By Doreen Wintermute
August 1, 2019
What an exciting month of action it has been in the arena. From Ivy Hurst winning her first set of spurs at the 100th Reno Rodeo, to WPRA Rookie Carly Taylor taking top honors at the 100th Cody Stampede, to Emily Miller being the high money winner over the Fourth of July to Jennifer Sharp and Hailey Kinsel arena record setting runs at the Calgary Stampede and Lisa Lockhart’s $100,000 run, WPRA members continue to wow the crowds and bring excitement to each and every rodeo.
Speaking of Calgary Stampede, congratulations to 11-time WPRA World Champion Charmayne James on being recognized with the Calgary Stampede’s Pioneers of the Rodeo award. James joins a very select group to be recognized with this award. She is just the fourth American to be honored joining 1983 WPRA World Champion Marlene McRae, Jim Shoulders and Dean Oliver.
The Wrangler Network Tour standings are heating up as we pass the halfway point and what a great bonus opportunity this is for our members. Remember the Wrangler Network Tour features a total of 18 barrel racing events and 5 breakaway roping events for a total of 23. A total of $34,000 will be up for grabs in the barrel racing division paying eight places in the final Tour standings with the winner receiving $10,000. The breakaway roping will feature $15,000 in new bonus money paying five places with the top point earner receiving $5,000. This is strictly a bonus program this year and money will not be added to any current standings. For more information check the website.
The WPRA World Finals will be here before you know it and it is shaping up to be another great event. Please mark your calendar to join us Oct. 24-27 in Waco, Texas, as we crown world champions in all divisions except barrel racing. However, for those card holders looking to get a jump start on the 2020 rodeo season be sure to enter the WPRA Card Holder Race or those looking to fill their permits remember there is a Permit Only Race. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
Many questions and rumors have been circulating about the PRCA Settlement agreement so wanted to review some key points regarding this.
- The current WPRA and PRCA agreement expires on 12/31/2019.
- The PRCA and Las Vegas Events negotiated a ten (10) year NFR contract that includes a WPRA sanctioned barrel race that expires in 2024.
- Starting in 2017, the WPRA has been in dialog with the PRCA regarding a new agreement.
- In 2018, the PRCA experienced a management change. During that time, with new management in place, both organizations focused on building a good, solid working relationship.
- Discussions in 2019 have been very active since January of this year.
- Throughout this process, I have kept the Board informed of all meetings or calls with the PRCA regarding an agreement.
- We are now at the point where the WPRA Business Committee is involved with creating options for key points.
This Association has no doubt had its share of speed bumps and road blocks throughout the 71 year history and like the Presidents and Boards before us, each has made decisions they felt were in the best interest of the Association and the membership at the time. In 2019, your board and myself are doing the same with this latest situation. As soon as something is official and not just hearsay we will be sure to share with the membership.
Alone we can do so little; TOGETHER we can do so much.
June 19, 2019
By now you may have seen that an alleged major rule violation (MRV) has been filed against me, as the President/CEO of the WPRA. Since this allegation is directed at me and my role as your President, I would like to share my thoughts and observations with you.
June 1, 2019
Time is flying by!! As we approach the month of June, I realize there are many circuits that are winding down and many that will be starting in full swing. I am always so impressed this time of year how the WPRA membership strategically plans out their summer rodeos. They work on integrating some WPRA Co Approvals, throwing in some Futurity/ Derby events, and along the way picking up their ropes to breakaway at some of the PRCA/WPRA rodeos or team rope and tie-down rope at the co-approvals.
Like I have mentioned before your Board works hard to provide opportunities to the entire membership. For example a look back at 2018 shows:
- 500 Rodeos and a payout of approximately $5 million Dollars, with breakaway roping being added to PRCA rodeos
- Over 1000 WPRA Co approval events
- That included 250 breakaway, 78 team roping, 70 tie-down roping events
- 85 Futurity events, 83 Derby events and our WPRA Jr. program is our future stars and the WPRA gives many opportunities for them to shine.
As we look at our 2019 up-to-date numbers, from membership, rodeos, co-approvals, additional programs like WPRA PESI, etc., and sponsors, it looks good and we are forecasting another great year!
In looking ahead, our sport continues to grow and evolve with lots of new ideas being discussed by rodeo committees creating some newness to Tournament style events, sponsors engaging in more media programs and putting a new spin on some of their advertising. While change can be hard it is always smart to be open to it to remain relevant in today’s world.
