PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, December, 2015
December is upon us, and that means the long anticipated Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris Ranger is here! This is the richest rodeo in history, and the fans are swarming into Las Vegas to be a part of this historic event. I hope all of you who wanted to come were able to get tickets as, with fewer tickets available this year due to updates to the Thomas and Mack seating, tickets can be hard to come by. There is nothing like being in the Thomas and Mack to feel the intensity and the vibrations of this remarkable event. However, if you didn't get tickets, you can always watch at one of the many hotels that have a live telecast. There is plenty of fun to be had at these hotels. For those of you who chose to stay at home and watch on CBS SportsNetwork from the comfort of your living room, you have one of the best seats to catch all the action up close.
Where ever you are watching from, be sure to vote every night for the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed barrel racer on WPRA.com. Your vote counts, along with the in house judges, to award the overall best dressed cowgirl $5,000, second $1,000, and third $500. The WPRA offers many thanks to the Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum for generously sponsoring this award. In January, there will be another Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award given in the final round at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and Rodeo. If you are entering Fort Worth, be sure to put that fancy shirt in your trailer, just in case you make the finals. YOU just might win an extra $5,000!
Torrential rain did not dampen the WPRA World Finals at the fabulous Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. With the entire facility being inside, most of the contestants were able to stay dry and the competition was hot! There were World Champions crowned in the roping, futurity/derby division and the Junior Division. Congratulations to all these women on achieving their goals in winning their championships.
All Around World Champion………………………………Jackie Crawford
Team Roping World Champion Heading……………………..Lari Dee Guy
Team Roping World Champion Heeling……………………..Annette Stahl
Tie down Roping World Champion……………………………Kari Nixon
Breakaway Roping World Championship……………………Erin Johnson
BARREL RACING EVENTS:
Junior World Champion……………………………………..Merrill Mundy
Futurity World Champion 1D…………………………….........Tami Semas
Futurity World Champion 2D…………………………………Jan Duquette
Derby World Champion………………………………...Lynnzie Lindstrom
WORLD FINALS AVERAGE CHAMPIONS:
Breakaway World Finals Average Champion…………….…Kelsie Chace
Tie Down World Finals Average Champion……………….… Kari Nixon
Team Roping World Finals Average Champions........Lari Dee Guy/Annette Stahl
BARREL RACING AVERAGE CHAMPIONS:
Junior World Finals Average Champion……………………..Karsyn Daniels
Futurity World Finals Average Champion…………………..Ashley Schafer
Derby World Finals Average Champion………………...Lynnzie Lindstrom
WPRA Card Holder Champion……………………………..….Mary Burger
WPRA World Finals Permit Champion……………………Kaily Richardson
WPRA Gold Card World Finals Champion……………………Mary Burger
World Finals Slot Race Champion……………………………Jackie Ganter
Each of these champions took home gorgeous Montana Silversmiths championship buckles that they will treasure forever. We owe Montana Silversmiths so many thanks, as they have sponsored all the World Buckles for many years. Their continued support as the Official Buckle of the WPRA is so greatly appreciated. Also, so many thanks go to Wrangler and Ram for their on going support of not just the WPRA but all of rodeo!
It's hard to know where to begin thanking everyone for the role they play in making this event the great production that it is. TC Long and his crew are totally awesome, as is the WPRA staff and directors that put in endless hours, our ground crew, D&D Productions, and the Wrangler Network and Horse Sports Network for doing the live telecasts. A heart felt thanks go to all who worked so hard. We so appreciate all you do!
Also, thanks to our many World Finals Sponsors, as they make this event the success that it is:
Professional's Choice, Circle Y/Reinsman, Cooper Tires, Texas Land Man,
Flair, Formula 707, Justin Brands, Boot Barn, Ortho Equine, Barbara's Hats and Pro Care Plus. We appreciate these sponsors so very much. Thank you, thank you!
With all the excitement going on, let's not lose sight of the season that it is. This Christmas season take time to give thanks for all you have and how very fortunate you are. Remember what is really important during this wonderful season of love, peace, and joy.
Merry Christmas to all!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, November, 2015
VIVA LAS VEGAS! The city of lights is about to welcome the 31st Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to their great city with the most money ever in the history of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris Ranger! This is the first year of the 10 year contract, which will certainly give the fans something to look forward to and make plans to attend. What a Top 15 we have in the WPRA barrel race this year. The top five barrel racers come into the Wrangler NFR with over $100,000 won, which is a high money record.
There are six first time qualifiers to the Wrangler NFR including, the second year card holder, who comes in leading the Top 15, Callie duPerier, from Boerne, Texas. Last years Rookie of the Year comes in third place, Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, GA, followed by 8th place, Cassidy Kruse, Gillette, Wyo., Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, in 10th place, followed by our two Rookies of 2015 in 12th, Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas and 13th, Vickie Carter, Richfield, Utah.
Welcoming the first time contestants will be three World Champions, Mary Walker in 4th place, Sherry Cervi in 5th place, and current World Champion, Fallon Taylor, in 7th. The current Reserve World Champion, Lisa Lockhart is coming in 2nd in the World Standings.
Rounding out the field are five previous Wrangler NFR qualifiers, Nancy Hunter is 6th, Taylor Jacob is 9th, Michele McLeod is 11th, Jana Bean is 14th, and Deb Guelly is 15th. Congratulations to all these women who have earned their way to the greatest achievement the barrel racing world can offer, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris Ranger.
The coveted AQHA Horse of the Year for 2015 will be presented to Jill Welsh's fabulous horse, French First Watch, Custer, who is by Frenchmans Guy and out of Dashing to Fame by Dash Ta Fame. After being in the Top 15 all year, a horrible fall in early September took him out of competition, and the team wound up 16th with $59,444 in winnings which was $325 short of 15th. The fall could have been career ending, but the good news is that after some time off, Custer is back running. Custer and Jill were the high money winners over the Fourth of July of both men and women, but this is only part of the greatness of this duo. Jill has won two battles with cancer in her young life; first she beat kidney cancer only to have the cancer return six months later in her GI tract and her ovaries. After a long hard battle she is cancer free. Custer came into Jill's life in the middle of the cancer battles, and has been an inspiration to keep her going. Another bond that Jill and Custer share is that Jill has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis all her life. She struggles every day, every breath, every run, and this fabulous horse has taken her consistently to the winners circle. The grit and determination of this team is an inspiration to all.
