PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, November 22, 2010
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo time is here again. Congratulations to all of the top 15 qualifiers for 2010. I am sure that each of them could write an interesting book about all of the trials and tribulations they have dealt with en route to this most prestigious event. Although most have traveled the same interstates and highways this season, there are 15 individual journeys and 15 different stories behind every contestant entered in this one of a kind rodeo known as the Wrangler NFR. If their horses could talk, I believe you would find another set of stories just as interesting. All of us involved in the rodeo industry certainly know that the equine partners are the real heroes to all of the ladies that will be competing at the Thomas & Mack this year. It is the horses that make it all possible. Any year and every year the NFR makes history. If you have worked or competed in the rodeo industry for one year or many, it is the epitome for which all strive. I wish the best of luck to each and every one of them.
You will also be able to read nightly recaps and other WPRA news from Las Vegas daily on the WPRA website at www.wpra.com.
While the WPRA elite Top 15 are preparing for the NFR, other top barrel racers from all parts of the country have been busy during these fall months competing at many circuit finals rodeos. Last month, stories recapping the Turquoise and Badlands circuits appeared. In this issue you can read about the winners from the Wilderness, Prairie, Southeastern, Mountain States, Great Lakes and Columbia River circuits. The final four circuits will hold their year end events at the start of 2011 so by the end of January all 12 ProRodeo circuits will have crowned both a circuit champion and an average champion. These contestants will move on to compete at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo which will be held in Oklahoma City in April. A new venue for this national event, the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City will provide a more centralized location for the DNCFR this season.
Last month's column related the success of the WPRA World Finals and mentioned all of newly crowned world champions in the Roping, Futurity/Derby, and Junior divisions. Those champions are featured in this issue. Read all about the exciting roads they traveled en route to earning their world titles this year. Although 2010 may have been Callie DuPerier's first world title in the WPRA Junior Division, and Jackie Hobbs' sixth world championship title, I am certain that for either of these ladies, it will not be their last. The achievement of winning any world title is not to be taken lightly. This was quite an accomplishment for all of these World Champions as well.
I need to brag once again about the great hospitality shown to us by the Lincoln Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the great facility and staff of the Lancaster Event Center during the World Finals. It was great to see a lot of new competitors at the Finals and I know that they will be happy to learn that plans for next year in Lincoln have already been discussed. This event will only grow!
As 2010 draws to a close I must take this opportunity to thank the WPRA office staff, with Janet Cropper, COO, at the helm, for the outstanding job they have done throughout this long, difficult season. Janet's management skills and organizational abilities have seen an on-going improvement in the structure and execution of WPRA policies. She has also led a great team to increase efficiency at the WPRA headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Kelsey Larsen, head of Member Relations and the main "go to girl" and Mindy Anderson, our staff accountant, have been dedicated to implementing the new policies and procedures. Support from staff members Jessica Hazel and Gailene Hamilton have united the commitment to allow 2010 to be a year that they should all be proud to have been a part of.
January will begin the 2011 WPRA Election process. On January 3rd, all current members will be mailed a nomination form. This form will contain the names of the members who consented to run for either circuit director and/or officer in the upcoming February election. There will also be a line on the ballot for members to write in the name of your choice to fill those positions. Persons eligible to run for President of the association must have served a minimum of two elected terms as a circuit director. One term as an elected circuit director is the eligibility necessary to run for Vice President. These nomination ballots must be mailed to the independent accounting firm so the two names receiving the most nomination votes can be placed on the election ballot that will in turn be mailed to you the first week of February. Serving on this Board of Directors is a big job and carries much more responsibility and liability than most members realize. Please take this opportunity to exercise your voice for the leadership of this association.
The 2011 rodeo year is already in full swing. The rodeo season really doesn't end anymore. Literally half of December is dedicated to the National Finals Rodeo. As you find yourself looking to the last half of the month please take time to remember what the Holiday Season is really about. Be grateful for all that you have been blessed to have in this world and be thankful that you have family and friends with which to share the experience. Life is precious. Don't lose sight of what is most important.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas holiday and a most healthy of New Year's.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, October 4, 2010
WPRN deadlines seem to come more quickly every month. This one hits smack in between the Justin ProTour Playoffs and Championships. Congratulations to Brenda Mays and her great mount, "Jethro" on their win in Puyallup. They make a fantastic team and are running strong right to the finish of the season.
It was a challenging weekend in Puyallup for the barrel racers, judges and grounds staff. Heavy rains just prior to opening day left standing water in the arena. Grounds superintendent, Ted Groene, spent hours and hours moving and removing dirt within the arena in an effort to get it suitable for the opening performance on Friday. By appearance it seemed ready for competition but barrel horses during the first perf scrambled. Rework of the ground made a great improvement for Friday night's perf, but the back to back format left little hope for contestants in that section to make it back to Sunday's Final. Ted's work on the ground provided Saturday's performances the best ground conditions. Saturday nights' runs were awesome and the spectators definitely appreciated the exciting barrel racing competition. We left the rodeo feeling that the adjustments to the ground conditions were handled. But, what a shocker Sunday's Final round turned out to be when 2 horses broadsided causing their jockeys to meet the dirt. The barrel race was stopped for another hour of rework before the Final round could be run.
