Throughout the past three weekends, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association strategically has returned to work after being shut down for more than two months because of coronavirus concerns.
On the weekends of May 22-24 and May 29-31, PRCA competitions were conducted in Cave Creek, Arizona, in the Phoenix area, and in Fort Worth. No fans were allowed to attend and the performances were broadcast on the Cowboy Channel.
But when PRCA competitions were conducted last weekend in Mesquite, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma, fans were allowed to attend. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo, for example, opened on June 6 with a plan to allow 25 percent capacity with pre-designated seating.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing for us to just find ways to get back,” PRCA Chief executive officer George Taylor said. “If you can go to a water park why can’t you come to a rodeo? If we’re on an airplane elbow to elbow, it’s no different than being in an arena elbow to elbow. So, let’s find ways to get it done.”
The Mesquite Rodeo, which began in 1958, is in its 63rd year. The summer season of 13 consecutive weeks began last weekend (June 6). Organizers will conduct performances each Saturday.
Quade Hiatt of Canyon clinched the tie-down roping title in Mesquite with a time of 7.7 seconds. Matt Reeves, a Pampa native who is from Cross Plains (near Abilene), finished third in steer wrestling with a 4.3.
Reeves, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2020 steer wrestling world title race.
The Liberty National Xtreme Bulls (Division II) in Lawton was June 5-6. Braden Richardson of Richwood won it with an 87.5.
Boquet clinches title
Dustin Boquet, a 2018 National Finals Rodeo qualifier who is from Athens, clinched the bull riding title at Mesquite with an 88 and finished fifth at the PRCA bull riding show in Lawton with an 84.5.
This weekend, the PRCA’s busiest rodeos are scheduled in Coleman and Woodward, Oklahoma. Both rodeos have drawn numerous world class competitors. Fans will be allowed to attend both the Coleman and the Woodward rodeos.
“We’re hoping to provide an example for those rodeo committees that might wonder whether it’s good for their community to continue during this COVID epidemic,” said Steve Rempelos, the PRCA’s chief marketing officer. “We need to figure out how to not cancel them, but to put rodeos on for our communities and our athletes.”
Gray roping tough
Five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Adam Gray, who has homes at Seymour and Weatherford, placed in tie-down roping all three performances at the Houston Livestock Show Rodeo Super Series Finish on May 31 at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth.
Gray won the morning performance with a 7.6, finished second during the matinee with an 8.8, and came in first during the night rodeo with a 7.4.
Gray, 36, who is ranked 13th in the tie-down roping world standings, said he was elated to be competing again.
“I’m getting kind of toward the end of my career,” Gray said. “So, I don’t sure want to sit around at this point and in my life. I’m ready to get back after it. I’m ready for this country to get back on track and let’s kind of move on and not shut everybody down at this point.”
Steer roping update
World class steer ropers saddled up on June 1-2 at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. Reo Lohse, of Kaycee, Wyoming, clinched the title at the Guns Up Steer Roping with a four-run time of 72.8.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur, a 14-time world all-around champion, finished second with a 74.5. He's in first place in the PRCA’s 2020 steer roping world standings.
Vin Fisher Jr. of Andrews, who has earned 16 trips to the National Finals Steer Roping, finished second in the third round with an 11.6. He’s ranked fifth in the PRCA’s steer roping world title race.
Garrett Hale of Snyder, who qualified for the 2019 National Finals Steer Roping qualifier, won the first round with an 11.3. He's ranked eighth in the PRCA’s 2020 steer roping world title race.
Veteran Roger Branch clinched the title at the Legacy Steer Roping in Levelland with a four-run time of 80.4. Tuff Hardman clinched the Guns Up Steer Roping Permit Section title with a 45.3 on two runs.
PRCA Steer roping competition originally was scheduled in Levelland on May 31, a day after the ABC ProRodeo that was scheduled for May 28-30 in the same community. But the ABC ProRodeo was cancelled because of coronavirus concerns and the steer roping competitions were moved to June 1-2.
PRCA bronc riding
World class bronc riders were in Baldwin, Iowa, on June 6 to compete in the Three Hills Rodeo Xtreme Bronc Buck Out. Jayco Roper and Bill Tutor, a former National Finals qualifier from Huntsville, tied for first in bareback riding with 83.5s. In saddle bronc riding, former NFR qualifier Brody Cress clinched title with an 82.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than 35 years. Email him at email@example.com.