Daily Archives: November 29, 2016



The most talented cowboys in the country are returning to Las Vegas in two weeks and this time they’re going to make a lot more money at the National Finals Rodeo.

Under a 10-year deal that starts this year, Las Vegas Events will be doling out $10 million in prize money to the 120 cowboys competing in seven categories at NFR, considered the Super Bowl of rodeo events and sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.


As I touched down in Tacloban for what felt like the nth time this past month, and travelled through its main streets, I was newly struck by how unremarkable it all looks today compared to the total devastation of three years ago. Most buildings and roads have been repaired, the sidewalks are bustling with urban activity, and business is booming, if one judges by the new establishments that have popped up on almost every corner. The city, it would appear, has gotten back on its feet.


Yet, just outside downtown Tacloban, in the coastal villages that suffered the most from the deadly storm surges that Typhoon Haiyan triggered, thousands of displaced families are still in limbo, waiting to know whether they can be relocated to safer areas or if they should carry on as they are, barely making a living in these ‘danger zones’.


the National Retail Federation (NFR)’s online arm. The Cyber Monday was push to encourage people who missed the Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales events as well as when people returned to offices where they had high-speed Internet connections. Since then, the sudden boom of mobile smartphones and other WiFi-equipped handheld devices has given consumers perpetual Internet access and now the Cyber Monday is being used by retailers to offer deals to shoppers.

Since Typhoon Haiyan decimated Tacloban’s coastal villages, the city government has classified all areas located less than 40 meters from the coast as ‘danger zones’ because they are prone to flooding and deadly storm surges.

That’s a big jump from the $6.375 million the contestants split during the 10-day finals in 2014, when tens of thousands of western/country culture enthusiasts and rodeo fans visited Las Vegas and spent $74.5 million on nongambling items such as hotel rooms and food.

Las Vegas Events, the event promotional arm of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), pumped up the prize money to keep the NFR in Las Vegas and to deter the PRCA from moving it to either the Orlando area or Texas.

With the new Las Vegas Events-PRCA deal kicking in this year, Las Vegas Events will go from making about $1 million on the rodeo to losing about $2 million a year. But the LVCVA will make up the loss to Las Vegas Events, said Pat Christen

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Twenty-five other Junior Bareback Riders from Canada to Texas and North Dakota to California were all vying for the seven Mountain States Region qualifying spots. Brent Applegarth, Kelby Schneiter, Tucker Carricato, Weston Timberman, Darien Johnson, and Cooper Cano were the other Mountain States Regional qualifiers.


The Sheridan County High School rodeo team is currently comprised of students from Sheridan High School and Big Horn High School. These students work year-round to earn enough money for their two-day rodeo every Memorial Day weekend at the Sheridan county fairground. Their biggest fundraiser is the NFR Fantasy party.

On Saturday, Nov. 26 the rodeo team will host a night of fun, prizes, and friendly competition at the sixth annual NFR Party at the Holiday Inn in Sheridan. The event is open to the public and intended to fundraise for the spring rodeo, senior scholarships, travel money for the team’s national qualifiers, and rodeo cancer fund donations.


At 6:00 p.m. there will be a happy hour with Hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction followed by a live auction of the top 15 NFR qualifier teams and numerous other items at 7:00 p.m. Three-time WNFR qualifier and 2016 world champion contender Joe Frost will act as a guest auctioneer at the party, donating a custom made-to-order pair of chaps or chinks for participants to bid on. There will also be a dance with performer Justin Beasley at 9:00 p.m.


To date Montgomery’s riding average is 100 percent. In addition to riding junior bareback horses, Montgomery also is a skilled roper and rider, winning buckles and other awards in goat tying, flag racing, steer riding, breakaway and team roping. Additionally, he plays football and wrestles for Huntley Project Junior High.

The father of the twenty-five year old cowboy is Troy Pruitt, the 1990 World Champion Tie-down Roper. Riley won the Nebraska High School Tie-down roping championship three times and finished third in the average at the College National Finals Rodeo in 2011, before hitting the pro rodeo trail full time.

