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Thursday, September 22, 2011



The Gold Coast Hotel & Casino is offering rodeo fans several ways to celebrate the “Super Bowl of Rodeos” with after-party events and special room/ticket packages for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, scheduled for Dec.1-10, 2011, in Las Vegas.

National Finals Tonight

Head to “Where all the Cowboys go after the Rodeo®” at the award-winning National Finals Tonight Show, every night after the conclusion of the Finals.  Admission is free and fans will be treated to highlights and interviews with the most recognizable names in the world of professional rodeo.

This wrap-up of each day’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo events will be hosted at The Gold Coast by eight-time World Champion and Hall of Fame Cowboy Donnie Gay; World Champion Tie-Down Roper and All-Around Cowboy, Joe Beaver; and TV host Dan Miller.  They will be talking all things rodeo, featuring interviews with Pro Rodeo contestants and a variety of celebrities who enjoy and appreciate the western lifestyle.

Special appearances by legendary WNFR rodeo announcers Bob Tallman and Boyd Polhamus will include a Q & A session with these top cowboys.

Additionally, special prizes will be given away nightly, including autographed Fender guitars by country legends such as George Strait, courtesy of Wrangler.

For more information, please visit:

Gary Leffew’s Legendary Buck’N Ball
Live country music, dancing, free mechanical bull rides, and drink specials highlight The Legendary Buck’N Ball, Las Vegas’ greatest cowboy party.  The Buck’N Ball will be held each night, following the conclusion of the day’s NFR events.

Special performances by The Texas Jamm Band -- featuring members of George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band -- and country-rock sensation Scotty Alexander will thrill fans on the dance floor and please even the most discerning country music lover.

There is no cover charge and all rodeo fans are welcome to join the nightly celebration.  Cowboy boots not required, but highly recommended.

For more information, please visit:

Room & Ticket Packages

Seven of Boyd Gaming’s Las Vegas hotel and casinos -- the Gold Coast, The Orleans, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, California, Fremont, and Main Street Station -- are offering special room and ticket packages for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.  Supplies are limited.  For more information and to book a room package, please visit: or call 888-582-6278 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            888-582-6278      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

About Boyd Gaming
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) is a leading diversified owner and operator of 16 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana and Louisiana and Florida.  Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rodeo: Ziober wins bareback bronc riding title

Rodeo: Ziober wins bareback bronc riding title
By Todd Brewer

Sunday night marked the third and final performance of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo at the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, but hardly the end of rodeo action at the fairgrounds, with events scheduled through next Saturday evening.

Cowboys from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Marseilles, France comprised the roster in the bareback bronc riding, but it was Huntsville, Texas cowboy Cody Ziober who came out on top with his score of 78 aboard No. 28 Vodka. Second, third and fourth was a three way split between Kansas cowboys Yance Day and Blaine Kaufman and the Frenchman Evan Jayne.

Parker Howell of Lenapah, OK topped the steer wrestling competition with his time of 4.4Kyle Irwin and Ryan Swayze tied for second and third with a 4.8 time

Stephenville cowboy Cody Anthony scored 80 points on his re-ride in the saddle bronc riding for the win with Tol Crawley of Crockett marking a 77 on his horse Strike Force for second. Close behind him with a 76 on Buckle Bunny was Seth Schafer, from Springer Oklahoma.

Cory Solomon’s 8.3 time in the tie down roping was fast enough to capture the win for the Prairie View, Tx cowboy. Benbrook’s Monty Eakin was 8.4 for second with Sterling Smith’s 10.5 quick enough to claim third.

Team roping was a catch one and win a check kind of contest, with nearly 20 seconds separating first and third.A 4.4 second time posted by Cody Heflin and Nick Rowland was the fastest time for the win, with Cody McMinn and Will Woodfin’s 5.6 second run claiming the second spot. Finishing in third was the team of Ryan Robinson and Steve Wolf with their time of 23.0 seconds.

Women’s barrel racing was a close contest with Casey Doebbler of Stephenville posting the quickest run of 17.17 seconds. A 17.25 second time split second and third between Granbury’s Reagan Dillard and Boyd’s McKinley Goodger.

The bull riding contest featured 3 time world champion J.W. Harris and top ranked Clayton Foltyn, but it was Oklahoma bull rider L.J. Jenkins who posted the lone score of 86 for the win.

Rodeo action returns to the fairgrounds Monday night with teams from local ranches competing in traditional working ranch cowboy events like bronc riding and team penning in the annual North Texas State Fair Ranch Rodeo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Finding nearby rodeos helps cowboys earn extra cash

Finding nearby rodeos helps cowboys earn extra cash


Some smaller rodeo committees see opportunity.

They calculate that their rodeo is within less than a day's driving distance of a larger one. They draw high-profile competitors by scheduling their show on the same weekend.

During the past weekend, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's marquee rodeo was the Dodge City Round Up in Kansas, which offered competitors $291,961.

But on those days they were not scheduled to ride in Dodge City, many competitors headed to Abilene, Kan., to vie for a share of a $76,681 purse at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo. And there was eight-time world all-around champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur who also traveled to Philipsburg, Kan., and took $1,763 from the rodeo's $96,885 purse.

Five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bradley Harter of Weatherford has effectively worked multiple rodeos over the past two weekends. Last weekend, he earned $2,117 after tying for first (85 points) in the final round and finishing fourth overall in the saddle bronc riding race at Dodge City. He also pocketed $1,683 after winning the Abilene saddle bronc title.

On the weekend of July 29-31, Harter finished second at the 115th Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming ($7,744) and also came in No. 2 at the traditional rodeo in Deadwood, S.D. ($2,725). The Deadwood show is another example of a smaller rodeo that piggybacks on a larger one, a scheduling situation that's been in place for years.

After all that, Harter was ranked third in the PRCA's world saddle bronc riding standings with $71,415, which should be more than enough to qualify for the Dec. 1-10 National Finals in Las Vegas.

