By Doreen Wintermute
November 1, 2019
While every day we should be thankful for the blessings we have, November is the month that brings it to the forefront with a whole day dedicated for that purpose. I would like to wish each of you a very happy and fruitful Thanksgiving Day and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
For the ladies that earned their way to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, I say congratulations to each of you and look forward to seeing each of you run down the famous alley at the Thomas and Mack Center. It is once again a great mix of NFR veterans and NFR rookies riding the best horses in the barrel racing business today. We have two ladies making their 13th appearance at the Wrangler NFR with Lisa Lockhart and Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, and two ladies who haven’t been there in over a decade-plus in Shali Lord and Cheyenne Wimberley and then we have Dona Kay Rule at the young age of 61-years old realizing a lifelong dream to compete at the “Super Bowl of Rodeo.” I can’t wait for Round 1 of the Wrangler NFR.
A reminder that we are once again partnering with the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame to award the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award at the Wrangler NFR. So for the Top 15 remember to pack your bling for Vegas and for everyone else go to www.wpra.com and vote nightly on who you think is the best dressed. Jessica Routier, who won the title in 2018, will be back to defend that title along with Stevi Hillman, who won the title at the 2019 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Who will win it this year?
We continue to work with the PRCA on the new ProCom digital platform. As we told you before, they had successfully tested the system with individual events and were targeting October for a test of a full blown rodeo with all events. As expected with any rollout of something so new, one expects to run into some issues along the way, especially as you keep expanding the complexity with number of events in the rollout. As the saying goes “two steps forward and one back.” Until those issues are resolved, we will wait for a new target delivery date for inclusion of the barrel racing in the digital platform.
As soon as we get an update that those issues have been resolved, and they are ready to add barrel racing to the mix, we will be sure to share that with the membership. Thank you for your patience.
We continue to fine tune the specifics of our partnership with the PRCA and our affiliation with each other for the betterment of the entire sport of rodeo. While the barrel racing elements will see little change from how we have conducted business over the last 10 years, the excitement comes in partnering with the PRCA on ways to introduce an additional women’s only event to rodeo. Right now, we are working through how the development looks for a member, a committee, judges, stock contractors and the Association. It is our intention to present this event at the highest level possible for members and fans alike but also something that works from a committee and Association standpoint. An open line of communication between the WPRA and PRCA is of utmost importance as we move this partnership forward. While this hasn’t always been the case over the last 70 years, it is something this Board takes very seriously and of high importance.
Please keep an eye on your email for continued communication.
Alone we can do so little; TOGETHER we can do so much.
October 1, 2019
As one season ends in the rodeo world, another begins. Congratulations to those who finished in the Top 15 earning a berth to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. We can’t wait for all the great action that will unfold in Las Vegas in December at the Thomas and Mack. Please keep an eye on your email for information that you will need to familiarize yourself with in regards to this championship event. We have a good mix of veterans and NFR newcomers this year making for lots of excitement.
Also congratulations to all those that have qualified for the Circuit Finals, as each are shaping up to have great action that will play out over the next four months. While this year’s Circuit Finals and subsequent Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo will not count to 2020 WPRA World Standings, your board has voted that will change starting with the 2021 WPRA World Standings. See a full explanation of that in the In the News section of this issue.
A reminder that WPRA World Finals entries are now open at www.wpra.com and will close on October 14. This year’s event will be October 24-27 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. World Champions will be crowned in all the roping events – breakaway, team roping (header), team roping (heeler), tie-down roping and all-around; the junior division and futurity and derby division. In addition there will be a $15,000 Card Holder Race and a $5,000 Permit Only Race. These are both great opportunities to either get a jump start on a Wrangler NFR qualification for 2020 or have a chance to fill your permit and compete for 2020 Rookie of the Year. The event will be live streamed on the Horse Sports Network and Wrangler Network. At the conclusion of the breakaway roping and card holder barrel race, we will award the Wrangler Network Tour bonus money. Remember this is a bonus program with $34,000 up for grabs in the barrel racing and $15,000 in the breakaway roping. We thank Wrangler for making this opportunity available for our members.
This past month your Board of Directors also approved a very exciting format that will be implemented at the 2020 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo in the brand new Dickies Arena. The ProRodeo Tournament format will payout over $1 million and for the first time ever will include WPRA Breakaway Roping. The event will feature 56 of the best barrel racers and breakaway ropers in the WPRA competing in this legendary event. Complete ground rules for both disciplines can be found at www.wpra.com.
The future is bright and promising for our members with more exciting news to come in the upcoming months.