When these situations arise it's natural to immediately search for the cause so there is a place to put blame, but this is what makes the Puyallup situation perplexing. In Puyallup everyone with authority to correct it did so. The Puyallup committee is top notch, the judges took immediate action and the groundskeeper was super. The only culprit seems to be the dirt. It also brings to light that specific formats for barrel racing need to be considered per individual events. What works at a Texas rodeo might not work in Montana. Working with the committees through dialogue and flexibility will provide us all (the committees and contestants) an opportunity to provide the best competition possible for the paying spectator.
The ticket buyers at the Puyallup Playoffs proved that they were more than spectators. The majority of them waited over an hour watching the tractor go round and round working the ground so they would be present to watch the barrel racing Final. Only true barrel racing fans would do that. The WPRA elite didn't disappoint!
Next week we travel to Omaha, Nebraska for the ProTour Championships. There are many facets to the Ak-Sar-Ben event: the rodeo, stock show, trade show, carnival, school educational tours, and Association of Rodeo Committees conference, just to name a few. Obviously, it's more than just a prestigious rodeo. As most of you members know, at last year's event there were problems with shifty ground during the final round that caused horses to fall. The Ak-Sar-Ben committee is highly sensitive to the problem. They have taken major steps to correct the situation and will be working closely with their ground superintendent to monitor moisture content in an effort to keep the barrel racers and their equine partners safe.
Ground conditions can make or break a professional barrel race. The WPRA is fortunate that the rodeo committees are willing to work with us to find solutions to the issue.
As I mentioned last month, the WPRA will be making a presentation to the committees in attendance at the ARC Global Conference at Omaha. I sincerely feel that rodeo committees are the force that holds the rodeo industry together. Their main goal is to produce an event which entertains their ticket buyers to the point that they become return customers. It is the WPRA's responsibility to provide the committee with the athletes capable of performing with high level of skill. Neither of us can accomplish this without a base, or proper arena conditions, that enable that level of competition. We will continue to work hard to move in this direction with all committees because their success is vital to us, our horses and our future.
Waco's All American Finals is this month. This is the first year that barrel racing has been a part of this production. Sponsorship benefit of Mary and Troy Gibbs from Haynesville Play, LLC has made it all possible. We appreciate their support of the WPRA. Best of Luck all who qualified. Check next month's issue for the recap story. The November issue of the Women's Pro Rodeo News will feature a preview of those who qualified for the Wrangler NFR. The December issue will recap the WPRA World Finals with features of the newly crowned world champions.
The WPRA staff is working very, very hard these days winding down the 2010 season and processing memberships for 2011. WPRA COO, Janet Cropper, is the engine that drives our administration and business processes. I can't thank her enough for her hard work and dedication to her position. Janet is bolstered by a small but committed staff. Kelsey, Mindy, Jessica and Gaylene carry quite a load but always seem to get it done. I appreciate them all.
Here's hoping your "Finals" events, which ever you may be entering this fall, will bring you pride and riches. Until next month,
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, September 1, 2010
The 2010 regular season of professional rodeo is coming to a close. For those of you who are "on the qualification bubble" for one of the many Championship events that you staked as a goal for 2010, best of luck in making it a reality. September 30th is your D-Day and the pressure is on. The summer heat and rain, the high travel expenses and the ever growing number of elite barrel horses makes staying on top and competitive an always challenging experience. I commend all of you that have had a successful year and wish you the best of luck through the Finals' season.
As reported earlier in the year, the lack of sponsorship funds to support the supplemental purse money for the ProRodeo Tour Playoff and Championships resulted in the WPRA Board vote to have the barrel racers compete for the purse money provided by each of those rodeo committees. Recently we asked these committees to consider a different format, which would eliminate one competitive run, thus making the payoff per run more equitable for the contestants. Both the Puyallup committee, which hosts the ProRodeo Tour Playoff and the Omaha committee, host for the ProRodeo Tour Championships, agreed. Both committees realized the dilemma created by the lack of funding and the concern the WPRA had for its members and their horses. I cannot thank each of these committees enough for working with us in creating a competitive format that was workable for all. I am fully aware of the committees' concerns and issues for the performance production, as that is what they sell/advertise to their ticket buyers. However, giving the barrel racers the best opportunity to compete in a format that is equitable and best for their horses is equally as important. We are fortunate to have committees that also realize the benefit of supporting the competitors. They are much appreciated. I am confident that rodeo announcers Randy Corley and Hadley Barrett in Puyallup and Roger Mooney and Bob Tallman in Omaha will educate the spectators concerning the barrel racing format changes. They are, after all, the consummate professionals!
This Board of Directors has faced many hurdles during the past two years. Newly elected directors come to the boardroom looking to make the changes that their membership has asked to see. Last year there were issues about the standings used for limited entry qualifications, the expense of the World Finals, questions regarding the focus put towards programs that are not yet supported by strong membership numbers, administrative processes that impact an efficiently run office, issues about rodeo approval processes, working agreements and dialogue with PRCA administration and ProCom, etc.