On the bubble

The Dodge City Rodeo was a boon for a North Texas bareback rider who is fighting to qualify for the 2011 National Finals. In order to make the cut, a cowboy must be ranked within the top 15 in a single event when the regular season concludes in late September.

Matt Bright of Azle, who is on pace to qualify for his second NFR, showed up at Dodge City ranked 15th in the PRCA bareback riding title race. But after finishing second and earning $5,165, he was ranked 13th in the world standings released Monday with $46,728.

PBR update

Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira, who lives near Decatur, won last weekend's Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Billings, Mont., and earned $41,920. He clinched the title after turning in a final-round score of 89.5 aboard Jeffrey Scott's Titanium Tough (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls).

Silvano Alves, the PBR's 2010 Rookie of the Year, finished the weekend tour stop in second place, but held onto his world title race lead. In the world standings, Alves is No. 1 with 9,091.75 points, 200 ahead of No. 2 De Oliveira who has 8,891.75. This weekend, the tour stops in Tulsa.

Up and comer

Matt Birdwell, who is from the East Texas town of Bronson near Jasper, won the senior open division title at the Cinch World Bull Riding Finals last weekend in Abilene. The championships featured 197 contestants ages 19 and under.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Roper Whitfield surpasses $3 million

Roper Whitfield surpasses $3 million
Fred Whitfield became the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association’s third member to surpass the $3-million mark in career earnings after the tie-down roping superstar placed in a round at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.
Only Trevor Brazile, an eight-time world all-around champion, and Billy Etbauer, a five-time saddle bronc riding gold buckle winner, had previously achieved the milestone in the PRCA.
Whitfield, an eight-time world champion from Hockley, surpassed the mark after finishing second in the first round of the Frontier Days with a time of 11.2 seconds for $6,088.
Prior to the rodeos during the weekend of July 29-31, the ProRodeo Hall of Famer was $3,825 short of the $3 million mark, according to the PRCA.
In 1999, Whitfield made headlines by becoming the sport’s first African-American world all-around champion.
Jake Barnes, a seven-time team roping champion, was another high-profile cowboy who reached a milestone during the weekend of July 29-30. Paired with two-time world champion heeler Walt Woodard, Barnes earned checks totaling $19,754 from three rodeos to become the 17th man in the PRCA to surpass $2 million in career earnings.
Barnes’ and Woodard’s biggest check was $15,095 from winning the average at the 115th Cheyenne rodeo. Other Cheyenne champions were steer wrestler Olin Hannum, saddle bronc rider Jesse Bail, steer roper Rocky Garnett, barrel racer Kim Schulze, tie-down roper Jerrad Hofstetter, bareback rider Casey Colletti and bull rider Shane Proctor.
Proctor, who is from Grand Coulee, Wash., has accomplished the rare feat of winning the bull riding title at two of the world’s most famous summer rodeos two weeks apart. He’s finished No. 1 at the Calgary Stampede and the Cheyenne rodeo.
After winning the $100,000 bull riding title July 17 at the Calgary rodeo, which was approved by the Professional Bull Riders, Proctor has earned more than $185,000 this season, which is expected to be way more than enough to qualify for the Oct. 26-30 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. After earning $11,871 on July 31 in Cheyenne, which was sanctioned by the PRCA, Proctor was ranked No. 1 in last week’s PRCA’s bull riding standings with $118,966. And that should be way more than enough to qualify for the Dec. 1-10 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
■ Lowe riding tough: Three-time world champion Will Lowe of Canyon was ranked No.1 in last week’s PRCA world bareback standings with $86,276 after finishing third at Cheyenne. In recent months, it’s been a close race among Lowe, Kaycee Feild, who was ranked No. 2 ($84,903) and Tilden Hooper, who was No. 3 ($83,130).
■ Gray on the mend: Don’t be surprised to see Ryan Gray on the card at the 2011 National Finals. Since he came from the injured list in June, Gray, who has homes in Cheney, Wash., and Petersburg, has been one hot bareback rider. During the weekend of July 28-31, Gray won the Last Chance Stampede in Helena, Mont., and the Chief Joseph Days in Joseph, Ore. After all that, Gray was ranked 20th in last week’s PRCA world bareback riding standings with $32,640 in 2011 earnings. He conceivably can move within the top 15 by the time the regular season ends in late September.
■ Cutting horse update: Many of the National Cutting Horse Association’s top aged-event competitors will visit Amarillo for the traditional West Texas Futurity. The show is scheduled for Aug. 13-21 at the Amarillo National Center.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram during the past two decades. Email him at

Friday, August 5, 2011

Third-annual Chicks n Chaps women-only rodeo clinic sells out

Third-annual Chicks n Chaps women-only rodeo clinic sells out

Thursday night was a change of pace for Brett Crump.

A professional bull rider, a four-time qualifier for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo and a 10-time qualifier in the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals, Crump spends most nights trying to spend 8 seconds on a twisting and bucking 2,000-pound animal.

On Thursday, Crump got to kick back and pass on his rodeo wisdom to a group of about 200 women, all of whom were dressed in pink and eager to learn from a real cowboy.

"It's fun to socialize with the ladies," Crump said.

Lots of socializing, along with drinking of pink beers — and maybe a little flirting — went on at the Chicks n Chaps all-women rodeo clinic Thursday evening at the Montana State Fair.

"I'm married so I can't flirt," Crump said.

Instead, he got a front-row seat to watch his fellow bull-riders charm the ladies.

Chicks n Chaps is in its third year in Great Falls. The women-only rodeo clinic got its start in Missoula, and is now held in five cities across Montana.

The Great Falls event raises funds for the Circle of Hope Survivorship Program at Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute. Proceeds from the event help women going through breast cancer treatment purchase wigs and prosthetics, said Katie Murphy, cancer services coordinator at Sletten.

The clinic sold out well before it kicked off.

"We have turned away a lot of ladies in the past couple days," said Erin Townsend, a Chicks n Chaps committee member.