There are more stories to share of all three AQHA Horses this year. Second place is Lisa Lockhart's great Louie, An Oakie With Cash. This team is the 2014 Reserve World Champion, and was leading the World Standing after winning the Calgary Stampede and the Cheyenne Frontier Days. Ten days after winning Cheyenne, Louie became ill, very ill. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymplangitis, and spent months in ICU at Littleton, Colo. With his fighting spirit and expert care, Louie pulled through this life threatening bacterial infection. At the time of this writing, Louie is just starting to be ridden again, and it is still uncertain if he will be able to compete at the Wrangler NFR. Our best wishes go out to Lisa and Louie for a full recovery and being ready to run in December!
The third place winner in the AQHA Horse of the Year is another horse with a story that needs to be told. Blazin Ta Fame, ridden by Rookie Vickie Carter, is owned by Annette and Rachel Hendrix. His young owner, Rachel, trained Blaze Man and made him a winner in high school and college rodeos. Rachel had a dream of getting her WPRA card and taking this awesome horse to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Tragedy struck on January 26, 2014 when Rachel lost her life, at age 18, to carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in her trailer. Rachel considered Vickie her "Rodeo Mom" as she had helped her over the years and was always there to watch her run. The devastated family wanted Vickie to take Blaze Man and try to fulfill Rachel's dream of going to the Wrangler NFR. You will notice a patch on Vickie's shirts, "R4R" for Riding for Rach." There will be many of us, as they come down that alley at the Thomas and Mack, cheering for Blaze Man and Vickie as she rides for Rach!
The Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum will again sponsor the Best Dressed Award during the Wrangler NFR and also in the finals at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Again this year there will be three places awarded at the Wrangler NFR with $5,000 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. There will be nightly voting after every round on WPRA.com and on the WPRA Facebook page. This is our fans chance to vote for their favorite cowgirl who they feel looks the best in the arena! Keep in mind that Jerry Ann Taylor was a trick rider with an incredible sense of style. She was very flamboyant and was a trend setter in the way she dressed, let's carry on the tradition!
Last year the 30th Anniversary Gold Card Reunion was a huge success, so much so, that the PRCA and Las Vegas Events are having it again this year for our 31st year in Las Vegas! This year it will be two days beginning with the Gold Card Reunion, December 10, 11 to 2, at the Thomas and Mack, and Friday, December 11th, 11 to 3, at the Palms Hotel for the 2015 Gold Card Reunion and World of Rodeo Gathering. The Palms is the host hotel and the reservation deadline is Nov14th. Please, all WPRA and PRCA Gold Card members try to attend. If you need more information call me and I will try to get you to the right person.
With so much going on, be sure to mark your calendars for the WPRA Star Celebration on Thursday, December 3 at the South Point Grand Ballroom from 11:30 to 1 PM. This grand event is the WPRA's way of showing our gratitude and appreciation to our committees, sponsors, judges and individuals who mean so much to the WPRA. We also honor our Justin Best Footing Award winners who have shown that they care about the safety of our event by the efforts they gave to make their ground the best it could be. It's a wonderful event to be a part of, so please join us for the celebration! What a way to kick off the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
See you all in Vegas!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, October, 2015
As we kick of the 2016 rodeo year, we must reflect on the progress the WPRA and the PRCA have made in 2015. Rodeo drastically changed in 2015 with the signing of the 10 year contract between Las Vegas Events and the PRCA, of which we are a part of. This contract puts $10 million a year into the pockets of the cowboys and cowgirls. 2015 also brought major changes to the Circuit System, when Osceola County, Florida infused $11 million into the Circuits and the Ram National Circuit Finals over the next 10 years. Another interesting first in 2015 is the fact that as of this writing, we have five Wrangler NFR Finalists that have over $100,000 in winnings for 2015. It's going to be an awesome Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Hang on for the ride!
Kimmie Wall was just crowned the 2015 Pendleton Round-Up Champion, spoiling the hopes of Christy Loflin for her fourth Pendleton win. I was fortunate enough to be there to watch Kimmie's first run of 28.59 which was the fastest run in the long round. Her run was flawless and breathtaking on the most challenging pattern in all of barrel racing . However, Pamela Capper ran the fastest time of the rodeo to win the short round with a 28.43. It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Rosanne Strobel, past Columbia River Circuit Director, and I went to Pendleton, at their committees request to go against our rule book and run a pattern that covered approximately 1,000 feet. The Pendleton Committee was positive that this new idea of turning on the dirt track and running across the grass would work much better than when they tried to have a barrel race in 1963 and ran the pattern on the grass. That attempt was not very successful, so they dropped the barrel racing efforts until they came up with this new plan in 2000. This committee was ready to welcome women back to Pendleton as they held a strong presence in the history of the Round-Up. In the 1920's women took center stage in the rodeo. The Cowgirl Bronc Riding and other events showcased the daring and talent of many women of the time. Tragically, in 1929 a cowgirl was killed in the bronc riding and that accident marked the end on an era for women in the Pendleton Round-Up. This year is the 15th year that women once again hold a strong presence at the Pendleton Round-Up, as the barrel race is definitely a crowd pleaser and our members certainly like running there.