We began tackling them one at a time. I am very pleased to report that we created a budget and have stuck to it. Our financial picture is clear and we are managing it solidly. While all event productions involve financial risk, we have created a production format for the 2010 WPRA World Finals that is inclusive for the total membership and structured so contestants have many entry opportunities. Only winnings earned at ProRodeos will be used to determine limited entry qualifications. Newly developed procedures for auditing event results have proven effective and our accounting firm gave us an excellent report following the mid-year audits. Our effort to partner with the PRCA in promoting professional rodeo and jointly garnering sponsorship opportunities continues. Our dialogue with both ProCom and the judging department has been beneficial and productive.
It is all a work in progress. We need to create processes and procedures for the approval side of the business to eliminate errors that have happened this year. We need to spend more time working with ProCom and PRCA administration to better align some of our business processes. We need for the membership to support the World Finals by coming to Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 13-17 to compete and be part of making it a success. We cannot do it alone but together we can move forward.
We still have many issues to address and the tough economic environment does not make it easy for any business including professional rodeo. The Board of Directors must always look at the big picture for the Association while dealing with the day to day issues that develop. The role of a director (and believe me the word role only infers to the true responsibility of the position) are enriched through experience. The Association's stability will rely on its decision makers keeping a consistent perspective year after year. Please note that this fall there will be a nomination process for officers (President and Vice-President) and 7 director positions. If you are not willing to support the officers or the director within your circuit then please think of stepping up to work in the position yourself.
Again, I want to invite and encourage you to come to Lincoln, Neb., next month for the WPRA World Finals. It is not often that the majority of WPRA barrel racers have an opportunity to run at a $20,000 added purse. And there has never been an opportunity for WPRA Permit holders to compete with only other permit holders for a $10,000 added purse. This is the greatest opportunity ever given to permit girls to fill their permits and get their WPRA cards. It should be exciting to watch. Juniors, Ropers and Gold Card members under the same roof - there is something for everyone. Be sure to check out the information in this issue and then visit the WPRA website for entry forms and other pertinent information.
If you are looking for a barrel or rope horse prospect then the WPRA ProElite Horse Sale will be the place to do it. Log on to www.wpra.com for all information about the sale and/or consigning horses to it.
The WPRA will have an opportunity to make a presentation to the rodeo committees in attendance at the Association of Rodeo Committee's Global Rodeo Conference that will be held in Omaha, Neb., on October 23-24. The WPRA is very pleased to be a member of ARC and are also very pleased to be in the company of the rodeo committees that are the spoke of the wheel that keeps the rodeo industry turning.
Until next month, make those plans for the WPRA World Finals. Be safe in all your travels. Never take for granted the life you enjoy with your horse in tow.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, July 1, 2010
July really sets the stage for the "hot" rodeo months and begins the final stretch in the race for qualifying spots for the year-end Finals events, i.e. ProRodeo Circuit Finals, Justin Boots Playoffs and Championships, the All American Series Finals and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Here's hoping that the over-abundance of rain will not linger too much through the summer run and that the long miles do not cause our members hardship in their journeys. Be safe and place often.
As the number of rodeos becomes greater there is also more chance that those of you who qualify for short gos/finals will find it creates a conflict with another rodeo in which you are entered. When this situation occurs please make the effort to notify the conflicted rodeo that you will have to be moved to the next available performance following the Finals where the conflict was created. You should do this by calling the rodeo secretary at the rodeo where the conflict is created and/or notifying ProCom of the conflict, so they can inform the secretary when she calls for the turnouts. This will alleviate issues for the committee during the performance you will be missing.
The WPRA World Finals details are nearing the final stages and this year's event will be inclusive to ALL WPRA members. There will be no qualifications. All that is needed for entry is either a WPRA 2010 or 2011 membership (remember that the 2011 season begins October 1st). In the barrel racing event, points will count for the 2011 season but will not count for ProRodeo qualifications for the 2011 season. In the Roping, Junior and Futurity/Derby events the World Finals is a year-end event and world champions will be crowned at the conclusion of this year's Finals. Money won in ALL jackpot competition, which will carry a WPRA co-approval, will count for the 2011 standings. The WPRA World Finals will offer $80,000 in total prize money and, a first time ever, Permit Only race with $10,000 added. There will be lots of opportunities for winning. Be sure to save the date - October 12-17, Lancaster Events Center, Lincoln, Nebraska!!
WPRA members need to be looking for co-approved events that will be offering additional WPRA Sidepot payoffs. Thanks go out to our corporate partners, Dodge Rodeo and Wrangler for providing, through sponsorship agreements, the funding for these extra payoff opportunities for our members while they are at co-approved divisional events. There are two chances to win with each entry and you can't beat that!
Congratulations to Barrie Smith and Jackie Hobbs on winning the Windy Ryon Women's Team Roping event this year. These great ropers won over $8,500 en route to the title. Barrie also roped with her daughter-in-law Tibba Smith and Lari Dee Guy to ride out of Fort Worth with over $15,500 in team roping winnings. I sure hope they have just as much success in Reno as well. By the time this issue hits your door the results from the Reno Ladies Only roping will have been posted.