The year 2016 has been his best yet, with him entering the WNFR in ninth place in the standings with $74,547 won in the regular season. His winning winter put him in a great spot – he won the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Odessa, Texas, the second round in San Angelo, Texas, and placed in San Antonio.

Doing well over the winter takes some of the pressure off during the busy summer season. “Having that much money won after the winter makes the summer a lot easier,” he said. “I can go to the big rodeos and don’t have to win first.”

Rodeoing a bit less in the summer also allows his horse to have some time off. “I didn’t have to have (Chip, his seventeen-year-old buckskin) in the trailer every day all year. We had a chance to come home a few days out of the week, and he got to relax and rest. He stayed strong for me all year.”

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The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) takes over Las Vegas Dec. 1-10, with many thousands of Western-clad visitors expected to pull for their favorite athletes at the world’s richest rodeo.

The PRCA’s 2016 regular season closed on Sept. 30. The 2017 regular season opened on Oct. 1.

A competitor’s earnings from a rodeo with a concluding date of Sept. 30 or earlier this year counted toward the 2016 PRCA standings. A competitor’s earnings from a rodeo that closed on Oct. 1 or afterward count toward the 2017 standings.


For example, Marcos Costa, a Brazilian who lives in Childress, earned $2,619 after finishing third at the Sept. 24-29 Pasadena (Texas) Livestock Show Rodeo. Those earnings counted toward the 2016 world standings.

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After placing at the Pasadena rodeo, Costa is ranked No. 1 in PRCA’s 2016 tie-down roping standings and has earned his second consecutive trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Costa also earned $1,965 as the result of tying for second at the Waller County Fair & Rodeo in Hempstead, which began Sept. 29, but concluded on Oct. 1. A competitor’s earnings from the Hempstead rodeo counts toward the 2017 standings.

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Thurston, from Big Valley, Alberta, took the lead in the first round of saddle bronc riding with an impressive 84-point ride on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s horse named LuLu. Thurston is following in the footsteps of his father, Skeeter Thurston, who was the rookie saddle bronc riding champion here in 1982. Zeke Thurston qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) last year and is on pace for another trip to Las Vegas next December.

He finished last season in 11th place and is hoping to improve that position this year. Like any other cowboy, getting to the NFR and earning a gold buckle is his ultimate goal. He is currently ranked 10th in the world standings and needs to remain among the top 15 through the end of September to earn his second NFR qualification.

Thurston is coming off of one of the biggest wins of his career in his home country. Just over a week ago, he won the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and the $100,000 bonus that goes with it. Remarkably, this is the second time he has earned that title and while it doesn’t count towards the world standings, it certainly counts in his bank account.

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas in December. Two finished as reserve world champions there and five of them are entered in this year’s rodeo hoping to defend their titles.

Lisa Lockhart, from Oelrichs, S.D., won the barrel racing here last year on her great buckskin horse Louie. The duo went on to qualify for their ninth NFR and left Las Vegas just short of the world title. Luke Brown, from Stephenville, Texas won the team roping here a year ago roping with Kollin Von Ahn from Blanchard, Okla. Brown also finished as the reserve world champion.

He will be roping here this year with Jake Long from Coffeyville, Kan. They are currently at the top of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) world standings. Also back to defend their titles will be bareback rider Tanner Aus from Granite Falls, Minn.; steer wrestler Nick Guy from Sparta. Wisc.; and tie-down roper Marty Yates, from Stephenville, Texas.

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier in 2008-10 and 2015 for team roping, LeMond joined the PRCA in 2002.

In 2015, he bounced back nicely from an injury which had forced him to miss most of the 2014 season. Last season, LeMond placed in eight rounds of the NFR in Las Vegas in team roping, and he placed in four rounds at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kansas.

The total payout for this year’s Frontier Days Rodeo, which conducted eight performances from June 28 through July 4, was a hefty $252,219.

What follows is a brief rundown of the rest of the winners in each of the primary pro-rodeo events at this year’s rodeo.