Gitty Up's Best Posts

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rodeo performer pleads guilty to sexual contact with children

Rodeo performer pleads guilty to sexual contact with children

Rodney Hayes, a retired East Texas rodeo performer, pleads guilty in federal court to transportation of minors with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hayes is a resident of Linden, TX in Cass County. His stage name was the "Texas Kid," and he had a rodeo act that included child performers. Many of these children were under the age of 18 and traveled around the country with Hayes to perform at rodeos in other states.

According to information presented in court, Hayes had sexual contact with at least one child between March 2005 and June 2008. Because these children traveled across state lines with Hayes, he was indicted for transportation of minors with intent to engage in illicit sexual activity in 2010, pleading guilty Friday.

Hayes' sentencing date has not yet been set, but he will face federal prison time. In addition, he will have to register as a sex offender and be unable to have contact with his victims.

Friday, April 29, 2011

SHSU women’s rodeo team headed to nationals

SHSU women’s rodeo team headed to nationals
By Brett Hoffman

WHARTON — Going into the final regular season rodeo this weekend, Sam Houston State’s women’s team has the regional title clinched and will advance to the College National Finals Rodeo.

In order to qualify for the June championships in Casper, Wyo., a team must finish in the top two in a region after 10 regular season shows.

Sam Houston competes in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region, which one of the college association’s tougher conferences. This weekend, This weekend, Sam Houston is scheduled to compete at the Wharton County Junior College Rodeo, the last of 10 shows that were scheduled for the 2010-11 season.

Sam Houston enters the Wharton rodeo ranked No. 1 with 2,984 points. McNeese State (second with 1,624), Texas A&M (third with 1,539) and Hill (fourth with 1,487), will attempt to gain a berth to the College National Finals by finishing No. 2 for the year.

Sam Houston’s women’s team of four includes Elizabeth Ann Combs, who has the regional barrel racing title all but clinched, and Brittany Boyd Grant, who is the region’s No. 2 barrel racer.

Sam Houston’s men also are in excellent position to gain a CNFR berth. They rank No. 2 with 3,757 points, 667 behind McNeese, which has 4,024 from nine rodeos.

Sam Houston will attempt to hold off third ranked Hill College (3,427) and fourth ranked Texas A&M (3,099) from coming in and taking a top two spot.

Sam Houston’s men’s team of six includes Cody Lee Teel, who ranks second in the Southern Region bull riding race, and Jeremy Ray Melancon, who is No. 2 in the regional saddle bronc riding standings.

Steer wrestler killed — The funeral for Reagon Walker, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association steer wrestler who died last weekend following a traffic accident near Jacksboro, was Tuesday in Ennis. Walker, 21, who was from Ennis, is the son of 1981 world champion Byron Walker.

Walker had been a PRCA member since just after his graduation from Ennis High in May 2008 and showed great potential. In 2010, for example, Walker won the Henderson County PRCA Stampede in Athens, in 3.5 seconds. He also finished in a tie for second at the Dodge Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo in Waco.

PBR update — On the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series, Valdiron de Oliveira, a Brazilian who lives near Decatur, is ranked No. 1 with 7,403.75 points, 1,571 ahead of No. 2 Silvano Alves who has 5,832.75. This weekend the tour stops in Seattle.

Masters injured — Defending world team roping champion Chad Masters is expected to be sidelined until early June after breaking his left collarbone during a practice session. The accident occurred on April 14 at partner Jade Corkill’s home arena in Fallon, Nev. Masters, who had surgery on April 19, was injured when his horse fell while making a run.

During the 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Masters and Corkhill won Round 9 with a time of 3.3 seconds, which is a PRCA team roping world record.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Celebrating the Cowboy

Melody Ranch makes ready for pardners aplenty.

It's rare for a big event to take place in a big venue that perfectly matches its theme and tone. Often a festival is in a park, which is pretty and perfectly reasonable, but the park may have little to do with what the fest is all about.

This is not the case with the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which is spinning a few lassos at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio from Wednesday, April 27 through Sunday, May 1. Even if we were to doff our ten gallon, and mop our brow, and find a log and sit a spell, we'd find it plum difficult to come up with a better marriage of event and place.