Molly Powell was a great cover girl on the June issue of WPRN. I'm glad to see that she is returning to ProRodeo competition with such a strong team of horses and having such a successful start to the year. Beginning in September, the Women's Pro Rodeo News is moving to a digital format so soon you will be viewing our magazine through your computer. Receiving the magazine in a digital format will provide Association information on a more timely and accessible basis. More information about how this transition will work will be coming very soon.
As I mentioned in last month's column, the Board of Directors have been diligent in looking at the Association's business value and have explored avenues for creating more opportunities and formats that will be suitable for all segments of our membership. New rule proposals have been submitted to keep earnings from ProRodeo separate from those won at other WPRA approved and/or co-approved events. We want all females who wish to run barrels and to rope to find benefit in joining the WPRA no matter if your desire is to do it in the rodeo arena or through the divisional format and jackpots. We are leading the Association in a direction that will be more inclusive and viable for all.
Due to the resignation of Kim Thomas, the WPRA Board has appointed Susie McConaghie of Collinsville, Okla., to fill the position of Futurity Director until the next election in January of 2011. Susie was the 2007 Derby Champion and has been involved with the Futurity program since its inception. In 2008, Susie was awarded the WPRA Outstanding Individual Award for her support of the WPRA World Finals and its awards program. Susie is a prominent land developer in the metro Tulsa area and her background in business will be valuable while serving on the WPRA Board. We are very pleased to have her join us.
Good Luck to everyone competing in the WPRA ranks this month. I'm looking forward to seeing you somewhere on the rodeo trail this summer.
Until next month, Happy Trails!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, June 3, 2010
We are three-fourths of the way through the regular 2010 season. It seems impossible but it's true. The next four months will be the real test for everyone competing at the ProRodeo level. This is where you really see the cream rise to the top. The miles are long and the rodeos are many. I wish all of you great success and even safer travels.
Congratulations to WPRA Junior member, Madison Montchal of Atalissa, Iowa for her victory at the Josey Junior World Championships in May. Madison has been a WPRA Junior member since the inception of the program and was the 2007 WPRA Junior World Champion. Winnings from the Josey Junior World title has catapulted her to second place in the 2010 standings and it will be great to see her compete in Lincoln this fall at the WPRA World Finals. An article on her victory can be found in this issue. These Junior contestants will be our future NFR stars!
The June 12-13 weekend will be a busy one for all WPRA members. Sycamore Springs Ranch in Locust Grove, Okla. will host a WPRA lead sanctioned Futurity/ Derby and 4-D barrel race along with their 4-D co-approved event. There is also a separate junior approved race. We appreciate the support Jerry Rush gives to the WPRA each year. With Susie McConaghie holding the reins for the Sycamore Springs event we know it will be a first class weekend.
Lana and June Tibbetts are producing the NutraLix Daze in Miles City, Mont., June 12-13 as well. This event has something for every WPRA member. Permit holders have a great opportunity to run at a race just for them and juniors and ropers alike will be able to rack up some WPRA points. There are extra incentives for horses enrolled in the WPRA Pro Elite Sire Incentive (PESI) program and Futurity/Derby sidepots also. I can't wait to see the results for both of these great events.
The ropers of the WPRA will also have a chance to compete at the Ladies Only Team Roping in Reno, Nev., this month. We'd like to send a big thank you to Teresa DiLoreto for adding a WPRA approval to this prestigious roping. I know the ladies of the WPRA will shine during this event. Good luck to all that travel to Reno to compete there.
Plans for the WPRA World Finals are nearly ready for release. This year's event will be formatted quite differently than prior years with schedule changes and less restrictive opportunities for more entries than ever before. There will also be some new features that we think will create interest and a reason to attend for all the competitors and attendees. We are extremely thrilled that the Lincoln (Neb.) Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Lancaster Event's Center have teamed up to make your trip to their city a great experience. They are as happy that the best of the WPRA will be in Lincoln as we are to have been offered this great welcome. So be sure to save the date -- WPRA World Finals -- October 11-17, at the Lancaster Events Center, in Lincoln, Neb.
The WPRA Board and Business Committee continue to investigate and define our business value for all levels of membership and the committees that approve with us. We are working hard for ways to create and/or realign our event approvals and membership structure so it will better define and fit our members' needs. While rodeo is still at the top of the pyramid as far as the elite competitor and avid rodeo fans are concerned, barrel racing is not all about rodeo anymore. Divisional barrel racing provides many, many competitive opportunities and a large segment of WPRA membership competes at that level. We realize that and want to be part of that game. We see the need for the Association to be all inclusive for barrel racing but understand the need to segregate the two types of barrel racing competitors that comprise our membership rolls. The understanding is becoming clearer and I feel we will soon have a better handle on how to administrate and legislate towards that goal.
The women's roping events are yet another topic that I feel is important. Although this segment of the WPRA membership is small in number I feel it is the responsibility of the Association to acknowledge that the talents that these female ropers bring to the competitive arena typify the heritage of women in rodeo. The WPRA is the only Association that offers world championship titles for women who compete exclusively with women. No matter how prestigious an all-women's event win is it does not carry the same weight as being declared a world champion. The WPRA's 60-plus year history offers that.