Columbia River Circuit Director, Jana Isaac, hosted a General Membership Meeting following the slack in Pendleton, on September 14. We thank the Pendleton Committee for providing a lovely room for us to hold the meeting, which was very well attended. There were 27 members present, along with Janet Cropper, COO of the WPRA, Jana Isaac, Columbia River Director, and I. There were many informative issues on the agenda, and many questions were answered. The two discussions that prompted the most input from the members were the discussions on placing a minimum number on the rodeos a member must compete in to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the new rule for 2016 of giving a new parameter when entering a rodeo. That new rule being "out if slack". There was a lot of discussion on both of these rules, with the conclusion that the majority did not want to place a minimum on the number of rodeos to make the Wrangler NFR. Also, the "out if slack" may prove to not be a good idea for the barrel race, as there is no way of getting an accurate count when you enter. Our members have requested this option for many years and the board agreed to give it a try. The rule will be readdressed next year. Thank you to all who attended to help make this a very productive meeting.
October is here and that means the WPRA World Finals, in Waco, Texas, is right around the corner. Hopefully, you have made your plans to attend as it is going to be bigger and better than ever! Please be sure to get there in time for the welcome reception held Thursday afternoon. The food is always great and this year, I am told, we may have a new sponsor that will let us taste their wines! This will be a fun way to start the Finals! If you have entered or just want to watch, you will be happy you came. There are two arenas running at the same time, so it is hard to see all the action. The $15,000 added WPRA Card Holder Race will be a thriller, as will the Slot Race and the Junior Race. Of course, the roping events have World Championship titles on the line so they are very exciting! I will be there and will be happy to help if you have questions or need something. Please call if I can help!
For those not able to attend the WPRA World Finals be sure to catch all the barrel racing action on Horse Sports Network. The Wrangler Network will stream the roping action on Friday night and will also do our special Saturday night event so be sure to tune in.
Travel safely and we will see you in Waco!!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, September, 2015
September is here, and all of those contestants who are on the bubble for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Circuit Finals Rodeos, the All-American, the Justin Boots Championship, and the Wrangler Champion's Challenge Finale in Omaha have their last chance to make a move into the standings. There are some big game changers coming up beginning with the Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots in Pueblo, Colo., followed by the Labor Day run in the Northwest, then Pendleton, Ore., and finishing up in Omaha, Neb., with the Justin Boot Championships and Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale. There are many other great rodeos this month in every circuit that give our members lots of opportunities to achieve their goals. Good luck to all!!
Rodeo Salinas welcomed the WPRA back this year and hosted another General Membership Meeting, which is always a well attended and productive meeting. These members are always so interested in what is going on in their Association, and offer their opinions and constructive comments. I explained that our officers and directors were going to poll the membership this coming year on how they felt about putting a minimum number of rodeos one had to compete in to qualify for the Wrangler NFR. This topic prompted a lot of discussion, but in the end they were undecided on the minimum number. However, they felt strongly that we should lower the upper limit of rodeos from 100 to 75, and in doing so, put a minimum number too. They discussed 30 or 35 as a possible minimum number of rodeos. Another topic that prompted a lot of discussion was the possibility of the WPRA funding a new ground improvement program to help each circuit by sending an expert grounds person to one or two rodeos in each circuit. There was a very favorable response to this idea. Thank you to California Director, Marguerite Happy, for planning and organizing this meeting. Marguerite does a great job for her circuit and we greatly appreciate all that she does for the WPRA.
There will be another General Membership Meeting after the barrel slack in Pendleton on September 14. Please make every effort to attend as there will be a lot to discuss including the lower limit on qualifying for the Wrangler NFR. By this meeting, we should have a decision by the PRCA and the Circuit Presidents on circuit finals qualifications being determined by a point system instead of money won. As of this writing the PRCA and the circuit presidents are still working on a system that attempts to give an equal playing field to the circuit contestant and the contestants trying to make the Wrangler NFR. Please, when discussing this change, remember that the WPRA is a part of the Circuit System. I am looking forward to this meeting to discuss any concerns you may have on any aspect of the WPRA. Columbia River Director, Jana Isaac, is working hard in planning for this meeting. COO, Janet Cropper will be there also to answer any questions you have concerning the office or financials. The location of the meeting will be posted at the rodeo office.
Please study the 2016 Rule Changes that are in this issue and on the website. I hope you understand how much thought goes into your proposals and how much effort is made to make the right decision. Every side of every issue is thoroughly discussed by the Rules Committee, chaired by Julie Herman, Wilderness Director, and then goes to the full board for final approval. If you have questions about what our rational was on a particular rule, please call your director, your Vice President, or me. I welcome the opportunity to explain that we made every decision with the best interest of the entire membership in mind. We also considered what the fairest and most accurate approach was to make. Please call, if you have any questions.
It's that time again! We are headed back to Waco, Texas for the 2015 WPRA World Finals on October 22-25. We will kick the event off with a welcoming reception, which was outstanding last year. Be sure to join us for fantastic food, lots of visiting, a great silent auction, and fun for all!! There is something for everyone here, so whether you rope or run barrels, please plan to join us. For all of you wanting to get a jump on qualifying for the winter rodeos, here's your chance! The Cardholder Race has $15,000 added, and counts for the World Standings, and the Qualifying Standings. Any kind of barrel race or roping you want to enter, we have it, so make your plans to attend. Go to WPRA.com for more information. See you there!
My best wishes go out to all in this final month of the 2015 season. We look forward to December when the greatest ever Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will host the Top 15 in every event to compete for the most money ever in rodeo history. So much gratitude and thanks go to Las Vegas Events and the PRCA for making the WPRA part of this historic event. We will be competing for rounds that pay $84,615 to each event, in every round, every night! Winning a round will pay $26,230!! Hope you all are planning to be there to be a part of history!
Good luck to all and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, August, 2015
Cowboy Christmas has come and gone, and the WPRA is so proud of Parker, Ariz., cowgirl, Jill Welsh and French First Watch, aka "Custer", for topping the charts for most money won over the Fourth of July of all WPRA cowgirls and all PRCA cowboys!! Jill topped them all with $23,976, coming in second was Taylor Jacob with $23,385, third was Callie duPerier with $20,262. Jill's money was won in four rodeos Greeley, CO, Cody, WY, Prescott, AZ, and St. Paul, OR. The leading PRCA cowboy was saddle bronc rider, Cody DeMoss, with $22,791.
