PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, March 1, 2013
The big winter rodeos are behind us with the exception of Austin, Texas. A lot of money has been won at these rodeos and congratulations to all the winners. There are a number of new faces in the top 15 standings. Jane Melby and Fallon Taylor are having a great year and congratulations to rookie, Taylor Jacob, on winning Fort Worth, Texas and Jackson, Miss, to move to second in the world standings. The cut off for the 2013 current year qualifying standings into the Calgary Stampede is March 30th.
The WPRA would like to thank the San Angelo, Texas Rodeo Committee on the great job they did on their ground this year. They brought Steve Thornton, who is with Safe Arena Footing, to work the ground for the first go round which is held in the Spur Arena. They dragged after every five contestants and did a fantastic job. There were contestants from every section of the 231 contestants that qualified into the progressive round held in the coliseum. The committee hand raked after every contestant during the rodeo. The barrel racing contestants were very appreciative to the San Angelo committee. They have no limits and take permits. By the time the rodeo is over, they will have had over 2,500 runs in all of the timed events combined. I know they are one tired committee by the last performance of the rodeo, but the contestants from all the events very much appreciate their efforts. Also thanks to member, Lea Baze for encouraging the San Angelo Rodeo Committee to contact Steve Thornton and SAF. They personally told me how pleased they were with their decision.
We had three General Membership meetings in the month of February. They were held in San Angelo, Texas, Kissimmee, and Okeechobee, Fla. There was good input from the members at these meetings that has already been taken back to the board. This is why these meetings are held and it is important the members attend. The members that attend these meetings feel differently on the subjects that are discussed depending on their situation and I am reminded what a difficult situation the board faces when making decisions on these issues and trying to represent the entire membership. We want to thank all the members who took the time to attend these meetings. Some attended more than one. Southeastern director, Doreen Wintermute, had lunch for the members after slack at the Kissimmee meeting which everyone enjoyed. Doreen does a great job in her circuit and the members in her circuit appreciate what she does for them.
The Ram National Circuit Finals will be held April 4-6. There is a very competitive group of barrel racers in the lineup and it will be a tremendous barrel race and rodeo. If you are not qualified, but live close by, make plans to attend. The last spot qualifying into the Calgary Stampede will also be filled at the RNCFR. Good luck to all the qualifiers!
The WPRA Board of Directors will meet in Colorado Springs on March 23-24. If you have anything that you would like for your director to bring to the attention of the board, you should contact them. The agenda will be published on the WPRA Web Site before the meeting.
Good luck this Spring and travel safe.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, February 11, 2013
The last three Circuit Finals were held in January. The roster is set for the barrel race at the Ram National Circuit Finals in Oklahoma City for April 4-6, 2013, where the 2012 National Circuit Champion will be determined. It is a very competitive group of barrel racers competing at this year's RNCFR and it should be a great barrel race!
The committee that was appointed by the board to select the members to serve on the WPRA Drugs and Medication Committee and the Hearing Board did a tremendous job. The veterinarians are well known and respected in their fields. They are familiar with barrel horses and have treated some of the best in the world. They understand our event and what is involved in competing on and hauling barrel horses. The WPRA members on the board are former WPRA champions and NFR competitors. Thanks to this group for putting these committees together and doing such an excellent job. Also, thank to the individuals who have agreed to serve on these committees.
The WPRA is excited to be included in the Champion's Challenge beginning with the 2013 season. This is a "made for TV" rodeo that will deliver the best contestants that the sport has to offer. They will be a one performance, one go-round, 10 contestant rodeos. It is hoped that the Champion's Challenge will offer more exposure to our existing sponsors and at the same time attract new sponsors to Professional Rodeo which will benefit all of our members. It should help to create a larger fan following for Professional Rodeo. There will only be four in the calendar year, 2013, but more are planned for 2014. We feel the Champion's Challenge is important to the future of Professional Rodeo and the WPRA would like to thank the sponsors who are making this new venture possible for the sport.
Wrangler will again in 2013 be paying $25,000 in bonus money to the top six barrel racers in the Million Dollar Tour. This money will count toward 2013 World Standings. The Gold and Silver Tour Rodeos are listed in the WPRA magazine and on our web site along with the rules. Thank you to our long time partner Wrangler Jeans.
The WPRA will be announcing the rodeos on the WPRA Qualifying Tour the first of February on our web site. There will be two rodeos from each circuit and two rodeos from Canada on the WPRA Qualifying Tour this year. The top members from the WPRA Tour were qualified into Calgary and Denver in 2013. In 2014, there are other limited entry rodeos interested in including top members from the WPRA Tour into their rodeos. The WPRA Tour offers more of our members the opportunity to qualify into some limited entry rodeos. Last year there were 23 limited entry rodeos. We have eliminated three and the directors are in dialogue with several other limited entry rodeos to try and reduce that number even further. They will continue to work with rodeos either to drop the limits or to increase the numbers.
The WPRA is excited to be moving the World Finals to the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. The same facility that the All American ProRodeo Finals are held and the Ram Texas Circuit Finals along with many other events throughout the year. The WPRA has signed a two year agreement with Waco. It is a great facility for barrel racing and roping. We are hoping to continue the growth that we experienced while in Lincoln. The dates for the 2013 World Finals are October 23-27.
