Editor’s Note: The information enclosed in this release is courtesy of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) for media use. However, if you reprint any of the following information verbatim in your publication, or if you read it verbatim on a radio broadcast, please mention that the information is courtesy of the PRCA.IN THIS RELEASE YOU’LL FIND:
1. Rookie breaks through for big win at Fort Mohave 2. No mas? No, plenty of Maass on ProRodeo road 3. Brazile first man to surpass $1 million in three events 4. Rodeo entertainer Hubbell dies at 93 4. Next Up 5. News and notes from the rodeo trail
1. Rookie breaks through for big win at Fort Mohave
FORT MOHAVE, Ariz. – A PRCA card holder for just three months and struggling to make ends meet, bull rider Kris Matthews and the three cowboys he’s traveling with took a 30-minute side trip to Needles, Calif., on March 3 in search of cheaper motel rates.
That sort of bargain hunting shouldn’t be necessary for a while.
Matthews, 24, put an 86-point ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Coffee Break March 4 to wrest the Avi River Stampede title away from Paul Coppini and traveling buddy Kaycee Rose by two points.
After winning $90 in his first four stops on the road – a day money check in Denver – Matthews headed home to Redwood Valley, Calif., with $1,583 and an immeasurable jolt of confidence.
“It is amazing … a great day,” Matthews said. “We drove straight over from (the rodeo in) Scottsdale and I was pretty excited to have the bull that (World Champion) Shane Proctor rode for 88 last week (at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz.).
“I did not want to waste an opportunity like that and it felt pretty good to get it done. Right now I’m wishing I’d bought my permit when I was 18 and started going to rodeos then. I love the sense of tradition and history at PRCA rodeos. It feels great to be a part of it.”
Matthews didn’t come from a traditional rodeo background. He grew up in California timber country in Mendocino County. His parents, Kai and Keli, weren’t too keen on the idea of his climbing on 1,700-pound bucking animals and he didn’t really get started in the sport until his sophomore year of high school.
His cousin, Earl Bauer, rode bulls and introduced Matthews to the sport at his practice pen in Covelo, Calif., 70 miles north of Matthews’ home, and took on the task of mentoring.
“My parents have kind of gotten used to the idea now,” Matthews said.
The other champions at the Mojave Crossing Event Center were bareback rider Clint Cannon (83 points), steer wrestler Trevor Duhon (8.7 seconds on two head), team ropers Aaron Tsinigine and Caleb Twisselman (9.3 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Chase Bennett (86 points), tie-down roper Jerrad Hofstetter (18.0 seconds on two head) and barrel racer Pamela Morrison (14.58 seconds). With a second-place finish at Parada del Sol in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hofstetter had earnings of $4,405, the high total for any contestant in this weekend’s six PRCA rodeos.
Cutter Parsons won the all-around title with $1,752 competing in steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
2. No mas? No, plenty of Maass on ProRodeo road
• After missing a berth in the last two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, Justin Maass (a six-time qualifier) seems intent on booking his room in Vegas early for 2012. Maass, of Giddings, Texas, entered the week leading the tie-down roping world standings and added to his lead by sharing the win with Matt Shiozawa at the Matagorda County Fair & Rodeo in Bay City, Texas, with an 8.6-second run. Maass’ season total of $35,241 is not only the highest among any of the timed-event leaders, but it is the most money he’s had this early in the season in his 16-year PRCA career.
• Caleb Smidt, a senior at Sam Houston State, is sticking to his word that he will not buy his PRCA card until after he graduates this spring, and this is very good news for any timed-event cowboy whose goal it is to earn a 2012 Resistol Rookie of the Year Award. Smidt finished third behind Maass and Shiozawa in the tie-down roping at Bay City and paired with Cole Davison to win the team roping in 3.7 seconds. His $8,383 as a team roping header would have him leading the rookie standings and his $7,303 in tie-down roping would have him second to Codie Poe. Smidt would be the only rookie qualified in the all-around category and fifth in the all-around world standings. Such balance has been the hallmark of Smidt’s ProRodeo permit-holding days. Entering Bay City, Smidt had earned $11,291 as tie-down roper and $11,235 in team roping.
• Reigning World Champion Tie-down Roper Tuf Cooper won the all-around title at the 18th annual Glen Rose (Texas) PRCA Rodeo. The twist? He did it without winning any money in tie-down roping. Cooper and fellow Texan Trey Johnson shared first place with 2010 Wrangler NFR team roping average champions Luke Brown and Martin Lucero, each pair posting a time of 4.1 seconds and banking $1,905 apiece. Cooper’s career earnings in team roping entering the week were $2,829, or 1.003 percent of his total earnings.
3. Brazile first man to surpass $1 million in three events
Trevor Brazile isn’t so much surpassing milestones these days as he is creating whole new categories.
Case in point: With the $16,040 he earned at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and his subsequent win at Sinton, Texas, Brazile reached the $1 million mark in career steer roping earnings ($1,003,572)
Having long ago gone past seven figures in tie-down roping and team roping, Brazile now stands as the only competitor in the history of ProRodeo to reach that milestone in three events.
He is only the second steer roper ever to reach $1 million in career earnings, joining 18-time World Champion Guy Allen, who has earned $1.65 million in the event.
“I wasn’t really aware I was getting close,” Brazile said. “I’ve always looked at myself as a multi-event cowboy and just to be able to reach that mark in all three events is special.
“It says something about a jack of all trades to compete well enough for long enough to do that.”
A sore back, which plagued Brazile from last August through the winter season, is mostly behind him now. He has taken on an exercise regimen to strengthen his core and take strain off his back. He decided not to take part in the Wrangler Timed Event Championships this year to avoid any risk of tweaking his back in steer wrestling.
