By Naomi Loomis
WINNEMUCCA, NV – The eighth annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals was held November 2 - 5 at the Winnemucca Events Complex. The Western States Ranch Rodeo Association (WSRRA) continues to experience solid support in thirteen states and Canada with teams coming from as far away as Nebraska and Wyoming plus four teams from Canada. Established in 2010, the WSRRA has experienced incredible growth, each year growing in number of events and members. The association currently has more than 700 members.
Throughout 2017, WSRRA sanctioned more than 49 open ranch rodeos, 20 women’s ranch rodeos, 25 women’s steer stoppings and over 100 ranch bronc riding events. The top open and women’s teams from each of the ranch rodeos, and the top 15 women’s steer stoppers, and top 15 ranch bronc riders competed for cash and prizes at the National Finals. Prizes included Gist buckles, Yeti coolers, custom made gear made by Ricardo’s Saddlery and John Mincer, halters, stirrups, and custom made hats donated by Chaz Mitchell Hatz.
The 2017 WSRRA Cowboy Crisis silent auction recipients were Clay Ashurst and Toby Vineyard. The silent auction was very successful and the live auction for a Chaz Mitchell Custom Hat was sold twice.
The Nationals Finals kicked off Thursday with the women’s long go working ranch horse, followed by women’s team roping, trailer loading, tie-down steer roping, sort & rope doctoring, and team branding. A huge variety of vendors participated in the Christmas Buckaroo Trade Show and the WSRRA Cowboy Crisis silent auction began. Jackpot roping events finished the action for the day. The jackpot team roping winners were Quirt Boyles and Tim Maher in the Big Loop, Raymond Plant and Gordy Nichols in the team roping and Monel Shelly in the women’s steer stopping.
Friday, November 3, one member of each open team started the day showing off their highly skilled ranch horses. Then the teams competed in long go events of load & tie and team roping. The evening’s performance featured a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” theme. Grand Marshal and 1st Annual Nelo Mori Heritage of Ranching Award, Nelo Mori from Nevada, made an exciting grand entrance in a refurbished horse drawn stagecoach. If that wasn’t enough, the first two rounds of the Professional Wild Horse Racers Association (PWHRA) National Finals got everyone’s blood pumping! Rodeo clown, Tuffy Gessling entertained the crowd with his rope tricks and laughs. In between specialty acts, WSRRA ranch bronc riders and open and women’s teams showed their talents in featured performances.
Saturday morning started with two rounds of women’s steer stopping rounds, followed by open team long go’s of sort & rope doctoring, and team branding. Later in the day WSRRA National Sponsor, Boot Barn, sponsored a dummy roping contest and a stick horse barrel race for the kids. Gist Buckles were given as prizes. The second annual Great Basin Gathering; music, poetry and trading gear was a spotlighted event. Afternoon rodeo action featured jackpot family branding won by Will Knight, Jessica Kelly, Junior Kelly and Garrett Brown. As the sun was going down, the second evening performance started. This performance was full of Wild West action and western traditions. Featured performances of more of the open and women’s teams, along with two rounds each of PWHRA and WSRRA ranch bronc riding kept the arena dust stirred up and the crowd’s excitement high! Performances by Tuffy Gessling livened up the evening’s fun. Saturday ended with year-end and long go awards at The Winners at Winners WSRRA awards party, followed by dancing to music by the Jeff Palmer Band, both hosted by the Winners Inn & Casino.
Sunday, November 5, WSRRA held a well-attended cowboy church with Bo and Kathy Lowe. After cowboy church, WSRRA held the short go of the National Finals for the open and women’s divisions and the final rounds of PWHRA wild horse racing, women’s steer stopping and WSRRA ranch bronc riding. At the end of the afternoon, champions were crowned with Gist Silver buckles, Yeti coolers, homemade headstalls by Ricardo’s Saddlery with Mincer Silversmith WSRRA conchos, and silver stirrups by Weber Stirrups.
