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News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Aug. 25

by ProRodeo.com | Aug 25, 2014

Steve Kenyon of ProRodeoLive will be broadcasting live from the Xtreme Bulls Tour Finale on Aug. 30 in Ellensburg, Wash., with coverage starting at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET. Kenyon will also be broadcasting the finals of the Ellensburg Rodeo on Sept. 1, with coverage starting at 11:45 a.m. PT/2:45 p.m. ET. Both broadcasts can only be heard at prorodeolive.com.

The California Rodeo Association presented non-profit groups with more than $220,000 in funds at the Salinas Sports Complex on Aug. 21 at its Director Meeting and dinner. Each year, several non-profit groups work at various events held at the Salinas Sports Complex. These local groups take on tasks such as parking cars, selling programs, seating people in the grandstands, selling food and more to earn money that is critical for their associations’ activities.

Betty Steeley

Betty Vancleave Steely, the ex-wife of 1963 World Champion Bareback Rider John Hawkins, died Aug. 21 in a car accident near Calgary, Alberta, at the age of 77. A resident of Clements, Calif., she was visiting Canada with her daughter, Kelly Hawkins Watkins, and son-in-law Chris Watkins.

Paul Christensen, a longtime member of the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo committee, passed away on Aug. 24 at the age of 59 at his home in Sawyer, N.D. He was the 1990 and 2005 rodeo chairman and the current Security and Animal Welfare director, along with numerous other sub-committees on which he served. Memorial contributions may be made to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame or the Triangle Y Camp, P.O. Box 69, Minot, ND 58702.

The Yellowstone River Roundup, Aug. 14-16, set attendance and payout records, according to MetraPark officials. The rodeo drew a record 13,854 people, nearly 15 percent more than the 2013 rodeo. Rodeo participants also shared a record payout of $130,534, up more than 20 percent from last year. “To get the best to compete at your rodeo, you need to have a large enough purse to justify that trip to Montana,” said Bob Dunker, chairman of the Cowboy Club, a group which was formed four years ago to help promote the rodeo and increase the purse.

On Aug. 22, 450 Hastings, Neb., fourth graders hit the rodeo arena to learn about the sport, namely about the role rodeo has played in the Cornhusker State’s history. For the past eight years, rodeo has been a part of the Nebraska state history curriculum. The kids stopped at different stations at the Adams County Fairgrounds, where they learned Rodeo 101 from cowboys and cowgirls. “These kids get to come out and see what the rodeo is all about; it gives them firsthand knowledge so that when they’re sitting in the stands and they see an event they can really relate to it,” said Troy Heinert, rep for the Oregon Trail Rodeo. The kids learned about taking care of rodeo animals, and even got to simulate several rodeo events from barrel racing to roping to roughstock riding.

Deadwood (S.D.) Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman credited the award-winning Days of ’76 Rodeo for bolstering hotel occupancy numbers in July. During the month, Deadwood lodging properties posted the highest occupancy rate in six years and generated more marketing dollars through its Business Improvement District tax than in any month since it was established in 2006. Monthly data released Aug. 21 shows the town’s hotel occupancy in July soared to 72.92 percent, its highest rate of “heads in beds” since July 2008, when 79.54 percent of its rooms were occupied.

Now in its 23rd year, officials at the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings, Neb., made a change which benefited the rodeo greatly. By scheduling the rodeo before high school football, Nebraska Cornhusker football and Labor Day, the three-day event increased in both competitors and spectators. “Making the change a week ahead has helped us bring more people,” said rodeo committee chair Randy Queen. “It kind of fills in a spot, in terms of you’ve got everything going on Labor Day weekend, and it gives us a week ahead for people to come out.” This year’s attendance was an estimated 2,000 above last year’s attendance.

The Pershing Center, 4,526-seat arena in Lincoln, Neb., which has been the home of the PRCA Championship Rodeo for the past 12 years, is closing its doors at the end of the month. The new $179 million Pinnacle Bank Arena is the likely new landing spot for the rodeo when it takes place in January 2015.

Barrelman and rodeo clown “Starvin” Marvin Nash has decided that after working the Benny Binion Bucking Horse and Bull Sale this December, he will retire from rodeo. Nash, 59, has been a PRCA member since 1979, and also has worked as an educational speaker and promoter for the “Bullying Hurts” program. Nash will be making his last presentation for schools this week, with George Doak, and then will continue to work rodeos until December.

Courtesy of PRCA