News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Feb. 9

by | Feb 09, 2015

PRCA photographer Richard Edward “Rich” Ruef, of Lincoln, Calif., died Feb. 6 from an apparent heart attack at the age of 77. A PRCA member since 2004, Ruef ( was a regular at some of the West Coast’s biggest rodeos, including California Rodeo Salinas, the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward (Calif.); the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo and the RAM California Circuit Finals Rodeo; his work was regularly featured in the ProRodeo Sports News and on Ruef also served as the official photographer for District 3 of the California High School Rodeo Association, and operated as an independent contractor for the Gold Country Media newspapers. Memorial arrangements are being handled under the direction of Lincoln (Calif.) Funeral Home.

Leo Brannan, the oldest living PRCA member, died Feb. 6 in Weatherford, Texas. He was 97. Brannan was a member of the Cowboy Turtles Association, Rodeo Cowboys’ Association and PRCA. He was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008, and served in the military during World War II.

Ed Kelly Sims, a PRCA Gold Card member, spur maker and rancher, passed away Jan. 21. He was 91. In 1973, he started the Ed Sims Spur Company in Uvalde and made spurs, bits and other tack items. He sold them the world over and Ed Sims spurs and bits were endorsed by many top professional cowboys.

The Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Subcommittee of the Utah legislature is looking at a proposal to raise $23 million in private funding to build a minor league soccer facility and complete work on the Utah State Fairpark rodeo grounds in Salt Lake City. The 11-day annual state fair, while it makes money, is not profitable enough to support the annual operations of the facility, which struggles with a host of needed repairs.

The San Angelo (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo (Feb. 13-15, 25-27) brings an estimated $2.4 million to the community during its two-week run, according to research by the local chamber of commerce.

The Jan. 3 arson fire at the Majestic Valley Arena near Kalispell, Mont. – home of the PRCA-sanctioned Rocky Mountain Classic Rodeo – has prompted arena owners to offer a $10,000 reward. That offer is in addition to the Crimestoppers reward available for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fire that damaged part of the arena. The fire was started in the office and lobby area of the arena, causing “a very significant amount of damage to the building,” according to a news release from Crimestoppers.

More than 300 soldiers from nearby Fort Hood attended the 119th Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo Feb. 2. “Every year, we declare one day as Military Appreciation Day,” said Clayton Melton, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo director and a retired U.S. Army brigadier general. “We worked with the Joint Readiness Base here and with Fort Hood to open this up to as many personnel as possible.”

Prescott Frontier Days, aka the World’s Oldest Rodeo®, was recently named “the one event not to miss in Arizona” by Yahoo! Travel. Board members, rodeo staff and more than 800 volunteers have already begun planning for this “not to miss event,” which will take place for the 128th time from Monday, June 29 through Sunday, July 5, at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. Tickets are available now at

By the time the 2015 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo kicks off on June 29, the Prescott Rodeo Grounds should have a new observation deck for its sponsors that will extend along a portion of the north side of the rodeo’s Mackin Building. Prescott Frontier Days General Manager J.C. Trujillo said work got started this past week on the $50,000 project.

Former University of Arizona baseball coach Jerry Kindall was announced as the Grand Marshal for the 90th Tucson (Ariz.) Rodeo Parade. Kindall was the first person ever to win a College World Series as a player and a coach. He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. He played nine years in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, Indians and Twins.

I heard about 10 times that I was retired.”
-Seven-time Wrangler NFR bull rider Bobby Welsh, telling his hometown paper, the Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, about his decision to limit his travel last year.

Courtesy of PRCA