Because Melody Ranch? It's about as yippee-ki-yay as spots come in Southern California. Perhaps you're a Gene Autry fan? You know this sprawling, back-lot-y town (because Mr. Autry once owned it, of course). Perhaps you watched "Deadwood"? Several of the false storefronts will be familiar to you.

One might imagine that music and poetry and leatherworking and gold-panning would take on an aura of gold-dusty specialness in such a setting, and one would be right. And one might imagine that something called a Cowboy Festival would be family friendly, and would cover several aspects of cowboy- and cowgirldom, and one would be right again.

And if the words "Chuckwagon Dinners" ring your particular come-and-get-it triangle, you're in luck. There will be food options aplenty at the ranch.

A one-day adult admission is $20. We'd say "git along" as often as possible, once inside. Or fill in your favorite cool cowboy phrase. And don't forget your chaps.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Rodeo Out of the Chute in China

American Rodeo Out of the Chute in China
Bringing the Culture of the American West to China to Enhance US-China Cultural Ties

BEIJINGApril 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Rodeo China was announced today in Beijing. The historic eight-day rodeo event will be staged in October 2011 in Beijing's National Stadium ("the Bird Nest") and will give Chinese and international audiences the opportunity to watch the best talent in rodeo today compete for the largest prize purse ever in rodeo history.  
Rodeo China, an important component of the China-US cultural exchange program in 2011, is jointly hosted by Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), China International Friendship Cities Association (CIFCA), the National Stadium and Less Is Forever More Inc. (LIFM), and produced by ZZYX Entertainment, and will be staged inBeijing from October 3-10, 2011.
Li Xiaolin, Vice President of the CPAFFC, said, "Rodeo China provides an opportunity for the Chinese public to appreciate the American cowboy culture that will connect 'The Culture of the American West, Rodeo' to China. It will play an active role in promoting China-US cultural exchange and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between American and Chinese people." The event is an encouraging move after President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama's January meeting inWashington.
Also in attendance for the announcement were Richard and Carrie Tucker, Founders of Rodeo China and Less Is Forever More Inc.; Rick Garson, Executive Producer of Rodeo China and ZZYX Entertainment; Matt Shiozawa, one of the top five cowboys in the world; and other representatives of "The Culture of American West," together witnessing a unique moment in the history of China-US cultural exchange.
The Tuckers have a proud western tradition in rodeo and over more than 30 years history with China. It was their vision and desire to create a cultural and educational experience that is at the heart of Rodeo China. "The American western cowboy culture was popularized by many movies of the 1930s when the cowboy figure was glorified and became a symbol of the American spirit. Rodeo China will create a unique cultural experience for the Chinese audience with various sports and entertainment activities. See you in the Bird's Nest in October!" said Richard Tucker, CEO of Rodeo China and LIFM.
"Rodeo China will bring together the best of the East and West to create this amazing marriage of sports and entertainment, to be viewed by an estimated two billion plus global audience, including TV, Internet and other new media. This will be the first global TV special from the Bird's Nest since the 2008 Olympics." said Rick Garson, Executive Producer of Rodeo China and ZZYX Entertainment.
On April 12, 2011, the Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both pledged to deepen the people-to-people exchange and further enhance cultural ties between the two countries, at the closing session of the second annual high-level China-US Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) held in Washington. Clinton believes people-to-people exchange is the key to broaden and deepen the Sino-US relationship. In 2011, the State Department will encourage US private-sector organizations to share the best of US culture and society with Chinese audiences, and Rodeo China is listed as one of the Sino-US cultural exchange programs in 2011.
In 1979, during Deng Xiaoping's visit to US, he paid a visit to a rodeo in Simonton, Texas, where he rode in a stagecoach and a cowgirl presented him a "Cowboy Hat" and a "Western duster Coat". This was regarded as the beginning of the renewal of China-US focuses and cooperation on rural development issues; in 2011, Rodeo China will be introduced into China for the first time, further strengthening the strong ties already existing between China and the US. These people-to-people exchange efforts should provide growing dividends for the future of this relationship.
For more information on Rodeo China, please visit For video b-roll and photos, please For media inquiries, please contact:
ZZYX Entertainment
Edwin Winfield
US: +1-702-734-0001

Jade Zhao
China: +86-138-1173-9925

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cowboy Stadium adds bowling to its list of events

Cowboy Stadium adds bowling to its list of events

Since Cowboys Stadium opened for business in May of 2009, it has hosted concerts, bull riding, boxing matches, yoga, motocross races and obviously football games.

