PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, October 1, 2014
October's here, and that starts FINALS RODEOS for 2014! With the year-end cut off already past, everyone who has hauled so hard all year, can take a deep breath and celebrate their year or some can wish for just a few more to go to. Congratulations to all who achieved their goal, and also to all those who tried. Whether you qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Ram Circuit Finals, or the All American, there is still another great finals you can go to. Everyone is welcomed and invited to come to the WPRA World Finals in Waco, Texas, at the Extraco Center, October 23-26. There are eight world titles on the line and a barrel race for everyone! There is over $98,000 in added money and PESI bonus money. This year we will offer:
- A WPRA Card Holder Race with $15,000 in added money, which will count for qualifications into the 2015 limited entry rodeos, the Texas circuit standings and the 2015 WPRA ProRodeo standings.
- A Permit Race with $7,500 added and a chance to fill your Permit.
-A WPRA Member Only Slot Race.
- A $5,000 added Junior race.
- A $13,500 added Futurity
- A $5,000 added Derby
- A newly added Gold Card and Divisional Circuit side pot with $1,500 added in each.
- The roping events have $5,000 added in the Tie Down, Breakaway and Team Roping Heading and Heeling.
- All Girl Kickoff Rodeo on Thursday night with $500 in all events.
- The WPRA All Girl 5D jackpots will have $3,000 added Friday, $5,000 Saturday, and $3,500 on Sunday.
As you can see there is something for everyone. Plus, you are all invited to our kickoff reception hosted by Dr. Arlis and Lea Baze of Baze Animal Clinic, Midland, Texas on Thursday evening, October 23. Please come join us and meet our sponsors, friends, and enjoy some great food. For those of you watching from home, we will be webcast through The Horse Sports Network for the whole event, and webcast live the Saturday night performance on the Wrangler Network.
October is definitely the month for Ram Circuit Finals with six scheduled in this month. Congratulations to all Circuit Finals qualifiers. The winners will have a very exciting Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2015 in Florida. Good luck to all! The October Circuit Finals are:
- Turquoise, Las Cruses, NM, Oct 2-4
- Badlands, Minot, ND, Oct 9-12
- Prairie, Duncan, OK, Oct 16-18
- California , Lancaster, CA Oct 17-18
- Wilderness, Heber City. UT Oct 23-25
- Mountain States, Rock Springs, WY, Oct 23-25
Also, congratulations to the 30 contestants who qualified for the All American Pro Rodeo Finals in Waco, Texas, October 4-5 and 7-11. With over $60,000 added, this is a very lucrative end to a great season of rodeos on the All American Tour.
With all the other things a competitor has to think about while on the road to the Wrangler NFR, or starting out the 2015 year at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, have you thought about the $5,000 award for the Best Dressed at the Wrangler NFR and the finals at Fort Worth? That's a lot of money that is awarded by the Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Everyone has a chance to win this coveted award, as it's not just for the most intricate outfit, but for the clothes that get the audiences attention! When you run down that alleyway, be wearing something that the fans go, "Wow! Look at her!" It's not that hard to do with a flashy shirt, and wraps that match, everyone can be in the running for this award! I am working on expanding this award to more than one place, so more contestants have a chance to profit from looking nice. More on that next month! Meanwhile, as you plan for these events give some thought to what you are wearing, as you just might take home the $5,000 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award!
As you read this letter, I will have just returned from the Judges seminar in Colorado Springs on September 26. I have asked Clint Corey, Supervisor of Pro Officials, if I could attend these seminars, along with the Circuit Director from the Circuit where the meeting is held, to try to answer any questions or issues the judges may have. I also want to explain any rule changes that our Board has passed for 2015.
The WPRA Board of Directors has met on two conference calls in September. Along with other business, we have been discussing rule changes for 2015, which will be published in the November issue of our magazine and on WPRA.com. These rule changes are always very challenging, as we thoroughly discuss every one to be sure all sides are represented. Please watch for the rules changes as they will be printed soon.
See you all in Waco, Texas at the WPRA World Finals!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, September 2, 2014
Can you believe fall is right around the corner? September is here and there are so many great rodeos left to go to before the Sept. 30 cut off. We will all be watching the results closely as in the next month we could see some changes in the Wrangler NFR Top 15. There is still a lot of money to be won, and positions could change. One of the game changers could be Pendleton, as this rodeo has played an important role in Wrangler NFR qualifiers the past few years. The WPRA will have a General Membership Meeting after slack in Pendleton on September 8, and there is a National Finals Rodeo Committee meeting there as well. Lots of meetings scheduled at possibly the most exciting barrel race and rodeo we have all year. At the end of the month there is the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, which could also be a game changer. This year the top 24 in the World Standings qualify for this two day, one go round rodeo with $26,214 added in each event. This one run rodeo will pay according to our rulebook for a fifteen place payoff. The winner of each performance gets to compete in the Champions Challenge against the top contestants who have been competing in the Champions Challenge events all year. This rodeo will be the Finale for the Challenge and will be held the day following the Justin Boots Championships.