I am happy to report that we are getting "caught up" in regard to the financial audits and reporting that needed to be addressed since the re-opening of the offices during the first quarter of 2008. While it took us until fall of 2009 to complete the 2008 audit, I am happy to say that the 2009 one has been completed in a time frame expected. Federal regulations governing "non-profits" are quite different than during the early years of the WPRA and this has created a need to manage the association business differently as well. We have established a budget for 2010 and are living by it even though it hurts much of the time. Although tightening our belts has made us uncomfortable this season, we still need to remember the days when belts were plain leather with no rhinestones attached; translation: we have gone from the days when barrel racing was not equal money to our members being at the top of the professional rodeo money won leader board. Times are hard but we still have the opportunity to travel and compete as we choose.
Everyday I wish the hours were doubled because there is so very much for us to do. I am continually grateful for the managerial and executive expertise Janet Cropper has brought to our office and Association. The Board of Directors has individually stepped up to the plate to serve on committees. The contracted staff: Western Integrity, sponsorship; Ann Bleiker, media relations; Robin Hofmann, PESI director and World Finals Coordinator have all contributed much knowledge and effort during the last year; and the entire office staff have met all expectations that has been set for them to do. With these groups working together we are making positive steps everyday on the business success of the WPRA.
Until the Cowboy Christmas summer run, Happy Trails
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, May 6, 2010
Deadline for this issue of the WPRN comes on the heels of the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Traveling to Pocatello became nearly a nightmare for many of the qualifiers. Blizzard conditions through Wyoming, between Rawlins and Rock Springs, made traveling the 4½ hours to Pocatello impossible and the state of Wyoming even shut down Interstate 80 for two days. Contestants were unable to get on the highway when check-in time rolled around. Those scheduled to compete that evening during the first performance had to figure out how to get to Holt Arena by rodeo time.
Four cowboys hired a small plane and flew (which added another $800 of expense to the trip for each of them) but the barrel racers, needing their mounts, didn't have that option. They just had to hope for the best. It is unbelievable what conditions and expense is incurred by professional rodeo athletes in order to get their chance to compete. Luckily, after many hours of wait and stress, they were able to get back on the road. And, all in time to perform.
And perform they did. The rodeo was outstanding, but the barrel race was beyond outstanding. Sue Smith of nearby Blackfoot, Idaho, immediately set an arena record which set the tone for the rest of the weekend. The semifinal round was indescribably exciting with Smith breaking her own arena record all on a borrowed horse. The four lady Finals goes by so fast it leaves you thrilled when they finally announce the winner. Tammy Bruso from Dolthan, Ala., stayed steady and consistent all week to win the prestigious DNCFR championship and the $20,000 voucher towards a new Dodge vehicle. Congratulations Tammy for winning the title and to the Texas barrel racers, who helped your circuit bring home the team title.
The WPRA extends a great big thank you to Mike Orman's team at Dodge Rodeo for their corporate support of the DNCFR and also to the entire DNCFR committee for their production of this great event. This is one of the hardest working committees in ProRodeo. The whole city of Pocatello is to be commended on the support they provide annually to make this rodeo happen. Our contestants are welcomed and appreciated and the feeling from the WPRA is mutual. It is just a fun week!
The competitive year is heading into full steam ahead. The women who love to rope will be finding many opportunities to earn WPRA points this summer. Two big opportunities are the Windy Ryon Memorial Roping in Fort Worth on May 28 and the Ladies Roping at Reno, Nev., on June 23. Both will be great paying events. World Champion Heeler, Kasey Etbauer, got a great lead towards her 2009 title with a win at the Windy Ryon last year. I had a great time there and hope to get the opportunity to return to watch again. Also remember that all USTRC ropings and Wrangler Ropings are WPRA co-approved. So take advantage of these great opportunities and a chance to get one step closer to a world title.
A reminder to all Junior members that you can earn points at the Josey Junior World Championships May 7-9 for your WPRA standings. Also be sure to check the long list of approvals on the Junior schedule on the website as well as in this magazine. More opportunities are being added weekly.
Remember to save the date: WPRA World Finals -- October 11-17, at Lancaster Events Center, in Lincoln, Neb. -- The World Finals Committee continues to research and plan all possibilities for a newly formatted 2010 WPRA World Finals in Lincoln. Please continue to watch for a big announcement at www.wpra.com in the coming weeks regarding the expanded production format and added event features which will present more opportunities for more members than ever. The Lancaster Events Center has a reputation for great ground for barrel racing and a separate arena that is fully set to accommodate our roping events. It will be great to have a staff and community anxiously welcoming all of our competitors and truly appreciate that the World Finals will be in their community. The change in location will make travel a bit easier for many of our members from other parts of the country. We have heeded your concerns and are making every effort to make this year's event worth your time and travel.
