Happy New Year to all of you out there and here’s hoping 2021 will bring us a somewhat more normal year than 2020. My condolences to those who have had personal losses during this trying time. Our prayers go out to the COVID related losses and to those with wildfire, weather and other tragedies of 2020.
Congratulations to all of the newly crowned champions in our rodeo world. It was great to be able to have a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. My Resistol is off to all those who made it happen. We received word that The American Rodeo is going on as planned this year with limited capacity. The event will once again take place in Arlington, Texas with dates of March 6-7. As a huge dollar rodeo for the contestants, the mastermind behind The American, Randy Bernard, creator of The American, has stated it is probably more important to have the event this year than last year as last year it was held ahead of the pandemic crisis.
Many related activities in our industry were greatly altered due to the COVID situation in 2020. We so appreciated that the Cowboy Channel along with RFD Radio and TV could keep many folks in tune to what was happening and gave some degree of normalcy to our western events. It was very sad to see some of the mainstay events that have been going on for years be altered or get completely postponed. Some events went on in spite of the restrictions and some proved to be successful and others not. Team ropings and barrel races seemed to draw big in many places throughout the year and some of them having record entries.
The 2020 Bob Feist Invitational found itself in a situation when the state of Nevada forced restrictions on gatherings throughout the state which in turn caused the Reno Rodeo to be cancelled. For the past several years the BFI has been held in conjunction with the Reno Rodeo and the two entities had complemented each other in their endeavors. When the Reno Rodeo cancelled, it left the BFI with a decision of what to do, as Nevada crowds were going to be limited, making the event inoperable.
The BFI owners had to make a decision to either cancel or find an alternative location to host the event and give the contestants a chance to compete. With limited places to host this prestigious event, things had to happen in a short time period to make a 2020 BFI happen. The Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma was available and the decision was made to move from Reno because of not knowing if their rodeo would happen.
Moving an event of that nature and carrying on the established prestige to a new venue is not an easy task with a year’s notice, let alone less than two months. The two parties put their heads together and made it happen with a record BFI being produced. The Lazy E has hosted many events in many different fields of agriculture during its existing years but never one quite like the BFI. Management had underestimated the volume of fans and competitors for the 2020 event and found many challenges. Under the talents of Ullman/Peterson Events, they got through the event and learned many things to improve if the event would ever return.
As COVID continues to restrict happenings in the state of Nevada, as of this writing, the Reno Rodeo will be taking place in June of 2021. With this being said, the BFI had to make some alternate plans if it was to have a BFI in 2021. The Timed Event Championships have been held at the Lazy E Arena in March for many years and has invited the BFI to merge on that week to make it a destination for the roping fan. That’s what is planned at this time and the BFI will be on the Sunday of the TEC. In years past the fifth and last performance of the TEC was always on Sunday and this year it will be held on Saturday night, leaving Sunday for the BFI (see ads on pages 3 and 33 for info).
The BFI loves Reno Rodeo the city of Reno, the Silver Legacy and all those others connected with the event and have hopes of returning there when the restrictions ease. Management has many ideas in the hopper for future BFI events. One posssibility would be a Legends BFI opened to past BFI contestants of a certain age and criteria. They also want to continue their Junior BFI for the youth of our industry at least for this year, where it appears once again competitions will be limited, the ropers and fans can plan on a BFI at the Lazy E Arena. This primo facility lends itself well to the legend of the BFI with the large arena allowing for a long score and strong cattle. The original BFI held in Chowchilla, CA was in an arena close to 500 foot long and had a 35 foot score.
Hope to see many of you at the TEC this years as I will be there announcing again along with Justin McKee. Stop by and say howdy.
Sadly, the famed Cowboy Downhill held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, will not take place this year due to COVID issues and Denver being cancelled.
Unfortunately, this issue contains more obituaries for some of our fellow team ropers. Multi-time world champion Leo Camarillo has left us too soon. Who in the team roping does not know the name “Camarillo?” See Kendra Santos’ tribue to Leo starting on the front cover. We also lost two more NFR team ropers over the last few months. Junior Muzio passed in November and Jack Rasco in January. Well-known Nevada roper Vern Banks has also left us. See his story on page 15). Our condolences to the families of Leo, Junior, Jack and Vern.
Also, the RSN staff is hoping to resume a monthly publication starting in March (the issue you are reading is combined Jan.-Feb.). We will keep you updated.