By Doreen Wintermute
April 1, 2017
This past month has been a tough one in the rodeo industry saying goodbye to rodeo legends and champions in our sport. The barrel racing world lost two of their own with 2013 WPRA Futurity World Champion Lacey Kuschel the end of February and then two-time Wrangler NFR qualifier and three-time RodeoHouston Barrel Racing Champion Nancy Hunter, who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, on March 12. A day later the rodeo world learned of the passing of PRCA stock contractor Harry Vold. This happened just a little over a week after we got the news of the passing of PRCA announcer Hadley Barrett. Barrett had been quoted as saying, "I think the rookie is just as important as the champion, I think the livestock is just as important as the cowboy, and I think if we didn't have the fans, none of it would mean anything."
Those are some great words for all of us to remember as we travel down the rodeo road. We must continue to build everyone up and respect those that work hard to make this sport as fair and safe as they can. This includes the Pro Officials.
Since becoming the President of the WPRA, I have had the pleasure to attend some of the PRCA Judges Seminars and visit with the Pro Officials about the barrel racing. As a result, they seem to be more observant and aware of the issues and concerns that they need to focus on in regards to the barrel racing. Some of this includes ground conditions, equipment, rules and overall safety of horse and rider. One thing we have discussed and something that all members need to remember when it comes to the rule Ready When Called Upon, that whether you are up in slack or a performance, the time between riders does not change. So don't think because you are in slack you can take longer to go as that is not true. Slack and a performance need to be treated equally.
In addition to the Pro Officials, I would like to take time to recognize the rodeo secretaries and timers for all they do for the barrel race and our members. These ladies play a very important role in our event and we appreciate their hard work and professionalism to make our event accurate and fair.
We have been working on the WPRA exhibit for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame that will be up in their front gallery from the first of April through the induction ceremony in August. So next month, I will share with you the finished exhibit as well as the names of those that have been selected for our inaugural induction. This is an exciting time for the WPRA and if you are in the Colorado Springs area be sure to stop in and see our friends at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. For those wanting to attend the induction ceremony the Gala is on Friday night, August 4 and the induction will be at 10 a.m. (MT) on Saturday, August 5. More information will be posted on wpra.com.
Good luck to the ladies that will be competing at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla. The barrel racing should be fast and exciting with the talented field that will be competing. I am excited to see and visit with our competitors from the Mexico Circuit as this will be their first time competing at the RNCFR.
Stay safe on the roads.
March 1, 2017
My theme for March is Make the Most of Your Opportunities.
I would like to give a shout out to No. 1 ranked Tiany Schuster for doing just that. In October, she had won over $11,000 prior to the WPRA World Finals and added another $7,000-plus to her 2017 earnings with the WPRA Card Holder race. As of Feb. 27, she has garnered over $68,500 in earnings, an amazing amount at this time of the season.
I have been in several meetings this past month and the future of barrel racing is BRIGHT! We are all in this together and while barrel racing is referred to as an individual event, it truly is a team effort from the top down.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just getting involved in the WPRA, I want to remind you of important tools that are beneficial to your success. The most important is the WPRA rulebook. In addition, the WPRA website and your circuit directors are great sources of information, as is the camaraderie of friends and family that can help you learn how to go down the Rodeo Road. Take advantage of these resources to make your dreams come true.
As we make the most of our opportunities, we also hold dear the values and traditions that brought us to this point. Nothing shows this more than the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award, which is awarded twice each year in Fort Worth, Texas, and in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Wrangler NFR. Congrats to Kathy Grimes, who brought her Bling to Fort Worth and was rewarded with a $5,000 bonus. A heartfelt thanks to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, the Taylor family and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for making this award possible and for all the ladies that brought their Bling to Fort Worth. Job well done!
Plans are underway for the 2017 Wrangler NFR and we had a very successful NFRC meeting in San Antonio. I would like to thank Keith Martin for his hospitality, it was amazing! Shawn Davis , Las Vegas Events and the PRCA, are the best of the best in rodeo and it was so great to hear how they are working hard to make 2017 NFR the best one yet!
As we are approaching the RNCFR ,there are many of you making plans to compete at an event that you can win over $33,500 to count towards your world standings for the first time ever. Taking the top circuit champion and the average winner from each circuit as well as the top two from Mexico, makes this event a one-of-a-kind. Our Circuit System is getting stronger and stronger because of the opportunities that are given throughout the year at all levels! Much thanks to Osceola County and the Kissimmee Rodeo Team for giving our members the opportunity to be a part in making many dreams come true.
An exciting new opportunity is coming to the sport of rodeo in July known as the Days of '47 Cowboy Games. I feel blessed to be a part of a team in working on making this a great opportunity for WPRA members. We are in the process of finalizing all parts of this Rodeo and I can only say it is one of the Largest Rodeo’s Nationwide. This is the future of Rodeo and all WPRA members will have the opportunity to be a part of it too. Keep an eye on the WPRA website and the WPRA News for more details as they get finalized!!!
The WPRA Board of Directors will be meeting March 31-April 1 in Colorado Springs for our spring meeting. Be sure to communicate with your circuit directors, so they can bring your concerns and great experiences to this meeting.
