NFR Qualifier Roscoe Jarboe

Three Time NFR Qualifier Roscoe Jarboe - New Plymouth, Idaho

Three Time NFR Qualifier Roscoe Jarboe - New Plymouth, Idaho

Three-time National Finals Rodeo contender and Resistol’s Bull Riding Rookie of the Year in 2016 earned $109,737.37 in 2018 PRCA qualifying money and enters Las Vegas in the highest position of his career checking in at No. 4 in the bull riding category.

Jarboe’s strong finish inside the top 5, was a noteworthy feat considering he missed three months of the season after injuring his back March 21 following an 87-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s F1 at Rodeo Austin (Texas). Jarboe was forced to leave the rodeo trail and return home after he was diagnosed with a broken L3 vertebra.

Jarboe surprisingly returned for the infamous summer run which is key to determining who goes to the NFR, but he had many obstacles in his way including 4-time World Champion J.W. Harris.

August 26, was a big day when Jarboe, who at the time was sitting No. 16 less than $400 behind Harris, won the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. Jarboe posted an 89.5-point ride on 780 (C5 Rodeo) to win $6,373 and the event bull riding title.

“My back gets pretty sore now and again, but I think in the long run I will be all right,” he said following the win. "This win (in San Juan Capistrano) is something I needed for a while now. I won some smaller rodeos since I came back, but nothing like this. I want just to keep the ball rolling. This is a huge confidence booster for me."

He finished No. 15 in the Xtreme Bulls Tour with earnings of $18,646.16.

Jarboe finished ninth in the PRCA 2017 World Standings earning a total of $156,855 and placing in three rounds of the NFR earning $53,154.  He was second in round one with an 87 point ride on 3070 Braggin Rights (Honeycutt) for a check worth $20,731. Fifth in round six earning $7,615 with 71 points on 2031 Undercover (Big Rafter Rodeo). In round seven he was 84 points on 077 Salty Dog (Pickett) and finished third with $15,654.

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 In 2016, his rookie year and NFR debut, he won round 2 and placed in two rounds to rank no.11 in the average and finished ninth in the World Standings with $149,765.

The 5'11, 145-pound bull rider joined the PRCA in 2015 where he earned $20,058 while competing on his PRCA permit. In 2015 he received $1,975 on his PRCA permit. He also competed in the PBR Touring Pro division from 2014-2016.

Jarboe is a past Oregon high school bull riding champion and a two-time National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier where he finished 11th his junior year of competition.

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2018 Professional Highlights

• Won the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)

• Won the Goliad (Texas) County Fair PRCA Rodeo

• Won the Meridian (Idaho) Lions Rodeo

• Won the Eugene (Ore.) Pro Rodeo

• Won the Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo (Blackfoot, Idaho)

• Won the Division 2 Qualifying Event Xtreme Bulls (Lewiston, Idaho)

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NFR Qualifier Profile Chase Dougherty

Photo Credit: Matt Cohen Chase Dougherty checks into Las Vegas as No. 5

Photo Credit: Matt Cohen Chase Dougherty checks into Las Vegas as No. 5

Chase Dougherty, a three-time Oregon High School Bull Riding Champion enters Las Vegas as the No. 5 ranked bull rider and the second highest ranked contestant competing for the first time at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo.  Dougherty, a second-generation cowboy is following in his father’s footsteps as a bull rider and credited his father for his success.

“More than anything he taught me how to be a cowboy and just never quit and have a never-die attitude,” Dougherty said. “Don’t let go until you hit the ground. If you’re in a bad spot, just get out of it.”

The 20-year-old cowboy was born in Portland, Oregon and currently living in Canby.  Dougherty Joined the PRCA in 2016, and less than two years later he qualified for his first NFR with $109,349.48 earned and a 51.38 ride average in PRCA competition.

Chase launched his NFR bid in January winning the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo in Denver with 252.5 points and an $8,262 check. He would also win the California Rodeo Salinas, and the RAM Columbia River Circuit Finals. He posted his first PRCA 90 point ride in October at the Grand National Rodeo in San Francisco.

He graduated from Canby (Ore.) High School in 2016 where he played football, wrestled and was a pole vaulter in high school. After winning three state bull riding titles, he was recruited for the Montana State University rodeo team where head coach Any Bolich had this to say during his freshman year (2017).

 “He is just a really mentally tough kid as far as bull riding,” said Bolich after recruiting him for the Bobcats. “He is a student of the sport and works at his game all the time. As you know, they kind of live for moments like this where the crowd is big and is loud.”

Chase competed for MSU with success in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, but his coach and teammates were aware he was going to make a full-time career out of bull riding. “It’s that kind of mental toughness that will get him to the next level,” said Bolich.