In closing, I would like to thank all the rodeo committees, stock contractors, judges, secretaries, timers, all the volunteers and the rodeo families that make rodeo throughout our world happen giving all members of the WPRA the opportunity to make their dreams come true. Each year the WPRA recognizes those in the rodeo industry that have gone above and beyond with the amazing WPRA contract awards. We will be announcing the recipients of these awards this month and they will be formally recognized at the WPRA Star Celebration in Las Vegas on Dec. 5.
The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association remains the best and the top in the world since 1948!
September 1, 2019
It is hard to believe this is the final month of the 2019 regular season and what a month it is shaping up to be. With several ladies still in the hunt for a Wrangler NFR qualification it looks like it will come down to the wire for those precious 15 spots.
A few opportunities remain for members to collect points on the Wrangler Network Tour this month with the final points being up for grabs at the WPRA World Finals in Waco, Texas. Remember this is a bonus program with $34,000 up for grabs in the barrel racing and $15,000 in the breakaway roping. We thank Wrangler for making this opportunity available for our members.
Speaking of WPRA World Finals entries are now open at www.wpra.com. This year’s event will be October 24-27 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. World Champions will be crowned in all the roping events – breakaway, team roping (header), team roping (heeler), tie-down roping and all-around; the junior division and futurity and derby division. In addition there will be a $15,000 Card Holder Race and a $5,000 Permit Only Race. These are both great opportunities to either get a jump start on a Wrangler NFR qualification for 2020 or have a chance to fill your permit and compete for 2020 Rookie of the Year. The event will be live streamed on the Horse Sports Network and Wrangler Network. For more information visit www.wpra.com or call the office. Entries will remain open until Oct. 14.
We continue to have very productive meetings with the PRCA regarding our future working relationship. As the WPRA continues to have these meetings with the PRCA, which are approximately every two weeks, it is natural that fear and rumors start surfacing. One such false rumor suggests that the WPRA is engaged in a dialog about a merger and giving up of the WPRA’s autonomy. It is simply not true. The WPRA is not discussing a merger or giving up our independence and governance.
The current agreement that expires on December 31, 2019, was a court ordered agreement. In contrast, here the parties are working cooperatively to try to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial. That spirit of cooperation is a refreshing way to do business and is good news for all members.
The WPRA Business Committee will provide the WPRA Board of Directors with their preliminary thoughts and recommendations on what a mutually beneficial agreement might look like from the WPRA perspective. (The Business Committee was previously tasked by the WPRA Board to do the preliminary work on the key pieces for a future agreement.)
The Board will review the Business Committee’s thoughts and recommendations, discuss it and seek input. This will be helpful for the next meeting with the PRCA. This is a process. It is a process that requires many discussions, an understanding of each associations’ needs and concerns. We don’t take this task lightly and are diligently working to move the Association forward.
Please keep an eye on your email for continued communication on this front and others.
Alone we can do so little; TOGETHER we can do so much.
June 19, 2019
By now you may have seen that an alleged major rule violation (MRV) has been filed against me, as the President/CEO of the WPRA. Since this allegation is directed at me and my role as your President, I would like to share my thoughts and observations with you.
June 1, 2019
Time is flying by!! As we approach the month of June, I realize there are many circuits that are winding down and many that will be starting in full swing. I am always so impressed this time of year how the WPRA membership strategically plans out their summer rodeos. They work on integrating some WPRA Co Approvals, throwing in some Futurity/ Derby events, and along the way picking up their ropes to breakaway at some of the PRCA/WPRA rodeos or team rope and tie-down rope at the co-approvals.
Like I have mentioned before your Board works hard to provide opportunities to the entire membership. For example a look back at 2018 shows:
- 500 Rodeos and a payout of approximately $5 million Dollars, with breakaway roping being added to PRCA rodeos
- Over 1000 WPRA Co approval events
- That included 250 breakaway, 78 team roping, 70 tie-down roping events
- 85 Futurity events, 83 Derby events and our WPRA Jr. program is our future stars and the WPRA gives many opportunities for them to shine.
As we look at our 2019 up-to-date numbers, from membership, rodeos, co-approvals, additional programs like WPRA PESI, etc., and sponsors, it looks good and we are forecasting another great year!
In looking ahead, our sport continues to grow and evolve with lots of new ideas being discussed by rodeo committees creating some newness to Tournament style events, sponsors engaging in more media programs and putting a new spin on some of their advertising. While change can be hard it is always smart to be open to it to remain relevant in today’s world.