The "Daddy of 'em all", Cheyenne, WY, July 19 - 29, proved to be a very memorable and profitable rodeo for Brenda Mays. After the loss of her great horse, Jethro, in May, Brenda was riding her mare, "Dora," that she had been seasoning since the loss of her six time Wrangler NFR qualifier and Wrangler NFR average winner. Brenda and Dora stepped up to the huge arena and unfamiliar conditions to run the fastest time of the rodeo, win the average, and the coveted Cheyenne buckle. Congratulations to Brenda on your amazing win. We are all so happy for her to have made such a comeback after the loss of Jethro.
Speaking of Cheyenne, the WPRA appreciates the committee allowing all WPRA members to enter this great rodeo. Every member who wanted to enter got to run in the first round, with the top 96 coming back for the second run. The Cheyenne committee also supported the safety of our horses and contestants by allowing the pattern to be moved out of the mud for the first round. This committee did an outstanding job in running the barrel race in the best and safest way for the contestants. Thank you!
It was an honor to represent the WPRA at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Induction's where our very own Mary Walker's husband, Byron, was inducted this year. The WPRA, along with Miss Rodeo America, hosted the breakfast for all the Inductees, and I was honored to be there. I was so happy to attend and be with Byron and Mary, as I am so proud of both of them who have been honored with the highest recognition given to anyone in our world of rodeo and the western lifestyle. Last year, Mary was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and now Byron's Induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. They join a select group of couples to have achieved this honor. The WPRA is so proud of them for all they have done to achieve these honors, and that they have been such wonderful representatives of our association! Congratulations, Byron, so happy for you!
While I was in the Springs, I also met with Clint Corey, Supervisor of Pro Officials. This was a long overdue meeting, and I believe we accomplished a lot. I agreed to try to attend the Judging Seminars, to try to better our relationship with the judges, and let them know how crucial they are to our event. Clint welcomed my request to attend the meetings, and is very willing to work with us to make things better.
Another General Membership meeting was held at Caldwell, Idaho on August 12. We did not have as many in attendance, as we did at Salinas, but those that came were given the opportunity to express their opinions and ask questions. We covered all the same topics that I discussed at the Salinas meeting, and reported on last month. In Salinas the topic that brought about the most discussion was the limited entry rodeos, and at Caldwell, it was the Equine Medications and Prohibitive Substances policy. Hopefully, everyone got to express their opinions, and I was able to explain all sides to the issues. If you have missed these meetings, please come join us at Pendleton on September 8, and/or the meeting during the World Finals in Waco. There is also a General Membership meeting in Rapid City on August 22, but it will be over by the time you receive this issue. We welcome everyone to attend these meetings, and let your voice be heard!
The WPRA World Finals is next month and we hope you have made plans to attend October 23-26 in Waco, Texas. There will be something for everyone, so put it on your schedule now! To kick off the celebration we will have a welcome reception presented by Dr. Arlis and Lea Baze of Baze Animal Clinic, Midland, Texas. We have over $98,000 in added and bonus money, so enter and try to win your share of it. The Cardholder Race will be counted as a rodeo, since it is during the Saturday night rodeo performance, and will count for qualifications into the 2015 winter rodeos and for the 2015 Wrangler NFR standings. For our ropers this is the World Finals to determine their World Champions. Beautiful Montana Silversmiths Buckles and Cactus Saddles are being awarded to the champions in many events along with many other awards. As I mentioned previously, we will have a General Membership Meeting for all members to attend.
Hope to see you soon, or call me anytime with questions you may have.
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, August 1, 2014
The 2014 " Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," the Calgary Stampede is in the books and what a barrel race it was! The final four was as exciting a barrel race as there ever was. With a tie for first between Jean Winters and Fallon Taylor with 17.62 and one contestant left that could out run them. It was up to Kaley Bass to break the tie and win the Calgary Stampede title and $100,000. Coming off her successful Fourth of July run with close to $29,000, making her the highest money WPRA barrel racer over Cowboy Christmas, Kaley continued her winning streak and broke the tie by .01 with a 17.61 for the title and the huge paycheck! Congratulations to Kaley and Cowboy, who just took over the lead in the WPRA World Standings with over $107,000. .