Brazile is seeking to extend his record number of all-around gold buckles to 10 this year. He is tied with the legendary Jim Shoulders for second place on the all-time list of world championships with 16, trailing only Allen’s 18.
Brazile is leading the 2012 all-around world standings and the steer roping standings. He is 10th in the team roping and 36th in tie-down roping. And he’s healthy.
“There was no one incident with my back,” Brazile said. “Around August I just started noticing it wasn’t right. I had issues with it for several months, but now it’s actually better than it was. I’ve mostly worked on stability drills to build my core.”
4. Rodeo entertainer Hubbell dies at 93
Harold Joseph “Hub” Hubbell, a former all-around competitor, exhibition shooter, announcer, horse trainer and trick roper whose love of rodeo led him to speak at elementary schools as recently as last October, died March 3 on the back porch of his ranch house in Sarasota, Fla. He was 93.
Hubbell began his career as a specialty act performer after finishing his service in the U.S. Army Calvary Corps in World War II and for much of his more than 50 years of performing he paired with his wife, Eunice, as The Shooting Hubbells. Eunice died of cancer in 2009.
The Hubbells met at a rodeo in Ocala, Fla., when Hub roped Eunice as part of a publicity stunt and they were married on horseback a few weeks later at the Diamond B Wild West Show in front of 2,500 spectators.
Hubbell’s announcing career included six rodeos at Madison Square Garden, the Cowtown Rodeo series in Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J., and even regional radio broadcasts of the National Finals Rodeo when it was held in Oklahoma City.
Hall of Fame announcer and NFR general manager Clem McSpadden hired him to do advance publicity for rodeos in Oklahoma, which Hubbell would augment by driving up and down the main streets of town in a van with loud speakers on top.
He doubled for Gary Cooper in the movie Springfield Rifle and, over the years, worked with the likes of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Clayton Moore and Montie Montana.
“He left a legacy of a huge amount of friends,” Judith Leipold, author of a forthcoming biography of Hubbell, told the Sarasota Herald Tribune. “Our project may have started as a book, but it evolved into learning about this tremendous human being. Every time I interview someone for the book, they tell me how much he helped them. He was a tremendous source of positive energy. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“You’re away from home a lot, but I guess you can be at home working in an oilfield or some other thing that’s the hard life, you know?”
– Team roping heeler and tie-down roper Rhen Richard talking about the pros and cons of a career in professional rodeo.
5. Next Up March 8 Marshall (Texas) ProRodeo begins March 9 Arcadia All Florida Championship Rodeo begins March 10 Okeechobee (Fla.) Cattleman’s Spring Rodeo begins March 10 North Dakota Winter Show, Valley City, begins March 11 Rodeo Austin (Texas) Xtreme Bulls Tour Division 2 event March 12 Rodeo Austin (Texas) begins
6. News and notes from the rodeo trail
If you think South Dakota and rodeo, you think saddle bronc riding, the state having produced six-time World Champion Casey Tibbs, five-time World Champion Billy Etbauer and a host of other great bronc riders. A large statue of Etbauer has been commissioned for the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre, S.D., to be erected alongside Tibbs’ statue overlooking the Missouri River. It is part of the ongoing history project started by the late Johnny Smith to honor South Dakota’s rodeo greats … Bo Barnes, the son of seven-time World Champion Team Roping Header Jake Barnes, has transferred from the University of Hawaii to Arizona State University, where he will continue his college basketball career in the 2012-13 season. Bo set a school record for 3-point field goals by a freshman last year for the Rainbow Warriors and started eight games … Kenneth Cunningham, a three-time qualifier for the College National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding, has been selected for induction into the Eastern New Mexico University Hall of Honors … Ak-Sar-Ben River City Rodeo Chairman of the Board Paul Jessen, an attorney who helped negotiate the recent three-year extension to keep the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, died of cancer on Feb. 14. He was 59. Jessen was known in Omaha civic and business circles for his professionalism, humble leadership, volunteer spirit and his wealth of hunting stories … PRCA cowboys Russell Cardoza and Sam Willis are featured on the Comcast Sportsnet reality show Stompin Ground, presented by Ram Trucks. The show premiered on Feb. 21 and previews can be viewed online at http://tinyurl.com/79zlgqy. It’s worth the visit just to hear Willis described by a rodeo announcer as “the kind of guy who would go after Moby Dick in a 14-foot row boat and take the tartar sauce with him.” … Bullfighter Matt Lucking finished out the Parada del Sol Rodeo in Scottsdale as the emergency replacement after Clifford Maxwell was injured March 3 … When Bennie Beutler unloaded the trucks at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, it marked the 60th consecutive year that the Beutler family had supplied stock for the Tucson rodeo … The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo broke its attendance record for the seventh consecutive time with 1,464,291 entering the grounds from Feb. 9-25, breaking last year’s mark of 1,437,316. The seven-time PRCA Indoor Rodeo of the Year broke individual day records for nine of the sessions … Rodeo Austin is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its creation this year with publication of a coffee table history book by local author Liz Carmack, Rodeo Austin: Blue Ribbons, Buckin’ Broncs & Big Dreams (Texas A&M Press, www.tamupress.com) … Hundreds of rodeo fans attended the annual free Cowboy Breakfast on March 2 to kick off this March 12-24 edition of Rodeo Austin at Travis County Expo Center … Also celebrating a 75th anniversary is this week’s North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City – the region’s longest-running agriculture show – which features a PRCA rodeo of that same name on March 10-11.