In the next couple of months two of our great rodeos – Reno and Cody – will celebrate 100 years. As you learn about their history you will see each had their own struggles through the years but the common theme was a dedicated group of individuals came together and worked hard to preserve what their founders had developed and today they are able to celebrate 100 years. Be appreciative of those that work hard to keep this sport and Association alive and well.
Good Luck as you plan out your summer months and be careful on the busy roads ahead.
May 1, 2019
It has been a busy but exciting month. When I last wrote we were preparing for our spring board meeting, where our new members joined us officially. We had a great meeting in Colorado Springs. We have a great group of ladies representing all the circuits that work hard for the betterment of the WPRA and to create great unity amongst our members. We all came together for 2 ½ days and covered many topics. We started the first day of our meeting with the overview of all aspects of the WPRA!! All I can say is it is a great feeling to start the meeting with a very strong and positive 2018 audit & financial report. With 2018 looking good the business committee presented a solid 2019 budget! The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s status showed growth this past year and we are maintaining a very strong business as a result of the hard work all directors, officers, and office employees put in.
We worked on the director rotation of all committees to bring new ideas to the WPRA programs that will look for more opportunities for the entire membership. These committees meet weekly at times and every director works in a five director committee with lots of discussion to create new ideas, changes, and to forecast each programs growth. To name a few programs that showed growth this past year was the PESI program that grew by 35 new Stallions, which will increase the pool of offspring eligible for bonus money and our Futurity/Derby program that added new events to give more opportunity for the offspring to shine. I want to thank Marlene McRae for her time and insight into the futurity and derby program the last few years, which helped to put a light on how to do it different to get different results. We will miss all your great inspiration to this program.
The growth of our WPRA breakaway roping is very overwhelming to say the least. A big thanks to Patti McCutchen, our roping director, for her hard work and time that she puts into making this a very exciting program.
All decisions that are made through these committees are brought to the full Board of Directors for review and Board approval. I am very honored to work with a Board of Directors who are dedicated to making hard decisions for the betterment of the entire WPRA membership.
I am happy to report that our Corporate Partnership division grew by 8% during 2018 and we have 23 of 31 agreements that are multi- year (74%). Thank you Dave Jordan, our partnership manager, for your inspiration and bigger goals for 2019.
Following up on the exciting news we released on April 18 and that can be found in the In the News section of this issue regarding the Wrangler Network Tour. Wrangler Network, Wrangler and the WPRA have worked together to create the Wrangler Network Tour that will feature $50,000 in new sponsor money and awards to the WPRA membership. Bonus money will be available for the barrel racers and breakaway ropers at stops which are live streamed by Wrangler Network. This is a win-win-win for WPRA members, rodeo committees and Wrangler. More information can be found on pg. 8 of the May WPRA News or on the WPRA website.
In our third year of inductions to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, we have another great group of ladies who have shaped what the Association is today. I congratulate Jimmie Munroe, Sammy Thurman Brackenbury and Florence Youree for being selected as members of the 2019 class. This is such an exciting event every year!! If you haven’t visited the ProRodeo Hall of Fame you really need to, there is so much rodeo and western history to see, don’t miss it. The 2019 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be August 3 in Colorado Springs.
Safe travels to all!!!
April 1, 2019
As we spring into April, I am hoping that everyone is experiencing better weather. From the Bomb Cyclone that hit Colorado and the flooding in the Midwest here is hoping all our members are doing well.
I would like to thank all those that participated in our recent elections and for all those that answered the call to run for an office. Congrats to the following that retained their position on the board – Eileen Lang-Kramme (First Frontier), Dillon McPherson (Montana), Patti Roberts (Southeastern), Lois Ferguson (Texas) and Julie Herman (Wilderness). I would like to welcome our new members coming on the board – Megan McLeod-Sprague (Columbia River), Carla Beckett (Mountain States) and Jymmy Kay Cox (Vice President). A huge thanks to Jerri Mann for all the years she served the WPRA membership on the Board, most recently as the Vice President, to Melanie Luark from the Mountain States Circuit and Chris Powers from Columbia River. Thanks for your time and dedication to this great Association. The 2019 WPRA Board has lots of hard work to be done to continue to keep the WPRA strong and growing.
I traveled to Dallas for RFDTVs The American and what an electrifying event it was for our breakaway ropers. A big congrats and thanks to all our WPRA ropers that put on a great show and more importantly carried themselves with professionalism on this grand stage. Thanks to Randy Bernard, Patrick Gottsch, Keith Ferguson, Riley Lambert and the entire team for showcasing the breakaway roping and the WPRA.