Jill has great accomplishments outside of the arena too. In her young life, Jill has beaten cancer twice! First, four years ago, at 26 years old, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer, completed all the treatments, and started barrel racing again, only to have the cancer return six months later after spreading to other parts of her body. The radiation treatment and chemo treatments sidelined her for years. Four years later, and ten months out after treatments, she is cancer free and finally getting to pursue her dream. As I have said before in my letters, my hero's come in many forms, and I just added Jill to my list. Jill is such an inspiration to all. When I asked her if she was going to try to make the Wrangler NFR, she replied, "It's just one day at a time." As of this writing, she is 12th in the WPRA World Standings. I hope for many more winning days ahead for Jill. Thanks to her brother, Kyle, who travels with her and helps her tremendously, Jill is able to continue to regain her strength and health. I wish Jill the very best of luck, not only in the arena, but for a healthy life ahead!
What a finish to the 10-day run of the Calgary Stampede. The morning of the 10th and final day of Calgary, they got one of the nasty storms that can come through that country, with lots of lightning, heavy wind, and torrential rain, leaving an arena that was standing in water. It's a good thing Louie likes to run in the mud, as he carried Lisa Lockhart to her first Calgary Stampede Championship. This win is such an accomplishment for this team, who are the reigning WPRA Reserve Champions. What a run they made, under difficult conditions, out running Callie duPerier, Fallon Taylor, and Canadian, Tara Muldoon in the final four for the $100,000 win, $50,000 of which goes to the WPRA World standings. Lisa's win, including what she won in the rounds, added $116,500 to her bank account and $66,500 to her World standings, which vaulted her to No. 1 in the WPRA World Standings. When I asked Lisa to describe her feelings about her win she explained, "Winning a rodeo of such prestige as the Calgary Stampede is such an honor and a blessing. Championship Sunday was an emotional roller coaster…competing when the stakes are high, when we were all concerned about the welfare of our horses. Louie is an amazing partner and the credit goes to him." Congratulations to this great team, and best wishes for continued success in the coming months.
The Calgary Stampede Committee deserves a huge thank you for the effort they put into making this treacherous ground as safe as possible for the barrel racers. They tried to tractor before the barrel race, which they do every day, and determined it was too dangerous for the semifinals of the barrel race to run on. They actually changed the order of the events and moved the bull riding to before the barrel race to allow them more time to attempt to better the conditions for the barrel racers. In front of a sell out crowd they worked and worked the ground making it the best and safest they possibly could. Kudos to this committee for making this call, and giving these great horses as safe a ground as possible. They also hand raked after ever barrel racer throughout the entire 10 days and tractored after every five. Many thanks go out to this committee for doing their best to make the barrel race safe.
There are two more committees that need a thank you for improving their ground in the past month. The Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo hauled in 18 tons of new dirt, which made their ground conditions fabulous. Another Turquoise Circuit rodeo, Lovington, N.M., tractored halfway through each section of barrel racers (after six runners), which helped make their ground consistent for all. Thanks to both of these committees for the improvements they made to make their rodeo better.
The guessing game is finally over. The PRCA and Las Vegas Events announced that the format for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will remain the same for 2015. Does this leave the door open for future years?
Guess we just have to wait and see.
The big push is on for all contestants to try to make their Circuit Finals or the Wrangler Nationals Finals Rodeo as September 30th is the cut off. Good luck to all and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, July 1, 2015
One of the most exciting months of the year is underway in terms of the magnitude of the rodeos coming up in July. Known to all as "Cowboy Christmas," by the number of rodeos and the amount of money to be won, this month will be a game changer in the WPRA World Standings. Just to name a few, we kick off with the Fourth of July run with Cody, Wyo., and all the surrounding rodeos in Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Idaho, that make this run so important. Right in the middle of all these rodeos, the Calgary Stampede starts their 10-day run on July 3. While the entries are limited to 20 at Calgary, it still adds to the challenge of those trying to go to everything they possibly can.
Congratulations to the following contestants who have qualified to compete at the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth".
Replacing Kaley Bass as 2014 2015 WPRA Qualifying
Calgary Champion…………………………………..Sarah Rose McDonald
2014 WPRA Final Standings……………………… Britany Diaz
2014 CPRA Final Standings………………………… Sydney Daines
2014 WPRA Tour……………………………… Kassidy Dennison
2015 WPRA Qualifying Standings………………Pamela Capper
2014 RNCFR Champion………………………….Carmel Wright
Following Calgary, there are many more big rodeos including California Rodeo Salinas, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days. While we acknowledge and understand why Calgary is a "Limited Entry Rodeo," the WPRA wants to say thanks to all the great rodeos that allow ALL WPRA members to compete. We continually strive to have as few Limited Entry Rodeos as possible, but in some cases the Rodeo Committees have to limit their entries for various reasons. Special thanks go to all those great committees that make their rodeo open for all WPRA members to enter!
In keeping with the tradition to make their rodeo the best in the world, the Calgary Stampede Committee is planning to hand rake after every barrel racer for the entire rodeo! Considering their rodeo is a full 10 days, this makes this task even more appreciated. This committee tries so hard to make the barrel race the best it can be. They feel this rake will help keep the ground as consistent and safe as is humanly possible. Thanks to this great Calgary Stampede Committee for doing all they can for our event!
Two more Champions Challenge rodeo's are in the books and Lisa Lockhart dominates the Challenges with her third win. Lisa added Spanish Fork, Utah, to her list of wins including Scottsdale, Ariz., and Logandale, Nev. Lisa has more than one great horse that has helped her win three of the Champion Challenges. Chisum stepped up and won Spanish Fork, and placed at Redding for Lisa. Kudos to Lisa for winning on two great horses! Congratulations to Nancy Hunter and Meghan Johnson on splitting first and second at Redding, Calif., followed by Fallon Taylor, Lisa Lockhart, and Mary Walker. The next Champions Challenge is August 16 in Cody, Wyo.