The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, in Colorado Springs, was attended by the largest crowds they have ever had, even though it rained most of the entire performance on the final night. Their new format worked well for them, and our sincere thanks to this great committee for having the WPRA Barrel Race. Our hats off are to this committee for allowing the WPRA to have a qualifying round for their limited entry rodeo. This round allowed all WPRA members to have a chance to run in the rodeo, which was limited to 40 contestants. The Qualifying Round proved very successful for the contestants and the committee. We are hopeful that more limited entry rodeos will consider having a Qualifier for their rodeo in order to give all members a chance to compete. This rodeo was a huge win for Ann Scott, stunt woman from California, who was not in the top 15 prior to this rodeo. Ann and Buzz seized the opportunity to take the win and add $16,000 to their earnings, which moved them into the top 15 of the WPRA World Standings.
Speaking of Ann Scott, she also gets my vote for the "Cowgirl Up" honor for the California Rodeo Salinas. Ann was next up for her run in the first slack, and when they called her name, Buzz rubbed his head on the track railing breaking the buckle on his headstall causing it to fall to the ground. In true cowgirl form, Ann turned to the team roper standing next to her and politely asks, "may I borrow your bridle?" They rapidly put the team roping bridle, with long reins and a team roping bit on Buzz, Ann steps on and heads up the track to make a smoking run which wins her sixth in the round! Hero's come in many forms, but I must say, Ann and Buzz just got added to my list!
While in Salinas, I had the honor of presenting long time friend and supporter of the WPRA, Tom Pettit, a token of thanks for his many years of service to the California Rodeo Salinas and support to the WPRA. The personalized and framed back number will hopefully remind him of how much he means to the WPRA for being the one who brought professional barrel racing to Salinas, for seeing that the ground was the best it could be with a tractor in the middle of the sections, and recently supporting the unlimited entries which allow all to enter. Thank you to Tom Pettit for many years of making the Salinas Rodeo the fabulous event it is today, and seeing to it that the WPRA was included.
My main reason for attending Salinas was the General Membership meeting held after the first slack. We had an excellent turnout with around 40 members attending. This was an outstanding group of women who asked many questions and freely expressed their opinions on the following topics:
- WPRA Financial update: The 2013 Audit was available for viewing which showed another positive year of growth for the association.
- Rodeo Pay: 940 members have signed up. It will cost the WPRA $16,000 for this year.
- Equine Medications and Prohibitive Substances Program: Our first year is in the record books, and a summary will be sent to the membership as soon as the last test results come back. USEF has proven to be very satisfactory and has immediately responded to any issues needing attention.
- Social media policy: We have adopted a policy for directors and employees of the WPRA
- Sponsorship: We must support our sponsors in every way possible.
- Ground conditions and Safe Arena Footing: Ground conditions must go to top priority. We must have a new plan with the directors to make improvements immediately. SAFE is here to help. Call on them!
- Limited entry rodeos: Calgary was the topic of discussion, with all wanting qualifying rounds. Attendees freely expressed their opinions on Calgary and both sides were represented very well.
- 2014 WPRA Tour: These are your qualifiers!!! They give all the opportunity to get into limited entry rodeos by going to five qualifiers, not just one.
- WPRA Divisional Circuit Program: The program was explained and promoted as a way for Permits to fill their permit. It is bringing in many new members.
We have several more General Membership Meetings planned. Please try to attend, as this is your way to express your opinion on the issues facing our association. If you are entering the following rodeos, please come and join your director, Janet Cropper, and myself. They will be in Caldwell, Idaho; Rapid City, S.D.; Pendleton, Ore.; and the World Finals in Waco. See you there!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, July 1, 2014
When you receive this letter, summer will be if full swing and the Fourth of July run will just be beginning. In the next three weeks, standings will change, as these rodeos have so much impact on who goes to the Wrangler NFR. The rodeo that will have the biggest impact on the standings is the Calgary Stampede, July 4-13. Congrats to the following qualifiers, listed in the order of how they qualified, for the Greatest Outdoor Rodeo in the World! Good luck to all!!
Last years Calgary Champion: Jean Winters
2013 WPRA Pro Rodeo World Standings: Sherry Cervi, Mary Walker, Lisa Lockhart, Taylor Jacob, Michele McLeod, Kaley Bass
2013 WPRA Qualifying Tour Standings: Brittany Pozzi, Sabrina Ketchum, Trula Churchill, Laura Kennedy
2013 CPRA World Standings: Kim Schultz, Brenda Mays, Kristy White, Britany Daiz
2014 WPRA Qualification Standings as of 4-1-14: Nancy Hunter, Shelly Anzick, Fallon Taylor, Jana Bean
2014 RNCFR Champion: Gretchen Benbenek
Let's all hope the rains will stay away for the 2014 Calgary Stampede! They deserve to have a dry run this year after the flood they experienced in 2013.