 “All week long he’s in the gym and working on his balance,” the coach described. “He rides a unicycle — all of these things pay off. That work really shows through in the arena.”

In 2017, the 5’11, 140 pound Dougherty finished in the PRCA World Standings in 19th place with $72,754.00. In 2018 he won six PRCA event titles. Professional

2018 Highlights

• Won the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo (Denver, Colo.)

• Won the California Rodeo Salinas

• Won the Santa Maria (Calif.) Elks Rodeo

• Won the Ram Columbia River Circuit Finals (Yakima, Wash.)

• Won the PRCA Last Stand Rodeo (Coulee City, Wash.)

• Co-champion at the Sheriff's PRCA Rodeo (San Bernardino, Calif.)

 

Chase Dougherty

Chase Dougherty

NFR Qualifier Profile Jeff Askey

Askey on 3381 Wet Willey at the Forth Worth Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.

Askey on 3381 Wet Willey at the Forth Worth Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.

The healthy pro cowboy who vowed to never attend a performance at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) until he earned his way there as a contestant, returns to the Thomas and Mack Arena next week for the second time as he enters the final leg of the 2018 PRCA World Championship as the number sixth ranked bull rider.

A Pennsylvania born bull rider now making his home in Athens, Texas, Jeff Askey is the 2010 College National Finals Bull Riding Champion and a graduate of the University of Tennessee Martin with a degree in Animal Science.

Jeff Askey, 2010 College National Finals Rodeo Champion representing University of Tennessee Martin

Jeff Askey, 2010 College National Finals Rodeo Champion representing University of Tennessee Martin

Attending approximately 110 rodeos, Askey put a string of wins together in June that moved him out of the “might qualify” lane into a solid standing among the top 15 bull riders of the season.

Once parked inside the top 15 Askey never wavered.

“Early in the year it seemed I was staying on all my bulls but not winning any money,” recalled the 5’8 155 cowboy.

Citing debt as his number one inspiration, Askey explained.

"I have never had any debt, and I borrowed money to buy cows in the spring, and I knew I had to stay on to pay it off early," said Askey.

“Light ranching” as Jeff refers to his Athens, Texas ranch via Facebook

“Light ranching” as Jeff refers to his Athens, Texas ranch via Facebook

Traveling earlier in the season with Dustin Boquet and Bayle Worden and in August and September with Trey Benton, Askey felt his season really kicked off in June when he put together a string of wins including the Xtreme Bull Riding in Weatherford, Texas.

“My best ride would be Cody, Wyoming where I was 89.5,” continued Askey.

Earning $107,386.73 during qualifying, Askey won six titles and one Xtreme Bull competition. Taking the bulls and the victories one at time Askey had this to say about studying livestock.

"I like them to keep me guessing I don't study bulls, I think it's a preference deal, I go at it bull by bull, and that seems to work for me, if riding bulls is your life and lifestyle and if you enjoy it it’s not a job.”

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30-year-old Jeff Askey will check into the NFR as the eldest bull rider in the locker room, but bull riding analysists might argue that with age comes wisdom and experience and that is a trademark of the straight-talking right-hander.

In 2016 Jeff qualified for his first NFR with $109,339.24 in money earned and placed in one round to rank 14th at the Wrangler National Finals and 11th in the World Standings with total earnings of $134,993.

“In 2015 I missed the NFR by $207 and was sixteenth, the year before I was nineteenth and the year before that I was twenty-first.” 

Askey won 3 CBR event titles in 2017 and finished inside the top ten of the CBR World Standings.

Askey won 3 CBR event titles in 2017 and finished inside the top ten of the CBR World Standings.

With a college degree on the wall at home, Askey claims to be the adult in the traveling department.

"Riding bulls is your life and lifestyle, and if you enjoy it, it's not a job. The riding itself is what you love to do and enjoy, and the planning is just tending to business."

Askey competed on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour this season where he likes the challenge.

 "The fast pace is challenging of the three-round format, you don't get much time and as soon as you ride you have to get your rope and your mind ready for the next bull.”

In 2017 Jeff fueled his bull riding career on the CBR Road to Cheyenne run. Riding over 50% of the bulls, he attempted including that season he scored a season-high 91.5 in El Paso on 3381 Wet Willy.

He won three events on the Road to Cheyenne, Mercedes, Conroe and Jackson, Tennessee. As a graduate of the nearby University of Tennessee Martin, Askey was embraced by the crowd as one of their own each time he pulled his rope.

Advice to the next generation of bull riders…

“You have to know what works for you and what your own mentality is and what is effective for you – take everything with a grain salt and find your own path,” Jeff Askey.

You can follow Jeff on Instagram and Facebook. For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, tuffhedemanpr@gmail.com or 940.902.1112.

