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News & notes from the rodeo trail, April 7, 2014

by ProRodeo.com | Apr 07, 2014

A simple request by an elementary school principal for Spanish Fork (Utah) Fiesta Days tickets – to be used as an incentive for her students – has evolved into a regional reading challenge that has brought together all the elementary schools in the area. The Champion Reader’s Challenge kicked off last month when Park View Elementary in Payson started its reading program and spent the month celebrating with a Western theme, the Reading Round-up. Students were able to calculate their reading minutes at home and participate in a variety of activities at school. “We started off the month with one of our former teachers, Ty James, coming to the school and teaching the students about roping,” Park View Principal Kristie Reynolds told the Daily Herald of Provo. “They also got to watch an old-school melodrama we made. We had spirit days where students got to dress up as their future occupation, and the final day in Western wear.” The program widened out from there to involve all of the Nebo School District, with assemblies taking place on April 1-2 to promote the challenge, featuring PRCA rodeo clown Randee Munns. Teachers at each elementary school set up the reading challenge, which will take place during the month of April, and students are encouraged to read for as many minutes as they can. Top winners will be announced May 31 at the Wrangler Champions Challenge, presented by Justin Boots, in Spanish Fork …

The late Ken Stemler will be honored with a special presentation during the Aug. 8 Cowboy Ball in Colorado Springs, Colo., on the eve of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Stemler played a key role in the PRCA’s move from Denver to Colorado Springs in the late 1970s and in the creation, design and construction of the PRCA headquarters and Hall of Fame just off Highway I-25 …

To honor the memory of 1987 Bull Riding World Champion Lane Frost, the rodeo committee at the June 14-15 Livermore (Calif.) Rodeo will present a special commemorative buckle to the winner of this year’s bull riding event. Frost’s parents, Elsie and Clyde, will make the presentation in the arena …

When former PRCA bullfighter James Pierce, 48, was diagnosed with kidney cancer, members of his rodeo family responded with love and prayers. Now they are taking it a step further with a Whybenormal benefit April 13 at the Longhorn Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas, to help defray his soaring medical costs. As a bullfighter, Pierce was often asked about his chosen profession and typically answered, “Why be normal?” That became his moniker and it’s certain the event will be anything but normal with the entertainment available and items up for bid. Doors open at noon with entertainment by Steve Stewart Music. A silent auction will go on throughout the afternoon with a live auction capping off activities starting at 4 p.m. A $10 donation will be requested at the door. “It’s amazing the items that have been donated and the outpouring of support we’ve had,” said Gary “Roach” Hedeman who along with his wife, Cindy, are organizing the benefit. “James has been a good friend and now it’s our turn to support him.” …

Two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Dean Gorsuch was in Broken Bow, Neb., over the April 5-6 weekend, hosting a steer wrestling clinic at the Custer County Fairgrounds. A wide variety of skills were covered both for beginners and the experienced steer wrestler. “We have two sides of the spectrum, really, because we’ve got kids that have never jumped on or done anything with them from 13 years old to 40 years old,” Gorsuch told SandHillsExpress.com. “We’ve got some just trying to sharpen up and get rodeo ready and we’ve got some that are just trying to get into rodeo.” …

PRCA rodeo clown Duane Reichert of New Underwood, S.D., who has three times performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and is a member of the PRCA Contract Personnel Executive Council, and former PRCA bareback rider Jim Willuweit of Quinn, S.D., were inducted into the Black Hills State University Rodeo Hall of Fame on March 28 in Spearfish, S.D., along with the 1981 women’s team, which placed fourth in the nation …

The Kittitas County commissioners will hire a company to remove two to three inches of dirt from the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo Arena to make conditions safer. Commissioners considered three bids during a March 31 meeting based on concerns by arena users that there is material in the dirt that could cause harm. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty as to whether it would hurt an animal or a person because (the material) is little sticks,” Commissioner Obie O’Brien told the Daily Record of Ellensburg …

Team ropers Karl Langvardt and past PRCA member Steve Zumbrunn will have their likenesses on the 2014 commemorative buckle produced by the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo of Abilene, Kan. For more information, visit www.wildbillhickokrodeo.com …

This June’s Ken Lance Memorial PRCA rodeo in Ada, Okla., will be dedicated to the memory of Stanley Foster, a founding member of the 3Crosses Ken Lance Youth Camp organization who died last year. “We want to show how much we appreciate the outstanding contributions of Stanley and his wife, Donna, to this worthy endeavor,” 3Crosses President Randall Christy told the Ada News. “He loved helping kids learn about rodeo, bullfighting and about the Lord.” …

The new University of Kentucky rodeo program will co-present the Cowboy Up for a Cure event April 17-18 at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena, to benefit a local nonprofit organization that aids children with various forms of pediatric cancer. For more information, visit www.cowboyupforacure.org …

Roger La Fountain is retiring as general manager of the Salinas Sports Complex after 14 years and the California Rodeo Salinas Association is hosting a retirement roast at 5 p.m. on May 10 in the Exhibition Mall. Tickets are $50 each and include a hosted bar, dinner and the entertainment of the roast.

Courtesy of PRCA