The new year is well underway and the first winter rodeos for 2013 are over and many more are taking place during the month of February. 2012 was a very good year for the WPRA. We ended the year with 2,548 members. It was also the third consecutive year of growth in our membership. We understand barrel racing represents one-third of the volume for ProCom entries. We feel very fortunate with the nation's economy to be able to report these numbers. In 2012, we approved 532 rodeos and around 800 co-approved events. For 2012, the total rodeo payout was $5.2 million. And this is the third year in a row that the Association has delivered a healthy profit to the bottom line. As you may recall, in 2011 we delivered $141,351 in profit for the WPRA. While we are still waiting for the final numbers from the auditor, which we will receive in mid-March, based on our preliminary estimates we believe we will meet or exceed that number.
Good luck to all the members that are competing at WPRA barrel races throughout the country in the month of February. There will be three General Membership Meetings in February: 1) San Angelo, Texas, February 11th; 2) Okeechobee, Fla., February 14th; 3) Kissimmee, Fla. February 15.
If you make the Finals at Fort Worth, don't forget about the WPRA Jerry Ann Taylor best dressed award. The winner will receive a check for $5,000. Thank you to the family of Jerry Ann for this award. We are so excited that they will be at the Finals at Fort Worth on Sunday evening to present the award.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, January 11, 2013
Congratulations to Mary Walker and her great horse Latte on winning the 2012 WPRA World Championship. Mary's wonderful story has touched the lives of barrel racing and rodeo fans all over the world. She set a record for most money ever won at the WNFR in barrel racing with $146,941, and also won the Top Gun Award given by Ram to the contestant at the WNFR that wins the most money. Ram presented her with a new truck following her final round run at the 2012 NFR. What a way to wrap up a fantastic Finals. Mary is a beautiful and gracious lady and she is going to be not only a great champion for the WPRA, but for the sport of Professional Rodeo. Congratulations to Carlee Pierce, the 2012 WPRA Reserve Champion, for running the fast time at this year's WNFR with a time of 13.51 seconds during the sixth round.
The 2012 WPRA Star Celebration was attended by more people than ever before. The Star Celebration is where we recognize and say thank you to committees, sponsors, stock contractors, judges, and special individuals for their contributions to our association as well as present the Justin Best Footing Awards to the top three rodeo committees in all 12 circuits as well as the most improved ground committee in each circuit. We also recognize the top 15 barrel racers and present their saddles from the saddle rotation program and their special awards. Everyone enjoys having the opportunity to meet these remarkable women and learn a little more about their horses and their year. Pam Minick and Hadley Barrett did a great job as our masters of ceremony. Jerri Mann secures the awards for the top 15 and is in charge of the saddle rotation program. The 18 saddles she secured this year were beautiful and all of the awards were so nice. Thank you to all of the saddle makers and the barrel racers who endorse these fabulous saddles that are involved in this program. Also thank you to Jerri for all your hard work.
During the PRCA convention, the WPRA again participated in the round table discussions with the committees. Over 200 people set in on these sessions and we reviewed the WPRA Board's 2012 initiatives and the three fronts that the board had focused on this past year and would continue to focus on in the coming year. These were insuring fair competition, enhancing our professionalism, and increasing opportunities for members to compete. The committees were all very interested in the WPRA Qualifying Tour and how in the future it could offer an opportunity for members to get into limited entry rodeos. Many wanted to know how they could become a Qualifying Tour Rodeo. The sessions were very well received by the committees.
This was the first year for "Fan Fest" at the Wrangler NFR. It was a fully interactive area located adjacent to the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The WPRA had an area in Rodeo Way with the National Cowgirl Museum. We had memorabilia from many World Champions from all the decades beginning in the 50's. The many people who came through enjoyed seeing these items and it was a great opportunity for the WPRA and the National Cowgirl Museum to display our history. Thank you to all of our World Champions and their families who sent items for Fan Fest.
The Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award was announced the last performance of the WNFR. Mary Walker received the $5,000 check and a beautiful plaque. Mary looked fantastic the entire week. We had a handful of judges at the Wrangler NFR and fans could vote online. The response was tremendous for the first year and everyone at the WNFR thought it was a great addition to the finals. Remember at Fort Worth the "Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award" will be given again in the finals Sunday night. So if you make the finals at Fort Worth, be sure and don't forget another $5000 check will be awarded to the winner. What a great program and thank you to the family of Jerry Ann Taylor.
Congratulations to our Emily Efurd, our 2012 Rookie of the Year. She was recognized in the arena during the sixth performance of the WNFR with the other Resistol Rookies. Emily came up through our Junior Program and it is a great story. I am sure we will be hearing more from Emily in 2013. She is going to be traveling this winter with 2012 Reserve World Champion, Carlee Pierce.
We have three more circuit finals in January and then we will have the final barrel racing line up for the Ram National Circuit Finals. Congratulation to the members that have qualified! Many good competitors have already qualified. Good luck to the contestants at the Texas, Montana and First Frontier Circuit Finals.
Nomination ballots will go out the first week of January for the office of President, Vice President, Futurity Director, Columbia River Circuit Director, Southeastern Circuit Director, First Frontier Circuit Director, Montana Circuit Director, Texas Circuit Director, Wilderness Circuit Director and Mountain States Circuit Director.
Happy New Year and travel safe!