So why not add bowling to the list?

According to The Associated Press, that is exactly what is in the works. The U.S. Women's Open is scheduled to be held in the home of the Dallas Cowboys on June 30.

Wooden lanes will be placed on either side of the Cowboys star at midfield, which will be surrounded by temporary seats for the event.

Pro bowler Stefanie Nation told the AP on Friday that it's exciting to have "the pinnacle of women's bowling" at the site of last season's Super Bowl.

"It's incredible," she said. "This is going to be the first time a major women's (bowling) event will be held at a nontraditional venue."

The goal of organizers is for the event to break the bowling attendance record. The current record is 7,212, which was set at the Men's Open at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 1995.

"That's one of the beautiful things about Cowboys Stadium," said Steve Johnson, executive director of the nonprofit Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, the event's organizer. “We can get a lot of people in there."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Luke Snyder wins inaugural 'Last Cowboy Standing' bullriding event

Luke Snyder wins inaugural 'Last Cowboy Standing' bullriding event
By Gary Mihoces

The bulls eliminated 39 other riders before veteran Luke Snyder won the title of "Last Cowboy Standing" and a $216,500 prize on the Professional Bull Riders tour.

For the pay-per-view TV event Saturday night in Las Vegas, the PBR introduced a new, all-or-nothing format. Riders advanced from one round to the next based solely on whether they stayed on their bulls for the required eight seconds.

In round one at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, 16 of 40 riders advanced. Snyder of Raymore, Mo., was among them with a successful ride on a bull named Slim Chance. In round two, four advanced. Snyder stayed onBraveheart.

In round three, Sean Willingham, Pistol Robinson and Aaron Roy were all bucked off before Snyder's winning ride aboard Cooper Tires Wild & Out.

As usual in the PBR, each ride still was scored by the judges based on the performance of the rider and the bull. In a typical PBR event, points amassed via the scores decide the final standings.

In this event, the points only would have come into play in deciding the champion if more than one rider had not been bucked off through the maximum five rounds.

Snyder, 28, won the top prize of $200,000, plus an additional $16,500 for his point placements in each round.

He won round one with 88 points. He tied for second in round two with 90.5. He was awarded 90 points for his winning ride in round three.

This was the PBR's first pay-per-view event. It opted for pay-per-view because its usual TV network, Versus, was televising NHL playoff hockey.

Snyder was the PBR Rookie of the Year at age 19 in 2001. Saturday marked his 300th event on the PBR tour, third most events for a single rider in the history of the PBR. He has career winnings of about $1.34 million.

With his victory, he moved from 31st to first place in the season earnings race with more than $240,000. His previous biggest weekend in the PBR this season had earned him $5,183.33.

His "Last Cowboy Standing" victory also earned him a berth in the PBR World Finals Oct. 26-30 in Las Vegas, where the world champion will be awarded a $1 million bonus.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo moving to Long Beach

Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo moving to Long Beach

 - Sun Herald

LONG BEACH -- The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo will be held in Long Beach this year, officials announced Friday.

The rodeo’s board of directors discussed the idea Wednesday night, called city officials and had most of the details worked out by Friday morning.

“After a slow year with the BP oil spill, we needed a local site that had the infrastructure in place,” said Michael Casano, the fishing rodeo’s president. “Obviously, being on the water is where we need to be, and Long Beach is that spot for us this year.”
The rodeo will be at the pavilion Harrison County built near the Long Beach Harbor. City leaders said they welcome the chance to host the event.

“We always sought the opportunity to get it in our city,” Mayor Billy Skellie said. “With the changes in the harbor, we will be able to accommodate them.”

The fishing rodeo was started 63 years ago by the Jaycees and American Legion Post 119 in Gulfport and always was held the first week in July.

For the first 57 years, the rodeo was held in Jones Park. After Hurricane Katrina heavily damaged that location, the rodeo was held at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in 2006 and 2007.

In 2008 and 2009, Biloxi hosted the rodeo at Point Cadet.

Last year, the event was held on Island View Casino’s beachfront property and in its parking garage.