Good Luck to all
February 1, 2017
The more I reflect on this great Association that we get to be involved in, the more I realize how many great programs and opportunities we have for members. We get so wrapped up in our own little worlds and sometimes we miss the opportunities that are right under our noses.
One of these is the Pro Elite Sire Incentive Program (PESI). In 2016, the program allocated $76,000 for PESI Bonus Money Events. It is a great team program that rewards the stallion owners, the breeders and the horse owners. As a stallion owner, you enroll your stallion into the program and pay the annual fee. As the owner of an offspring of a stallion enrolled in the program you also pay a fee, then you competed at events where the bonus money is available like the Wrangler NFR or the Circuit Finals and you reap the rewards.
For instance there were three ladies in the Top 15 that not only left Las Vegas with the money won in the arena but they added bonus money to their bank accounts through the PESI program. Amberleigh Moore cashed in the most as the owner of CP Dark Moon adding $4,200. The stallion owners of Darkelly are Conrado and Mikkleson and they received a check for $1,600, easily making back their annual fee to the program and this was at only one of the 10 events, plus the Wrangler NFR, 12 Circuit Finals and the WPRA World Finals that paid a bonus back in 2016.
Speaking of getting involved we need everyone reading this - members, fans, rodeo committees, stock contractors, rodeo personnel, etc. - to consider being a part of WPRA history. As we announced in December at the Wrangler NFR starting in 2017, the WPRA will begin inducting members into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Therefore, we need your help in nominating WPRA members that are deserving of this honor. To make it easy for you we have included the Barrel Racer Honoree Nomination Form in this issue or it is also available online (www.wpra.com) for you to print out. All forms must be mailed and received in the WPRA office no later than Feb. 24, 2017.
Please take some time to consider the importance of this inaugural event and submit a nomination. There are two items to remember when making a nomination. First, you may submit more than 1 nomination and second it is really important to provide details regarding the nominee’s contribution and their significance to the sport of barrel racing.
Finally before I close this month, I wanted to remind all members of one more opportunity to take advantage of in 2017 that can really help open other doors as each of you strive to reach your rodeo goals. It is the 2017 WPRA Tour. The Tour is made up of a total of 65 rodeos/events across the United States (five from each circuit and Canada). The rodeos selected are either one round or multiple rounds. If it is a multiple round rodeo then points are allocated based on the average results only. Limited entry rodeos are not part of this program, so these are events that are open to all members.
The WPRA Tour Standings are used at many approved limited entry rodeos and your circuit directors and board strongly encourages all limited entry rodeos to include the WPRA Tour Standings as one of their qualifiers. By doing this it provides an opportunity for a wider range of our members to participate and possibly gain entry to a limited entry rodeo like the Calgary Stampede and RodeoHouston.
So as you plan your 2017 rodeo schedule don't forget to pay attention to the rodeos that are part of the WPRA Tour as it could be the catalyst you need to make a run at the Wrangler NFR.
Safe travels to everyone during this winter run and God Bless.
January 1, 2017
As we come to the end of the 2016 year, all I can say is what a great ending with the best Wrangler National Finals Rodeo experience, I could have ever imagined.
Words cannot express how thankful I am to Shawn Davis and his team for all the time and effort that was put into every part of what makes this a great event and truly the "Super Bowl" of Rodeo. The most amazing talent was shown in every PRCA event and the WPRA top 15 and their horses in the world!!!!
Congratulations to Mary Burger and Sadiesfamouslastwords (Mo) for a truly phenomenal year and what a great and humble world champion she will be. My hats off to Amberleigh Moore for earning enough at the Wrangler NFR to move from 15th in the world to reserve champion.
I am so proud to say the WPRA and PRCA have been working as partners on building the many bridges to make rodeo better. As most of you heard or read the announcement released at the Wrangler NFR by PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman, the WPRA will be a part of the ProRodeo Hall Of Fame starting in 2017 (full release in the In the News section in this issue). This decision was a natural extension of our relationship with the PRCA and a great way to honor and recognize rodeo greats in every event under one roof. Make plans now to attend the annual Hall of Fame inductions on the first weekend of August to be part of this historic milestone between the PRCA and WPRA.
One of the most memorable events of the 2016 Wrangler NFR is the WPRA Star Celebration. It is an event that honors the Top 15 for their achievements, and awards them with many amazing gifts from our partners that include saddles, Tao Tao Scooters, horse cooler blankets and much, much more. The WPRA Star Celebration Luncheon brings many wonderful generations of people together that put the care and love into Rodeo. The event wouldn't be possible without our WPRA office team that works diligently to make these memories special, and all of the WPRA Circuit Directors. Besides celebrating the Top 15 it is the WPRA's chance to honor the true backbone of our business with our Rodeo Committee’s, Contractors, Contract Personnel, Volunteers, and our Sponsors. As they say, “it takes a village”!!!
As we swing into the new year, we have three more Circuit Finals left in the 2016 season to crown their Circuit and Average Champion that will earn a spot to compete at the Ram National Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida.
Plan your 2017 year, it’s here with much opportunity to make your Dreams come true!!!
Good Luck to all