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ProRodeo Stars welcomed to the Hall of Fame

Courtesy of the PRCA

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (PRCA) – The stars of ProRodeo converged when the 2022 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees led by Trevor Brazile, the King of PRCA cowboys with 26 world championships, were inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame on July 16.

Brazile is joined in the star-studded 2022 induction class by four-time PRCA World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote (2002, 2007, 2009-2010), World Champion Team Roper Bobby Harris (1991), stock contractor the late Jake Beutler, rodeo clown Rick Young, four-time PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, rodeo notable Mel Potter, World Champion steer wrestler Roy Duvall’s horse Whiskey and late World Champion barrel racer Ardith Bruce and WPRA notable Cindy Rosser.

The rodeo committee from Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell also was also put into the Hall.

The 2022 Ken Stemler Pioneer Award, which recognizes those who have provided groundbreaking, innovative ideas and forward thinking that help the development, advancement, and success of the PRCA and/or the Hall of Fame and their missions is being awarded posthumously to John Van Cronkhite, the first general manager of the National Finals Rodeo in 1959.

Brazile, ProRodeo’s only $7-million cowboy, has 26 gold buckles that include a PRCA-record 14 in all-around (2002-04, 2006-15, 2018), three in tie-down roping (2007, 2009-10) and one in team roping (2010) to go with the National Finals Steer Roping gold buckles in 2006-07, 2011, 2013-15 and 2019-20.

“It takes a while to sink in in theory,” Brazile said about his induction. “But it doesn’t really hit you until you walk through these halls and see people who have been icons in the sport, who you don’t hear about everyday but when you come through this Hall you realize what they have done and their contributions to the sport. Accolades are great, but to know you have contributed to make this sport better than you found it, that’s probably the biggest compliment anybody could ever give you.”

Brazile also has won a PRCA record 74 career round wins at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – in tie-down roping and team roping – and steer roping.

Brazile has won 36 rounds at the NFSR, second only to Guy Allen’s 48.

“I would probably debunk all the laws of positive thinking because I had just hoped at some time, I would be fortunate to be to get a world championship, that would be awesome. To have multiple world championships and records is great. Records are made to be broken and I have no doubt someone is going to come along and break more records, but I will know if they break those records, they will get to hang out here one day at the Hall of Fame.”

Most PRCA cowboys today don’t compete in three events, but that’s something Brazile took great pride in during his decorated career.

“It just wasn’t an option for me,” Brazile said. “I didn’t want to be specialized. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t for me. I wanted to be known as a cowboy and not specialized in any one discipline. That was the way I went at it. Yeah, there were some ups and downs, but when you are standing here on a day like today it is well worth the sacrifices it took.

“My grasp of reality knowing that there were guys who were more talented and more physically adapted to what we do was probably my biggest strength because it kept me working hard. It kept me refining my horsemanship because in everything I did, horses played such a big role in my success. We did that in a way that it made up for some of the shortcomings. My horses made me better than I thought I ever would be.”

Mote takes time to celebrate

Mote, who retired in 2017 at the age of 41, qualified for 15 consecutive NFRs from 2001-2015 and was reserve world champion in 2001 and 2006.

“It’s a tremendous honor, there’s no other way to put it,” Mote said. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about it as I’ve been trying to work on my speech and think about what it means. In rodeo we are sort of conditioned to try to be as humble as possible because it doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished or who you are. Because every time you nod your head you can get a mouth full of dirt pretty easily. Rodeo has a way of humbling you.

“The nice thing about this is like obviously I’m done riding bareback horses. I’m not concerned with whether I’m entered or if my last ride was good or not. It kind of doesn’t matter anymore. It sort of brings a little closure to a cowboy’s career and at the end of it it’s an atta’ boy from the rodeo world to say you did good and we recognize it. There’s only been 21 bareback riders that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. There’s a lot of guys that are in the Hall that are truly great, so to be in the same Hall as those people it truly means something. I’m really grateful for this honor because there’s a lot of great contestants that aren’t in the hall. So, it’s something I’ll allow myself to celebrate.”

Harris humbled with Hall of Fame induction

Harris qualified 18 times in team roping in 1981-82, 1984-95 and 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2010. He also qualified for the NFSR in 1986-91 and 1993, 2006.

Harris, a team roping heeler, captured the 1991 team roping title while roping with fellow team roping Hall of Famer Tee Woolman.

“It’s an honor when you’re elected on other people’s thoughts and stuff. It’s really humbling to be included with the other Hall of Famers in ProRodeo,” Harris said. “It means so much to me because the PRCA has been my whole life since I was little boy. I always wanted to be a cowboy. To be able to be included in this Hall of Fame is just really humbling and very honorable.

Courtesy of Bobby Harris Facebook Page

“I can say for myself that this is something I never thought about. You’re thinking about competition and trying to win a championship or whatever your goals are. The special thing about the Hall of Fame is it’s looked at after you’re done rodeoing. They look at your career and it means that they thought it was respectable and meant a lot to people. That’s the big thing about it, that’s what’s so nice about it. This is the standard that the PRCA has put in place to be included in this group of people.”