Last year, Chicks n Chaps raised $5,700, Murphy said. She expected this year's event to raise more than $10,000

The women at Chicks n Chaps rotated between stations Thursday, trying their hand at skills needed for calf roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Women also got to participate in another activity not included in most rodeos — groping, or, more specifically, self breast exams.

Jodi Dake, a two-year breast cancer survivor, showed the women how to conduct self breast exams.

Dake was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31, thanks to a self exam.

"I knew what was normal and what was not," she said.

After two years of attending the Chicks n Chaps clinic, Cindy McLendon is nearly a pro at bull riding.

"It's a good adrenaline rush," McLendon said, after hopping off a model bull body that is attached to hinges and springs designed to simulate the movement of a real bull.

Kattie Swartz and about 10 of her friends attended the clinic as part of Swartz's bachelorette party.

"I'm a rodeo fan, not that I could do rodeo," Swartz said.

She said that in addition to being a fun time, the event was a chance to contribute to a worthy cause.

"I think it's a great way to support a good cause," she said.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Benton County Fair and Rodeo Kicks Off

Benton County Fair and Rodeo Kicks Off
By Heather Turner

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Fair season is here, and Wednesday is opening day of the Benton County Fair and Rodeo.

And that's great news for families, because Wednesday is Kid's Day, meaning children 12 and under get in free.

And if that's not incentive enough, there are big changes in store for fairgoers.

When you head out to the Benton County fairgrounds you're going to notice a lot has changed.  One of the biggest, and perhaps most obvious changes, are all of the new rides.

They go up, and around, upside down, but one of them does something that most of you have never experienced.

"It's the only one of it's kind in the northwest," said Rob Rhew, Funtastic Shows Vice President.

It's basically a giant swing that spins you around.

"I just like this ride because it looks like it goes really high," said Tori Johnson, fairgoer.

One hundred and ten feet in the air.

"Super fun and super exciting," said Anna Mitchell, fairgoer.

All of the 19 rides are new to the Benton County Fair and Rodeo this year, but the "Vertigo" is really unique.

"This is only the third time it's been used, it's a brand-new ride," said Rhew.

And there's more in store for fairgoers than just the big rides.

"That over there is for the smaller kids so that they go can have fun, too, before they progress onto the bigger rides," said Rhew.

There's fun for all ages.

And of course, don't forget the carnival games.

"Being here is just a joy because there's so many games and stuff, great prizes, too," said Harrison Kalmar, fairgoer.

And to add to the whole new feel of the fair, there are about 150 more animals this year that were brought up from Lane County 4-H.

"A lot more in the sheep area, and llamas, horses, just about everything has increased," said Lonny Wunder, fair manager.

Also new, and to help house all of those extra animals, a solar-powered livestock pavilion.

And to keep the old traditions running, there's plenty of various activities and shows.

"The logging competition's one thing.  Lots of fun, lots of entertainment," said Wunder.

This year's theme is "We've Got a Good Thing Growing."

The fair and rodeo runs through Saturday, with an entertainment lineup featuring Emily Osment, Aaron Tippin, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Johnny Limbo and The Lugnuts.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rodeo a family matter for Brazile

Rodeo a family matter for Brazile

DODGE CITY —Trevor Brazile’s rodeo resume screams success. The eight-time PRCA All-Around World Champion is the epitome of hard work, intelligence and some God-given ability thrown in the mix. But when the Decatur, Texas resident has a rare slip up, a no time or fails to make a final, the first person to tell him what he did wrong is his three-year-old son Treston.

“Sure he hollers,” Trevor said. “If I miss he hollers no time before the announcers.”

That dependable and no-holds-back voice is with Brazile at just about every rodeo. Along with his wife, Shada, and other child, one-year-old daughter Stella, he has a complete support system that is there in the stands watching and waiting for him when he finishes the day.

“You know, they don’t know any different,” Shada said of Treston and Stella. “They just kind of adapt and what’s cool about it, is no matter what situation, they’re game for it.”

The ability to adjust and go with the flow has been key for the entire Brazile family and their success. Shada, who said they have been on the road since June, mentioned that the kids find enjoyment in each rodeo.
“It’s been a busy summer,” Shada said. “But yeah, they love it. They have a lot of fun. They have a lot of friends that will be at the rodeos so they look forward to seeing there friends at each rodeo.”

Trevor mentioned, however, that while Stella really doesn’t understand rodeo yet, Treston has caught onto the sport.

“Well, Treston’s starting to. He’s three and he takes his horse with us most of the time and rides it around at all the rodeos so he’s having fun. But he knows the difference between a good run and a no time or something like that,” he said.

Shada said that they look forward to hearing Treston’s thoughts on how his dad has performed.
“Treston is just now to where he understands the concepts and understands what’s going on,” she said. “So we look forward to hearing his comments and critiquing his daddy. It’s a lot of fun.”

Brazile and his family are in Dodge this week for the Dodge City PRCA RoundUp Rodeo at the RoundUp Arena. Tuesday, Brazile competed in steer roping and celebrity team roping. Brazile, who is currently ranked No.1 in the All-Around standings at $188,879.00 earnings, according to, said he always looks forward to coming to Dodge and competing.

“The fans, you know. This is cowboy country,” Trevor said. “They know the rodeo and where it came from and they’re just fans of the sport. The aren’t coming just to get out in the sun, they’re coming to enjoy the sport that’s what we love. And it’s fun competing in front of knowledgeable fans.”

Brazile also hopes that this week out at the RoundUp Arena he can get back on track.