WPRA Breakaway Roping is an event that has lots of growth potential and the WPRA has lots of opportunity to give to all our membership! We are expanding our breakaway roping pilot program, which has been conducted in the Columbia River Circuit the last couple years, for the 2019 season. Our goal is to expand the program to a total of 35 that will be held in conjunction with PRCA/WPRA rodeos. Contact WPRA roping director Patti McCutchen for more information.
I had a little déjà vu this past month watching Hailey Kinsel win San Antonio for the second straight year followed by Nellie Miller winning back-to-back titles at RodeoHouston. Always fun to watch these two ladies and their amazing equine partners both known as Sister. Congrats to both WPRA World Champions.
We have had some very productive meetings with some of our sponsor partners working on new opportunities for our members. Be sure to keep an eye on our website for information about some new opportunities made possible by our loyal sponsors.
As I write this month’s column, we are preparing for our March Board of Directors meeting in Colorado Springs in which we will welcome our new members officially for the first time. We will be covering many topics during this time and look forward to reporting on them in next month’s column.
Until then have a great month ahead.
March 1, 2019
We have had a very busy February with many Board of Directors and committee meetings that covered many topics. The WPRA Board of Directors work diligently to strategically plan for the future for the many programs available to our members. The roping committee got together to work on the breakaway growth in the PRCA/WPRA Rodeos. The DC program & junior committee is fine tuning the many events we have and recommending more consistency in the guidelines, as well as creating more opportunity for our members. Our rules committee will be meeting, to review and discuss the many rule proposals coming in for 2020 rule book. The business committee will be getting together to review our 2018 financials, as well as our 2019 budgets.
This is an exciting time in our sport. I attended the NFRC meeting in San Antonio in February to review the 2018 Wrangler NFR. The meeting was productive with lots of excitement around how great and successful the 2018 NFR was and plans for 2019. They mentioned how cooperative all the contestants were and how amazing the competition was last year. I let them know how appreciative we were on how consistent, fair and most of all safe the ground was for the WPRA Barrel Race. As a result, we were able to showcase our great human and equine athletes and continue to be a crowd favorite. A big thank you to everyone involved to make the Wrangler NFR such a world class event.
A special award that is only given at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the Wrangler NFR that we truly cherish is the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award. I want to congratulate Stevi Hillman on being awarded the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed in Fort Worth and the $5,000 bonus that goes with the award. Many thanks to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Jerry Ann Taylor family for making this possible in Fort Worth and in Las Vegas.
I believe the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association is what I call WOMEN STRONG IN RODEO!!! As we are coming into the month of March, we have many opportunities to be excited about:
- The American semifinals for the WPRA Breakaway Roping will be amazing and will be something to see how and who moves into the Finals March 3rd at AT&T Stadium.
- The Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo that is held in Kissimmee, Florida is an event not to miss! There are 26 WPRA members planning to compete at this event where one can win over $33,000 that will count towards the world standings. Taking the top circuit champion and average winner from each circuit, as well as top 2 from Mexico, makes the event different from any rodeo in the World. Our circuit system is strong because of the many opportunities that are given throughout the PRCA/WPRA from across the country. Many thanks to Osceola County and the Kissimmee Rodeo Team for giving our members the opportunity to be part of such a great event to make their dreams come true!
- RodeoHouston will be the other big event in March. They have been a great partner through the years and looking forward to another great barrel race down there.
Good Luck to All and Safe Travels!
February 1, 2019
Although the 2019 rodeo season is in full swing, we just wrapped up 2018 with the conclusion of the Circuit Finals. Congratulations to the top 26 ladies that have punched their tickets to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo held in Kissimmee, Florida on March 21-24. Don’t forget to make your plans to come see the best year-end and average champions in the WPRA Circuit system! The barrel race will have a great mix of circuit members along with Wrangler NFR qualifiers. Visit www.rncfr.com for more information on this great event.
The start of 2019 brings WPRA Board of Directors elections along with it. This year the Vice Presidency is up for election along with Columbia River, First Frontier, Montana, Mountain States, Southeastern, Texas and Wilderness Circuits. It is important for members to participate and vote for what is in the Association’s best interest to continue its progress. Since 1948, every woman that has held office in the WPRA has impacted where it is today. Let’s continue this path and advance this sport forward!!!
Programs within the association are so important and by adding new pieces they are really flourishing.
The PESI committee has been hard at work creating new avenues for our members to take advantage of all this program has to offer! The introduction of a PESI payout at select rodeos has given owners of all enrolled offspring a chance to cash in from futurity horses all the way to the seasoned rodeo horse. The addition of a stallion service auction has allowed a greater variety of stallion owners to participate and created some exciting buzz about the program. PESI has great bonus money and allows both offspring and stallions to shine. You can learn more about the program and how you can participate on the WPRA website.