The accounting firm of Logan, Thomas, and Johnson, LLC presented the WPRA 2013 Annual Audit to the Board of Directors on May 14th. I will have a more detailed summary to the membership soon, but the 2013 audit showed another year of strong growth for our association, not only financially but in membership too. I am so proud of the growth we have shown in the past several years. Thanks to the dedication of past and present Board of Directors, and to Janet Cropper, COO, for the wisdom and strong business practices that have created this growth. Together we have brought the WPRA to new heights, and expectations for a very bright future!
The WPRA Pro Elite Sire Incentive Program, PESI, is offering stallion owners and progeny owners the deal of a lifetime! Until October 1, the progeny of any stallion that has ever been enrolled in the PESI Program can be enrolled for $150, for the lifetime of the horse! What a deal! Go to pg. 48 of the July issue of Women's Pro Rodeo News to see the list of all the stallions that have ever been in the program. Under the leadership of Vickie Adams, changes have been made to benefit our Breeders, as well as progeny owners, which in turn benefit the stallion owner. Here's a great opportunity to get on board with your awesome horse, as there is money to be won by all. Please contact Vickie Adams if you have any questions on this program.
By now I hope you have read that the WPRA has a new position open in our office. With the expansion the Association has made into the Co -Approvals and Junior programs, we are looking for an experienced marketing person to help implement these programs. The candidate must be experienced in the western lifestyle industry, and have knowledge of barrel racing and roping from a manager's standpoint. If you are interested in finding out more about this new position, please go to WPRA.com to read all the details.
The WPRA World Finals, October 23-26, in Waco, Texas, is really taking shape to be a great production for everyone. Many thanks to Dr. Arlis and Lea Baze, of Baze Animal Clinic in Midland, Texas, for being the Presenting Sponsor of the welcome reception at the World Finals. The support of the Baze family for the WPRA is extraordinary. They are always giving their support to make the association better. We appreciate their on going help and advice so very much. Their sponsorship of the welcome reception will be a great kick off to the World Finals. Please make plans to be there on the opening night and attend the welcoming celebration. Another addition for 2014 will be the "Cowgirl Chicks" at the Saturday night rodeo performance! This awesome trick riding group is being sponsored by Tarter, and promotes breast cancer awareness. We are honored to have them at our World Finals!
Rules, rules, rules, lots of proposed rule changes! The rules committee, chaired by Julie Herman, Wilderness Director, has been meeting to discuss all the rule proposals to be presented to the entire Board. It is a daunting job, and one we all take very seriously. Thank you to all who care enough to have sent your rule proposals for consideration.
Hope to see many of you at the Salinas General Membership meeting after slack on July 17. Please take the time to come discuss issues involving all contestants. This is your chance to express your opinion, and get answers to your questions.
One more item I need to remind you of, remember all WPRA rodeos are under the Equine Medication and Prohibitive Substances Program rules. Be certain that you and your vet know that you are competing under these rules, and could be tested at any WPRA approved event (rodeos, World Finals, etc.). Go to WPRA.com to read all the rules and information you need to know, as you are responsible for your horse. No one knows where the testing will be other than the Medications Board.
Best of luck in July, and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, June 2, 2014
The big news for this month is the announcement made on May 19 by the PRCA and the County Commissioners of Osceola County that the Ram National Circuit Finals will be moving to Osceola County in Florida for the next 10 years! The $11 million dollar contract will dramatically increase the payoff for the cowboys and cowgirls from the 12 circuits across the United States. Not only is there a huge increase in purse money, but each contestant will receive $1,000 stipend to help with their expenses of traveling to Florida! Osceola County is also supporting the PRCA Circuit System by awarding each circuit $10,000 in sponsorship annually! The 2015 RNCFR will be held March 25-28 in the fabulous Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla. There are many details involved that you will be reading about, but for now, I just want to thank Commissioner Karl Stressman and the PRCA for their support of the WPRA in this contract. Thank you, thank you to the PRCA and Osceola County for bringing the circuit rodeos to heights that we never dreamed of.
Your WPRA Board of Directors held their monthly conference call meeting on May 13, and made some very important decisions that will impact many aspects of our Association. The World Finals Committee meets weekly and has brought to the Board some innovative ideas for the 2014 World Finals which will be held October 23- 26 at the Extraco Center in Waco, Texas. This year the committee recommended some renovation of the Card Holder Race. The Board agreed with the Committee that since there is $15,000 added, which makes this race rank among many top rodeos, the money won will count for 2015 Pro Rodeo standings which counts for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, 2015 Texas Circuit Standings, and for qualifications into the 2015 Limited Entry Rodeos. This race could have a huge impact on the standings and who qualifies for these rodeos. It will have a straight payoff, not the 2D as we had in prior years. In addition to this major change, we will be adding a Gold Card Side Pot and adding an additional $4,500 to the open jackpot. Plans are underway to have an opening reception on Thursday night, October 23rd with door prizes, giveaways, and a great dinner. This will be our second year in Waco, and we plan to make it bigger and better than last year, so mark your calendars now to attend.