 

 

 

 

 

NFR Qualifier Profile Boudreaux Campbell

Two-time NFR qualifier Boudreaux Cambpell, Crockett, Texas.  Photo by Todd Brewer

Two-time NFR qualifier Boudreaux Cambpell, Crockett, Texas.

Photo by Todd Brewer

Declaring make or break rides at the last two rodeos of 2017, Boudreaux Campbell hung on to qualify for his first PRCA National Finals Rodeo. With one NFR on record, this year he finished significantly higher on the pecking order with $106,430.78 in qualifying dollars, and he arrives next week at the Thomas and Mack Arena as the number 8 ranked bull rider.

"I made one NFR, and I really wanted to go back again, and I want to win a world title," said Campbell in response to the question of what inspired him as he climbed 7 rungs on this year’s qualifying ladder.

At 19 years of age Campbell, the 2017 PRCA Ram Rookie of the Year, split round 9 of the 2017 NFR with Trey Benton. He finished 10th in the world, earning $37,712 at the NFR plus $88,062.84 in qualifying money which totaled $144,601 in total earnings during his rookie PRCA year.

Boudreaux Campbell, now 20 years old, is described by industry insiders as a tough as nails Southeast Texas cowboy with a completely focused attitude on the back of the bucking chutes.

Campbell discusses Shoot Out round opportunities with Tuff Hedeman.

Campbell discusses Shoot Out round opportunities with Tuff Hedeman.

Campbell's athletic ability and complete bull riding history indicate he is further ahead, much more than your average second-year athlete competing in Las Vegas.

 “I love the adrenaline of getting on the back of a bull and conquering stuff that’s not easy to conquer,” he said. “I just love it deep down in my heart,” said Campbell in his first magazine cover story interview and photo shoot.

Campbell at the 2018 Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding

Campbell at the 2018 Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding

This team roping, basketball playing Dallas Cowboys fan is no stranger to 4-time World ChampionTuff Hedeman and the bull riding world. Twice Campbell accepted a jumbo check from Hedeman in front of the bucking chutes in Hobbs, New Mexico. The left-handed bull rider is a 3-time CBR World Finals qualifier who earned over $47,000 his CBR rookie year, rode for 90 points to finish second at the George Paul Memorial (Del Rio, TX) and finished third in the 2017 CBR World Standings after advancing to the Shoot Out round.

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He is the 2015 Texas High School Rodeo Finals Bull Riding Champion and the 2013 Texas Junior High School Bull Riding Champ.

But success comes with a price and Campbell knows that first hand. He suffered his worst bull riding injury as an amateur youth rider when a cut to his forearm became infected, and after eleven days and five surgeries in a Dallas hospital, he and the arm were lucky to survive.

“Those ups and downs make bull riding a “very humbling sport, Boudreaux said. “One minute you can be on top of the world, and the next minute you can be at the very low end.”

Campbell was recently honored at his alma mater, Lovelady High School

Campbell was recently honored at his alma mater, Lovelady High School

Boudreaux suffered another potentially career-ending injury in 2017 in Louisiana when he was knocked unconscious. Subsequently, air pockets developed in his lungs, and scans showed lacerations to his liver. After being convinced to stay overnight in the hospital for observation, he not only recovered but rode two weeks later.

His advice to anyone interested in bull riding is simple…

“If you want to start bull riding, just know that’s what you want to do and put all the work that needs to go into bull riding. Follow your dream and don’t give up.”

Campbell’s dream began at four years old when he was watching the sheep riding in Liberty (Texas) with his Dad Jay Campbell. “After that, I told my Dad that’s what I wanted to do,” Boudreaux said. “I fell in love with it. And ever since then I wanted to be a world champion bull rider. I started out on calves and then moved up to steers and all of that.”

Jay and Boudreux Campbell with sister Katy Adair

Jay and Boudreux Campbell with sister Katy Adair

 “I have to thank that man for everything, he might be hard on me when I buck off but he taught me to put it in the past and you got one tomorrow you are going to win the round on,” remembers Campbell.

Tuning up not timeout is Campbell's motto this year as he prepares riding bulls every other day. "I am spending more time in the gym too."

Campbell won ten pro rodeo titles this year on his way to the NFR including the Cody Wyoming Stampede Xtreme Bulls. He said his best ride was in Oakdale, California on Four Star Rodeo’s Yellow Fever where he scored 90 points and over $3,000. His bull riding skills and charisma off the chutes have not gone unnoticed as he now represents Barstow Rodeo Equipment, Rock N Roll Jeans, and Vexil Brands. 

Boudreaux Campbell after winnings Round 9 at the 2017 NFR

Boudreaux Campbell after winnings Round 9 at the 2017 NFR

Campbell and company after his Round 9 win at the 2017 National Finals Rodeo. 