In the next couple of months two of our great rodeos – Reno and Cody – will celebrate 100 years. As you learn about their history you will see each had their own struggles through the years but the common theme was a dedicated group of individuals came together and worked hard to preserve what their founders had developed and today they are able to celebrate 100 years. Be appreciative of those that work hard to keep this sport and Association alive and well.
Good Luck as you plan out your summer months and be careful on the busy roads ahead.
May 1, 2019
It has been a busy but exciting month. When I last wrote we were preparing for our spring board meeting, where our new members joined us officially. We had a great meeting in Colorado Springs. We have a great group of ladies representing all the circuits that work hard for the betterment of the WPRA and to create great unity amongst our members. We all came together for 2 ½ days and covered many topics. We started the first day of our meeting with the overview of all aspects of the WPRA!! All I can say is it is a great feeling to start the meeting with a very strong and positive 2018 audit & financial report. With 2018 looking good the business committee presented a solid 2019 budget! The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s status showed growth this past year and we are maintaining a very strong business as a result of the hard work all directors, officers, and office employees put in.
We worked on the director rotation of all committees to bring new ideas to the WPRA programs that will look for more opportunities for the entire membership. These committees meet weekly at times and every director works in a five director committee with lots of discussion to create new ideas, changes, and to forecast each programs growth. To name a few programs that showed growth this past year was the PESI program that grew by 35 new Stallions, which will increase the pool of offspring eligible for bonus money and our Futurity/Derby program that added new events to give more opportunity for the offspring to shine. I want to thank Marlene McRae for her time and insight into the futurity and derby program the last few years, which helped to put a light on how to do it different to get different results. We will miss all your great inspiration to this program.
The growth of our WPRA breakaway roping is very overwhelming to say the least. A big thanks to Patti McCutchen, our roping director, for her hard work and time that she puts into making this a very exciting program.
All decisions that are made through these committees are brought to the full Board of Directors for review and Board approval. I am very honored to work with a Board of Directors who are dedicated to making hard decisions for the betterment of the entire WPRA membership.
I am happy to report that our Corporate Partnership division grew by 8% during 2018 and we have 23 of 31 agreements that are multi- year (74%). Thank you Dave Jordan, our partnership manager, for your inspiration and bigger goals for 2019.
Following up on the exciting news we released on April 18 and that can be found in the In the News section of this issue regarding the Wrangler Network Tour. Wrangler Network, Wrangler and the WPRA have worked together to create the Wrangler Network Tour that will feature $50,000 in new sponsor money and awards to the WPRA membership. Bonus money will be available for the barrel racers and breakaway ropers at stops which are live streamed by Wrangler Network. This is a win-win-win for WPRA members, rodeo committees and Wrangler. More information can be found on pg. 8 of the May WPRA News or on the WPRA website.
In our third year of inductions to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, we have another great group of ladies who have shaped what the Association is today. I congratulate Jimmie Munroe, Sammy Thurman Brackenbury and Florence Youree for being selected as members of the 2019 class. This is such an exciting event every year!! If you haven’t visited the ProRodeo Hall of Fame you really need to, there is so much rodeo and western history to see, don’t miss it. The 2019 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be August 3 in Colorado Springs.
Safe travels to all!!!
April 1, 2019
As we spring into April, I am hoping that everyone is experiencing better weather. From the Bomb Cyclone that hit Colorado and the flooding in the Midwest here is hoping all our members are doing well.
I would like to thank all those that participated in our recent elections and for all those that answered the call to run for an office. Congrats to the following that retained their position on the board – Eileen Lang-Kramme (First Frontier), Dillon McPherson (Montana), Patti Roberts (Southeastern), Lois Ferguson (Texas) and Julie Herman (Wilderness). I would like to welcome our new members coming on the board – Megan McLeod-Sprague (Columbia River), Carla Beckett (Mountain States) and Jymmy Kay Cox (Vice President). A huge thanks to Jerri Mann for all the years she served the WPRA membership on the Board, most recently as the Vice President, to Melanie Luark from the Mountain States Circuit and Chris Powers from Columbia River. Thanks for your time and dedication to this great Association. The 2019 WPRA Board has lots of hard work to be done to continue to keep the WPRA strong and growing.
I traveled to Dallas for RFDTVs The American and what an electrifying event it was for our breakaway ropers. A big congrats and thanks to all our WPRA ropers that put on a great show and more importantly carried themselves with professionalism on this grand stage. Thanks to Randy Bernard, Patrick Gottsch, Keith Ferguson, Riley Lambert and the entire team for showcasing the breakaway roping and the WPRA.