The new Wrangler Divisional Circuit Sponsor Program is being very well received. These new WPRA Sponsor events are being held at co-approved events all over the 12 circuits, and showcase our great sponsors who receive recognition at the sponsored event. Not only Wrangler, who is the title sponsor and the sponsor of all 12 Divisional Circuit Finals, but many of our other sponsors who sponsor a total of 48 WPRA side pots. Thanks to Tarter, Ram, Cactus Gear, Platinum Coach, Flair, and Absorbine (a new sponsor for this program in 2014) for their sponsorship of these specific events. These events also provide more opportunities for Permit holders to fill their permits in order to buy their WPRA Cards. Beautiful Cactus Headstalls are being given for first place at these events and also in the Roping and Futurity/Derby events. Thank you to our sponsors who make these programs possible. Be sure to always support them, as they support you and the WPRA. Also, thanks to the WPRA Directors, especially Southeastern Director, Doreen Wintermute, who chairs this committee, for the work they have put into the development of the Divisional Circuit program. Thanks also go to the people who make this program work, the producers of these events! You are the link that holds all of this together, and we appreciate all you do to support the WPRA.
As you noticed in last month's issue, the WPRA welcomed Platinum Performance as a new sponsor. We are so happy to have them on board, and I want to personally thank Mark Herthel, Co-Founder/President of Platinum Performance for his support of our Association. Also, Dr Arlis and Lea Baze were very helpful and instrumental in bringing Platinum Performance on as a sponsor. Thank you all so much! Lea sent me a sample of the Platinum Performance Bars, and now my mare thinks she has to have them. Thank you, Lea, they are the best!
Another Champions Challenge is in the books! Congratulations to Carlee Pierce and Christy Loflin on splitting first and second and $4,800 each at Redding, Calif., on the May 17. Also, congrats to Nancy Hunter who was third, Michele McLeod fourth, and Trula Churchill fifth. This made for TV Rodeo is drawing a great fan base, which is what it was designed to do. The next Challenge will be in Spanish Fork, Utah on May 31, and will air on CBS Sports Network on June 8, presented by Justin Boots.
This month my "Hat's off" to Clovis, Calif., on their 100th anniversary Rodeo! This committee, chaired by Vince Genco, made this celebration as special as they could from a spectacular parade, new seating for fans, to the dedication of the commemorative bronze of Lane Frost and Red Rock. Not only did they make the celebration the biggest in the 100 year history for the fans, but went out of their way to make it the best ever for the cowboys and cowgirls too. After a heavy rain soaked the arena, they brought a helicopter in to dry it out. As Shelton Taylor, father of Fallon Taylor, winner of the 100th Anniversary WPRA Barrel Race, stated "after 100 years it is great to see a committee still care so much about the contestants as Clovis did". Congrats to Fallon on the win, and to Clovis for a great celebration. You are greatly appreciated by all the contestants and especially by the barrel racers! Here's to the next 100 years!!
Summer is finally upon us, with more places to go than you can possibly get to. Hope you have strategically planned your schedule, got up how you wanted, and are ready! Janet Cropper and I will see you at the General Membership meetings in Salinas, Calif., and Caldwell, Idaho. We are still working on the meeting in the Columbia River Circuit which had to be moved from Sisters, due a conflict in my schedule.
Good luck to all and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, May 1, 2014
With the winter run officially over, we kicked off the spring rodeos with the Ram National Circuit Finals in Guthrie, OK. As I write this letter, I am returning from this great event held in the fabulous Lazy E Arena. This rodeo friendly facility offered a terrific venue for the RNCFR. Rodeo fans were treated to an excellent production of top circuit and Wrangler NFR contestants. The barrel race was a crowd pleaser with the crowd's favorite, June Holman, running the fastest time of the rodeo with a 16.97 in the first round. This is a huge arena with a WPRA standard pattern, making June's run thrilling to watch. The final round of four contestants was as exciting a barrel race as you will ever see! Prairie Circuit cowgirl and a Montana native, Gretchen Benbenek, set the pace with a 17.13, on the Fire Water Flit bred gelding. The other three took a run at her, with June Holman getting close with a 17.21, but Gretchen rode away with the RNCFR title, a gorgeous Cactus saddle, a beautiful Montana Silversmiths Buckle, Justin ostrich boots, and a $20,000 voucher for a new Ram truck. Congratulations to Gretchen and her great horse, Maverick, on the well deserved honor. This win also gave her a position in the 2014 Calgary Stampede! Thank you to the sponsors of this event for their continued support of the RNCFR. Hat's off the to national sponsors Ram, Wrangler, Montana Silversmiths, Justin Boots , Cactus Saddles, and the local sponsors, Express Lazy E and Lazy E Ranch and Arena! An announcement is expected within the next few weeks as to the location of the 2015 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
With RodeoHouston in the books, who would have guessed that Nancy Hunter would win Houston two years in a row? She beat the odds and took home the honors again this year. This is a phenomenal feat and we are so happy for her and Fuzz. Her 2014 win is even better than 2013 in that this year the $50,000 counts for WPRA World Standings and a probable qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, plus a position in the Calgary Stampede this coming July!