It's that time of year again, that rule proposals for 2016 are in and are being discussed by your Board of Directors. Thank you to all who took the time to send in your thoughts on what you feel will make your association better! Please know that every proposal is discussed thoroughly by the Rules Committee made up of seven directors, two of the office staff, our attorney, your Vice President and President. After they have thoroughly looked at both sides to every proposal, this committee gives their recommendation to the entire Board of Directors for a vote. This year we have had experts in the field on timing speed events and the issues involved in timing to the thousandth of a second speak to the entire board. The Board has put a lot of thought into this issue. The final vote on this year's proposals will happen in July.
In my lastletter, I told you that by the next issue of our magazine we would all know what the decision is on the format of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for 2015. Well, the PRCA's meeting was moved to June, so by the August issue we should all know the decision. The suspense grows!
I will see you all at the General Membership meeting in Salinas after slack on the 16th of July. California Director, Marguerite Happy will have the location posted and bottled water available. The California Rodeo Salinas Committee is so great to work with, and it is always such a pleasure to attend this rodeo.
Best of luck to all over the Fourth, and at all the great rodeos that you have the opportunity to enter, and keep in mind, win, lose or draw, how fortunate we are to do what we love.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, June 1, 2015
June marks the halfway point of the 2015 rodeo year. Time goes by so fast; it is hard to believe half the season is in the books. With the summer season upon us there are a lot of great rodeos to go to, and we will certainly see some big changes in all the standings by August. Not only are our members busy going to ProRodeos all over the country, but also to WPRA Ropings, Futurities/Derbies, Divisional Circuit events, and Junior barrel races. Included in the ProRodeos, there are many levels and tours in which to compete. We have the Circuit Rodeos, the WPRA Tour Rodeos, the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Rodeos, and the All American Tour, all of which have their own standings and awards. They all lead up to the WPRA World Finals, the All American, the RAM National Circuit Finals, the Champion Challenges, and at the top of the list is the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. There is a place for all women competitors in the WPRA, no matter what your goal is!
The WPRA's Futurity/Derby division offers the opportunity for our members to compete with their young horses in futurities and derbies, and run at the WPRA World Finals for World Championship titles, lots of money and great awards. This month our magazine features one of the outstanding futurity members, Tami Semas. She is leading this division on Smooth N Famous and sitting second on Guys Amberetto. The goal of the Futurity/Derby program is producing the rodeo horse through the ranks of the futurities and derbies. Susie McConaghie is the director of this division and does an outstanding job. The PESI program, with Vickie Adams as director, promotes the breeding of these great barrels horses. Be sure to check out the list of PESI Stallions enrolled in this program, as you just may be riding one! You can find the list of these stallions on our website. The list is growing day by day, so keep checking WPRA.com for updates. Both of these directors welcome questions from all who are interested in these two programs of the WPRA.
May was a big month for WPRA Tour Rodeos across the United States. The following WPRA Tour Rodeos were held in May: Bakersfield, CA, Guymon, OK, Las Vegas, NV, Lincoln, NE, Augusta, NJ, Coulee City, WA, Santa Maria, CA, and Hugo, OK. As you can see these rodeos are spread across the country giving all Circuit members a chance to compete without going too far from their designated circuit. The WPRA Tour Rodeos gives all circuit members the opportunity to qualify for Limited Entry Rodeos, such as Calgary, Houston, etc. At the time of this writing (May 18) the top four in the WPRA Tour Standings are 1.Vickie Carter ®, 2. Cassidy Kruse, 3. Megan Williams-Mariluch, 4. Nicole Yost.
Two more Wrangler Champions Challenges were held in May. Redding, CA, May 16, was split by Nancy Hunter and Meghan Johnson with $4,800 each, Fallon Taylor was third with $3,040, fourth was Lisa Lockhart winning $2,080, fifth, Mary Walker winning $1,280. Spanish Fork, Utah was May 30, but was not over at the time of this writing. Spanish Fork will be televised on June 7 on the CBS Sports Network. The next Champions Challenge will be in Cody, WY on August 16th.
As of this writing, we are still in suspense on the decision on the format for the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Will it stay the same, with an average, or change to a tournament style, without an average? The PRCA Board is meeting in May, and this change is one of the issues they will be discussing. I am sure they will be announcing their decision soon.
Best of luck to all this summer, and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, May 1, 2015
The inaugural Ram National Circuit Finals, in Kissimmee, Fla., is in the books and Circuit Champions have more money in their Wranglers than ever in the history of Circuit Rodeos. This rodeo will get bigger and better every year with the outstanding Osceola County committee behind it. Every event looked like a mini Wrangler NFR, with tough competition in all. However, the barrel race was as close as it can get. The final four were breath taking with only .07 seconds separating first and fourth.
Setting the pace was Pam Capper with a 16.47, but that lead only lasted until Carmel Wright ran next, and was .05 faster with a 16.42, to take the lead. Sarah Rose McDonald followed Carmel and came close with a 16.45, followed by Kassidy Dennison with a 16.49. It was an unbelievably close final round when you think about how fast one-one hundredth of a second is. That is one flap of humming bird's wings! Congratulations goes to Montana's Carmel Wright and her awesome little 12 year old mare, Sweet Heart Special. The duo took home a $20,000 voucher for a new Ram vehicle, a new Polaris Ranger, the beautiful Montana Silversmiths buckle, a gorgeous Cactus saddle, and $14,424. The over all money winner in the barrel race was Sarah Rose McDonald with $22,667.
There was an announcement made the final day of the Ram National Circuit Finals that will totally change the circuit system as we have known it for 38 years. The PRCA has approved a big change in Circuit Rules beginning in the 2016 rodeo year, which begins October 1, 2015. The money, or points, won at the RNCFR, the Circuit Finals Rodeos, and the All American will count for World Standings beginning in 2016 rodeo year. We will be seeing many more Wrangler NFR contenders at a circuit level now that there is so much money to be won at the RNCFR and the fact that it will count toward world standings.
