News & notes from the rodeo trail, March 10

by | Mar 10, 2014

Paul Michael Latham, the father of two former standout PRCA saddle bronc riders, the late Deke Latham, and Craig Latham, died Nov. 28, 2013, of an apparent heart attack at his home in Mills, Wyo. He was 71. Latham competed in rodeos and worked whenever possible for his aunt Verda and uncle Swanny Kerby, owners of the Bar T Rodeo Company. A competitive saddle bronc rider for many years, his competitive spirit and love of the sport was magnified through his sons, Deke and Craig. Craig was the 1993 Reserve World Champion saddle bronc rider and a nine-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He finished third in the world in 1992 and was in the top five on six occasions. Deke qualified for the Finals in saddle bronc riding in 1986 at age 21 and finished fifth in the world, but died in a car wreck later that month. Paul Latham worked at various jobs through the years, mainly ranching and oil field work. In 1991, he retired from the oil fields and began his new passion of creating western style lodge pole and blue pine furniture and cabinets. Latham donated a piece of his work annually to the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo team’s auction. His son, Craig, is the head rodeo coach at OPSU. A memorial service is scheduled March 20 at the VFW Hall, 1800 Bryan Stock Trail, Casper, Wyo. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Latham’s memory to: Panhandle State Foundation, Box 430, Goodwell Okla., 73938 “Rodeo Alumni Scholarship.” … Rob Yates, committee chairman of the Ute Mountain Rodeo in Cortez, Colo., died March 5 when he was buried by an avalanche near Sharkstooth Peak in the La Plata Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Yates was on a snowmobile day trip with four friends and he was caught by a cascade of snow 100 yards wide and 3/4 of a mile long while on his way to help a companion free a stuck snowmobile. All of the others in his group escaped injury but a crew of volunteers has not yet been able to recover his body. Yates is survived by his wife, Tonya, and son, Brady … The Day of the American Cowboy has been formalized as a working holiday in South Dakota after the State Senate voted for it 35-0 on March 5; the House of Representatives passed it 69-0 last month. “This is just a way to acknowledge what the cowboy or rancher has done for our society throughout the years,” said Sen. Billie Sutton, a former PRCA roughstock cowboy, during the Senate’s consideration of the bill … The April 4-5 Walker County Fair & Rodeo in Huntsville, Texas, has come up with an innovative way to raise scholarship money for area high school seniors. For a tax deductible donation of $50, a rodeo fan can “buy a bull rider;” the donors are randomly paired with one of the contestants. If the donor’s bull rider has the highest-scored ride during a performance, the donor will received a beautifully-crafted belt buckle. In the event that there are more donors than contestants, the extra donors will be placed in a random drawing for a buckle. All proceeds go to the rodeo’s scholarship fund …

A trailer loaded with gates and chutes belonging to the July 21-24 Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah, was stolen from a lot near the Salt Lake City International Airport recently. If anyone has been approached about buying the equipment or has seen it, please contact Kathi Izatt at 801.257.7959 or 801.243.6676 … The Prescott (Ariz.) City Council will this week consider a $25,000 contribution to the World’s Oldest Rodeo to help with the cost of a new observation deck at the Mackin Building on the Prescott Rodeo Grounds. The city owns the rodeo grounds and leases the Mackin Building to the Frontier Days Rodeo organization. Under the lease, City Manager Craig McConnell told the Daily Courier, PFD has the right to make improvements to the building. The Frontier Days organization plans to build a new deck on the north side of the Mackin Building to provide more viewing space for rodeo events. A $25,000 contribution was included in the current fiscal-year budget, McConnell said, and the city originally intended to be the lead agency on the joint city/PFD project, with each contributing $25,000 … Rodeo clown J.J. Harrison, of Walla Walla, Wash., appeared before 3,000 students in the Mid-Columbia region of Washington state last week to talk about the difference between bullying and teasing. The effort was sponsored in part by the Horse Heaven Roundup Rodeo in Kennewick. “We’re trying to make school a little easier for them,” Harrison told KVEW-TV. “We’re trying to do things that help fight what bullies really are … and give (the kids) strategies to deal with the bully, and most importantly we want kids to not feel like tattle-tales, but rather report (when they see bullying behavior).” … Ronald and Celinda Sexton received the Western Heritage Award from the Glen Rose (Texas) PRCA Rodeo last week for their ongoing contributions to the event, and Terry Starnes, who has been involved with the rodeo since 1994 (serving as announcer for the last 18 years), was named Committee Person of the Year … Natale Fletcher News And Notes March 10 2014
Knoxville, Tenn., teenager Natalie Fletcher will be able to continue pursuing her favorite sport because of help from the Franklin (Tenn.) Rodeo through a donation to the University of Tennessee-Martin’s Rodeo Booster Club. The scholarship money helps, Fletcher says, because, “It gives me enough to pay for academics, books, and feed” for her horses. Most of her college is paid for through academic scholarships, but the rodeo scholarship has made it possible for her to devote her time exclusively to school and rodeo and not have to get a job, which would be difficult with her schedule. “I go to class from eight to four, then have thirty minutes to change clothes, and head to the arena,” where rodeo practice is held until 9:30 each night … Troy (Ala.) University Athletic Director John Hartwell announced March 5 that the school will discontinue its men’s and women’s rodeo programs, effective with the end of the 2014 season. Nine of the school’s 19 rodeo athletes have scholarships, and Hartwell said the school would honor that commitment if the students choose to finish their education at Troy.QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“As a child in France, I always enjoyed Westerns. So I’m happy that as a scientist, I can explore the things that made me dream when I was young.”

– Physicist Dr. Pierre-Thomas Brun, telling the BBC his motivation for studying rodeo    trick roping and demonstrating his findings at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver.

Courtesy of PRCA