Submissions for 2011 Rule proposals are due in the office by June 1. Please look for the Rule Proposal button on the top left side of the website homepage to submit your rule suggestions. Also note that your proposals need to be submitted in proper format for inclusion in the rulebook. Please submit the rule proposal as you would expect to read it printed in the rulebook. Last year, we had submissions that were paragraphs of explanation about a particular situation that happened that was not covered in the rules instead of a concisely stated rule to cover the situation. The rule proposals will be voted on at the August Board of Directors meeting.
We are constantly re-evaluating our financial obligations for the remainder of 2010. We are keeping a very watchful eye on the cash flow, guesstimating where shortfalls might come up and making hard decisions on what sacrifices the Association might need to consider throughout the remainder of the year. This is a difficult but necessary job and your Board of Directors are ever mindful of the responsibility it has to this Association. I know that we are not alone in making hard line decisions for the betterment of business. It seems that most all corporations are finding the same strains as the rodeo business. We do what we do so you, as competitors/performers, can do what you do . . . perform like stars and win checks!
Have safe travels this month. Happy Trails.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, March 29, 2010
Spring has finally gotten here and none too soon for the majority of us. The crazy winter weather will surely help us appreciate the summer.
The Board of Directors met in Houston for the spring meeting and we were so glad we chose that location. We saw competitors in the first bracket and what an exciting barrel race it was. Congratulations to all those that competed in Houston and to Sherry Cervi on winning the 2010 RodeoHouston title. I am sure that this big win will ease the pressure during the upcoming summer and fall Tour runs.
A very special thanks goes out to the RodeoHouston committee who cordially hosted the WPRA in one of the sky boxes. Watching the rodeo from that vantage point was a bit different for most of us. We are used to seeing the action from ground level and usually right up front through the arena fence. It made me wonder how many of our ProRodeo competitors have sat in the grandstands like other ticket buyers to watch a rodeo. It definitely makes one aware that the rodeo, for the rodeo committees and spectators, is about production, production, production. The competitors are part of "the show." Barrel racers are performers like actors on a stage and that is the value we bring to the event. How the spectators connect with those they see in the show becomes vitally important to the committee. It defines the experience their ticket buyers find value in and impacts the decision they will make to purchase a ticket the following year.
WPRA competitors have a responsibility to the committees and to their fans to make that show experience the best it can be. Autograph sessions become a rodeo fans' opportunity for a "back stage pass" so they can experience a chance to get close to you, the stars. Please make an effort to support the committees' requests for your attendance at the autograph sessions so we can cultivate and grow the rodeo fan base.
RodeoHouston's great hospitality set the stage for a very productive Board of Director's meeting. This was the first time the new members of the Board met eye to eye and it proved to be very positive. We have many different personalities amongst the group with strong principles and convictions that each is willing to stand strong on and more than willing to voice. I think this will make for some interesting sessions. Each of these directors are willing to step up and work hard for their circuits and do what is necessary to advance the business plan the Association has set before us. Be sure to utilize your connection to these directors and let them know your issues and views.
By the time you receive this April issue of the Women's Pro Rodeo News our WPRA barrel racers will be making the trek to Pocatello, Idaho for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Getting an opportunity to leave Pocatello as the DNCFR champion is a major accomplishment. Best of luck to all of those who qualified.
Dodge Rodeo continues to be a great supporter of professional rodeo. We are happy to report that Mike Orman and his team have stepped up their support of the WPRA World Finals for 2010. We greatly appreciate their continued partnership with us.
Sponsorship dollars are hard to find during these tough economic times and most corporations are reassessing where sponsorship funding is placed. In our search for support for sponsorship money the companies have all made it clear that the main objective for lending financial support to our sport is to generate product sales. It is keenly important that our members are buying, using, wearing and promoting their products. Please keep in mind that the products you purchase will ultimately reflect the prize money opportunities you compete for.
The World Finals strategic planning committee met for many hours defining the expectations for the 2010 WPRA World Finals. We are looking forward to an expanded format for the upcoming event that will premier at the Lancaster Events Center in Lincoln, Neb., October 11-17. This event will offer many more opportunities to participate for both members and non-members. Mark the date on your calendar and keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available in future issues of the WPRN and at www.wpra.com.
Can you believe that April brings us halfway through the 2010 competitive season? The summer months are vital to those whose goals are set on qualifications to the many ProRodeo championship events this fall. Here's wishing you all a great summer. Remember that each and everyone of you can assist in the promotion of professional rodeo by making yourself available to the committee and the fans.
Be safe in your travels. Until next month, Happy Trails!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, March 1, 2010
February is definitely a short month and I am hoping the end of winter will come just as quickly as the deadline for this column did this month. The weather has been awful all across the country since the first of the year. I know that our contestants have been stressed by the unpredictable travel conditions it has created. I hope that most of you have had safe travels and won lots of money competing during these wintry months.
Congratulations to Great Lakes Circuit Champion, Tammy Whyte, on her victory at Rapid City, S.D., the first of the Silver Tour rodeos of the year. Tammy's winnings neared the $5,000 mark. What a great boost as the busy rodeo season kicks into gear.
As of this writing, San Antonio is in full swing. Remember that San Antonio will be the first of the In Country telecasts for the 2010 year. Watch for future scheduling of these broadcasts.