WPRA Breakaway Roping is an event that has lots of growth potential and the WPRA has lots of opportunity to give to all our membership! We are expanding our breakaway roping pilot program, which has been conducted in the Columbia River Circuit the last couple years, for the 2019 season. Our goal is to expand the program to a total of 35 that will be held in conjunction with PRCA/WPRA rodeos. Contact WPRA roping director Patti McCutchen for more information.
I had a little déjà vu this past month watching Hailey Kinsel win San Antonio for the second straight year followed by Nellie Miller winning back-to-back titles at RodeoHouston. Always fun to watch these two ladies and their amazing equine partners both known as Sister. Congrats to both WPRA World Champions.
We have had some very productive meetings with some of our sponsor partners working on new opportunities for our members. Be sure to keep an eye on our website for information about some new opportunities made possible by our loyal sponsors.
As I write this month’s column, we are preparing for our March Board of Directors meeting in Colorado Springs in which we will welcome our new members officially for the first time. We will be covering many topics during this time and look forward to reporting on them in next month’s column.
Until then have a great month ahead.
March 1, 2019
We have had a very busy February with many Board of Directors and committee meetings that covered many topics. The WPRA Board of Directors work diligently to strategically plan for the future for the many programs available to our members. The roping committee got together to work on the breakaway growth in the PRCA/WPRA Rodeos. The DC program & junior committee is fine tuning the many events we have and recommending more consistency in the guidelines, as well as creating more opportunity for our members. Our rules committee will be meeting, to review and discuss the many rule proposals coming in for 2020 rule book. The business committee will be getting together to review our 2018 financials, as well as our 2019 budgets.
This is an exciting time in our sport. I attended the NFRC meeting in San Antonio in February to review the 2018 Wrangler NFR. The meeting was productive with lots of excitement around how great and successful the 2018 NFR was and plans for 2019. They mentioned how cooperative all the contestants were and how amazing the competition was last year. I let them know how appreciative we were on how consistent, fair and most of all safe the ground was for the WPRA Barrel Race. As a result, we were able to showcase our great human and equine athletes and continue to be a crowd favorite. A big thank you to everyone involved to make the Wrangler NFR such a world class event.
A special award that is only given at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the Wrangler NFR that we truly cherish is the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award. I want to congratulate Stevi Hillman on being awarded the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed in Fort Worth and the $5,000 bonus that goes with the award. Many thanks to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Jerry Ann Taylor family for making this possible in Fort Worth and in Las Vegas.
I believe the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association is what I call WOMEN STRONG IN RODEO!!! As we are coming into the month of March, we have many opportunities to be excited about:
- The American semifinals for the WPRA Breakaway Roping will be amazing and will be something to see how and who moves into the Finals March 3rd at AT&T Stadium.
- The Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo that is held in Kissimmee, Florida is an event not to miss! There are 26 WPRA members planning to compete at this event where one can win over $33,000 that will count towards the world standings. Taking the top circuit champion and average winner from each circuit, as well as top 2 from Mexico, makes the event different from any rodeo in the World. Our circuit system is strong because of the many opportunities that are given throughout the PRCA/WPRA from across the country. Many thanks to Osceola County and the Kissimmee Rodeo Team for giving our members the opportunity to be part of such a great event to make their dreams come true!
- RodeoHouston will be the other big event in March. They have been a great partner through the years and looking forward to another great barrel race down there.
Good Luck to All and Safe Travels!
February 1, 2019
Although the 2019 rodeo season is in full swing, we just wrapped up 2018 with the conclusion of the Circuit Finals. Congratulations to the top 26 ladies that have punched their tickets to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo held in Kissimmee, Florida on March 21-24. Don’t forget to make your plans to come see the best year-end and average champions in the WPRA Circuit system! The barrel race will have a great mix of circuit members along with Wrangler NFR qualifiers. Visit www.rncfr.com for more information on this great event.
The start of 2019 brings WPRA Board of Directors elections along with it. This year the Vice Presidency is up for election along with Columbia River, First Frontier, Montana, Mountain States, Southeastern, Texas and Wilderness Circuits. It is important for members to participate and vote for what is in the Association’s best interest to continue its progress. Since 1948, every woman that has held office in the WPRA has impacted where it is today. Let’s continue this path and advance this sport forward!!!
Programs within the association are so important and by adding new pieces they are really flourishing.
The PESI committee has been hard at work creating new avenues for our members to take advantage of all this program has to offer! The introduction of a PESI payout at select rodeos has given owners of all enrolled offspring a chance to cash in from futurity horses all the way to the seasoned rodeo horse. The addition of a stallion service auction has allowed a greater variety of stallion owners to participate and created some exciting buzz about the program. PESI has great bonus money and allows both offspring and stallions to shine. You can learn more about the program and how you can participate on the WPRA website.
