I was asked to give a talk to the staff and the Board of Directors of Rodeo Austin back in January about the history of rodeo. I found the staff very educated and enthusiastic about rodeo and their responsibilities to put on the best rodeo each year. Rob Golding has been the CEO for the last three years and has done a super job. Rodeo Austin joined PRCA in 1989 and has become 9thin the country out of over 600 rodeos, by total committee purse (according to the 2018 Media Guide) which is $340,000.
My ladies last night had such an enjoyable time, and I am the only consummate rodeo person in the bunch. I thought it would be interesting to include what the other five had to say about Rodeo Austin and their evening. We started off with an incredible dinner in the Founders Club. We had an opportunity to visit, over dinner, with one of the Executive Board members, who answered question after question about the history of Rodeo Austin. The rodeo ran smoothly from beginning to end. Although a medical staff was available there was not one time they had to help a competitor or an animal.
Beutler & Son Rodeo, under the direction of Benny Beutler, and sister, Dolly Riddle, who runs the Secretaries Office, do such an exceptional job. They happen to be part of a three generation stock contracting company so they know exactly how to do it right. Andrews Rodeo guru Sammy Andrews assisted with his stock, too. The Rodeo Austin volunteers are a tremendous group and are everywhere! If you need to ask a question about anything within the grounds there is a volunteer within a short distance to help you.
The concert with Martina McBride was excellent. I must say the acoustics in the stadium have improved a great deal and she gave a tremendous show. The stage and musicians were in place in quick time after the rodeo. Martina is a tremendous singer and so personable you feel she is singing directly to you.
My friends had different opinions of what was their favorite part of the evening and I want to share them with you:
Pam commented on how much she enjoyed the bull riding, although the bulls were rank and not easy to stay on for 8 seconds. Parker Breding, a second generation bull rider, won and what a ride he did have getting an 84.50 score. Pam also commented how much she enjoyed the comedy of Justin Rumford, the rodeo clown. He is hilarious and keeps the laughs coming from beginning to end. I might add the barrelman, and bullfighters, were so efficient in doing their jobs, they make bullfighting look easy. It is NOT! An extra added attraction at the end of the bull riding event was a free-style bullfight with a couple of bulls that were just hankering for a fight with someone. Well done!
Melissa showed horses in her youth butdid not competed in rodeos. She was a part of the ‘rodeo family’ growing up, and the entire evening brought back so many memories about the western way of life. She couldn’t pinpoint a highlight, saying it was all too good!
Debbie loved the bronc riding and understanding if the horse does not do his part or stumbles, the judges can give the rider an option of a re-ride. There were only two in last night’s performance. One in the saddle bronc riding, and one in the bull riding.
Anne Marie was so impressed with the cowboys and how they travel from all over the country to compete. Cowboys last night were from Canada, ID, MT, LA, CO, NV, ND, WY, WI, SD, OK, PA, NY, AL, FL, NE, UT, GA, MN, NM, MO, IA, and all over Texas. Which means Rodeo Austin is very important on the competing cowboys PRCA rodeo road to winning enough to be eligible for the PRCA National Finals by year’s end.
Nikki said that the highlight of the evening for her was watching all the events and learning, from the great announcers, Wayne Brooks and Randy Corley, the rules and how a judge scores. For example, if a bronc rider does not spur the bronc, in the shoulder, on the first jump out of the chute he is disqualified. Another rule she learned was that when the calf is tied, it has to stay tied six seconds, after the rider leaves the calf and returns to his saddle, to be considered a qualified tie.
My highlight was taking five friends who are not considered to be rodeo fans to our great rodeo. To see them enjoy themselves in everything we got to do last evening thrilled me. Rodeo Austin has definitely added so much to the world of professional rodeo. Immersing my days with rodeo facts, historically and in the present, I was so pleased to see so many names that are at the top of the PRCA events boards. The WPRA barrel racers were superb. My focus these days are on the barrel racers since I am currently writing a book on the history of their event, which is fascinating, I was impressed by so many National Finals competitors competing at Rodeo Austin!
I also think the way the Mutton Bustin’ is held, with each and every rider being helped up by a volunteer and taken back to the sidelines is comforting to the kids even though they may have had a rough ‘buck-off’ at the end of their ride, no one seemed any worse for wear. Randy Corley talking with the winner and having fun with all of them at the end was fun for all! The Steer Wrestlers last night were all from the upper part of our country and Canada, except for one lone Nevada cowboy. The leader in Steer Wresting is Tanner Brunner with a 3.2 second time. Harley Cole of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada came closest with a 3.7 second run. The tie down ropers had a bad evening trying to catch Michael Otero that had a 7.7 second score to lead the event. Closest to him was Caddo Lewallen of Morrison, OK with 9.4 second time. Team ropers were competing against a first place time of 4.2 seconds and Rich Skelton, of Llano, along with header, Nelson Wyatt of Clanton, AL; they tied the first place time. Dr. Charles Graham, of Elgin, TX, was introduced and should be. He was the 2018 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year and has always supported this fine rodeo. Miss Rodeo Texas was present and she and the Bullfighters, Barrelman, and Justin Rumford were all signing autographs after the rodeo.
I can’t say enough about Rodeo Austin. They have many additional things to do and see on the grounds. Riding the carnival rides, eating all the neat foods offered at the concession stands, and the pig races, Oh my! One thing I am sorry I didn’t have time to see were the Trick Riders that performed in the Wild West Show next door to the rodeo arena. The talents of these performers are amazing.
The proceeds from this venue is dedicated to scholarships to area students. Each night I attended one of the scholarship recipients was there and introduced on the big screen over the arena. What a wonderful important choice by Rodeo Austin.
Change your plans! Or if you have no plans from now through Saturday, get tickets and head for Rodeo Austin. Go to their website and check it all out. You will have more fun than you can imagine. WE DID! AND YOU WILL, TOO!