The historic Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has ended. Tana Poppino bested over 230 other contestants and cashed in for over $14,000. What a feat! You can read all about it in this issue. We are so grateful to the Fort Worth Committee for their courage to lift the limits for entries this year. The WPRA is proud of the great entry turnout and the grand boost it made to the final payoff. The contestants really appreciated the new contestant hospitality area that was added this year. Since the weather proved unseasonably raining and chilly, the hospitality room provided a great area for them to relax, let the kids play, watch the rodeo on closed circuit TV, have access to WiFi connection, and indulge in the food and beverages provided. The Fort Worth committee was a great host and we can't thank them enough.
The WPRA Board of Directors will meet in Houston this month. We are thrilled that the whole Board will get a break from the Board room long enough to attend the great RodeoHouston. Although this will be our first face to face meeting with the new directors they have already been working for their members. Several have been assigned to committees and have already made contact with committees on the rodeo approvals. There is so very much more to this job than most would imagine. We are facing many challenges for 2010. We are extremely cognizant of the need for sponsorship funding and also realize that the economic downturn makes securing that type of support difficult.
Professional rodeo still remains an affordable ticket buy for our fans so I hope 2010 finds rodeo attendance as strong as last year. We have great committees committed to providing the best event they can produce for the spectators and a strong competitive contestant base to draw from, so if we hold tight to the budgeting constraints for another year I feel confident that 2011 will hold some brighter opportunities for the association.
With format changes that allow all rodeos with a total purse of $30,000 or less to participate, you will want to keep the All American Series Finals in your sights this year. Over $65,000 in prize money will be offered up to 30 barrel racers who qualify for the October Finals in Waco, Texas. You must compete at a minimum of 30 rodeos that meet the All American criteria. Keep that rodeo count in mind as you are racking up points this season.
Before I close I would like to thank 2008 WPRA World Champion Lindsay Sears for going above and beyond in January when she traveled to Kansas City to assist the Western Wishes group in granting Cody Stephens, a PRCA bull rider from Pierce City, Mo., his wish to meet Lindsay before he lost his battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on Jan. 16 at the age of 23. The story was touching and made all of us within the sport of rodeo realize how our accomplishments in the arena act as inspiration for others and in turn how they can be an inspiration to our athletes. We are proud to call Lindsay one of our own and applaud her for her generosity.
Until next month, keep it within the pattern! Happy Trails!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, February 2, 2010
The annual stock show rodeo season is upon us. There will be many great paydays for our barrel racers in the next couple of months. Here's wishing the best of luck to all those competing during this winter run. This is where the pace for the Wrangler NFR begins.
This issue of the WPRN features the stallions enrolled in the WPRA's Pro Elite Sire Incentive program. We are very excited at the growth and support of the PESI and are pleased that the bonuses awarded through the program can benefit so many of our members and the stallion owners. Robin Hofmann has done a fantastic job as the coordinator of this program. We are lucky to have her on board. Under her direction the PESI program is ahead of program projections and we feel the growth pattern will continue to climb well into 2011. Be sure to get your progeny enrolled so you can benefit from the bonuses Robin has set for many WPRA approved events this year.
News for this month deals with the funding of the supplemental purse money at the Justin Boots Playoff in Puyallup, Wash., and the Justin Boots Championship in Omaha, Neb. At this time, there is no contracted sponsorship support to fund the expenditure necessary for the barrel racing purse to equal that of the PRCA events. As such, the WPRA Board of Directors determined that for 2010 the total added money for the barrel racing event at each of these rodeos must be the amount provided in the WPRA approval by each of the rodeo committees. The total purse for Puyallup will be $20,000 and $18,000 for Omaha.
The WPRA has contracted with the Heart O' Texas Fair and Rodeo committee in Waco for participation in the All American Championship Rodeo for 2010. We sincerely thank Haynesville Play, LLC owners, Mary and Troy Gibbs, for their generous sponsorship support of the barrel racing event for the All American series. Winnings from all rodeos with a total added purse of $30,000 or less will comprise the All American ProRodeo Series. Contestants will earn a point for every dollar won and 50 bonus points will be awarded to all entrants that compete in a minimum of one go round at all qualified events. Contestants must attend a minimum of 30 All American ProRodeo Series events to qualify for the championship event which will be held in Waco October 7-16. Money won at the All American ProRodeo series championship will count towards rodeo qualifications for 2011 but will not count towards qualification for the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
During the month of January, the last 3 circuit finals' rodeos were held and the final roster of DNCFR qualifiers was determined. The Pocatello committee continues to work arduously to produce a great event for our circuit contestants and we especially appreciate their dedication to this event. I also want to acknowledge the continued support from our great sponsor Dodge Rodeo. Mike Orman and staff always go above and beyond for professional rodeo. We appreciate both Dodge Rodeo and the Pocatello committee for providing us this great event.
This month we welcomed four new members to the WPRA Board of Directors. Tana Poppino will represent the Prairie circuit, Amber West will serve Badlands, Donna Irvin will serve the Great Lakes Circuit and the new Roping & Rough Stock Director is Jessica Melvin. These ladies officially took office on January 15th and will be present at our next scheduled meeting the first week of March. Please check the website or the Business section of this issue to find the contact information for each of these new ladies. If you have questions please don't hesitate to contact them. We need to break them in quickly!
