By Jimmie Munroe
September 1, 2021
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the PRCA Sponsor Summit which was held at the Cowboy Channel studio in the historic stockyards of Fort Worth. There were over 50 sponsors represented at the summit, many of which also support the WPRA. Our sport of Professional Rodeo has had so many great sponsors over the past 40 years that have truly impacted the lives of our professional rodeo athletes. Las Vegas Events began with updates on the Nationals Finals Rodeo. They are excited and very much looking forward to bringing the Finals back to Las Vegas. The Cowboy Channel and Patrick Gottsch also updated the sponsors during the summit. The Cowboy Channel has created so many rodeo fans across the country since forming their partnership with the PRCA. They have created the opportunity to watch professional rodeo every night of the week and their viewership is unbelievable. Millions of people are watching professional rodeo on television every night. They have certainly had some incredible rodeos to watch this summer with so many sell-out crowds. I left with an incredible feeling for the future of our sport.
There has been a lot of conversation about ground and the safety of our equine partners. Every night this month while I watch the Cowboy Channel, I have been amazed at how many rodeos have drug halfway through the barrel race. Thank you to all the committees that have dragged or raked. We very much appreciate your efforts. Also a huge “thank you” to the directors who reach out constantly to these committees asking them to drag. There are many committees that work so hard on their ground because of their concern for the safety and well-being of all the livestock in rodeo. Some stock contractors like Pete Carr Pro Rodeo are also proactively working with their committees and encouraging them to drag.
I would also like to single out one committee this month as an example of how hard some work and the effort they put into making their ground safe. The committee is Tremonton, Utah. On the Sunday before their rodeo, they received a tremendous amount of rain. They had already worked their ground getting it prepared for the next week which resulted in all the rain soaking into the ground. The arena was literally a lake. I was sent a picture. The actual rodeo did not start until Thursday, which would have allowed several days for it to dry out, but unfortunately the slack was Tuesday morning. Instead of giving up on those that had drawn up in the slack, Tremonton decided to haul in more dirt and continually worked the arena until the slack started. They were concerned with the safety and well-being of the livestock and contestants and they wanted to give them an opportunity to excel. Please know that your efforts were very much appreciated by everyone. Contestants who were there could not believe what you were able to get done.
Our next General Membership meeting will be held at the Pendleton Roundup on Monday, September 13th. We will meet in the grandstands of Happy Canyon at 12pm. I would like to encourage everyone to please attend and voice your opinions.
Salinas, California is hosting the Pro Tour Finale for the first time this month. Salinas has always been a great rodeo with so much tradition. It is exciting to have women's breakaway roping for the first time in the Tour Finale. The women in the breakaway roping will be competing for a total payout of $38,000 and the barrel racers will be competing for a total payout of a little over $70,000. Should be a great rodeo!
Be sure and make plans to enter the WPRA World Finals at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. It's going to be a great event. Books open October 1.
This is the last four weeks of the 2021 rodeo year. It is close in those bottom positions with some great horses and competitors trying to make it into the Top 15. Good luck to all these ladies.
Safe travels to everyone in this last month of our rodeo year.
August 2, 1021
Another month has flown by and we had some great rodeos during the month of July, winding up at the "Daddy of ‘em All" in Cheyenne! What an exciting finals we watched in both the barrel race and the breakaway roping. Congratulations to all who made the short-round, especially to Hailey Kinsel and Sawyer Gilbert who came out on top. Cheyenne added equal money for the breakaway roping and drug halfway through the barrel race on Championship Sunday. Thank you so much to a fantastic committee!
While at Cheyenne, we had two general membership meetings, one before the barrel racing slack and another after the breakaway roping slack, where we had a great turnout. There was so much meaningful input from the members at both meetings. Thank you to all the members that took the time to attend the meetings and thank you to the Cheyenne committee for allowing us to have the meeting there and providing lunch for everyone that was there for the slack.
We recently announced that the WPRA World Finals will be held in Waco, Texas, November 11-14. The WPRA is looking forward to returning to Waco and holding the Finals at the Extraco Events Center. If you missed the announcement it is on our website and also on page 9 of the August WPRA News. We will be putting out more information and details soon.