“It’s been a slow two weeks before this and we need to get it kicked back up,” Trevor said. “I have a lot of confidence in this rodeo, it’s been good to me over the years and hopefully it will kind of end my drought.”
And if it doesn’t, Treston will be the first to let him know.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Than 150 Entered the Gerry Fire Department's 67th annual PRCA rodeo

More Than 150 Entered the Gerry Fire Department's 67th annual PRCA rodeo
By Paul Cooley
GERRY - More than 150 professional cowboys and cowgirls from 19 states have registered to compete for $30,000 in prize money at the Gerry Fire Department's 67th annual PRCA rodeo which opens Thursday and continues for four performances through Sunday.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in Colorado Springs made the announcement following the deadline for entries on Friday. The list is led by the women's barrel racing which has 42 entries, followed by 30 competitors in tie-down roping and 25 bull riders. All of the competitors must be current members of either the PRCA or the Women's Professional Rodeo Cowgirls Association (WPRCA) and registration for all sanctioned rodeos is done through the Colorado Springs office.

This week's competition begins on Thursday at 8 p.m. and continues Friday and Saturday evenings with a final show on Sunday at 2 p.m. All seven traditional rodeo events - bareback and saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and bull riding - will be featured at each performance.

Each competitor must pay an entry fee for any event entered, with those fees ranging from $55 to $125, depending on the event. These entry fees are added to money put up by the fire department and other sponsors to provide the total prize money. In addition, the winner of each event is presented with a specially designed Montana Silversmiths belt buckle.

The stock contractor for the 22nd year is the Barnes Rodeo Company of Peterson, Iowa, which has been producing rodeos across the country for 58 years.

In addition to the rodeo competition, the show will include comedy provided by rodeo clown Johnny "Backflip" Dudley with his mechanical bull and Flower, his pet skunk. Special events for children in the crowd include ''mutton bustin,'' the calf scramble and the nickel dive, all of which allow the children to actually get into the rodeo arena.

The midway has more than 20 vendors with everything from candy apples and cotton candy to Western wear and souvenirs, along with face painting, sand art and pony rides for the kids.

The famous barbecue beef dinners are served beginning at 5 p.m. each evening and at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Full dinners including dessert and drink cost $10 for adults and combination tickets for both the rodeo and dinner are available at reduced rates.

Additional information is available by phone at 985-4847 or toll free at 1-888-985-4847 or on the web at

Monday, August 1, 2011

True Grit: Champions show determination to win at the "Daddy of 'em All"

True Grit: Champions show determination to win at the "Daddy of 'em All"

CHEYENNE -- Two fingers were the difference between Shane Proctor riding two bulls or just one. Two late buck offs were the difference between Proctor going home a winner or just a placer.

Proctor, the No. 1 bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings, capped a strong week of competition by posting an 88 on his final ride to win the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo bull riding title. For his efforts, Proctor pocketed $12,014.19.

After finishing No. 3 in the first two go-rounds, Proctor notched his 88 then had to watch as Brent Menz and Wesley Silcox, the two riders with better scores for the week, took their rides. Both riders were bucked off sealing the title.

"It was a lot of luck this week, that's what it comes down to. It's been going like that all year," Proctor said. "Had some key guys buck off in the short round that were really good riders and it just worked out. I'd like to say I ride good but a lot of luck is what's going for us."

Earlier in the week, the Grand Coulee, Wash., rider survived a tense situation when his rope and hand broke loose during a ride. He clung with two fingers to the bull just long enough to go 8 seconds and get an 84.

His luck was far from over.

In the first group of riders on Sunday, none of the cowboys who posted two scores during the week finished a third ride. If not for Chandler Bownds' 89, none of the first 10 riders would have scored in the third go.

Three riders before Proctor notched scores with Bobby Welsh and Tater Hins earning scores of 86. L.J. Jenkins posted an 80.

Needing a 78 or better just to tie Hins, Proctor showed them all up with an 88 to take a 10-point advantage. Even before the score was announced, Proctor bolted for the chute and began pumping his fists in the air to celebrate.

"They write songs about this place so it's really special just to win this place. This is the one that everybody watches when they're younger and dreams about winning. This is the one a lot of world champs have won. There's a lot of history in this arena," Proctor said. "It just means the world to me to get the buckle here. I'll just be able to look at it and check it out and wear it around a little bit."

Proctor's journey to the title was far from easy, both in the arena and on the road.

On Saturday, Proctor and a couple of friends were down in Thackerville, Okla., for a Professional Bull Rider event. Thanks to some understanding buddies, Proctor was able to rest up for Sunday's championship round.

The extra rest proved to be vital.

"We were in Thackerville, Okla., last night and they split the driving between the three of them," Proctor said. "We pulled in about an hour before the rodeo. They let me lay back and sleep and it worked out for the best."

With his lead over J.W. Harris in the standings continuing to grow, Proctor now has an opportunity no other bull rider before him has ever had. He not only leads the PRCA standings, but the PBR standings as well.

If his luck continues, Proctor could become the first cowboy to ever win both world bull riding titles in the same year.

It will be far from easy but Proctor wouldn't have it any other way.

"That'd be something that nobody else has ever done. It'd be something that's always been a goal of mine. It's going to be a fight to end," Proctor said.

Bareback riding

VH1 might want to contact Casey Colletti because he might just be having the best week ever.

The last 10 days have been extremely kind to the Pueblo, Colo., cowboy. On Sunday, his streak hit its highest point.

Colletti capped an improbable Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo by notching a short go score of 89 to easily win the bareback riding title with a final score of 258. He bested Royce Ford by 10 points en route to the title.

"This is literally the most phenomenal week I've ever had. I went to Eagle, Colo., I was 86, won third there. I won Rock Springs and I won Burlington. And I can't forget I won Cheyenne," Colletti said with a laugh.

Winning is one thing. Changing an entire season is another.

Colletti entered CFD $3 short of $19,000 in earnings for the year. He cashed in all four possible categories, leaving him $259 short of matching his total for the season in Cheyenne alone.

All told, Colletti walked away with $18,738.

The money will most likely vault him from No. 32 in the PRCA standings to the top 15, depending on what other riders earned over the last few days.

It also will change his approach to the rest of the year.

"I rodeo hard but I'm going to try to go everywhere now. I'm going to enter every rodeo in America to try and make the (National Rodeo Finals)," Colletti said. "It bumped me up there a long ways but there's still two months of rodeo left. Lots and lots of money to be won. I'm going to hit every single rodeo I can."