There is a big announcement for the WPRA Tour Rodeos contestants. Thanks to the help of Julie Herman, Wilderness Director, the Reno Committee has agreed to take 4% of the 96 total entries from the WPRA Tour. The entries are opening soon, so be sure to watch for the entry information for this Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Rodeo. Thanks, to the Reno Committee for accepting the WPRA Tour into your qualifications for the 2014 rodeo. Also, Calgary is coming up in July, and they are taking four WPRA Tour contestants to the Calgary Stampede. Our Tour gives more members the opportunity to qualify for these limited entry rodeos, plus we are giving a Cactus saddle this year to the Tour Champion. Since this year there are three Tour Rodeos in each circuit and Canada, you still have plenty of rodeos to go to get your five rodeos to count for the standings.
The new Wrangler Divisional Circuit Program is underway, and plans are being made to have a Wrangler Finals in each circuit. Cactus Saddlery is making some beautiful headstalls to be presented to the winner at each of the 36 sanctioned barrel racing events, plus the roping and futurity and derby. If you have won one of these events before the headstall arrives, they will be mailed to you from our office. Your Board has great plans for this program which we hope to expand in the coming years.
In the March Presidents letter I commented that all the bidding for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from several states, gave new value to the worth of the Wrangler NFR. A similar thing has happened this past month when the value of a great barrel horse reached a new level. Mary Walker's great World Champion, Latte, went on the auction block, and had active bidding, from many registered buyers, to the all time high of $850,000! When the bidding stopped and the gavel dropped, Rose Thorn, the Company that owns Justin Discount Boots, walked away with Latte and handed the halter rope back to Mary! The standard has been raised for the great ones!
When you are planning your spring run, please be aware that if you plan to enter the Canadian Rodeos, be sure to check the WPRA listing to make certain the rodeo is approved. The WPRA is requiring an approval fee for the first time, and some rodeos may choose not to approve. If it is not in our approvals, it is not a WPRA approved event.
There's a lot to go to this spring! Wherever you choose to enter, good luck and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, April 1, 2014
As I am writing this Presidents Letter, I am flying home from the WPRA Board of Directors meeting in Colorado Springs. This meeting is the Board's only "face to face" meeting of the year; therefore it is a very important and productive meeting. All of our other monthly meetings are held on conference calls, which saves the Association a lot of money. The Board welcomed three newly elected members, and welcomed back a past member. Seated at this meeting were:
Badlands Director, Heidi Schmidt
Prairie Director, Cindy Gillespie
Turquoise Director, April Denny
Texas Director, Lois Ferguson
This was an extremely productive meeting, and will give all members reason to celebrate! Perhaps the highlight of the meeting was PRCA Commissioner, Karl Stressman's visit with the Board. The Commissioner explained to the Board the negotiations he and the PRCA Board went through to make the far reaching decision to keep the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for another 10 years. Much gratitude goes out to the Commissioner, the PRCA Board, and Las Vegas Events for their tireless dedication for all involved; the contestants, the Associations, the committees, the stock contractors, the sponsors, and the FANS! Thank you so much for all your efforts! We were pleased the Commissioner spent quite a bit of time discussing the future of rodeo and how the WPRA, as partners with the PRCA, fit into that future. We discussed not only the NFR but the Champions Challenge and the Circuit System during his visit.
Before the Board meeting, the Business Committee met to discuss the long term strategy of the WPRA. After this intense two day meeting, this committee made some important recommendations to the Board that will help achieve our long term goals. These recommendations reach every contestant in our Association. They are as follows, and my listing is not meant to imply the order of importance.
1. The Board approved funding of the bonus money at the Justin Boot Championships at Omaha and Puyallup, in order to bring our payoff up to equal to that of the men's events. This has been a very complicated scenario for many years, and has created many hours of discussion involving many different WPRA Boards. All PRCA sponsor money is now being allocated toward the Champion Challenge, which is the main focus of the PRCA and their sponsors. These sponsor dollars are to provide TV coverage and broad based recognition for our sport. The WPRA is included in this new program in all aspects. However, the PRCA is funding some money toward the Justin Boot Championships this year, and the WPRA needed to do so too.
