Hope the holiday season was good to you all, and I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year. A new year often symbolizes a new, fresh start. In the rodeo world, it is often marked with the excitement of everyone’s chance to get a good jump on a new season. People often talk about how small the “off-season” is for the top professionals in ProRodeo. There virtually isn’t one. By the time the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Qualifiers get home for Christmas dinner- they are headed to Odessa in hopes of a return trip to the Big Show.
This sport is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately” scenario. The guys who claimed the 2013 Gold Buckles were on the same starting blocks as everyone else on January 1st of 2014.
In regards to the team roping, I am always excited to see the new team pairings going into the new year. It is fun to see who is sticking together, and who is trying something new. The new team of Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager got the ball rolling early with a big win at the Odessa Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo last week. Powell’s partner the last two years- Dugan Kelly- will be heeling for Garrett Tonozzi in the new year. Dakota’s 2013 header- Spencer Mitchell- will be heading for boyhood buddy Russell Cardoza in 2014. Major new pairings also include Kaleb Driggers and Patrick Smith, Trevor Brazile heading for Travis Graves and Aaron Tsinigine heading for Two-Time World Champion Heeler Walt Woodard. Chad Masters is also back- heading for Clay O’Brien Cooper. As of right now, Brazile and Graves are the leaders at Denver.
I have also really enjoyed seeing Jake Barnes’ name routinely popping up in the 2014 rodeo results early on. He is roping with Junior Nogueira, from Brazil. They won third at Odessa and also qualified for Denver through the qualifying rodeo
As of this point, everyone is thinking “this is the year” for them to make it big. They’re coming on strong, with hopes of manifesting their dreams into realities. It seems like there is always a team or two that takes control in the winter time. That might mean a big win at a rodeo, like San Antonio or Denver. It is always exciting to see who jumps out early on in the season, and who comes strolling along steadily. Of course there are always the teams that don’t have a dime won by Reno in June, and go on to find themselves amongst the World Championship race in December. It is definitely a long year.
As for me, we are back in school at Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo from the Christmas break. I had a great break between roping, branding and enjoying time with old friends and family. I was fortunate to get to do some work for Ariat International out at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo too. I had a lot of fun working behind the scenes with Quincy Freeman and all the folks at Ariat. I am really grateful for my blessings.
I am the Cal Poly Rodeo Student President, and we will be hosting a Booster/Alumni Roping during our 74th Annual Poly Royal Rodeo April 10-12. The format is 20 teams- they will all rope 1 steer on Thursday, April 10 during a roughstock performance. It is $100/man to enter. $500/man goes to the fast time of Thursday’s performance. The top five teams will come back Saturday, April 12 to rope in the clean slate “Buckle Run” during the Poly Royal Short Round. Winners will receive Poly Royal buckles. Must have a Cal Poly Rodeo Booster Membership to rope. We invite you to come enjoy the festivities of this year’s Poly Royal Rodeo. Please contact myself at 805-712-1828 or Rodeo Coach Ben Londo at 805-459-7764. We are sure excited about this year’s rodeo production, so hope to see some of you there!
In the midst of this dramatic drought we are experiencing in California right now, pray for rain! I hope this blog finds you all happy and healthy.
It’s my journey, and your experience.