Colletti's ride to the big money was not an easy one.

All but one of the 12 bareback riders who reached Sunday's finals posted a score with six of them going for 80 or better.

After putting up a first go of 85 and a second go of 84, Colletti earned the right to be the last cowboy out of the chute. He drew a horse called Full Baggage which came with a lot of baggage.

In the end, Colletti's streak proved to be the winner.

"I knew that horse goes to the eliminator pen every year in the NFR. They marked him the rankest horse of the NFR last year in that round," Colletti said. "I just went in with the attitude I'm either going to ride him or not. I try not to let the pressure get to bad on me that way I don't choke. He bucked hard and I felt like I did what I could do to ride him. It definitely worked out for the best."

With a renewed focus, Colletti is setting his sights on making the NFR a goal he describes as "like making the Super Bowl."

While he still has work to do, Colletti was still trying soak up the reality of his recent accomplishments.

"It's hard to even imagine a check for $18,000. ... It's crazy," Colletti said.

Saddle bronc

Jesse Bail needed to save his best for last. Mission accomplished.

Bail entered Sunday's championship round at CFD tied for the third best total for the week with 159 points. Using an 86 on the back of Special Time, Bail upended his competition with the second-highest score of the day to win the title with a final total of 245.

"I came in and it was all really tight. I knew I had a good shot to win it. I just knew I had to go out there and make the best ride I could. That's all you can do," Bail said. "I was just tickled pink to have a great horse like that. And shoot, everything worked out good. It was awesome."

With only six points separating the No. 12 rider in the event from the No. 1 rider, the entire go left little margin for error.

Bradley Harter posted the highest score of the round with an 87 but just five of the riders were able to notch a score higher than 80. The Camp Crook, S.D., cowboy left no doubt he could contend for the title with his monster ride.

"Everybody I talked to said (the horse) was really good and that's what they'd want so I knew he was really good. And he actually bucked harder that I thought he was going," Bail said. "He jumped out of there, had some moves, ducked and dang near bucked me off a couple times. I just kept gassing it, laid back in my saddle and everything turned out good."

Clinging to a small lead, Bail watched as Jacobs Crawley posted an 80, J.J. Elshere was bucked and Samuel Kelts could only manage a 79. His two-point win over Harter helped Bail earn $9,711.76 for the week.

That total will also help him vault up the PRCA standings. Bail entered CFD ranked No. 9 in the standings and could crack the top five before all is finished. That would put him one step closer to a 12th NFR appearance.

While all those things still have to play out, Bail was just excited about winning Cheyenne for the first time in his career.

Injury and a little bad luck at the "Daddy of 'em All" have prevented him from a buckle in the past.

Not anymore.

"I've been here a bunch of times and I've had a little heck and things didn't go my way. Heck, this year everything just fell into place and everything just went my way it seemed like. It was awesome," Bail said.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cowboys Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig fight 'Aliens'

Cowboys Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig fight 'Aliens'

By Bryan Alexander

GREENOUGH, Mont. — When you're in a cowboy movie, you never know where the next attack is is coming from.

As Harrison Ford relaxes on a front porch of a remote resort on a beautiful Montana morning, he is set upon by blood-seeking bugs. His Cowboys & Aliens co-star Daniel Craig leaps into action.

"(Expletive) black mosquitoes!" Craig snarls as he leaps forward to swat the offending critters. Ford is surprised and amused.

"See how he's got my back?" he says with a smile.

VIDEO: Five questions for director Jon Favreau

Ford can certainly count on Craig to watch his back no matter what the attack. But with their Western/sci-fi flick opening today, the stakes are considerably higher than mosquito bites.

This time it's two of Hollywood's biggest names pooling their significant box-office appeal in the hopes of a bonanza. The two take on deadly space invaders in theWild West in a genre-blending concept as simple as theCowboys & Aliens title suggests.

"I like the fact that the title isn't pretending," Craig says. "It's sort of saying, look …"

"Here are the ingredients," Ford adds, finishing the sentence.

"You don't need to dress it up," Craig adds.

There really is no reason to dress up the other essential movie ingredient — Ford, 69, is essentially passing the cool-guy movie torch to Craig, 43.

"These are two of the biggest acting icons of our time, and that's because they are so good at being heroes," says Cowboys co-star Olivia Wilde.

It's Indiana Jones meeting James Bond backed by an impressive array of moviemakers including executive producer Steven Spielberg, producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, as well as director Jon Favreau.

Sitting over an outdoor breakfast in blue jeans and rolled-up shirt sleeves weeks before the movie's release, the two seem natural for the roles. They are both all about purposeful strides, gruff talk and few words, just like their cowboy counterparts. But Ford has not done a Western since 1979's Frisco Kid and has not appeared on-screen on horseback in more than a decade.

As for the Englishman Craig, even he admits he thought he was "a strange choice" to play a Western gunslinger, even if he had "wanted to play a cowboy for as long as I can remember."

Favreau says there was a cowboy learning curve for Craig. "He's James Bond. You don't get much more English than that."

But he says there was something in Craig's famous stare that made him a natural choice for the role.

"It's the look, the strong blue eyes," he says. "It's the gunfighter glare he has. It occurred to me how much he looks like Steve McQueen in The MagnificentSeven."

Besides, Craig had been practicing his gunplay skills since he was a kid.

"I had a toy Winchester. You pump a few rounds, fall over and die. That's the reason I became an actor," he says with a laugh. "I finally got here, though it's taken me 25 years."

Ford was somewhat reluctant to join the film, a notion Favreau chalks up to the sci-fi element. Despite the clear popular appeal of turning graphic novels into films (Cowboys & Aliens came from that source), Ford was wary about going there.

"I just had to convince myself to do a movie where there's a danger of people actually going to see it these days," Ford insists.

Once Ford came around, it marked the beginning of a power team, even if it took the Englishman a while to catch up on the Western basics. But Craig began horseback riding "as early as possible when I got the job" and proved to be a quick study.