While there have been many highs, a few of our members have experienced the lows over the last several weeks of competition. Our hearts go out to Jimmie Smith and her terrifying truck and trailer accident, Angela Ganter with the loss of “Bugs” and finally Ivy Hurst and her recent loss of “Diddy.” All three of these ladies have suffered greatly as we all know that our equine partners are so much more to us than a horse, they are family. It was so moving to see many of the girls competing at Cheyenne, and across the country, wearing purple in support and solidarity for Ivy and Diddy. How special is our sport and the women that compete in it.
Improving the ground conditions at rodeos remains a top priority for your board. The ground committee has been reformed and will now be headed up by Vice President Heidi Schmidt. The committee consists of several board members and leading barrel racers who are competing in a lot of different arenas. They plan to work to create education, awareness and improved ground conditions for the well-being of all the animals involved in rodeo. Thanks to all the committees who work hard to make sure their ground is safe for the horses and riders, your work is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.
The minutes from our board meetings and general membership meetings will be posted on the website, under the office tab, along with the agenda for our next board meeting. If there is something on the agenda you would like to discuss with your circuit director, Heidi, or myself prior to the meeting please feel free to contact us. Board Meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of every month.
Have a great rest of the summer. Safe travels and good luck!
July 2, 2021
I would like to start off by thanking the WPRA office staff and the board of directors for warmly welcoming me back this month. They have all been so extremely helpful and it has been greatly appreciated. I have also been reminded how hard each of the directors work and how much time they dedicate to the association and its members, particularly during this time of year. As we move the association forward, I am looking forward to closely working with each of them.
In my first week, the board was faced with the difficult decision concerning the Calgary Stampede. The WPRA has had a wonderful relationship with Calgary and we were disappointed that we did not feel that we could approve the Stampede this year due to issues created purely by the pandemic. We sincerely hope to return to sanctioning the Stampede in 2022 and wish them so much success this year. To our members that are competing, best of luck to you all!
This spring we have seen more and more rodeos starting to work the ground halfway through the performances. The concern that these committees are showing toward the safety and well-being of the horses and riders does not go unnoticed. Their efforts are also resulting in improved fairness of competition as it helps members to place in slack and also at the bottom of the ground in performances. We are so appreciative of these rodeo committees and we look forward to more rodeos following their example. Also, thank you so much to the members who have mentioned these rodeos in your interviews and singled them out on your social media posts. This is so important as it helps to draw attention to what they are doing.
It is very exciting to see all of the summer rodeos that are including women’s breakaway roping and the numbers only continue to increase. The event is gaining so much popularity and the future looks very bright. I’m sure that everyone enjoyed watching JJ Hampton become Reno Rodeo’s first breakaway champion as much as I did.
Later this month, the very anticipated ProRodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place. They have an outstanding class of inductees and the WPRA could not be better represented than by Martha Josey. We will be there to celebrate Martha’s remarkable career as both a competitor and clinician. She is a true legend in barrel racing and has helped progress our sport tremendously. Please join us in congratulating Martha on her much deserved recognition!
Finally, our first general membership meeting of the year will be held in Cheyenne on the day of the breakaway and barrel racing slack (July 21). We are going to have two meetings that day. The first one will be in the morning before the barrel racing slack at 8:30 am and the second meeting will be immediately after the breakaway slack. Hopefully you will be able to join us, as we value your opinions, questions, and feedback. Open two-way communication is vital for our association and we look forward to seeing everyone there.
Thank you for your support of the WPRA and thank you for allowing me to serve as your President once again. Please never hesitate to reach out to myself or your directors, as we are here to support you and your goals. With that said, I hope that you all have a very successful and safe Cowboy Christmas!
My very best,
By Heidi Schmidt
April 29, 2021
With the early retirement of Doreen Wintermute, I have stepped in, as your Vice President, to serve as the point person for the Association and work in conjunction with the Board of Directors to keep business moving forward as we gear up for a busy summer of rodeos. A new President will take office on May 27, 2021. As a reminder the deadline to return all election ballots is May 10, 2021. Election results will be released on May 11.
