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.