The Women’s Breakaway roping program has been very exciting!! We have been supporting a pilot program with Women’s Breakaway Roping in PRCA Rodeos, as well as co-approving with The American in 2019. Growing programs and creating more opportunities for our members to help make your dreams come true is what it’s all about!
Since the programs start 5 years ago, a total of 50 ground tests have taken place across the country. The WPRA, in partnership with Safe Arena Footing (SAF) has been able to educate rodeo committees on how to get the most out of their arena ground. Participating rodeo committees tested their ground, made any necessary changes and the results were awesome. Safe and consistent ground is a must in all events, not just barrel racing.
Just a reminder for those of you that entered the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and hope to make the finals- be sure to dress and shine for your chance to snag a $5,000 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award in the final round. The WPRA thanks the Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum for all their support in recognizing the importance of dressing up and showing the beauty of our Sport of Rodeo!
Good Luck to all, safe traveling!!!
January 1, 2019
Well the time has come as we ring in the New Year! As the 2018 year came to a close, we ended it with another amazing experience at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. I can only say this was the best Wrangler NFR I have been apart of. This was the 60th year for the National Finals Rodeo. It’s a memory of the best PRCA/WPRA talented athletes in the world and the best stock of horses and bulls that showcases what rodeo is all about. I was thrilled by the WPRA Top 15 and their amazing horses. They made the hundreds of thousands of people roar with excitement as we all watched them compete at the highest level of barrel racing!
Congratulations to the WPRA World Champion Hailey Kinsel and her horse DM Sissy Hayday “Sister.” It was such a beautiful moment to watch Hailey step up to the stage to accept her saddle and gold buckle. It was so well deserved. Also, congratulations to first time Wrangler NFR Qualifier Carman Pozzobon for being crowned the average winner, being the only barrel racer with 10 clean runs was so awesome and a challenge for most seasoned veterans. We are proud to see another Wrangler NFR first time qualifier Jessica Routier take home the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award after being voted “The Best Dressed Cowgirl” by her peers. Jessica received a $5,000 check from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame for the honor. There was another bonus given at the Wrangler NFR from the WPRA PESI program to DM Sissy Hayday (Hailey Kinsel) for $2,500 for winning the world and being part of the WPRA PESI program. For some of you that are not aware of this program, please go to the WPRA website to get all the information. This is a program that benefits all the outstanding stallions and their prodigies in the WPRA Rodeo and Futurity/Derby world. Don’t miss out!!
The last thing I want to recognize Shawn Davis and his staff that are responsible for the production and operation of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It’s bittersweet moments in the production meetings having to say Shawn Davis is retiring from the Wrangler NFR. His time, hard work, and dedication is what makes the Wrangler NFR magical. I really enjoyed working with Shawn for the three years I have been President and my admiration and respect for him is profound. Shawn has hired the best staff, and as most of us know it takes a village to put on the Super Bowl of Rodeo. The NFR Committee, PRCA team, Las Vegas Events, TV, Media, and the most amazing hard-working ground crew that made the ground safe and consistent for all events is to be thanked. My hat goes off to all of you for making the 2018 Wrangler NFR an outstanding event.
I continue to make memories with an event that the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association is so proud of - the 2018 WPRA Star Celebration. As I stood on the stage, I was so enlightened by the amount of rodeo family we had to celebrate the WPRA Top 15 Wrangler NFR qualifiers. We had over 600 attendees this year! WOW!! The exciting awards given to the Top 15 were amazing. We honored the best in the business including committees, judges, contractors, secretaries, announcers and committees from each circuit with the Justin Best Footing award.
There is so much to be thankful for, as I rewind the 2018 year. The WPRA Sponsors, we couldn’t do it without all of you, our WPRA Office staff, all Circuit Directors, and every outside resource we depend on, thank you for completing another successful year for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
We have four more Circuits Finals in January to crown their 2018 circuit champion and average winner to earn a spot in the 2019 Ram National Finals Rodeo held in Kissimmee, Florida in March. This is a mini-NFR for our grassroot competitors that have different jobs during the week and find the time to give it their all in rodeo and make their dreams come true. The Ram National Finals Rodeo will be held this year in conjunction with a Country Music Festival having the biggest and the best country singers we all love so dearly. Go to the RNCFR website for more information.
With lots of positive and proactive thinking, LETS ALL BRING IN A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!