2. The Wrangler Divisional Circuit Program is receiving an infusion of sponsor money and awards that will help not only our members who compete at this level, but also our sponsors. Each of our 12 Circuits is receiving sponsor money from many of our sponsors to provide $200 at three sponsored events, plus a national award for first place. In addition Wrangler is sponsoring $1,000 for a Divisional Circuit Finals in each of the 12 Circuits, plus a Montana Silversmiths buckle for the DC leader in each Circuit. Our sponsors are very excited about this opportunity to showcase their products to our members who compete at these co approved events.
3. Another addition to the WPRA programs for 2014, was the allocation of funds for a saddle to be given to the leader of the WPRA Tour. This saddle will be given during the Star Celebration at the Wrangler NFR this year. This saddle is in addition to the qualification right to compete at several large limited entry rodeos. In 2014 Denver, San Antonio, and Calgary accepted the WPRA Tour as qualifications, and I anticipate having another large rodeo join these rodeos for 2015 qualifications. These rodeos will be decided when the 2015 approvals are being discussed.
4. The Junior Program also got a boost from the WPRA, with the addition of $500 to a Junior Finals in the Southeastern Circuit and the California Circuit. These two Circuits are breaking ground and leading the way for our Junior Program, thanks to the dedication of their directors, Doreen Wintermute, in the Southeastern Circuit, and Marguerite Happy, in the California Circuit. Doreen has taken the program to a new level in that her juniors are running at many PRCA Rodeos in her circuit. The Junior Program is just beginning to take off and has the potential to bring many new members to the WPRA.
Are you ready for RodeoPay? As of April 1st all PRCA Rodeos, other than Cowtown in the First Frontier Circuit, will be paid off through Rodeo Pay. All WPRA members should sign up ASAP! There is no cost to our members unless you want to purchase a RodeoPay debit card for $4.95, or if you choose not to participate in RodeoPay and want checks mailed to you, which will require a $10 charge per check. Please read all the details and information on how to sign up for RodeoPay at www.wpra.com.
The Ram National Circuit Finals is April 10-12 at the Lazy E in Guthrie, Okla. Congratulations to all our Circuit year-end and average champions who have qualified for this great event. This is a new venue for the RNCFR and I anticipate that it will be a huge success. There is a Calgary qualification going to the winner of the RNCFR. I will be attending and look forward to seeing all of you there!
At this writing, RodeoHouston is in full swing. Thank you again to the Houston Committee for inviting the WPRA back in 2014. From all reports it is going very well, and there is Texas hospitality in abundance!
As you can read, there are lots of new and exciting programs in the WPRA that will benefit both our members and our sponsors. We are planning for many more great years of WPRA success in the future.
Have a good spring and be safe!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, March 5, 2014
The news is out, and by the time you read this column, it will be old news. The greatly anticipated decision was announced, the Wrangler National Finals rodeo is returning to Las Vegas for another 10 years! After 29 years of calling Las Vegas home, this decision was a big relief for many rodeo fans. A thank you is in order to Dallas and Florida for their efforts in bringing the Finals to their state. Their efforts solidified the worth of the Wrangler NFR, which is much higher than many imagined. Las Vegas stepped up to the plate and kept the Wrangler NFR. Congratulations to the PRCA, Commissioner Karl Stressman, and Las Vegas Events on a job well done. Thank you to all involved in putting forth the effort and working so hard to make this decision. I know it wasn't easy!
As I write this column, I am returning from the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, where I attended the National Finals Rodeo Committee meeting.
Going back to my hometown was absolutely wonderful thanks to the Texas hospitality shown by the Rodeo Committee and Keith Martin, Executive Director and CEO! After attending a performance in the fabulous AT&T Center, it is obvious why they have won the honor of "Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year" for the past nine years!
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo crowned their 2014 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award, which was chosen from their Final Round on February 8. Congratulations to Jane Melby for winning this honor and the $5,000 check from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the family of Jerry Ann Taylor. Congratulations, Jane, you looked great! Thank you to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the Taylor Family for sponsoring this award! Also, congratulations to Montana's Shelly Anzick for her awesome runs at Fort Worth, which put a big win under her belt.
As of this writing, I am returning from a General Membership meeting in San Angelo. We tried to make it easier for all members to attend by having the meeting after the jackpots on Sunday. Since it got pretty late at night, we did not have a large turnout, but those who came, got lots of questions answered, and exchanged many ideas. It turned into a very productive meeting, with discussions on Rodeo Pay, the Medications Program, rodeo approvals, the social media policy for directors, limited entry rodeos, and the WPRA Tour. Our second general membership meeting was held on February 18 in Tucson. Be sure to check the website, www.wpra.com, for more dates and information on general membership meetings.
