It is a great to once again be able to write an article after Ropers Sports News missed printing an issue in May due to the COVID-19 situation. This marked the first time we have missed an issue in over 51 years of existence. It was a sad day when Stephanie Anderson, Jenny Vasquez and I made the decision to forgo our May issue after event after event were canceling and many producers had no idea when they could foresee opening their arenas or hosting an annual event. I hope that all of our readers and their families are safe and that we can all see this pass in the coming year.
The Bob Feist Invitational along with BFI Week had to be canceled in Reno along with the Reno Rodeo which caused the BFI to make a decision as to postpone the stand alone event to a later date, cancel completely or move to a different location during the month of June. It was decided to move to the great Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla. during the week of June 20-24th. I personally am pleased with their choice of the location as I have been associated with the Lazy E since its inception and have always felt that it was an arena that could accommodate the BFI.
Over the years I have competed, announced, covered events for RSN and even been a spectator at this wonderful arena. I have nothing but high praise for this facility. This year I co-announced the famed Timed Event Championship with Justin McKee in the beginning of March right before all of the restrictions had been set in place and even then the management went above and beyond to make sure that precautions were taken. The event was open to the public and was well-attended. Extra measures were taken throughout the facilities by way of extra hand sanitizers and cleaning to make the fans feel comfortable. My Resistol’s off to the McKinney family and Dan Wall for all they do to accommodate visitors to the Lazy E.
I have already made my plans to be there for the entire week and hope everything goes well for the staff and the fans of this prestigious event. If you haven’t already, make your plans now to be in Oklahoma during this week. Remember that this year the BFI will be on a Sunday, June 21st. There are many other attractions within the Oklahoma City area that one can enjoy while attending this event. Check out the BFI ad on page 3 of this issue and make your plans to attend as a competitor or spectator at this year’s Wrangler BFI presented by YETI.
Host hotel for the BFI will be the Hilton Garden Inn, (405) 285-0900.
Filling the gap left by moving the BFI to Oklahoma, will be a California Shootouts World Series Qualifer that will be held in Fallon, Nev. the weekend of June 20-21 at Tommy Lee’s Big Silver Arena. Tommy’s wife, Nora, will be producing her 4th Annual Why Not? Cowgirl Classic the following day for the ladies. Nora’s event features breakaway roping, all girl team roping and goat tying.
California has kept events limited during this pandemic and it has affected many aspects of our industry. Jeff Davis and the Four Star Rodeo Company decided that the annual Mother’s Day Rodeo held in Cottonwood, Calif. should go on as planned. The big major change was to make it an open rodeo which allowed many great competitors to attend. The people in that area supported the event with great admiration and a record crowd showed up in spite of the short notice of announcement of the event. See the inspiring story on the cover of this issue.
The Rodeo industry and many fairs have been deeply impacted by the epidemic. The trickle down effect of this crisis goes on and on and will be a slow road to recovery. I know many of you have been affected by this crisis either through business or health and we wish you all the best in the recovery.
My good friend Jack Roddy has a new book out titled, “Wrestling The World.” Jack has worked every event of rodeo over the years and has been a close friend. We served on the board of the then RCA for many years where Jack was the Vice President. Jack agreed to do the book along with writer Katie Cooney as long as it was factual and no BS.
He talks about his life and times over the years which makes for some interesting reading. This Hall of Fame cowboy has some great stories about his life. Jack and his wife Donna have moved to Stephenville, Texas, and have been settling in after a 14-day quarantine. You can go online and get your copy of this great book through Amazon.com.
On a sad note, this issue has far too many obituaries in it, many of them about some of my long time friends. Tex Earnhardt is among those and I can go way back to my competition days when I would spend many days in the Arizona area and Tex was always a great host. Tex and I always loved to talk airplanes and roping stories for many years. I even bought some vehicles from him over the years. His son, Hal traveled with us a couple of years on the roping trail. When JB Getzwiller and I roped together we would practice and hang out at the Earnhardt Ranch. I can always remember Tex driving the older cars and trucks and we would ask him why he didn’t drive the brand new ones off the lot? He would reply that he wanted to let his customers know that the product he sold would hold up and last with good service. RIP Tex.
Bill Martinelli has also passed. This long time bronc rider was among the best during his rodeo competition days. A good all-around cowboy who I was around for many years in the rodeo and roping business. RIP partner.
There are other obits in this issue that include Bill Sherwood, father of World Champion Header Matt Sherwood, Dr. Brea McGrew, DVM and Claudia Casselberry, wife of Dr. Tom Casselberry DVM of Napa, Calif.
May we all get back to some kind of normal in the near future. Until that time travel safe and good luck in the arena as well as life. May we never miss an issue again of RSN. Hope to see many of you at the Lazy E in June for the BFI.