6th Annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals Report
By Naomi Loomis, WSRRA Representative
The most successful ever sixth-annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals Rodeo was held October 28 – November 1 at the Winnemucca Events Complex in Winnemucca, Nevada. Teams came from eleven western states including far away states like Nebraska and Wyoming.
Throughout 2015, WSRRA sanctioned 41 open ranch rodeos, 15 women’s ranch rodeos and more than 100 ranch bronc riding events. The top open and women’s teams from each of the ranch rodeos, and the top 15 women’s steer stoppers, and top 15 ranch bronc riders competed for cash and prizes at the National Finals. Prizes included Gist buckles, custom made gear made by Ricardo’s Saddlery and John Mincer, halters, stirrups donated by Weber Stirrups, a pair of boots donated by Martin & Co, and knives donated by Kerry’s Custom Knifes.
The Nationals Finals kicked off Thursday with the women’s long go team events and the opening of the Christmas Buckaroo Trade Show. Winners of an evening jackpot big loop were Gary Grockett and Jesse Jolly; of the jackpot team roping, Toby Vineyard and Chad Goings; and of the jackpot women’s steer stopper contest, Amy Ward.
Friday, October 30, one member of each open team started the day showing off their highly skilled ranch horses in a sort and rope contest. Then the teams competed in long go performances of load & tie and team roping. The evening’s performance had a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” theme with a special presentation by youth on horseback showcasing the LaRena Smith Bengoa Run, Ride or Walk for the Cure fund that benefits cancer victims in Humboldt and Lander Counties, Nevada. Grand Marshalls, David and Lorraine Reynolds from Texas, made an exciting grand entrance in a refurbished horse drawn stagecoach. If that wasn’t enough, the first two rounds of the Professional Wild Horse Racers Association (PWHRA) national finals got everyone’s blood pumping! Rodeo clown, Tuffy Gessling entertained the crowd with his rope tricks and laughs. Joining us for the first time was master Charro-style roper, Ramon Becerra. In between specialty acts, WSRRA Ranch Bronc riders and open and women’s teams showed their stuff in featured performances.
Saturday morning started with two rounds of Women’s Steer Stopping, followed by open team long go’s of sort & rope doctoring, and team branding. Later in the day WSRRA National Sponsors, Performix Nutrition and The Boot Barn, sponsored a dummy roping contest and a stick horse barrel race for the kids. Buckles and jackets were the prizes. At the same time as the kids contests, arena action featured jackpot family branding won by Brady Haigh, Jessica Kelly, Jr. Kelly, and Jr. Harney. As the sun was going down, the second evening performance started. This performance was full of Wild West action and western traditions. Featured performances of more of the open and women’s teams, along with two rounds each of PWHRA and WSRRA ranch bronc riding kept the arena dust stirred up and the crowd’s excitement high! Performances by Tuffy Gessling and Ramon Becerra continued to liven up the evening’s experience. The Winnemucca event center was filled with kids (and adults) in Halloween costumes, and vendors handed out candy to all the cute Trick or Treaters. Saturday ended with year-end and long go awards at The Winners at Winners WSRRA awards party, followed by dancing to music by the Jeff Palmer Band, both hosted by the Winners Inn & Casino.
Cowboy Church by Bo and Kathy Lowe was well attended first thing on Sunday, the last day of the event. After Cowboy Church, WSRRA held the short go of the national finals for the open and women’s divisions and the final rounds of PWHRA wild horse racing and WSRRA ranch bronc riding. At the end of the afternoon, champions were crowned and awards were handed out.
Congratulations to all the contestants not just the winners. First time visitors to the event were totally impressed with the quality of the competition and the stock. A huge thank you to all the office help, chute help, announcers, judges, vendors, stock contractors, and particularly Hot Creek Ranch, owned by Bobbi and Dave Murphey, who supplied nearly 250 top quality Corriente cattle for the event.
Established in 2010, the WSRRA has experienced incredible growth, each year growing in number of events and members. The association currently has more than 650 members.
Western States Ranch Rodeo Association Finals photos for all years can be seen and purchased here: http://buckaroocountry.smugmug.com
The WSRRA wouldn’t be around without the help of our sponsors and major supporters which include: Winnemucca WVCA Board, Ram Trucks/Ram Rodeo, Boot Barn, Performix Nutrition, Les Schwab Tires, 8 Seconds Whiskey, Twisted X Boots, Gouveia Ranches, Working Ranch Magazine, Mary Williams Hyde/Buckaroo Country, Rodeo News, Cowboy Showcase/Lee Raine, and host hotels, Winnemucca Inn and Winners Inn Casino.
The 2015 Western States Ranch Rodeo World Champions are as follows:
ALL AROUND RANCH HORSE – WOMENS
Quoxite’s Sneaky Cat, Kimberlyn Fitch from the Rafter Double Diamond
Make plans to attend a sanctioned WSRRA Ranch Rodeo in 2016!!