Since NFR week I have had several emails, phone calls or in person conversations regarding the WPRA's "dress code" rule. It seems that those who have made contact with me had all watched the television coverage of NFR and were disappointed with the appearance of many of the barrel racers. I am asked "Where is the color and class? Why the faded denim jeans? What's with the t-shirts?"
While they eagerly admit that the NFR barrel racing competition was the most compelling event to watch, they also state they missed the flash and glamour that our event has provided and they have come to expect. I think I had previously mentioned in this column that there have been a few rodeo committees that have also expressed that they feel the dress of our competitors has lacked the luster they have promoted to their ticket buyers. They have asked if there were any plans for the association to address it.
Dress code is a very difficult issue to legislate with a written rule. After we state, long sleeved shirts, pants and boots there is not an easy way to define it more explicitly. I hope that when you are preparing for your next competition you remember what image our event represents to all of the fans and spectators and make an extra effort to dress accordingly to meet those expectations.
The 2010 season is well on its way but the competition is just beginning to heat up. Ride hard and travel safely. Until next month,
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, January 4, 2010
Deadline for last month's issue fell on the final performance of the WPRA World Finals and this month you will be able to read about all of the newly crowned 2009 WPRA world champions. You will no doubt be reading more about them all more in 2010. Congratulations to them all on an exceptional year.
This letter is written only days following the exciting barrel racing world title race at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The barrel racing competition and the steer wrestling competition came down to the final go-round and the excitement at the Thomas & Mack was palpable. It was quite a culmination for the 25th anniversary of the NFR in Las Vegas. I hope those that were not able to attend in person caught the action on ESPN nightly.
Congratulations to Brittany Pozzi on winning her second world title. Duke ran amazingly well all week long. This year's NFR proved to be a testament to the great breeding and training of the young horses our members are hauling these days. Congratulations are also extended to Sherry Cervi on winning the aggregate title on her young mare, Stingray. For a full ten rounds this mare never failed to fire. What pride these cowgirls must hold for their great animals. I can't wait to see them continue their winning ways into 2010. Since both of these horses were enrolled in the WPRA ProElite Sire Incentive program, both Brittany, Sherry, the stallion owners and breeders will receive bonus money for their performances at the NFR. Extra cash is always a plus!
During the annual convention at the NFR the WPRA celebrated and honored the Top 15 qualifiers to the NFR, the Justin Best Footing Award winners and the special Contract Personnel and Committee winners for 2009 during our Star Gala Celebration. Joe Beaver and Alan Moorhead did outstanding jobs as the program emcees and we received many compliments from the committees and supporters in attendance. This was the premier year for combining the two awards programs and it seemed to work for those honored and attending. With a year under our belt next year's event will be even better. You can read all about the honorees elsewhere in this issue. We thank these award winners for their support of the WPRA during 2009.
The WPRA was happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the PRCA Committee Convention during NFR week this year. We felt it was most important to listen to the committees' challenges from their side of the fence so we can be more readily accessible to assisting them with their needs to produce a more successful event in 2010. We are proud to have become a member of the Association of Rodeo Committees and strongly urge committees large and small to also join this group of advocates for their business. 2010 will definitely be a year each segment of our industry will find the need to lean on each other and eliminate any fragmentation that had crept through the business in years' past.
The WPRA booth at Cowboy Christmas was visited by many members and fans during NFR week. The saddles donated to the Top 15 NFR qualifiers continues to be the biggest draw to the booth. The WPRA extends a multitude of thanks to the saddle manufacturers that donated these saddles. The public seems to want to know everything about the saddles these girls were awarded and we are pleased to tell them all about the companies that made them. Thank you again for your generous support of this program.
As announced last month, the Contestant Advisory Committee for barrel racing will begin meeting in January. I also see a need to form the same type of advisory group to look at issues and improvements needed to the roping side of our business. Please look for more information about the formation of this group within the next month.
Great news for February is that the entry limits for the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo have been lifted. We wish to thank the Fort Worth committee for their willingness to provide an opportunity for all card holders of the WPRA to enter this great rodeo. We will be looking forward to talking to several other committees about the possibility of doing the same with their rodeos by 2011 or 2012.
By the time this issue hits your door we will be welcoming several new directors to our Board of Directors. I am thankful that these members stepped up to serve this association. I am sure that most of them have not totally realized the amount of time and effort required to fulfill this position. There will be many tough issues to face during the upcoming season.
The entire country has felt restraints from the recession. The rodeo industry is no less a victim and, as hard as the 2009 year felt, I firmly believe 2010 will be even more challenging for our contestants and committees alike. The WPRA is committed to working closely with the rodeo committees, the PRCA and our corporate partners to find all ways possible to face the challenges the economy will deal us. The contestants need to do the same. As a unit we offer great value for the price of a ticket for our fans and it will take the best we all have to offer to keep the spectators coming to our events.
Happy New Year and Best Wishes for a Safe and Healthy 2010 rodeo season.