Vegas, Nev.-There are many cowboys and cowgirls who
are glad that the Helldorado Days PRCA Rodeo in Las
Vegas, Nev., has returned after many years absent. Count
amongst those newly elected WPRA Wilderness Circuit
Director Julie Herman.
"I'm really glad they brought
it back," says the Bluffdale, Utah resident. "The
committee is trying to do what they need to and it's
very good for our circuit."
Helldorado Days began as a way to
attract visitors to Las Vegas after construction of
the Boulder Dam - now Hoover Dam -- in the early 1930's.
The rodeo became a cornerstone of the celebration of
the city's western heritage during the second annual
Helldorado Days in 1935 but after falling on hard times,
the rodeo disappeared for many years in the 1990's.
Helldorado Days was revived in 2005
for the city's 100th anniversary and the rodeo was reinstituted
in 2009. Since then, it has become a must-stop for the
WPRA's elite including 2009 Champion Danyelle Campbell
and three-time and reigning World Champion, Sherry Cervi,
who took the title in 2010.
For the 2011 edition held May 13-15,
it was an unregistered horse named Gus who outran a
tough field of Wrangler NFR qualifiers to take home
the title. Herman bought Gus' mother when she was pregnant
with Gus and raised the colt after his mother passed
away when he was just two months old.
"He is by Society Road,"
she says. Society Road is a son of Dash for Cash and
out of a daughter of Beduino. Herman trained the gelding
but did not take the immature colt to futurities, waiting
until he was six to begin to run him.
"If you aren't going to the
futurities, you just have to wait until they're ready,"
she says. "He's like Denise the Menace; he's really
good but just full of hell. He's getting better now."
At 12-years-old, Gus is a seasoned
veteran and Herman, who got her WPRA permit in 1995,
has been to six Wilderness Circuit Finals Rodeos. With
a big win in Las Vegas, she is well on her way to a
seventh, currently fifth in the circuit standings.
"He's pretty fast, a little
deceiving," she says of her equine partner. When
not rodeoing, Herman spends her days as a hairstylist,
a career she has had for 25 years.
Herman rode horses with her dad,
Robert, a horse lover himself as a kid. She high school
and college rodeoed but it was a good futurity horse
in the mid-1990's that brought her to the WPRA.
At Vegas, she had high praise for
Gus, whose 16.00-second run clocked a full tenth better
than the field that included recent Wrangler NFR qualifiers
Christina Richman and Sheena Robbins along with leading
2011 rookie Lee Ann Rust, who is currently ranked 13th
in the ProRodeo Standings. Herman collected $1,229.
"He was tight on every turn.
He came in perfect and didn't fight me on the set up.
He was just focused and came across the line coming
home strong," she says, noting that she felt that
was the difference in her run from others. "For
one run, he put his feet in the right spot. I was really
proud of him and how he worked."
The Helldorado Committee went all
out for the WPRA barrel racers, hand raking the ground
after each run and giving a cash bonus to the fast time
in each of the three performances. Collecting bonus
cash were Wilderness Circuit cowgirl Sierra Dawn Thomas
for Friday's performance, Herman for Saturday, and Wrangler
NFR qualifier Christina Richman and WPRA World Champion
Heeler Dolli Lautaret for splitting on Sunday.
Richman continued her hot streak
this spring, moving into 10th place in the World standings
with her split of second place after winning Oakdale,
Red Bluff, Stonyford, Bakersfield and Sonora to lead
the California Circuit. Thomas split third with Californian
Linda Vick, a former WPRA Reserve World Champ who is
currently ranked 21st in the standings and chasing her
second Wrangler NFR qualification.
For more information on Helldorado
Days, visit them on-line at www.elkshelldorado.com.