How about Nancy Hunter and Fuzz winning Houston for the third time in a row? The trip to Houston was a nightmare for the Hunter family as icy roads caused a terrible accident involving their truck and trailer. It is a miracle that they survived this frightening accident, that Fuzz was not injured, and that this team was able to compete at all. This is an example of what a strong person Nancy is to have overcome the stress of what had happened and was able to compete at the highest level. Congratulations to Nancy and to the RodeoHouston Committee on another great Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The WPRA Board of Directors held their annual spring board meeting in Kissimmee to show our support and gratitude to the Osceola County Committee, and all they have done to promote and build the Circuit System. Before the final performance, our Board presented them with a back number plaque to recognize their contribution to Professional Rodeo and the Circuit System. This is an awesome committee, a beautiful facility, and we will see this rodeo grow and prosper over the next nine years.
During the board meeting, our accounting firm of Logan, Thomas, and Johnson, LLC presented the 2014 WPRA Annual Audit. A summary of this audit will go out to the membership in a Constant Contact email in May. The numbers for 2014 showed another year of positive growth for the Association both financially and a strong growth of membership. I will have a copy of the audit available at all General Membership meetings for the members to view. Our first General Membership meeting will be May 24 in Coulee City, Wash., after slack. Please be sure to come if you are entered in this rodeo. Our COO, Janet Cropper, the Columbia River Circuit Director, Jana Isaac, and I will be there, so you have a great opportunity to ask questions about your Association and express your opinions.
Many topics were discussed during this spring board meeting including but not limited to:
• The 2015 operating budget and financial review
• Limited entry rodeos and the WPRA Tour providing more opportunities to qualify. See Constant Contact April 20, 2015.
• World Finals report for 2014 and 2015 World Finals
• Approval of spokeswomen
• The election in 2016 and current rules for this election
• A speaker phone call from Tamara Reinhardt on timing to 1/1000th of a second and facts to show the consequences of this issue.
• Divisional Circuit Co-Approval Program update.
As you can see there was a lot to discuss in two days, and your board works very hard to accomplish all that needs to be covered. Please find out what the outcome was of any topic that you may be concerned about by calling your director, calling me, or by attending a General Membership meeting. Please take an interest in your Association by reading your rule book, knowing what the issues are and how the outcome affects you. I am always happy to discuss these issues with you.
See you all in Coulee City, Wash., or the next General Membership Meeting in Salinas, Calif. Have a safe and winning May as we head into the summer months.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, April 1, 2015
Spring is here! After the great winter run in Texas, along with lots of ice this year, it is time to make some choices on where to go next. Many will head for California, with a stop in Logandale, Nev., on their way, or you might decide to go north to Canada, or you may just choose to stay in Texas! Wherever your choice is, there are a lot of great rodeos to go to in April. As I am writing this letter in March - Houston, Austin, and the Ram National Circuit Finals are still underway, so they will be discussed in next months letter.
To prove what a true champion she is, Sherry Cervi, rode away with the big win of $21,942 at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, which vaulted her into the top 15. What makes this win so special is that she was not riding Stingray, her WPRA World Champion mare, but jockeyed Trip and Callie DuPerier's horse, Atlas Perk, to the winners circle. Stingray was in Arizona waiting for Sherry to run her at Tucson the day after San Antonio for a third place win, and another jump in the WPRA World Standings.
The Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots, February 26, in Scottsdale, Ariz., had a sold out crowd of very enthusiastic rodeo fans. This committee worked extremely hard to get the ground in perfect condition for the rodeo after weeks of horse shows had packed the ground to as hard as cement. Last on the ground proved to work well for Lisa Lockhart and Louie, as they had the fastest time of 17.84 to win the rodeo and $5,440. I am glad I was there as many WPRA sponsors were in attendance, and I got to visit with many of them. The next Wrangler Champions Challenge is in Logandale, Nev., on April 12.
In case you missed the press release on Prorodeo.com, the PRCA made a big announcement and welcomed Polaris Ranger as a national partner. The agreement made Polaris RANGER, the "official UTV of the PRCA, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the Ram National Circuit Finals." The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will be renamed the "Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER." All RNCFR Champions in Kissimmee, Fla., will receive a Polaris RANGER, as will the World Champions, and the Remuda Award winners. The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund will also benefit with fund raising opportunities.
In the March Presidents letter, I wrote that there was a move to change the format of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo beginning in 2015. There has been a lot of contestant opposition to this change. While the decision is not final at this writing, it appears that the change will not happen at this time. The contestants want to continue having an average count toward the World Championship at the Wrangler NFR, and not a Tournament Style Finals to determine the World Champions.
The Calgary Stampede contract has finally been signed. The WPRA Board had voted to approve Calgary for 2015 some months ago, but we were working out the details. Four contestants from the WPRA Tour are included in the qualifications again this year. The tour rodeos are the way that all WPRA members have a chance to compete at the Calgary Stampede. These tour rodeos are the qualification rounds for Calgary and other limited entry rodeos. What an opportunity our members have to earn a Calgary qualification, by going to rodeos in your own circuit! There are 65 WPRA Tour Rodeos for 2015 which include five from each circuit and five from Canada. Standings are based on your points from the top seven tour rodeos.
Thoughts are with Taylor Jacob, 2013 Rookie of the Year and Wrangler NFR qualifier, whose family lost their home to fire on March 4th while Taylor was competing at RodeoHouston. Her most cherished Wrangler National Finals buckles were badly damaged in the fire. Thanks to our awesome sponsor, Montana Silversmiths has promised to replace her treasured buckles. Thank you to our great sponsor for helping in this tragic situation! Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as they try to recover from this devastating loss.
