This year is off to a great start with the winter rodeos full of new names in all events and some young guns chasing the golden dream of making the Wrangler National Finals and winning a world title.
Many new ropers are also entering the numerous ropings around the country associated with the multiple roping organizations. Winning a world title is a tough task with all of the traveling and the constant competition of roping against the best in the world at rodeos that span the US. The expense has gotten more every year with higher prices associated with every aspect of the business from entry fees to airline tickets. Many roping associations offer big money staying closer to home and a chance to make some of the most lucrative payoffs in history.
Many rodeos and ropings always seem to have a hard time coming up with awards for their contestants outside of the usual buckles, saddles, trophies, hats, spurs, etc. Many times the same companies that have supported rodeo and roping for years are asked to give over and over again which gets deep into their pockets. Granted most of the major product companies associated with our industry want to be a part of many prize lines. Yeti has come on strong the past few years adding their product as very well accepted new prize line. There are always local sponsors who participate and that is always great.
I often wonder why our industry doesn’t have more awards that benefit the travel needs of our industry. Like fuel, tires, lodging, airfares, food and the list goes on for the everyday expense of going down the road. I know in the Northwest that Les Schwab has been involved for years and other tire companies have been involved in the PBR. Maintenance certificates for truck and trailers would be great awards.
Wouldn’t it be nice if some of these multi-day rodeos or ropings would have a simple service on grounds that could rotate tires, lube trucks, oil change, etc. With today’s trend of living quarter trailers plus campers, a simple repair or basic supply source would be nice.
In Arizona the roping season is in full swing with many winter ropings taking place all over the state, This has become a place to be during the winter months for the roper who wants to get out of the cold and have plenty of roping events to attend. This year got off to a rough start with Mother Nature not providing the usual nice weather for the host state. Many ropers have toughed it out and as of this writing I understand that the weather has turned for the best with lots of sunshine and beautiful deserts from all of the recent rains. One thing about Arizona, you can find a roping everyday of the week to fit your ability and pocketbook.
The Spring rodeos will also be starting in Arizona from Tucson to Scottsdale and attract some of the big names in the rodeo industry. Also horse sales have gotten to be the big thing in Arizona during the Spring where one can buy or sell seasoned horses to fit ones needs. See ads for Arizona ropings as well as horse sales in this issue of RSN.
I made my annual trip to Steamboat Springs, Colo. this past month to co-announce the 46th annual Cowboy Downhill. John Shipley announces the event with me along with JW Winklepleck. John also does the awards banquet following this great event. John and his wife Barb have served on this committee for many years and Barb has been with the event since the beginning. John also announces the Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series during the summer at the Romick Arena. Brent Romick was recognized at the awards banquet receiving the “Glad You Could Come Award.” This award was started by JC Trujillo many years ago when he joined forces as a host of this event along with founders Billy Kidd and Larry Mahan. Check out the results of this event in the article on page 5 of this issue.
This month we learned of the passing of CI Humphrey and John Smalley. CI was a name we used to hear a lot around the roping arenas. He always rode great horses and had a mild manner about him that made you want to visit with him. CI was involved in the horse and cattle business in the central valley of California. CI came from Oklahoma to the Bakersfield area many years ago. He was born December 21, 1928 and passed May 7, 2019. His son Sid has been a well-known name in the arena for years.
John Smalley was well known around the Snelling and Turlock area of California. John was a pick-up man for Andy Amsbaugh for many years all over California. He had a smile as big as his stature. Read his obituary in this issue on page 5.