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News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Jan. 12

PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman was the recipient of the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Outstanding Individual of the Year award for his continued support of the WPRA and barrel racing in professional rodeo.

Doug Babbitt

Doug Paul Babbitt, a PRCA team roper and gold card member, died on Jan. 5 in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 62. Babbitt competed for the rodeo team at Central Arizona College, in Coolidge, eventually becoming a member of the PRCA in 1974. Services will take place Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Mountain View Cemetery, 7900 E. Main St., Mesa, Ariz.

Earl Blevins, a PRCA judge for 25 years and a Tulsa, Okla., firefighter for the past 19, will be presented with the Tulsa Rotary Club’s Above and Beyond Award on Feb. 18 for his work in the community as a volunteer. The 54-year-old Blevins, who lives in Bristow, Okla., with his wife, Sandy, has long been active as a volunteer with the Make a Wish organization, has donated his time to charity bull ridings, college rodeo events and numerous fundraisers for firefighters who were injured on or off the job.

The Reno Rodeo Association has closed the application period for its general manager position and made the first cut of applicants to eight who will be going through initial telephone interviews. Larry Stacy, the 2015 Reno Rodeo president who is filling the position in the interim, said those eight candidates will be interviewed via telephone by the five-member search committee and the committee will further narrow the list of finalists to five. Each of the final five candidates will interview with the rodeo’s executive committee, which will select three finalists. The final choice of a general manager will be made by the rodeo’s board of directors.

Clara Andriola has been named the new executive director of the Reno Rodeo Foundation, the charitable arm of the city’s longest-running special event. The Reno Rodeo was founded by community volunteers in 1919, and in 1986 the Reno Rodeo Foundation was founded as a way to formalize the tradition of giving the annual proceeds of the event back to the community. The foundation annually hosts the Reno Rodeo Denim Drive, which collects new clothing for children in foster care and protective custody.

The National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals is moving to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., beginning in 2016. The change in venues comes after an 11-year run at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo. The 2015 NLBRA Finals will be July 20-25, 2015, in Pueblo. It will move to the Lazy E from 2016-20.

The Stock Contractors of the PRCA announced that Cody Lamb is the ProRodeo Hall of Fame scholarship winner from the Benny Binion Bucking Horse and Bull Sale. Lamb is a sophomore saddle bronc rider at the College of Southern Idaho, where he is majoring in Equine Studies. The $1,000 scholarship was given in memory of the late Sonny Hansen, a PRCA pickup man and longtime adviser/coach for the Treasure Valley Community College rodeo team in Ontario, Ore., who died in 2011.

Karl accepting WPRA award

The Montana Circuit and the Montana High School Rodeo Association have joined forces to organize the inaugural High School Roughstock Challenge at the RAM Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo in Great Falls, Jan. 16-18. The top six high school contestants in the bareback and saddle bronc riding will compete throughout the three days. “This is a Montana ProRodeo program to help increase youth involvement in the sport of rodeo, and we are excited to be the first and only Professional Rodeo Circuit to come up with such a program involving youth and will be implementing it into the 36th annual (RMCFR),” said Jim Croff, president of the Montana Circuit Board.

Sufjan Stevens, an American singer-songwriter and musician, is placing his support behind a new documentary taking a look at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up – entitled “Round-Up.” Crafted in cooperation with directors Aaron and Alex Craig, the 75-minute documentary was created from more than 60 hours of footage, and features brand new music from Stevens. “Round-Up” is set to air at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater from Jan. 20-25, with Stevens agreeing to provide a live score each night. The trailer can be seen at http://www.nme.com/news/sufjan-stevens/82147.

Bob Orrison, a PRCA gold card member who competed as a steer wrestler, died Oct. 11, 2014, in a car crash near Sacramento, Calif. He was 86. Orrison was an accomplished stuntman, performing vehicle stunts for the films “Days of Thunder” and “Speed” and the TV series “Dukes of Hazzard.”

Courtesy of PRCA