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News & Notes from the Rodeo Trail, Jan. 20

Ezekial Mora of Wiggins, Colo., is the proud new owner of a 2014 Ram 3500 Dually Truck after having the top team in the Pro Fantasy Rodeo game for the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. Mora, 22, a PRCA bull rider, whose PFR team was called “Mora4E” earned $883,485, besting the second-place team “BlackjackLobo” owned by Ronda Holwell, which had team earnings of $838,404.

The Southeastern Circuit Board and Davie (Fla.) Pro Rodeo have announced an increase in the prize money for the 2015 RAM Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo, Nov. 12-14. The total purse for the Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo is being increased to approximately $181,000, and the added money is being increased to $20,000 per event.

The Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park, Colo., a five-time winner of the PRCA Small Rodeo Committee of the Year award, will increase its total purse from $40,000 to $60,000 starting in 2015. The Estes Park Town Board has approved the measure.

A pair of Seguin, Texas, residents have been recognized for their volunteer work with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Russell Bading has been inducted into the Stock Show and Rodeo Hall of Fame, and Matt Miranda has been honored as the rodeo’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for his work with the School Tours Committee.

Chief Gordon Crowchild, a member of the Tsuu T’ina Nation and a member of both the PRCA and Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, died Jan. 12. He was 85. Crowchild competed in both the PRCA and CPRA, while also mentoring young cowboys in both organizations, and also was involved with the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association.

The Jan. 27 edition of the Chris Cox Horsemanship show on RFD-TV will focus on the Western Wishes program, which for more than 20 years has been turning “dreams into lasting memories for countless kids faced with adversity.” President and Founder Donnalyn Quintana describes the episode as “the best special on Western Wishes ever done. It has four great girls with fighting spirit stories and the editing was truly excellent.”

Salvatore (Mickey) Fertitta, 82, of Manchester, N.J., a retired FDNY firefighter, electrician and PRCA Gold Card member, died at his home Jan. 12. In his youth, he was a professional rodeo cowboy who participated in team roping, bulldogging and tie-down roping; he competed at rodeos in Madison Square Garden and at the Cowtown Rodeos in Woodstown-Pilesgrove, N.J. Fertitta served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1951 to 1959, then worked as a firefighter for the FDNY, retiring from Ladder Co. 81/Engine Co. 161 in South Beach. A licensed electrician, he owned Fertitta Electrical Contractors on Staten Island and in Howell, N.J., until retiring in 2013.

Don Brooks, a PRCA steer wrestler from 1962-70 who was also a lifelong farmer and rancher in Olton, Texas, died Dec. 19 at the age of 75. Services were held Dec. 22 at First United Methodist Church in Olton. He is survived by his wife, Alicegene, his three daughters, Amber Ford, Cassie Elliot and Taylor Hill; three sisters and six grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Gentiva Hospice, 1717 Norfolk Ave., Lubbock, TX 79416 or to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919.

Darrell Winfield, a PRCA competitor in the 1960s and one of the original “Marlboro Men” who appeared in television ads, died Jan. 12 at his home in Riverton, Wyo., at the age of 85. Winfield was working at the Quarter Circle 5 Ranch in western Wyoming, near Pinedale, when the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency came looking for real cowboys to feature in their campaign. At one time, his face was the most reproduced image in the world. He loved horses, rodeo – especially team roping – ranching and the cowboy way of life. He had operated WD/Winfield Horses in Riverton since 1974. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Lennie; son, Brian; daughters, Janet Mendes, Nancy Eppler, Linda Saunders, Debi Walters and Darlene Raymond. Memorials may be made to the donor’s choice of any organization dedicated to benefit children.

Eight-time World Champion Larry Mahan’s gold buckles were on display Jan. 15 during the 2015 induction ceremony for the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Aside from honoring Mahan, new inductees included rodeo clown Leon Coffee, horseman Chris Cox and quarter horse businessman/roper John Trotter. Country singer Clay Walker received the 2015 Rick Smith Spirit of Texas Award.

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver announced the largest opening day attendance in Stock Show history with 47,207 fans. The number beats the former Stock Show record of 44,616 set back in 2008. The opening day event line-up included three rodeo performances and the first-ever BBQ competition. “We are thrilled with the turnout for opening day,” said Paul Andrews, President and CEO of the National Western Stock Show. “The numbers are a testament that the National Western Stock Show has something for everyone.” The rodeo would then set the largest single-day attendance record in Stock Show history with 68,757 fans entering the gates on Jan. 17. The number exceeded the former Stock Show record of 68,610, set in 2008.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in Rapid City, S.D., will be Feb. 5. Proceeds will benefit the Regional Cancer Care Institute, located at Rapid City Regional Hospital. The crowd is encouraged to wear 2015 Tough Enough to Wear Pink T-shirts at the rodeo.

The Caldwell Night Rodeo Board of Directors has announced that Pamela Hayn is the rodeo’s new sales and marketing manager. Hayn has 18 years of experience in marketing and public relations.

California Rodeo Salinas has announced Pendleton Whisky as the official spirit of the rodeo. Those of legal drinking age will be able to enjoy Pendleton Whisky and additional Hood River Distillers products in the Pendleton Saloon as well as the Bull X-ing Cantina; both are open all four days of the 105th California Rodeo Salinas, July 16-19.

Courtesy of PRCA