tying and breakaway roping, will help with the women’s team.

In celebration of the Las Vegas, N.M., Cowboys’ Reunion Centennial Celebration, New Mexico Highlands University will host art exhibitions in Kennedy Hall and Donnelly Library’s Ray Drew Gallery starting Aug. 1. The Ray Drew exhibit captures the gritty spirit of the Centennial Celebration through rare historic panoramic photographs, and the Kennedy exhibit provides a taste of contemporary cowboy art by New Mexico artists such as nationally known sculptor Duke Sundt. The exhibit traces the Cowboys’ Reunion history from 1915 to 1967, with a break during the Great Depression. Memorabilia including saddles and rodeo programs round out the exhibit.

After spending the last nine months in Korea serving in the U.S. Air Force, Kevin Hrabik surprised his wife, Kelsey, at the Wahoo (Neb.) Rodeo July 23. With the help of rodeo clown Robbie Hodges, Hrabik was able to surprise his wife when he removed the plastic trash can (with holes cut out to see) from his head during a competition with three contestants navigating barrels on foot while not being able to see. It was a big hit with the crowd at the Saunders County Fairgrounds, which cheered loudly as the couple embraced.

A statue of three-time WNFR saddle bronc rider Howard Hunter was unveiled at the Deadwood (S.D.) Days of ’76 Museum July 23, with Hunter’s family members in attendance.

Joe Gedders, a catholic priest who lives and works in Rome, Italy, made his 31st-consecutive trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days as a volunteer this year. “I come here because you meet some of the finest people in the world who really honor the traditions of the West, as well as the values of the old West,” Gedders said.

A North Dakota rodeo family was the focus of the weekly “Special Cowboy Moments” TV show July 25-26, titled “The Teschers: The First Family of Rodeo & Ranching.” Ted Tescher, a rodeo competitor and life-long rancher living south of Medora, talked about growing up as the son of NFR saddle bronc rider Tom Tescher.

If you’re not a little nervous at Cheyenne, there’s something wrong with you.
-Steer roper Shay Good, who captured his first Cheyenne title July 26

Courtesy of PRCA