Stars played on the plains

"There's nothing like galloping across the plain and riding into a shot and hitting your mark," he says. "For me it was a big deal. Getting on a horse at 7 in the morning and going to work was a joy."

It wasn't all work on the dusty Santa Fe set. The Bond star also enhanced his party-throwing skills in the off hours during the three-month shoot last summer.

"I'd invite people over, and it just kind of worked out," Craig says. "It doesn't always work. Sometimes (parties) fall flat on their face."

Quite the contrary, this time. Craig's frequent soirees at his rented house overlooking a beautiful canyon were catered, and Craig played the consummate host.

The events often went late into the evening as Craig and Favreau strummed ukuleles while others joined in with their own instruments and sang near a bonfire. Afterward, Craig's cowboy partner would help out with the dirty work.

"Harrison was very nice to come over, and he'd help clean up the mess," Craig says.

The two even worked through their fashion choices for the film. Ford, who created a piece of Americana with his Indiana Jones fedora, had the tough task of choosing cowboy headgear.

"You get the hat right, and the rest of it follows," Craig says.

"People chose a hat very carefully," Ford says. "I was concerned. I wanted to get the right hat. Everyone wanted to get the right hat."

Craig's other big choice came with his decision to wear riding chaps, a source of needling from Ford. He teases Craig that everyone is talking about "your (butt)."

Despite the ribbing, Craig says he's still good with the chaps decision.

"I regret things, but not that. The truth of it is, they do the trick, they keep you from getting chafed. They are also strangely comfortable. That's as far as I'm going."

Do more foes lie ahead?

On set, the two shared a banter "which was a constant refrain," Favreau says. "It was always well-meaning, but very spirited."

That connection may have culminated in a moment on-screen when Craig's character, Jake Lonergan, asks Harrison's Woodrow Dolarhyde, "Are you OK, old man?" after a harrowing incident.

Ford claims ignorance of the line, even gruffly insisting, "I didn't hear that."

"It came in ADR (dubbing)," Craig says with a laugh. "Actually, I was just trying to wind Harrison up."

"Well," Ford says, "it is a reality."

Favreau claims the line came at Ford's insistence.

"Harrison is very egoless when it comes to the laugh and the movie," the director says. "That was the emblematic moment of what his and Daniel's relationship was like."

It's a relationship that could certainly continue into other fields beyond alien fighting, should the box office signal approval this weekend.

"I think when you get Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig back-to-back, they can handle pretty much anything thrown at them," Favreau says. "I would be curious to see the movie with zombies, dinosaurs or killer robots."

Certainly the two seem keen to ride again. As Ford prepares to get up to move from his porch perch, he gives as much mush as a tough guy is allowed to give another tough guy.

"I had a good time," he says, looking at Craig.

"Same here," Craig says, looking nearly sheepish.

"I'm determined not to work again unless it's with Daniel," Ford says, smiling.

"OK, good," Craig says. "I want that in writing."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rodeo: Days of '76 keeps building on tradition

Rodeo: Days of '76 keeps building on tradition 
Joe Kavanaugh

That the Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo is one of the best in the country has been common knowledge to Black Hills area rodeo fans for years.
For pro rodeo’s governing body, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, that view’s been shared for about as long. The Days of ’76 has been named rodeo of the year on 11 occasions, including the last seven years in succession.
And now, finally, the rodeo’s enduring excellence has been proclaimed and preserved for posterity. The rodeo was induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame earlier this month. 
“We had 53 people go down for the ceremony,” longtime Days of ’76 Rodeo chairman Pat Roberts said. “We have won rodeo of the year 11 times, and that’s absolutely wonderful, but being inducted into the PRCA Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs (Colo.) is a lifetime achievement, and it is going to be there forever. My grandkids and my great-great grandkids will be able to go there and see that we have done something very special here.”
This year’s 89th annual edition should continue that special tradition, as more than 650 of the country’s best cowboys and cowgirls once again return to one of the most scenic rodeo arena in America.
Two-time world champion steer roper Rocky Patterson, who won two go-rounds in Tuesday’s opening steer roping event,  best captured the aura and charm that surrounds Deadwood and its historic rodeo.
“You gotta come to Deadwood,” he said.  “The first thing is that they put up a lot of money and it’s a good rodeo. The climate and the scenery are unbelievable, which is why everybody likes to come up here and kick back. I left my house in Pratt, Kan., yesterday and the temperature was 106, and we’ve had 38 days in a row over 100. So I was really ready to be in Deadwood.”
And come they will. The cream of the crop of the PRCA and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuits includes past world champions, current  event leaders — every 2011 leader will be on-hand — and, of course, the best South Dakota and the Badlands Circuit has to offer.
Virtually every event will feature a who’s who of professional rodeo, starting right out of the chute with bareback riding. Current world leader Will Lowe will match bumpy rides with the likes of Tilden Hooper, Kaycee Field, Steven
Peebles and Clint Cannon. Not to be overlooked is Rapid City’s Scott Montague, who claimed second in last year’s rodeo. Agar cowboy Joe Gunderson will also try to regain a top-15 spot.
Eight of the top 10 steer wrestlers will challenge current world leader and former world champion Luke Branquinho. Among them will be a couple of South Dakota cowboys — Hermosa’s Todd Suhn (currently fifth in the world) and his cousin, Jake Rinehart (Highmore, seventh). They’re each chasing another trip to Las Vegas and December’s lucrative National Finals Rodeo.
In South Dakota’s signature event, saddle bronc, current world champion Cody Wright (Milford, Utah) will try to fight off the challenge of Taos Muncy, a Corona, N.M., cowboy and brother-in-law of Mud Butte rider Cody Taton. He and other South Dakota challengers Chad Ferley (Oelrichs) and Jeff Willert (Belvidere) will be present. Joining them will be 2010 NFR qualifier J.J. Elshere (Quinn), defending champion Cole Elshere (Faith), and Camp Crook’s Jesse Bail, who is just off a big win in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Each performance will close with bull riding. The list of contestants coming in this year should keep the stands packed until the very last ride, as nine of the top 10 bull riders will be in action. Three-time defending champion J.W. Harris (Mullin, Texas) leads the least of riders chasing current leader Shane Proctor (Grand Coulee, Wash).
In WPRA barrel racing, a couple of South Dakota cowgirl legends, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs and Jill Moody of Letcher, return to protect the home turf.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Patsy Cline's Restored House Opening in Va

Patsy Cline's Restored House Opening in Va

Patsy Cline fans curious about the early days of her brief but highly acclaimed country music career will finally be able to do more than just drive by her old house in Winchester and snap a picture.