Congratulations to all the contestants, not just the winners. First time visitors to the event were totally impressed with the quality of the competition and the stock. A huge thank you to all the office help, chute help, announcers, judges, vendors and stock contractors.
The WSRRA wouldn’t be around without the help of our sponsors and major supporters which include: Winnemucca WVCA Board, Ram Trucks/Ram Rodeo, Boot Barn, Performix Nutrition, Les Schwab Tires, 8 Seconds Whisky, Twisted X Boots, Gouveia Ranches, Working Ranch Magazine, Mary Williams Hyde/Buckaroo Country, Rodeo News, Yeti, Big Bend Trailers and Chaz Mitchell Hatz, Yeti and host hotels, Winnemucca Inn and Winners Inn Casino.
The 2017 Western States Ranch Rodeo World Champions are as follows:
Women’s Steer Stopper: Chelsea Hoff
Rookie Women’s Steer Stopper of the Finals: Kayann Smith
Rookie Women’s Steer Stopper of the Year: Kayann Smith
WSRRA Year End Champion: Michelle Rutan
(Returning) World Champion Open Ranch Rodeo Team: Anipro from Oregon: Teo Maestrejuan, Richard Eiguren, Shawn Lequerica, Brian Grenke
(Returning) World Champion Women’s Ranch Rodeo Team: Miller Livestock from Idaho: Carmen Buckingham, Katie McFarlane, Kayla Tiegs and Bailey Bachman
Ranch Bronc Rider: Aaron Mercer
WSRRA Bronc Rider Average Champion: Barry O’Leary
WSRRA Rookie Ranch Bronc Rider of the Finals: Paul Padilla. WSRRA Rookie Ranch Bronc Rider Of The Year: Jesse Lee Callahan.
WSRRA Year End Champion: Justin Quint
WSRRA Scholarship Ranch Bronc Rider Champion: Noah Mort
WSRRA Steer Riding Champion: T. Catches
Stick Horse Champion sponsored by Boot Barn: Royce Musick
7-12 Dummy Roping sponsored by Boot Barn: Sloan McFarlane. 0-6: Layton Musick
All Around Cowgirl: Katie Cavasin. All Around Cowboy: Barry O’Leary
Top Hand Cowgirl: Carmen Buckingham. Top Hand Cowboy: Richard Eiguren
All Around Ranch Horse, Open: Richard Eiguren from the Anipro. All Around Ranch Horse, Womens: Justine Munns from the ShoeBox
Stock Contractor of the Year: Gene King, King Rodeo
Bronc of the Year, selected by judges: “Ryan” owned by Gene King, King Rodeo
Pick-up Man of the Year: Kurtis Koeppen
High Average Contractor of the Year: (based on top 5 horses): Gene King, King Rodeo
Highest Scoring Ranch Bronc of the Finals: “Ryan” of the King Rodeo
WSRRA Producer of the Year: Shelli Newman and Mountain Rodeo Association, Squaw Valley, Calif.
Make plans to attend a sanctioned WSRRA Ranch Rodeo in 2018!
Aaron Mendes (r) of Canada was named the WSSRA Finals champion Ranch Bronc Rider. Justin Quint (c) was the overall world champion Ranch Bronc Rider. Naomi Loomis of WSRRA presenting. – Western Edge Photography
Naomi Loomis (r) of WSRRA presents a wold championship buckle to the winner of the Ladies Steer Stopping, Chelsea Todd. – Western Edge Photography
Naomi Loomis (l) of WSRRA presenting Gene King of King Rodeo and his wife Amanda, the buckle for being the Stock Contractor of The Year. – Western Edge Photography
Returning World Champion Women’s Ranch Rodeo Team was Miller Livestock from Idaho: Carmen Buckingham, Katie McFarlane, Kayla Tiegs and Bailey Bachman. – Western Edge Photography
Chaz Mitchell Custom Hatz