By JimiBeth Myers
Behind the Scenes
Cowgirls get a Superbowl-worthy Ring
In 1923 when the Yankees won the World Series players were given commemorative pocket watches. The Yankees were given their first World Series ring in 1927. Both before and in between these wins players were given keepsakes such as pins, cufflinks and tie bars. The sports ring didn’t become commonplace until the 1930’s.
The National Finals Rodeo is often called the Super Bowl of rodeo, so it might seem a natural fit for each contestant to receive a celebratory sports ring to memorialize their impressive accomplishment of qualifying for the Finals and being at the top of their sport.
Montana Silversmith designs a unique ring for each year of the National Finals Rodeo. A ring is created for each NFR Qualifier. One side of the ring always has the NFR Shield, the year and a stone. According to Callie Adams, National Events Manager of Montana Silversmiths, the semi-precious stone set in each ring differs from year to year in order to be unique for those contestants. The design and stone are approved by PRCA.
The rings are made from a strong stainless steel that makes them resistant to breakage, but also means that they can’t be re-sized. At the end of the rodeo season in October each NFR Qualifier is asked for their ring size and then the craftsmen at Montana Silversmiths go to work in the painstaking 130-step production process that includes molding, tooling, engraving and stone-setting to craft each ring.
This year the selected stone is a golden sapphire and they added accent stones, as well. Even though this is clearly a sports ring the designers wanted to add a western touch by including tooling to really represent the rodeo side of the sport.
NFR Qualifiers lucky enough to compete in multiple NFRs, like 11-Qualifier Lisa Lockhart end up with a ring collection. “The rings are really neat. I keep my NFR Rings together at my house.”