The PRCA notified us that as of April 1, all rodeos are required to be on Rodeo Pay. That means that the Rodeo secretary will no longer be able to cut a check for you with your winnings. With that said, all WPRA members are urged to begin signing up for the service on February 24.at www.wpra.com.
Members have asked for this system to be available to WPRA members for some time, as the PRCA has been paying off with Rodeo Pay for a couple of years. As of April 1, all members should to be signed up and ready to go. There will be no charge to WPRA members if you choose the direct deposit option. However, if you prefer to continue to get a check, which will be distributed from Rodeo Pay and not the WPRA office, one will be sent to you BUT it will take longer to obtain and there will be a $10.00 charge per check. At this time the WPRA is only using Rodeo Pay as a method of payment, nothing else. Watch the website, the WPRA News, and your email for information on how to sign up.
The annual Spring Board meeting is March 15-16 in Colorado Springs. MEMBERS, please contact your Director if you have anything that you wish to be brought up at the meeting. Your Directors are your voice, and this is the only face to face meeting we have to discuss your important concerns. As always, you are welcomed to contact me too.
When you receive this issue of the magazine, RodeoHouston will be in full swing. The WPRA is honored to return to Houston this year, and want to thank the committee for having us back! Good luck to all who are competing in this great event.
It's been a tough winter in many parts of the country, but spring is right around the corner! Hang in there, it has to get better!
PRESIDENT'S COLUMN UPDATE — WEBSITE, January 31, 2014
Ever since the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo crowned the World Champions, the dust settled in the Thomas and Mack, and the rumors started sweeping the country from coast to coast that the Wrangler NFR could be moving from Las Vegas, rodeo fans and contestants have not stopped debating all the pros and cons of this possibility. It has been a stressful month, to say the least. Finally, the much anticipated announcement was soon to be made, only to be postponed another week. Unfortunately, that date is past my deadline for the magazine to go to the printer, this story will have to be continued. We will all know soon, and we will be proud of the effort the PRCA has made to do what is best for the contestants and the sport of rodeo. Whether you celebrate the decision or disagree with it, we must get behind the PRCA and make this decision work. The WPRA is with them as partners, so show your support for the very difficult decision they have made!
The PRCA was not the only one to make an announcement in January, the
WPRA Board of Directors announced that Vickie Adams will be the new manager for the PESI Stallion Incentive Program! Vickie will take over the management duties from Robin Hofmann who has managed the program since it's inception in 2009. The WPRA advertised this position and received 28 applications. A committee interviewed seven applicants, judging by their résumé, with emphasis placed on those with the most experience in the field of stallion incentive programs and knowledge of the breeding industry. We had some excellent candidates, but Vickie Adams has the lifetime of knowledge, experience, and dedication we need to help this program achieve the goals we all have for it. Vickie will bring new ideas to the table and will be making some changes, but be certain she will do everything she can to make this program the premiere stallion incentive program to produce the rodeo horse! This has been a very lucrative program as shown by the payout on the Wrangler NFR this year. Mel Potter is very happy that he is enrolled in PESI as the breeder of the great World Champion Barrel Horse, "Stingray"!
The WPRA Board of Directors is very excited to announce some big changes to the Divisional Circuit Program that will involve all 12 circuits! Our sponsors have been asking for more exposure at the Divisional Circuit level, so this program is good news for WPRA members, sponsors, and producers. Each of our 12 circuits will be funded for three premiere co-approved events with $200 in sponsor added money and a first place award. Each circuit director will work with producers to decide where these three events will be held so that the sponsors will be able to promote their products. Then in the fall, each circuit will be given $1,000 by Wrangler to have a Wrangler Divisional Circuit Finals which will be the top 12 in each Divisional Circuit standings! More news will be coming out on this new program very soon, so watch for it on the web site. Thank you to Wrangler for getting behind this program and to all the other sponsors who will be helping with the co-approved events. There will be different sponsors for each race, so they will be recognized as they are announced.
Hopefully, you're reading this article on the WPRA web site so you will receive this information before San Angelo. There will be a General Membership Meeting held after the jackpots on Sunday, February 9th. The time will be announced, but hopefully, after the jackpots are over that evening. A big thank you goes to the San Angelo committee for all the extras they have done for the barrel race this year. The $20,000 barrel race is open to all WPRA cards and permits with 120 progressing and top 12 to the finals. They are going to tractor after every five in the slack and rake after every one in the performances, plus they are having Safe Arena Footing and Steve Thornton working the ground! How good can it get? Well, on top of that, they are not charging for stalls this year. Hats off to Fred Hernandez and his committee for going above and beyond to make the barrel race the best it can be! Thank you so much!
With the winter run in full swing, good luck to all and be safe!