While we are in a transition phase, rest assured the WPRA is thriving and continuing to be the cornerstone of women in professional rodeo. As announced a few weeks ago, we have hired Darla Lindt, as our COO/Executive secretary, replacing Janet Cropper who retired on April 15, 2021. Darla has hit the ground running and she, along with our great staff, is keeping our office streamlined and strong handling all the day-to-day functions of an Association.
The WPRA board is continuing to work on many things to improve rodeo for you, the athlete. These topics include:
-Strengthening our brand and brand recognition. This concentrated effort is taking place in hopes to provide more member opportunities through the acquisition of more sponsor dollars with new and existing partners!
-The implementation of rules allowing more drags at rodeos as judges and committees see fit. The board saw this as very important for the safety and health of our animal athletes.
-Working with committees to either do away with limits at rodeos, or raise the number of contestants that get in! I know every member of the Board of Directors is working hard to make and influence this type of change.
-Our roping and circuit directors are working daily to get breakaway roping in as many professional arenas as possible, and we see great growth in 2021!
The WPRA continues to maintain an excellent relationship with the PRCA. That is a relationship vital to the sport of rodeo and continuing to further our progression as the leader of women in the rodeo industry!
As the rodeo season heats up, I wish you all safe travels and fast runs!
April 1, 2021
This final update from me is a little bittersweet but following our recent WPRA Board Meeting in Colorado Springs, I feel very confident in the future of the Association.
We had a great board meeting with much discussion on the State of the Association and the opportunities that await us in the future. We had a productive meeting with PRCA CEO George Taylor and his team to discuss strategically what the future holds for the sport of rodeo. Board members were able to ask questions and then toured the Hall of Fame to see the Barrel Racing section.
Following the meeting with the PRCA, the WPRA Board had great discussions on opportunities for our members that included the future of breakaway roping, WPRA World Finals and strengthening the WPRA brand within our industry. All and all, I left my final Board meeting with a very positive feeling.
I would like to thank all those that pulled off the surprise going away party for myself and COO Janet Cropper, who will be retiring on April 15. It took us both by surprise and I was very honored and grateful to all those that were able to be in attendance. I have enjoyed working with and collaborating with so many during my time with the WPRA and look forward to crossing paths in the future. This was a great way to bring this chapter of my life to a close.
Vice President Heidi Schmidt will now take over my duties until the conclusion of the Special Election in May when a new President will be named. She will do a great job and will be able to handle the items that arise over the next two months.
I will always cherish my time on the WPRA Board and am grateful for all the friendships I have made during this time.
Until we meet again,
March 1, 2021
WPRA President/CEO Doreen Wintermute Announces Retirement
On February 24, 2021, the WPRA Board of Directors accepted President/CEO Doreen Wintermute’s request to end her tenure on March 31, 2021. Wintermute’s current President/CEO contract was due to expire on May 31, 2021. As a result of this early departure, Vice President Heidi Schmidt will take over Wintermute’s duties until a new President takes office on May 27 through the current special election being conducted by the Association.
Wintermute first joined the WPRA Board of Directors in 2011 as the Southeastern Circuit Director and ran unopposed for WPRA President in 2016. At the request of the WPRA Board in 2018, she took on the role as WPRA CEO. The Board felt this was a needed transition at the time to handle the ongoing issues and challenges facing an ever growing Association that services over 3,000 members. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the industry everyone had to tighten their belts and Wintermute informed the Board of Directors that she would not be taking her contracted salary for a total of three months as a result. Now with her early departure, she will forgo the remainder of her salary returning that budgeted amount back to the Association.
“I would like to thank Doreen for her decade worth of service to an association that I know is near and very dear to her heart and soul,” said Schmidt. “The WPRA creates a passion in anyone who has the privilege to serve and Doreen’s commitment to the WPRA is the epitome of that passion. For that I thank her.”