Casano said the board of directors found out two weeks ago from Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel the Island View location wouldn’t be available this year. The city is working in Jones Park, so that venue was out, too.

The city suggested other sites, including the downtown library building and the VA property, but “none of them were going to work for us,” Casano said. “The infrastructure wasn’t there.”
Casano said it is more expensive when the rodeo board has to bring in tents and generators; however, they will be using only one county tent and generator at this year’s event.

Someone suggested Long Beach at the rodeo’s board meeting Wednesday night. Casano said members liked the idea and he spoke to the Long Beach Port Commission on Thursday night.
Police Chief Wayne McDowell said officers can handle the extra traffic, so Friday, Casano was working on securing parking for the event, which draws thousands of people to the Coast.

“That’s the one logistical issue we’re working on,” he said, adding he is going to talk to the owner of the lot where Kmart had been before Katrina to see if people can park there.

“We don’t want to interfere with the restaurants or the yacht club,” Casano said.

Long Beach Alderman Gary Ponthieux said the city appreciates Supervisor Marlin Ladner allowing the rodeo to use the pavilion because the event will bring people to the city.

“I think it’s going to be a huge financial impact on the city,” he said. “We hope to draw people from Louisiana, Alabama and north Mississippi.”

Friday, April 22, 2011



By:Rob Boscamp

Saddle up, South Texas.
Some of the world’s top rodeo performers are in the Coastal Bend as the Buc Days Miller Lite Pro PRCA Rodeo rides through today and Saturday at the American Bank Center.
This year’s event celebrates 20 years of rodeo in Corpus Christi.
“We got some wow factors,” said Barry Box, president of the Buccaneer Commission that hosts the rodeo and Buc Days events.
More than 490 competitors will compete in events including bull riding, team roping and barrel racing for $175,000 in cash prizes. Competitors also can earn points toward qualifying for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world finals in December in Las Vegas.
About 100 participants are ranked in the top 20 of the PRCA world standings in their respective events, event sponsorship and promotions manager Tricia Perrone said.
Boyd Polhamus, who announces at the PRCA world finals, and Don Gay, an eight-time PRCA world champion bull rider, will announce the action.
“It’s a world-class event because the best competitors and best stock come to Corpus Christi,” Box said.
More than 19,000 attendees are expected to fill the American Bank Center arena during the four-day event.
First-time rodeo goers usually have one response after the event, said
Box, who has been involved with Buc Days for nine years.
“They consistently walk out saying, ‘Wow’ …” he said.
But the rodeo isn’t the only event cooking up entertainment.
The Buc Days BBQ Cook-off also continues today and Saturday. The free event features about 30 teams from across the Coastal Bend seeking cash prizes and trophies. Spectators also can apply to be judges in five categories that include brisket, ribs and seafood.
Live music also will be provided at the BBQ Cook-off about 9:30 p.m. today and Saturday, immediately following the rodeo.
Country music artist and producer Radney Foster, best known for his 1993 song “Nobody Wins,” will perform tonight. Gary P. Nunn, a 40-year Texas country music icon and a Texas Hall of Fame inductee, will perform Saturday.
If You Go:
What: Buc Days Pro Rodeo and BBQ Cook-Off
When: Cook-off: 5 p.m. to midnight today, noon to midnight Saturday
Rodeo: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday
Concerts: 9:30 p.m. today (Radney Foster) and Saturday (Gary P. Nunn)
Where: American Bank Center, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Parking: $5/Buccaneer Commission-sponsored lots (Proceeds benefit Buccaneer Scholarship Fund)
Cost: Rodeo: $10 to 75; Cook-off and concerts: Free
Information: 882-3242 or

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Barrel racer gears up for Clovis Rodeo

Barrel racer gears up for Clovis Rodeo

By Jeff Davis

She's a renaissance gal from Prather, a former beauty queen and mother of two who works a 40-acre ranch with her husband when she's not tending to her job as director of quality and regulations at Clovis Community Medical Center.

And for fun? Vonnie Nunes will don her duds and become a rodeo barrel racer April 21 at the Clovis Rodeo.

"It's a juggling act, but I have a lot of energy," said Nunes, 40. "I got it from my dad's side. We're a little hyperactive – have to be on the go."

The Professional Bull Riders touring pro division headlines April 21 opening main events. The rodeo continues through the 24th.