The Patsy Cline Historic House will open Aug. 2 as a memorial to the singer who recorded such classics as "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces" before dying in a plane crash in 1963. Visitors will be able to step through the door of 608 S. Kent St. and back in time some six decades for a glimpse of how Virginia "Ginny" Patterson Hensley lived from her mid-teens to mid-20s, as she emerged from small-town obscurity to become one of music's most enduring and influential superstars.

"The fact that her music seems timeless brings a whole new group in every generation that keeps her alive," said Cline's daughter, Julie Fudge of Nashville. "Her career was a small amount of years, and she had lots of accolades, but I don't think she imagined the things that would come after she died."

Cline's husband, Charlie Dick of Nashville, said Patsy's premature death at age 30 and the question of how much more she might have accomplished is "part of the mystique" that continues to fuel interest in her life and career. But Cline's sophisticated, genre-defying voice also explains her iconic status, he said.

"Her voice was the first of that type in country music," Dick said, noting its appeal to a broader audience than hardcore country fans.

In fact, Cline biographer Douglas Gomery said many of Cline's hit records made both the country and pop charts.

"It's really complex music," said Gomery, a retired University of Maryland media studies professor, resident scholar at the Library of American Broadcasting and author of "Patsy Cline: The Making of an Icon."

For decades, Cline's fans have had to satisfy their curiosity about her early years in Winchester by cruising past her once-dilapidated former home on Kent Street, dropping by the drugstore where she worked as a teenage soda jerk, and paying homage at her gravesite just outside the Shenandoah Valley city of 26,000 that is known for apples and Civil War sites.

The public's ongoing fascination with the first female solo artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame prompted a group of Winchester residents to establish a nonprofit corporation, Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc., which purchased and renovated the home. Cline moved to the house with her mother and two siblings in November 1948, the year after her parents split up. She lived there until June 1957, except for a few years during her first marriage to Gerald Cline. Her mother, Hilda Hensley, rented at first but later bought the home.

Cline was living in the tiny two-story frame house when she signed her first record deal, made her Grand Ole Opry debut and won Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts television competition — a sort of '50s version of American Idol — by singing "Walkin' After Midnight," which became her first hit record.

"There's no museum for her, so this is the actual place that she lived the longest in her short life," said Gomery, who also is Celebrating Patsy Cline's historian. "She really made the transition from amateur singer to professional singer when she lived there."

Said Fudge: "I think when you go into the house, you will kind of feel like this is a snapshot of what it would have been like to visit when Mom lived there."

What visitors will see is a home that was typical for families of modest means during that era: small rooms, low ceilings, scaled-down furniture and very little storage space. Celebrating Patsy Cline spent about $100,000 renovating the house and equipping it with appliances and furniture intended to replicate the way the home looked when the singer lived there. Only a few items are original.

The first stop is the living room — a compact space with gleaming, refinished pine floors that Ron Hottle, president of Celebrating Patsy Cline, said predate the Civil War. The house originally was an early-1800s log cabin, and some of the original logs are exposed under Plexiglas next to the front door.

Visitors may notice one of the few nods to modern building codes: a wheelchair ramp into the living area. Central heating and air also was added, Hottle said.

Decor was kept to a minimum to allow room for visitors: a floral-print sofa with lace doilies, an end table holding a turquoise lamp and black rotary-dial telephone and ashtray, a small chair flanked by a rack of vintage magazines, a 1951 television, family photos and an 8-by-10 of Cline in one of her cowgirl outfits on the fireplace mantel.

In the dining room, visitors will see an old Singer sewing machine like the one her mother used to make a living as a seamstress, and to make costumes similar to one displayed on a mannequin a few feet away. Hottle said some of Cline's original costumes, still faintly smelling of the cigarette smoke that hung in the 1950s honky-tonk air, are in climate-controlled storage for display in a museum that Celebrating Patsy Cline hopes to eventually open elsewhere in Winchester.

Adjacent to the dining room is a galley-style kitchen that was added when Cline lived there. Originally a porch, the room is equipped with '50s appliances and basic white cabinets packed with souvenirs that will be available for purchase — coffee mugs, assorted trinkets, videos and Gomery's book.

Upstairs is the lone bedroom that was shared by all four family members. Pat Brannon, Cline's cousin, remembers the sleeping arrangements: Patsy in the twin bed closest to the door, her mother and younger sister in a double bed on the other side of an apple-crate nightstand, and her little brother in another single bed tucked into the corner. Two tiny closets and a four-drawer dresser — one drawer for each family member — provided all the storage space the family needed.

"People just didn't have a lot of clothes back then like they do now," Brannon said.

Brannon, who spent considerable time in the house as a child, said the restoration accurately portrays 608 S. Kent St. as she remembers it. She also said it brings back personal memories of helping out around the house, bringing in firewood and watching her Aunt Hilda on the Singer, working the treadle as the bobbin spun out thread for one of Patsy's fringed cowgirl outfits.

Hottle said many of the 20 docents who will conduct tours of the house have personal memories of Cline to share. Although those tours will begin Aug. 2, the official ribbon-cutting will not be until Labor Day weekend, when the Patsy Cline Fan Club has its annual get-together.


If You Go...