During Wintermute’s tenure, she was able to accomplish many things for the Association including securing a six year agreement, the first of its kind, to ensure that the WPRA remains as the ONLY governing body for women in professional rodeo, WPRA members being recognized in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, seeing the introduction of women’s breakaway roping at PRCA ProRodeo’s and membership surpassing 3,000 members. She leaves the Association on solid ground.
To read Wintermute’s full statement along with her accomplishments during her time on the WPRA Board of Director’s visit: http://wpra.com/pdfs/Doreen_Wintermute_Retirement_letter.pdf
February 1, 2021
Here we are heading into the month of February and while it has been a different type of start to 2021 without the two big stock show rodeos this month – Denver and Fort Worth, we were grateful that Odessa was able to take place last month despite the cold and snowy weather. We are excited for the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo to get underway this week in Rapid City, S.D., followed by the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
Congrats to all the ladies that qualified for the upcoming Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. We thank all the circuit committees that were able to put on a circuit finals and a big thanks to those that were able to add breakaway roping during such a trying time.
We continue to thank you, our members, for sticking with us as we continue to weather the storm of COVID-19. It is shaping up to be an even busier summer and fall than usual due to winter and spring rodeos pushing further back in the rodeo season. It is our hope and wish that by doing this each of them will be able to have a rodeo this year. While 2021 is starting out slow, we are hopeful things will be feeling more like normal later this year.
For any new members or those that haven’t set-up an online account on the WPRA Member Portal information can be found on our website. This is a great tool for all members and the ONLY way for barrel racers and breakaway ropers to enter PRCA Rodeos online. To enter online you have to login to your WPRA member portal and them be linked over to PRCA’s online entry system.
Just a reminder, with the decrease in PRCA rodeos this time of the year be sure to keep an eye on WPRA co-approved events that you can participate in. Those events can be found under All Events within the schedule page on the WPRA website. Consider supporting these producers who are continuing to put on these events and co-approving with the WPRA.
Be safe and continue to monitor your email accounts and the official website of the WPRA for additional notices and latest official information from the WPRA Office.
January 1, 2021
Like many of you reading this, I am hoping for a better year ahead than the one we just experienced. While 2020 was a challenging year for everyone in the World, I am also reminded of the positives that came through the darkness and it gives me hope for the future.
First a big THANKS to everyone involved for making the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo a possibility and for showcasing the breakaway ropers of the WPRA on ProRodeo’s grandest stage. What a great show our members put on both in the barrel racing and the breakaway roping. Congratulations to Hailey Kinsel on a history making Wrangler NFR, to Lisa Lockhart for becoming the highest money earner at the Wrangler NFR during her 14 qualifications having amassed $1,283,093 in NFR earnings only surpassing Sherry Cervi with $1,279,547, and to Jackie Crawford for winning the 2020 WPRA Breakaway Roping World Title at the inaugural National Finals Breakaway Roping. The WPRA was well represented at this year’s NFR.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to David Sharp and the Wrangler Network, along with the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, who helped bring our Top 15 Star Celebrations for the barrel racers and breakaway ropers to life. While our event had to be scaled back from previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were still able to pull off a very classy event and celebrate our top 15 with great gifts from our amazing sponsors.
We were disappointed we were unable to officially recognize all the hard working committees and contract personnel at our Star Celebration like in years past but we hope each of you know how much we appreciate you.
We were also very appreciative to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame for once again sponsoring the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award and for adding the Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff Fast-Time Award for the breakaway roping.
The January issue of the WPRA News is chalked full of stories on all our World Champions crowned not only in Arlington but also those honored at the WPRA World Finals in Waco, Texas. What a great group of individuals to represent our sport and Association in the New Year!
In closing, I would like to give a shout out to our WPRA sponsors, office staff, circuit directors, rodeo committees and most importantly you our members who have all pulled together to keep the cart moving forward in one of the most trying years the rodeo industry has ever experienced.
With lots of positive and proactive thinking, LETS ALL BRING IN A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!
Alone we can do so little; TOGETHER we can do so much.