Nunes reached a highest ranking of sixth in 2005 on the Women's Pro Rodeo Association barrel racing tour when she rode under her maiden name, Griva. These days, because of her hectic schedule and the rising costs of travel and horse maintenance, Nunes limits her events to a select few in California.

Last year she placed ninth at Clovis in the first go-round, won some money but finished out of the top 10 in the finals.

Arena director Vince Genco said about 70 barrel racers will compete. The first go-round is today, then the 36 fastest advance to the April 22 and April 23 rounds.

"It's a field of top riders," Genco said. "They like to come here because our arena is fast, and they can get some good times."

Nunes will ride her horses, either Hawk or Hot Rod, against a fast field that includes world champions Sherry Cervi (1995, '99, 2010), Mary Burger (2006) and Lindsay Sears (2008). Other local riders are Sanger's Jamie Myatt, Clovis' Doreen Drummond and Fresno's Sheena Robbins, who has been to the national finals.

Riders race for time around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The best post times in the 16-second range and finishes can be determined by 1/1,000 of a second, said Nunes, whose best time is 17.2 at Clovis.

Nunes comes from a long line of rodeo contestants. Her mother and aunt raced barrels and her father was a pro team roper. But as a teenager, Nunes lived in Salinas and was more into beauty pageants and showing horses. But by age 18 she developed an itch to ride competitively.

"I started barrel racing, and it was a lot more fun," Nunes said. "I could win money instead of ribbons."

Nunes attended Fresno State and was on the horse show and rodeo teams. She got a nursing degree in 1994, graduated from Fresno State in 1995, then earned a masters in public health administration and in 1997, won the Miss Central Valley California pageant.

In 2006, Nunes earned her law degree, the year she married Tom, who had two daughters from a pervious marriage. She worked an internship at St. Agnes then found a job at Clovis Community Medical Center.

Nunes and husband Tom, a foreman for Fresno County's maintenance department in Auberry, still find time to work their ranch. They have three rodeo horses, two show mules and some bulls that will compete in the PBR Futurity next year.

Nunes said she rides in the mornings or when she gets off work, and Tom also exercises the horses for her to keep them in racing shape. "Barrel racing is expensive and time-consuming, but it's an addiction," she said. "I've been doing it over 20 years and look forward to something outside work. Whenever I get on my horse it's refreshing and reviving. I love the thrill, the exhilaration of making a fast run."

Local rodeo connections

Former Clovis Rodeo director David Motes will compete in team roping, along with Hanford's H.P. Evetts, Dos Palos' Kris Goodman, Chowchilla's Todd Hampton, Sanger's Bert McGill, the father-son act of Madera's David and Landon Gill and Fresno's Cody Robbins, brother of Sheena Robbins.

Chowchilla's Stan Branco will go in tie-down roping and steer wrestling, Chowchilla's Garrett Colvin in steer wrestling, Chowchilla's Rhett Kennedy in team roping and steer wrestling, and Kerman's Sean Peterson in bull riding.

PBR lineup

Australian Pete Farley, No. 2 on the money list, headlines the challenger touring division of 40 riders today. Also in the field are No. 6 Caleb Sanderson, No. 9 Reese Cates and No. 12 David Kennedy.

They'll be challenged by two PBR main series riders: Shane Proctor, ranked sixth, and No. 11 J.B. Mauney.

Clovis Rodeo

Where: Clovis rodeo grounds

Thursday, April 21: 7 p.m., Professional Bull Riders touring pro division
Friday, April 22: 5:30 p.m., main rodeo and concert by Easton Corbin
Saturday, April 23: 9:30 a.m., parade in downtown Clovis; 1 p.m., rodeo queen coronation; 2 p.m., main rodeo; 7:30 p.m., dance at the Clovis Rodeo Hall
Sunday, April 24: 12:45, kids rodeo; 2 p.m., main rodeo
Events: barrel racing, bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping
Tickets: $20 today; $25 Friday includes concert; $15 Saturday-Sunday ($10, rodeo dance)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2013 Rodeo queen

2013 Rodeo queen, sweetheart contest applications are now available

The contest for the 2013 Brush Rodeo Queen and 2011 Brush Rodeo Sweetheart will be held July 1 during the annual Brush Rodeo.