The Women’s Breakaway roping program has been very exciting!! We have been supporting a pilot program with Women’s Breakaway Roping in PRCA Rodeos, as well as co-approving with The American in 2019. Growing programs and creating more opportunities for our members to help make your dreams come true is what it’s all about!
Since the programs start 5 years ago, a total of 50 ground tests have taken place across the country. The WPRA, in partnership with Safe Arena Footing (SAF) has been able to educate rodeo committees on how to get the most out of their arena ground. Participating rodeo committees tested their ground, made any necessary changes and the results were awesome. Safe and consistent ground is a must in all events, not just barrel racing.
Just a reminder for those of you that entered the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and hope to make the finals- be sure to dress and shine for your chance to snag a $5,000 Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award in the final round. The WPRA thanks the Jerry Ann Taylor Foundation and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum for all their support in recognizing the importance of dressing up and showing the beauty of our Sport of Rodeo!
Good Luck to all, safe traveling!!!
January 1, 2019
Well the time has come as we ring in the New Year! As the 2018 year came to a close, we ended it with another amazing experience at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. I can only say this was the best Wrangler NFR I have been apart of. This was the 60th year for the National Finals Rodeo. It’s a memory of the best PRCA/WPRA talented athletes in the world and the best stock of horses and bulls that showcases what rodeo is all about. I was thrilled by the WPRA Top 15 and their amazing horses. They made the hundreds of thousands of people roar with excitement as we all watched them compete at the highest level of barrel racing!
Congratulations to the WPRA World Champion Hailey Kinsel and her horse DM Sissy Hayday “Sister.” It was such a beautiful moment to watch Hailey step up to the stage to accept her saddle and gold buckle. It was so well deserved. Also, congratulations to first time Wrangler NFR Qualifier Carman Pozzobon for being crowned the average winner, being the only barrel racer with 10 clean runs was so awesome and a challenge for most seasoned veterans. We are proud to see another Wrangler NFR first time qualifier Jessica Routier take home the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award after being voted “The Best Dressed Cowgirl” by her peers. Jessica received a $5,000 check from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame for the honor. There was another bonus given at the Wrangler NFR from the WPRA PESI program to DM Sissy Hayday (Hailey Kinsel) for $2,500 for winning the world and being part of the WPRA PESI program. For some of you that are not aware of this program, please go to the WPRA website to get all the information. This is a program that benefits all the outstanding stallions and their prodigies in the WPRA Rodeo and Futurity/Derby world. Don’t miss out!!
The last thing I want to recognize Shawn Davis and his staff that are responsible for the production and operation of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It’s bittersweet moments in the production meetings having to say Shawn Davis is retiring from the Wrangler NFR. His time, hard work, and dedication is what makes the Wrangler NFR magical. I really enjoyed working with Shawn for the three years I have been President and my admiration and respect for him is profound. Shawn has hired the best staff, and as most of us know it takes a village to put on the Super Bowl of Rodeo. The NFR Committee, PRCA team, Las Vegas Events, TV, Media, and the most amazing hard-working ground crew that made the ground safe and consistent for all events is to be thanked. My hat goes off to all of you for making the 2018 Wrangler NFR an outstanding event.
I continue to make memories with an event that the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association is so proud of - the 2018 WPRA Star Celebration. As I stood on the stage, I was so enlightened by the amount of rodeo family we had to celebrate the WPRA Top 15 Wrangler NFR qualifiers. We had over 600 attendees this year! WOW!! The exciting awards given to the Top 15 were amazing. We honored the best in the business including committees, judges, contractors, secretaries, announcers and committees from each circuit with the Justin Best Footing award.
There is so much to be thankful for, as I rewind the 2018 year. The WPRA Sponsors, we couldn’t do it without all of you, our WPRA Office staff, all Circuit Directors, and every outside resource we depend on, thank you for completing another successful year for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
We have four more Circuits Finals in January to crown their 2018 circuit champion and average winner to earn a spot in the 2019 Ram National Finals Rodeo held in Kissimmee, Florida in March. This is a mini-NFR for our grassroot competitors that have different jobs during the week and find the time to give it their all in rodeo and make their dreams come true. The Ram National Finals Rodeo will be held this year in conjunction with a Country Music Festival having the biggest and the best country singers we all love so dearly. Go to the RNCFR website for more information.
With lots of positive and proactive thinking, LETS ALL BRING IN A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!