Jake Beutler joins family in Hall

Lynn Beutler of Elk City, Okla., was an integral part of professional rodeo for 40 years, becoming one of the sport’s most widely known stock contractors in the family rodeo company known as Beutler Brothers. The company, started in 1929 with Lynn, Jake, and Elra Beutler, was recognized as one of the top stock contracting firms producing rodeos across the Southwest and Northwest. Jake passed away in March of 1975. He was 72.

Now, Jake is a ProRodeo Hall of Fame member like family members Lynn, Elra, Jiggs, and Bennie.

“Jake should’ve been in there when Lynn (Beulter) went in there, Lynn went in there in 1979. Jake is very deserving of it because he worked really hard. Our entire family is going to be there to celebrate his accomplishment, it’ll be great,” Bennie Beutler said.

“This is something we are all really looking forward and it’s an achievement that’s long overdue.”

Rick Young soaks in Hall experience

In 1974, Young was selected to work the NFR in Oklahoma City and in 1980 he was named PRCA’s Clown of the Year. He was named Coors Man in the Can at the NFR in 1991, 1994 and 1996-97.

“Everybody has been calling me, so I hope (it’s set in). I tell you what I’ve never seen anything like it with the outpouring of support I’ve gotten for my induction,” Young said. “It’s really something and it’s an experience that everyone should have the opportunity to experience because it really is something special.

“All my friends are going to be there, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. Especially Mel Potter. I worked for Mel Potter for years at Rodeo Incorporated. He called me the other day and he said, ‘I’m sure looking forward to seeing you.’ It’s amazing to be here and have my friends of a lifetime and family here as well. It’s something I’ll never forget I can tell you that.”

Star horse Medicine Woman of Frontier Rodeo enters Hall

Medicine Woman was the four-time PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year (2011, 2014-16) and the two-time saddle bronc horse of the National Finals Rodeo (2010 and 2015). She retired after competing at the 2020 Wrangler NFR at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. She passed away this past December at the age of 19.

Only ProRodeo Hall of Famer Descent of Beutler Brothers and Cervi has won more saddle bronc horse of year honors than Medicine Woman. Descent won the honor six times from 1966-69, 1971-72.

Medicine Woman was a ranch-raised mare out of Big Medicine (sire) & Showtime (dam). Frontier Rodeo has won PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year seven years in row – 2015-2021.

“I don’t whether this has sunk in yet or not,” said Frontier Rodeo’s Jerry Nelson. “I know this is really special. To have one like (Medicine Woman) in the Hall of Fame is special and what makes it even more special to me is that we raised her. It isn’t a horse we bought at a sale. Her mom and daddy were on the ranch, and she was born on the ranch, and it is just a special deal.”

Medicine Woman was selected to the Wrangler NFR 12 times. Her first trip was in 2009 in the bareback riding, she made her debut in the saddle bronc riding in 2010 and never looked back. She was selected in saddle bronc riding from 2010-2020.

Duvall thrilled Whiskey is entering HOF

Duvall, who won world titles in 1967, 1969 and 1972 spent nine years riding Whiskey.

“He was a great horse and the greatest horse that I ever owned. I owned some pretty darn good horses, and he was by far the best. He was part thoroughbred and tough as nails. We’d go to Houston and rodeos like that and probably 30 or 40 guys would make runs on him. That horse never did quit on me, and I hauled him for nine years.

“It didn’t matter what the conditions were, he loved to compete. He ran in mud, sand, just about everything you could imagine. He was tough and never got hurt in nine years of competition. After those nine years of work, I thought he deserved retirement, so I just put him out to pasture. There’s no doubt in my mind that Whiskey deserves a spot in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame for all he did for me and other cowboys.”

Potter is Hall-bound

As for Potter, back in 1951, at the age of 16, he began his journey in the Rodeo Cowboys Association, now known as the PRCA.

At his peak, back in 1959, Potter competed in the inaugural National Finals Rodeo in Dallas as a tie-down roper, finishing 14th in the final standings.

As recently as 2010, he qualified for the RAM Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo as a team roper, and on July 17, 2013, Potter and partner Garrison Dixon won the Green County Fair ProRodeo in Monroe, Wis.

Combine Potter’s longevity as a competitor with his decade of success (1964-73) as a stock contractor with Rodeos Inc., and his time served on the PRCA Board of Directors and being selected as the 2015 Legend of ProRodeo, and it adds up to him going into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“It’s pretty neat, really a surprise for me. It was more my hobby than work or anything like that.

“My dad asked me when I got out of college what I was going to do and I said, ‘I’m going to rodeo and make a lot of money.’ But after my first year he asked me again and that time I said, ‘well I think I better go up there and learn to grow cranberries now.’ That way I can afford my rodeo hobby.”

Potter was humbled by his enshrinement.