Contestants for Brush Rodeo Queen must be 15 and not have reached the age of 19 by July 1 of the contest year. Contestants for Brush Rodeo Sweetheart must be 11 and not older than 14 by July 1 of the contest year.  Competitors in both contests must be single, never married, without child and not planning to marry before the conclusion of their reign. 

They must also be residents of Morgan County for six months before the contest entry deadline or have a parent who is a full-time resident of the county and has lived here at least one year before the contest entry deadline. They must also have access to a horse and equipment.

An application form, a personal biography, an essay, a permission slip, and a current photograph are due by June 1. The essay is on “Why I want to be the Brush Rodeo Queen/Sweetheart” and should not be more than 200 words.
Applications and/or more information may be obtained by calling Vanessa Meyer at 867-3932.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Andreasens win team roping in Vaughn

Andreasens win team roping in Vaughn

Siblings Anders and Dane Andreasen of Fort Benton won the team roping Sunday as a Montana High School Rodeo Association event concluded here.

Emily Schall of Missoula won the barrel racing and tied for second in the team roping to provide several highlights at the event, which was produced by JS Rodeo Co.

JoLee Pimperton of Stanford won the pole bending and Conrad's Calvin Ophus won the bareback for the second day in a row as the event wrapped up two days of competition at the JS Rodeo Arena.

The event featured two separate rodeos, with top-10 finishers earning points. Athletes compete throughout the spring. Top qualifiers earn trips to the State Finals in Bozeman in mid-June. From there, champions advance to the National High School Rodeo Finals in Gillette, Wyo.

Among the other notable performances Sunday were the efforts of Danni Dandro of Helena, who tied for first place in the breakaway roping and finished second in the pole bending.

Other winners included Guy Nordahl of Helena (bull riding), Jaylyn Garrison of Arlee (goat tying), Garrett Hanson of Helena (steer wrestling), Phil Shields of Philipsburg (saddle bronc) and Newt Novich of Twin Bridges (tie-down roping).

The rodeo featured more than 130 competitors both Saturday and Sunday. A total of 290 runs were made on Sunday. Many of the same athletes will be in Baker next weekend as the MHSRA season continues. The circuit returns to north-central Montana on May 1 with a rodeo in Valier. There are also upcoming MHSRA events in Choteau (May 7-8), Shelby (May 14-15) and Harlowton (May 27-28).

'Supernatural': Sam and Dean travel to the Old West

'Supernatural': Sam and Dean travel to the Old West in 'Frontierland'

by Sandra Gonzalez

Don’t ever say I don’t give you anything nice. And readers, this sneak peek at next week’s episode of Supernatural is VERY nice.
In the episode, titled “Frontierland,” Sam and Dean get sent back in time to the Old West by Castiel to find the Colt and end up having an encounter with Samuel Colt himself. Personally, I’ve never argued with good-looking men in cowboy gear, and I’m certainly not going to start complaining now.
When I spoke with Jensen Ackles last month about the episode, he shared my enthusiasm for the cowboy experience. ”I didn’t get to ride a horse [on screen], which I was a little bummed about,” he said. “But I did get all gussied up and got to have a shoot-out at high noon. There’s some good stuff in there. I probably enjoyed that more than most people would think. I ended up, on my lunch break, taking the horses for rides. We had horses in the background, and I was like, ‘Listen, I got my boots and my duster on. So I’m getting on that horse.’ So I would make the [horse wrangler] take me on rides up in the mountains.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Buddy Heaton: Rodeo clown lived by his own rules

Buddy Heaton: Rodeo clown lived by his own rules



Buddy Heaton, a legendary rodeo Bclown who rode a buffalo named Old Grunter in John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural parade, died on Thursday at a Kansas nursing home.

He was 82.

Rodeo newcomers may never have heard of him; rodeo oldtimers have never forgotten him.

Heaton, who performed at the Calgary Stampede in the early 1950s, was always known simply as Buddy. But, he actually had a registered first name. It was Harold, though most never knew it.

Stock contractors Harry Vold and the late Reg Kesler first brought him to Canada and in the early 1970s, Heaton rented and lived at a place in the DeWinton area for about three years.

An outrageous individual known across North America, he rarely lived by the general rules of society.