PATSY CLINE HISTORIC HOUSE: 608 S. Kent St., Winchester, Va.; , 540-662-5555. Tour hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Adults, $6, seniors over 60 and children under 18, $5; children under 10 and military with ID, free.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Lambs, Not the Sheep, Get Early Lessons in the Rodeo Life

Little Lambs, Not the Sheep, Get Early Lessons in the Rodeo Life

AURORA, Colo. — Kaden Bustamante tottered out of the rodeo arena after the brief, rough ride he had endured on a careening mount landed him face down in the dirt. He spit dust from his mouth and tried to stanch the blood that had begun to pour from his nose.

Then he wailed for his mother. Kaden is 3; this was his first time riding a galloping sheep.
Mutton busting, as the sport is known, is the pint-size equivalent of competitive bull riding. Children cling to the backs of sheep, and generally speaking, whoever stays on the longest wins. But just as in bull and bronco riding, even the most talented rider ends up on the arena floor.
Playing make-believe rodeo with sheep has long been a pastime of rambunctious rural children. But the sport has begun to move from horseplay, and the occasional rodeo halftime show, to wider, sometimes suburban, audiences and competitors, toward becoming a codified sport with its own gear and championships.
Kaden was among the 20 or so children, most 3 to 6 years old, who competed during a mutton-busting event put on by Wool Riders Only at the Arapahoe County Fair here in Aurora, a suburb of Denver. Wool Riders Only is the sheep-riding affiliate of a company, Tommy G. Productions, that produces events like bull riding competitions and demolition derbies.
“I think it builds character,” said Meredith Templin, a registered nurse whose son, J. T., 6, had begged to compete again after finishing second out of about 27 children at last year’s Arapahoe fair. She lamented “this age where we sanitize our kids’ hands every 30 seconds.”
“I think that same mentality of parents being overprotective is the same as not wanting them to experience failure,” she said.
J. T. is small for his age, Ms. Templin said. Successfully riding sheep “did so much for his little ego. He was so proud of himself,” she said. This year he came off quickly and took a hoof to the groin. He dusted himself off and came back for a second ride later that day.
“We are teaching our kids that yes, you are going to fall. You can lose, too, and that can mean something,” Ms. Templin said.
Kaden’s older brother, Logan, 6, competed last year and returned to the fair “to rematch my enemy,” he said. “The sheep.”
But it seemed the sheep was too daunting an adversary. As he was about to mount up, Logan’s chin trembled; he bolted into mother’s arms.
The sport’s popularity seems based in sentiments like Templin’s — a rejection of the trend of bubble-wrapping childhood — and a move toward embracing traditional, rough-and-tumble Western culture, according to interviews with participants.
No data exists for how many children participate nationally, but there are several associations that feature the sport, like the National Junior Bullriders Association, most as a steppingstone to competitive rodeo.
Tommy G. Productions offers the sport to suburban children, as well, and in 2005 expanded from one event at the Colorado State Fair to 16 stops from Dallas to Las Vegas, and a “World Finals,” in Fresno, Calif. Some of the approximately 125 cross-bred Suffolk and Columbia sheep make the tour in a custom, double-decker trailer.
At the Arapahoe County Fair, more than 30 children rode in one day; Wool Riders Only estimates that this summer, 8,000 children will ride — and fall off— its sheep.
“It’s scary to get on a live animal and ride down an arena,” said Lisa Lawson, the director of operations for Tommy G. Productions. “When they do it, they feel like they are invincible.”
Not all feel that way. Avery Martinez, 7, shook and cried after getting a face full of arena dirt at the Arapahoe fair. But her sister, Jordan, 5, hung on to her woolly mount for 2.79 seconds, even when it flipped over.
Even wearing helmets with face cages and protective vests, children do sustain injuries, Ms. Lawson said, usually of the schoolyard variety: scrapes, bruises and the occasional bloody nose. Parents must sign a waiver acknowledging the danger. The sheep sometimes sprain limbs, Ms. Lawson said.
In an age of rubber-covered playgrounds, a sport in which a child can have 150 pounds of sheep roll over him defies expectations. That it is gaining in popularity defies comprehension, at least to some people.
“Growing up on the East Coast, you don’t see kids in any kind of danger, ever, and these parents are purposefully putting their kids on these crazy little sheep,” said Stacey Berry, 25, a Massachusetts native who is spending the summer in Jackson, Wyo., and who saw her first mutton-busting event this summer.
“It looks cute; it’s a fun idea,” she said. “But I think it definitely borders on child abuse.”
Mutton-busting regulars reject the analysis.
“It’s not that we’re out there to put our kids out there to get hurt,” said Amy Wilson, 37, who helps run the Jackson Hole Rodeo. Her husband’s family added mutton busting to the rodeo when they took it over a few years ago. “It’s probably just like in the cities,” Ms. Wilson said. “Just like a kid going out for basketball and getting hurt playing basketball, or going out for football and getting hurt playing football.”
Even though her son Tipton, 7, broke an ankle at age 5 when a bolting sheep left him hanging from a gate by one leg when he was practicing at home, he still competes frequently.
One day this month in Jackson, a 2-foot-high cowboy in sky-blue-fringed chaps careened out of the chute, somersaulted off the sheep and rose immediately, dust-covered, pumping tiny fists to wild applause.
At the Wool Riders Only in Aurora a week later, however, would-be riders were far from exultant. Handlers shoved bleating animals into the sheep-size steel chute and hoisted children onto their mounts.
The air in the holding pen was at times as soaked with sobs as the first day of kindergarten. The more suburban a competition, the more tears, said Randy DiSanti, the event’s announcer.
After Lachlan Murphy had a winning ride of 4.89 seconds that day in Aurora, all he could think about was the shiny medallion around his neck. He planned to come back to compete in the weekend championship, even though his sheep had scraped him off on the arena’s metal fence — his mother, Shannon Murphy, said it was her worst fear.
But Lachlan was as staunch as a seasoned cowboy.
“It’s just a small sheep,” he said, clutching his prize. “I just care that I won.”