“It’s pretty darn nice, I don’t really feel like I deserve it honestly,” he said. “I won some big rodeos, but we had a great stock contractor firm that we put together. I was on the Board of Director for a while, and I think I kept them from blowing up, but that’s about it.

“I think learning to fly was what really helped my rodeo career. I could take care of business with the cranberries in Wisconsin in the morning and steer rope in the afternoon in Cheyenne (Wyo.). It allowed me to live two lives and rodeoing was a really big part of that. Those years rodeoing were the best and most fun times that I’ve ever had. I have a connection with a lot of these people that are going into the Hall of Fame with me. It’ll be an honor to share a stage with them.”

Nebraska’s Big Rodeo joins Hall

The rodeo committee from Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell was thrilled to join the prestigious ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Despite a destructive windstorm that damaged its rodeo grounds on May 12, Nebraska’s Big Rodeo is still scheduled to take place July 27-30.

“I think us being inducted became more surreal this morning walking through the Hall of Fame and seeing our display. It kind of made it feel like you know this is really happening,” said Jess Helgoth, President of Nebraska’s Big Rodeo Board of Directors. “When I got the call, I had goosebumps and yes, tears in my eyes. Burwell has such pride in our 1,200-volunteer rodeo. The wind blew over the stands, but the white picket fence is still standing.

“It’s a great honor for the Board (Of Directors), past board members, and the community. Basically, anyone that’s ever been involved in Burwell. It’s just an honor to be inducted into something this big for our rodeo. We are maybe the second smallest rodeo that’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame. For a town of 1,200 to put on a rodeo the size that we do it just means the world to us.”

Hall opens doors for world champ Ardith Bruce

1964 WPRA World Champion Bruce will be inducted into the WPRA Barrel Racing category, while Rosser will be inducted as a WPRA notable.

A larger-than-life personality Bruce lived life to the fullest and passed away June 27. She was 90.

Bruce, who was tough as nails competing in barrel racing into her 80s, passed away at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. Bruce will be inducted posthumously on July 16 at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“Oh wow,” said Bruce upon learning of her induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in the spring. “This is a surprise to me, but I feel deserving of this recognition. I am honored to be joining an elite group of hard-working ladies that have received this honor before me.”

Bruce joined the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA) now the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) in 1960 reaching the pinnacle of the sport in 1964 when she won the world title aboard a horse known as Red, registered as Shaws Kingwood Snip. That same year, Red was the AQHA Reserve World Champion Barrel Horse and in 1965 was the first GRA/WPRA barrel horse to ever be featured in color on the cover of the Quarter Horse Journal.

“Of course, like everybody it’s a great honor,” said Amber West, Bruce’s granddaughter. “It’s something she looked forward to for a long time and it’s kind of like being immortalized for her. Immortalized among the best of the best and to be included with that level of cowboy and cowgirl and recognized as some of the best there ever was, it’s huge.”

Deb Thompson, Bruce’s daughter, concurred with West.

“Ardith was mentally really strong and expected the most out of their horses. She was really a thinker. She could really out smart a lot of people and a lot of horses. She rode with authority there’s no doubt about that. She also had a thing with animals. I don’t care if it was a horse, a dog, or any animal she could train them in short order. All animals had a fondness for Ardith, there’s was always a connection between them.”

“It means the world to our family. It’s an accomplishment we feel is very deserved and one that she will always have.”

Rodeo-lifer Cindy Rosser welcomed into Hall

Rosser, like Bruce, has been a staunch supporter of the WPRA for decades and has worked every facet of the rodeo business. Born December 7, 1954, to Cotton and Linda Rosser in Yuba City, California, she grew up horseback and rodeo has remained her life’s work. She joined the GRA/WPRA in 1969 and served 20-plus years on the Board of Directors. She was the California Circuit Barrel Racing Champion in 1982.

Cotton, a legendary stock contractor who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1995. He passed away June 22 at his home in Marysville, Calif. He was 93.

Rosser is only the second WPRA notable to earn induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame with Florence Youree being the first.

“This has kind of been a whirlwind, and it is darn sure exciting,” Rosser said. “I’ve been so excited about this. It is very cool to go in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame with my dad. Rodeo is about all I know.”

Rosser has had a hand in rodeo production all her life and in 1986 was named the PRCA Secretary of the Year, in 1998 she was selected as the NFR Rodeo Secretary and in 2012 was the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo secretary. She has also carried the American flag in the opening ceremonies and has trained numerous horses to jump through paper, stand in a Liberty Bell, a birthday cake, a ring of fire, and more. She also produced and designed openings and sponsor flags at the NFR for 10 years.

In 1995, she was named the Coca-Cola WPRA Woman of the Year, in 2015 she received the Lenora Reimers Heritage Award through the WPRA and in 2019 was honored with the Tad Lucas Award from the National Cowboy Museum.

Rosser is also a member of American Bucking Bull, Inc. and has sat on their Board of Directors for more than six years.

Courtesy of the PRCA

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