Good luck this spring and enjoy all the great rodeos we have during this wonderful time of the year.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, April 1, 2015
March is upon us, and for many it has been a hectic winter. With all the winter rodeos, many have crisscrossed the United States from Rapid City, S.D., to Jackson, Miss., with many stops in between. As I write this letter, I am flying back from the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo after attending the National Finals Rodeo Committee meeting held on February 13. Many thanks go out to Keith and Tracie Martin for the true Texas hospitality shown to all. The entire San Antonio Committee and volunteers deserve recognition on receiving their 10th "Large Rodeo of the Year" award presented at the PRCA's Awards Banquet in Las Vegas last December. I think they will have to add another beam to the AT&T Center to hold all the banners this Rodeo has won, plus, of course, the Spurs keep adding banners too!
Since this meeting was the first under the new 10-year contract, it was a very upbeat and positive meeting. As with any new contract, there are some changes being made, from renovation of the Thomas and Mack to a possible change in the format of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo beginning in 2015. It is the strong belief of many people, who have a lifetime of experience in making the Wrangler NFR the success that it is, that in order to continue to grow over the next 10 years, some changes need to be made. The members of the NFRC Board want to see our sport grow and prosper for many years to come. You will be hearing a lot about this new format of the Wrangler NFR over the next month as it could be voted on by April. The concern of this committee is that the fans do not understand the "average" at the Wrangler NFR, as it is so hard to follow and difficult to understand how the World Champions are determined. The Ram National Circuit Finals and many other large rodeos, like San Antonio, have proven that the tournament style rodeo is very well received by the fans and has been enormously successful. The total prize money (including guaranteed money) at the 2015 Wrangler NFR is $10,000,000. The format change would change the way the money is paid out to determine the World Champions. It would be by the most money won in the rounds, the money won in the regular season, and the final round. There will not be an average. Keep your ears and your minds open to this new proposal. Please call me if you have any questions, and I will try to answer them with the information that I have.
The Ram National Circuit Finals is coming up March 25 to 28. In an effort to show our support to Osceola County, the WPRA Board Meeting will be held in Kissimmee on March 27 and 28. This meeting will take the place of the Colorado Springs meeting. As time gets closer our agenda will be published on the WPRA web site for members to study. This RNCFR is monumental for the circuit cowboy and cowgirl with the $93,664 purse in each event, to the $1,000 stipend to each contestant, to the $10,000 to each circuit, and for the WPRA barrel racers it is the last chance to qualify for the Calgary Stampede! I look forward to seeing you there!
Now that the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is in the books, we are realizing what a great event it was for our WPRA members. Their qualifications for the barrel race make it possible for 210 members to enter this rodeo. You may not have noticed, as it happened so fast, but they hand raked after every runner! The ground was the best it has ever been thanks to the hard work of this awesome committee. Plus, the $35,000 added money, making it one of the rodeos everyone wants to enter. Another attraction for the Fort Worth Rodeo was the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award, sponsored by the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the WPRA. This year's winner raised the bar for what this competition stands for, as Kendra Dickson showed such class with her black and gold outfit, which can be seen on page 11 of this issue. She definitely set a new standard to strive for. Not only did Kendra win the $5,000 check for best dressed, but she also took home several checks from the rounds and the average. Congratulations, Kendra!
The 2014 WPRA Rookie, Sarah Rose McDonald, will certainly remember Fort Worth for a long time! This outstanding young cowgirl and her fabulous mare, Fame Fling N Bling, made a clean sweep of the barrel race by winning every round! They also finished out the rodeo by running the fastest time of the entire event in the short round. Their $20,933 win moved them to the top of the WPRA World Standings for 2015. The winning ways continue for this team, as they just won all three rounds of their group at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. I think it's a safe bet to say that we will see a lot of this team this year, and I'm betting a Wrangler NFR position!
When you receive this issue of the WPRA News, Houston will be in full swing from March 3-22. The WPRA thanks this great committee for making us a part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Good luck to all!
Austin starts on March 14, so it will be a busy month of great rodeos!
Travel safe and good luck!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, February 1, 2015
Winter is upon us, and the winter rodeos are in full swing. The start of winter also marks the wrap up of the 12 circuit finals for 2014. This years Circuit Finals take on a greater importance as 2015 is a historic year for all cowboys and cowgirls. For the circuit contestants, 2015 marks the year that the Ram National Circuit Finals makes a BIG move to Osceola County, Fla. Not only is it a big move, but this move means a lot more money for the contestants. Osceola County has put up enough money to change the magnitude of the circuit system as we have known it. In their negotiations with the PRCA, they, along with Ram, have shown their support to the circuit system by bringing the added money up to $93,664 per event, up from $69,803 last year. Osceola County also gives each contestant $1,000 expense stipend, pays contestants $550 entry fees, and gives each Circuit Board $10,000 to promote their circuit. This money is on top of the $100,000 that Las Vegas Events has included in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo contract to go to each Circuit Board to make their circuit the place where circuit contestant want to compete and promote the circuit system. The WPRA is included in both contracts. As you can see, circuit rodeos just got a huge boost. As a proud member of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit for 36 years, this is what we have always dreamed of. Thank you to the PRCA, Las Vegas Events, and Osceola County for showing support of our Circuit System!
As a way of showing our gratitude to Osceola County, the WPRA is having their spring board meeting in Florida on March 27-28. We feel this is one way the directors can experience first hand the magnitude of the RNCFR and what it can do for their circuit. This meeting is in place of the annual spring meeting held in Colorado Springs. If you want any items placed on the agenda, please let me or your Circuit Director know right away.
The last two circuit finals were held the second week of January in the Montana Circuit and the First Frontier Circuit. We now have the last four contestants to add to the barrel racing roster. The First Frontier Circuit Championship goes to Rookie Sarah Attea and the Finals Champion is Alicia Pottmeyer. The Montana Circuit Champion is Carmel Wright, and she was also crowned the Circuit Finals winner. Since we drop down to second in the year standings when the same person wins both titles, Lindsay Kruse will get to go to the RNCFR. Lindsay led the Montana Circuit going into the Circuit Finals, but had to doctor release out due to the upcoming birth of her second baby. Congratulations to all the circuit champions and to the winner of the circuit finals as they have earned the right to go to Osceola County to compete for the largest purse ever at the 2015 RNCFR!
