News and Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Sept. 29

by | Sep 29, 2014

Jay Morrow photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel
A two-time Great Lakes Circuit champion as a bull rider, Jay Morrow (a k a J-Byrd) is taking on a new challenge as a contestant on the new Discovery Channel reality show “Tethered,” which debuts on Oct. 5.


Tickets for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo on March 25-28, 2015 – the first RNCFR held at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla. – are available for purchase by calling 800.745.3000 or visiting The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeo will feature seven heart-pounding events over four action-packed days. Tickets range in price from $15 to $35.

Eugene Weakley, a National Finals Rodeo steer wrestler and PRCA gold card member, passed away Sept. 28 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was 70. Weakley rodeoed for 30 years and also worked as a pickup man, PRCA judge and timed-event chute boss. He qualified for the 1971 NFR, and was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth in 2012. Weakley won several major rodeos in his career, including the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days in 1969.

Bud Sankey, the father of Wrangler NFR cowboys Ike and Lyle Sankey, who raised PRCA bucking bulls and founded the Sankey Rodeo School, will be inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame on Oct. 11. Sankey, who invented the Sankey Twister – one of the first mechanical bulls, is one of five members entering the Hall. The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. at the Hoover Pavillion in Wright Park, Kan., and reservations must be made by Oct. 5. Tickets can be purchased by calling 620.227.8188.

The 12th annual Rough-N-Ready Rodeo – an event for children with disabilities – took place Sept. 26 in Omaha, Neb. The event, which was sponsored by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation, featured rodeo athletes and queens who assisted the young participants. “Every year, the volunteers come up and talk about how much they enjoyed it,” said Mandy Taylor, chairwoman of the Rough-N-Ready Rodeo Committee. The children raced on stick horses, roped a dummy calf, rode a dummy bucking “horse,” took horseback rides, got their faces painted and enjoyed interacting with clowns.

Long-time PRCA bullfighter Loyd Ketchum retired at the Bowman (N.D.) County Pro Rodeo last weekend after 27 years in ProRodeo that included the 1991 Wrangler World Champion Bullfighter title. PRCA stock contractor Sparky Dreesen said, “After we moved to Montana in 1995, Loyd was the first guy I called to help us when we started putting on rodeos there, because of his attitude – he’s a winner. He does the best he can at all of the things that need to be done, whether it’s setting the flank on a bucking horse or fighting bulls. What you see is what you get with Loyd. He’s not only one of the greatest bullfighters ever, he’s one of the greatest individuals ever.”

Bull rider Jay Morrow, the Great Lakes Circuit champion in 2006 and 2008, is featured in the Discovery Channel’s newest take on survival, the reality series “Tethered,” which premieres at 10 p.m. (ET) Oct. 5. The show tests the ability of contestants to survive in some of the most extreme environments on the planet – from Alaska to Panama – while being bound to a partner by a six-foot steel tether. Morrow, of Wayland, Iowa, and a PRCA member since 2004, described himself to the show’s producers as “an adrenaline junkie who never takes his cowboy hat off,” and he is paired with a bookish intellectual named Matt. A 2004 graduate of Missouri Valley College (Marshall, Mo.) with a degree in business management and marketing, Morrow has thousands of followers on social media and has done some modeling for a number of organizations, including Subway and Osage Casino. “I’ve grown up riding bulls, hunting and fishing,” Morrow said, “any extreme, outdoor sports I can find. So, this was another opportunity to check my fortitude, willpower and self-preservation, plus challenge myself as an outdoorsman.”

Bull rider Jason Power, a native of Franklinville, N.J., who won the First Frontier year-end title in 2004 and 2009 and the RAM First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2003, will retire this year at the conclusion of the circuit finals in Gettysburg, Pa. Power, 35, closed out his final regular season in the PRCA as champion of the Cowtown Rodeo series in Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J. He was joined on the list of series champions by bareback rider Andy Carter, steer wrestler A.J. Williams, team ropers Dave Ballantyne and T.R. Serio, saddle bronc rider Matt Bartsch and tie-down roper J.R. Myers.

Representatives from several local government entities in St. George, Utah, are working on a plan that could potentially save the historic Dixie Sun Bowl from demolition. Cracked and aging, and in need of an estimated $2 million in renovations, the 66-year-old arena appeared to be on the brink in recent years. “The details still need to be worked out,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “It hasn’t been approved by anyone. But we think we’ve found a way to work something out.” The Sun Bowl’s signature annual event, the three-day Dixie Roundup Rodeo, drew an estimated 17,000 spectators two weeks ago.

Author Gail Woerner will present “Western Women Who Dared to be Different” at the Estes Park (Colo.) Museum on Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. Woerner is the author of a book of the same title and five others on rodeo history. In this program, she will share how she came to research and write the books on the history of the West, especially rodeo. It is a free program, and no reservations are required.

Courtesy of PRCA