Most notably, Heaton never had Secret Service clearance to ride in Kennedy's inaugural parade. He just fell in with a group from Fort Worth.

Near the end of the parade and at the tail end of it, Heaton swung Old Grunter around and, yelling and waving his arms, charged toward the stage where Kennedy was seated.

Stories say members of the Secret Service drew their guns but, after things settled down, wound up shaking his hand.

Demonstrating there were no hard feelings about his parade crashing, JFK later had Heaton perform for him on two occasions.

Heaton also performed in front of Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and Gen. Omar Bradley.

The imposing 6-foot-3, 217-pound skilled animal trainer began a 33-year career as a rodeo clown in 1944 at the age of 15. He also competed in professional rodeo's three roughstock events and the steer wrestling in the 1950s.

Calgary's Slim Weegar, now retired at 66, got his rodeo clown schooling from Heaton.

"We used to put on Wild West shows in Alberta, B.C. and the U.S. Northwest," Weegar recalls.

"We'd run three wagon chariot races and I was in one of them. I'd be in front and closing in on the finish line when we pulled the pin.

"The horses took off, the tongue hit the ground, the wagon flipped, a wheel flew off, away I went and Buddy would win the race -always."

Heaton not only trained buffalo, but also Texas longhorns and Appaloosa horses, one of which had a four-inch fifth leg sticking out of its knee.

"One of his Appaloosas would jump over a convertible car," Weegar reported. "At midways up here, he sold tickets to show off a five-legged horse and a longhorn he claimed had horns that were eight-feet long. Actually, I think they were 6-foot-2."

Heaton and Slim Pickins, a bullfighter who also worked the Calgary Stampede before going on to star in many Hollywood movies, often worked together.

"Pickins was a businessman, Buddy was all brawn, often undergoing enormous physical punishment," said Weegar.

Heaton and his buffalo also appeared on the TV show Wagon Train in 1960, as well as the feature films Bus Stop, How the West Was Won and Desert Sands.

He put on two rodeos at DeWinton and among his guests were a couple of stars from Wagon Train.

Heaton often staged outlandish pranks to garner media attention and on one occasion rode Old Grunter up a freight elevator at the Salt Lake City Tribune for a meeting in the newsroom.

Heaton was inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2005 and spent the last seven years of his life at a nursing home in Ulysses, Kan. He is survived by wife, Laura Lee; sons, Ted and Tom; daughters, Rhonda, Linda and Cindy. He was preceded in death by son Buddie.

With files from Jim Bainbridge, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association communications.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tim McGraw Pulls Out of Movie

Tim McGraw Drops Out of the Film 'Safe House'

by Donna Hughes

Tim McGraw has had to pull out of theDenzel Washington film, 'Safe House,' owing to scheduling conflicts.

"I had to back out because we had all signed up to get ready to do the movie and we all had our schedules and when my tour was going to start," Tim tells Chicago radio station, US99 (WUSN-FM). "And then, as movies do, it kept being moved back and back. And the movie's being filmed in South Africa. It ended up, we would have had to move 28 shows. The numbers for what they would pay me to do this movie, and the numbers for what I would make and what it would cost to do 28 shows were no where in the same ballpark. So, I had to back out of the movie; times are tough, man!"

'Safe House' is about a young C.I.A. agent (Ryan Reynolds), who is in charge of transporting a crook (Denzel) with a group of assassins hot on their heels.

Even though he is no longer involved in 'Safe House,' fans will be able to catch Tim on the big screen later this year in the film, 'Dirty Girl,' which is set to hit theaters nationwide in August. The movie stars Milla JovovichWilliam H. MacyMary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam. Set in 1987, the movie follows a promiscuous teenage girl and a sexually confused boy, who leave home in search of their true identities.

Tim began his movie career with the independent film, 'Black Cloud,' and he followed that with a stunning performance in 'Friday Night Lights,' as well as 'Flicka,' 'The Kingdom,' 'Four Christmases,' 'The Blind Side' and most recently, 'Country Strong,' which arrived on DVD this week.

The entertainer recently launched his Emotional Traffic tour, featuring Luke Bryan and the Band Perry. Tim is set to hit the stage tonight (April 15) in Philadelphia, Miss., and Saturday (April 16) in Atlanta, Ga. For more of Tim's tour dates, click here.