Another important event happening in the winter months is the foaling of many of those early babies, and also the planning for breeding for next years colts. Now is the time for stallion owners to consider putting their stallion into the PESI Incentive Program. This WPRA program is the only incentive program that is geared toward making rodeo barrel horses, as we pay bonuses to futurities, derbies, jackpots and pro rodeos! We also have the highest percentage of payback in the industry! Stallion owners and offspring owners check out the PESI ad in the Women's Pro Rodeo News or call Vickie Adams, Program Administrator for any questions you may have.
For all of you planning to go to the Canadian Rodeos this year, the WPRA agreement with the CPRA has been signed. Remember to check to see if the Rodeo you are entering is WPRA approved, as money won will not count toward the WPRA standings if it is not approved. Per the WPRA Rule Book, you are allowed to compete at a CPRA rodeo that is not WPRA approved without penalty, but money will not count.
The Wrangler Champions Challenge presented by Justin Boots will kick off the winter run with two Champions Challenge events in February. Rapid City, S.D., will be February 4, and Scottsdale, Ariz., February 26 giving the contestants quite the climate change in one month! There will be 11 teams this year making it possible for one more contestant to compete. The qualifications for 2015 are the top 7 from the ProRodeo 2014 world standings, 8th position is the leader of the 2015 ProRodeo World Standings 30 days prior to the event, 9th is the next position in the 2015 ProRodeo World Standings, 10th will be filled by the leader of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour presented by Justin Boots, the 11th will be filled with the next highest position in the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. We look forward to these made for television rodeos in 2015 as they are our way of promoting rodeo to the world! Please support them by viewing the telecasts on CBS Sports Network. For the schedule of TV telecasts go to Prorodeo.com.
Lots of great rodeos coming up this winter so don't forget that the finals at Fort Worth, Texas on February 7 will award another $5,000 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award! So "Bring Your Bling" to Fort Worth and take a run at an extra $5,000! Be safe driving this winter and best of luck to ALL!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, January 3, 2015
The 30th Anniversary of the Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas was all that was promised and more! What an experience it was for all involved! From the newly updated Thomas and Mack, to the Gold Card Reunion, to the outstanding competition in the arena, it was all anyone could ask for. Hats off to the National Finals Rodeo Committee, to Las Vegas Events, to the PRCA, to the Thomas and Mack personnel, and to the contestants who made it all come together with the best of the best in every event.
It is with such pride and respect that I congratulate our newly crowned World Champion, Fallon Taylor and Babyflo! This great team thrilled the crowd with every run with their style of running and the glamour they added to the event. The gutty little mare gave it her all with every run and was jockeyed by the classiest and one of the most experienced riders of the field. Fallon's first NFR was in 1995 when she was 13 years old. She rode two horses in the early years between 1995 and 1998 in the Thomas and Mack, Dr Nick Bar and Flowers and Money, and Babyflo is the progeny of these two great horses. The story can't get much better than this, but it does. In the years following her early NFR experience, Fallon became a model and an actress, but the passion of barrel racing brought her back to the rodeo world. In 2009, Fallon suffered a devastating injury, which broke her C2 vertebra, and could have ended her life and career. With determination to overcome the odds, and a long recovery period of learning to walk and talk again, she came back from the terrible accident and began competing again. Due to this traumatic head injury, leaving her with five screws in her head, it was destined that she would be the cowgirl to break tradition of cowboy hats for competition, and change the event of barrel racing forever by competing in a helmet for eight rounds at the Wrangler NFR. Many kudos to Fallon for making our event safer for our youth coming up, and anyone who wants to protect themselves from the dangers of a head injury in a sport that anything can happen at any given time.
The 10th round of the barrel race was as exciting as it gets. Fallon Taylor and Lisa Lockhart were in a dead heat for the Wrangler NFR average title and the World Championship. Lisa ran first with a 14.02 and Fallon next with a 13.96, leaving the crowd wondering who won. It didn't take long for the announcer to tell us that Lisa and Louie had won the average, but left us hanging as to the World title for a few minutes. Lisa and Louie were consistent with their smooth, flawless runs that thrilled the audience night after night. This team is so deserving of the average title and a World Championship too, but when all the numbers were crunched, it was Fallon and Babyflo that took home the gold. You can bet that Lisa and Louie will be back next year after coming so close in 2014. Congratulations to this awesome team for winning the Wrangler NFR Average title.
There were more contestants dressing up this year for the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed award, which paid first place a $5000 check, a $1,000 check for second and a $500 award for third. Fallon Taylor was our winner for the second year in a row, with her outstanding outfits which were created by her fans from all over the world. It is hard to see how intricate these outfits are unless you see them up close. Visit Fallon's Facebook page and see what she wore each round, and why she made an impression on the judges and fans alike when she ran down that alleyway. The beautiful Navajo cowgirl, Kassidy Dennison was second, and a fan favorite, Mary Walker, was third. Remember as you enter the winter rodeos, that the finals at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo will have another $5,000 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed award. As you think about what to put in your trailer, just in case you make the short round at Fort Worth, put in something flashy that catches the audience's eye. You must stand out from the rest, in order to get the most votes for best dressed!
Now getting to the business of 2015, as your read on the website, Houston is approved for 2015. Houston has almost the same qualifications as last year, with the exception of taking two positions from the WPRA Tour in 2015. Thank you to the Houston committee for taking the WPRA Tour, as this allows for more opportunities for our contestants to enter this great rodeo.
Your board has also approved Calgary for 2015, but some details are still being worked out in the contract.
Our last three Circuit Finals will be held in January to determine who will be going to Osceola County, Fla., for the lucrative Ram National Circuit Finals in its new home. The Texas Circuit Finals is January 1-3, the First Frontier Circuit Finals will be January 15-17 and the Montana Circuit Finals is January 16-18. Good luck to all contestants, as this next RNCFR will really be worth qualifying for!
Happy New Year to all and best of luck in 2015!!