By Ann Bleiker
Every year since the early 1990s the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and Justin Brands have honored rodeo committees in each of the 12 circuits that have went above and beyond to ensure safe ground for the animal athletes of rodeo, specifically the barrel racing horses.
The Justin Best Footing Awards® program was created when Tom Feller, director of event marketing for Justin Brands, approached the WPRA about partnering on a program that would focus on the health and well being of the animal athlete. Not only does the program keep animal athletes performing at the top level, but it also recognizes the hard work and time rodeo committees put into making their ground as safe as possible for the barrel horse and all rodeo livestock.
This award is determined by votes by the WPRA membership and Circuit Directors and represents our members’ voices saying “thank you” for a job well done. Due to the way the 2020 rodeo season played out this awards program was scaled back for this year only honoring a first place in all 12 circuits and for circuits that had five or more rodeos a second place recipient was named. Each first place award winner will receive a plaque, $800 cash award and a Justin certificate redeemable for one pair smooth ostrich boots. They will be officially recognized during the WPRA Star Celebration in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, December 3. All second place award winners will receive a plaque and a $400 cash award.
This year’s award winners featured some brand new rodeos and some that have been in business for decades. The Buffalo Stampede in Kadoka, S.D., held their first PRCA/WPRA rodeo in 2020 and was one of the few rodeos that were able to take place in June despite COVID-19 restrictions. In their first year, they hosted almost 400 contestants including WPRA breakaway ropers. They will receive the Justin Best Footing Award for the Badlands Circuit.
On the other side of the coin, the Dodge City (KS) Roundup is the richest rodeo in the State of Kansas paying out over $400,000 in 2020. The Dodge City Roundup was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2012 and hosted a record number of contestants in 2020 during the first weekend of August with over 900 entries. They will be recognized with the Justin Best Footing Award for the Prairie Circuit.
Congratulations to the following rodeo committees being honored in 2020 and the WPRA thanks you for making your ground safe and consistent.
2020 Justin Best Footing Award Winners
First – Buffalo Stampede, Kadoka, SD
Second – Black Hills Roundup, Belle Fourche, SD
First – Salinas Valley Wine Country Rodeo, King City
Columbia River Circuit
First – Cascade Chute Out, Redmond, OR
First Frontier Circuit
First – Adirondack Stampede Rodeo, Glen Falls, NY
Great Lakes Circuit
First – Carson (IA) Community Rodeo
Second – Brown Co. Fair Pro Rodeo, Depere, WI
First – Rodeo Roundup - Roundup
Second – McCone Fair & PRCA Rodeo - Circle
Mountain States Circuit
First – Wyoming State Fair & Rodeo – Douglas, WY
Second – Cody (WY) Stampede Rodeo
First – Dodge City (KS) Roundup Rodeo
Second – Nebraska’s Big Rodeo - Burwell
First – Rotary Rodeo – Starkville, MS
Second – Florida Gateway Pro Rodeo – Lake City
First – (tie) Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo,
Stephenville and Heart O’ Texas Rodeo - Waco
First – Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek (AZ) Pro Rodeo
Second – Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, Payson, AZ
First – Gooding (ID) Pro Rodeo
Second – Cassia County Fair & Rodeo, Burley, ID