NFR Qualifier Profile Garrett Tribble

In February, two-time NFR Qualifer Garrett Tribble jump started his bid to return to the NFR by winning over $34,000 at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.

In February, two-time NFR Qualifer Garrett Tribble jump started his bid to return to the NFR by winning over $34,000 at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo.

On September 29, Garrett Tribble of Bristow, Oklahoma won the Corn Palace Challenge Extreme Bulls.  Scoring 88 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Pile River, Tribble won over $6,000 and sealed his fate as the eighth-ranked bull rider headed to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) National Finals Rodeo.

The 21-year-old International Pro Rodeo Association (IPRA) World Champion Bull Rider (2014) earned $102,225.58 to qualify for his second NFR. 

“Missing last year’s NFR was the driving force and really the only inspiration I needed for this season, knowing what and how much I missed out on,” said Tribble.

The 5'7 - 145-pound bull rider missed the 2017 Super Bowl of rodeo finishing in 22nd place with earnings of $67,235.

The Bristow High School graduate returns to Las Vegas where he was the co-champion of Round 7 and placed in two rounds to rank 12th at the 2016 Wrangler NFR. Tribble finished 13th in the 2016 PRCA world standings with $129,118.  

Winning the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in February, Garrett Tribble built a solid foundation for his return to the NFR in 2018, the win padded his bank account by $34,574.40.

“Winning one of the biggest rodeos of the year helped me out and once I had that I had the confidence and the money to set the pace for the season,” continued Garrett. “I knew then if I just kept doing my job and having fun I would qualify for the NFR.”

Traveling with Corey Atwell and Denton Fugate, Tribble attributes his winnings to being with guys that are just as good if not better than him.

“It makes you want to try harder and do better when you are living with and competing with great riders.”

He would go on to win Spanish Fork, Utah, Merrill River Pro Rodeo, 101 Wild West Rodeo in Ponca City, Okla., the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo in Vinita, Okla., Crosby (Texas) Fair & Rodeo, Elk City (Okla.), Rodeo Of Champions, the Corn Palace Challenge, Mitchell, S.D., and the Pasadena (Texas) Livestock Show & Rodeo.

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“Garrett’s bull riding career really started when he was about two or three years old,” says his dad, Rodney Tribble. “He fell in love with bull riding and has wanted to do it since he was very young. From about the time he was three, he’d come home from school and put in the movie Eight Seconds – he watched it every day!”

With 8 Seconds on his mind, Tribble began his bull riding career at five years old in the mutton-bustin' arena. His first experience was with a friend who was entered.

His Dad Rodney finally took him to a rodeo and from that day he made up his mind he was going to be a bull rider. With the help of his family, Tribble progressed to youth association competition in the Junior Bull and Bronc Riders Association (JBRA), National Junior Bull Riders Association (NJBRA) and the Oklahoma Junior Rodeo Association (OJRA).  He began competing in 2012, and at 17 years old he won the IPRA world title in 2014. He graduated from high school the next year joined the PRCA, and by 2016 he was qualified and headed to Las Vegas as a rookie bull rider at the NFR.

“I won’t be as nervous as I was in 2016, I won’t take myself as seriously as I did then,” said.

Tribble who admittedly will study the bull draws harder in Las Vegas than on the rodeo road, said most of them he sees during the qualifying season.

Garrett Tribble / 402 Sacred Famous of Flying Diamond, St. Paul 2018 - Photo by Matt Cohen

Garrett Tribble / 402 Sacred Famous of Flying Diamond, St. Paul 2018 - Photo by Matt Cohen

“If I don’t know one, I’ll sure ask for information on him,” laughed Tribble.

Tribble says his best ride of the year was on Page’s Double Vision in San Antonio and his 91 point ride in Spanish Fork on Frontier Rodeo’s Footloose.

“I learned you can never let up, I was sitting pretty good then fell down towards the end until that Extreme Bulls wins that put me up to 8th,” said Tribble.

For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112 or leighann@theshortround.com or lschroeder@prorodeo.com.

NFR Qualifier Profile Tyler Bingham

25-year-old pro bull rider Tyler Bingham of Honeyville, Utah fought hard this year to earn $101,583.48 while competing in pro-rodeos during the 2018 season after narrowly missing qualifying for the 2017 National Finals Rodeo.

The younger of the Bingham bull-riding brothers won the Tuff Hedeman El Paso Bull Riding Championship in February, finsihed second in the average in March at the TH Las Vegas event and managed that momentum (and money) to make an impressive rodeo run in 2018 as he enters the NFR in the 9th position.

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Hedeman who characterized Bingham as resilient had this to say about the cowboy who competed in San Antonio at 2 pm and then hopped a flight to El Paso to compete later that night. 

“You are not going to come to these events and win unless you are a major league caliber athlete, 90 percent of the riders in his position tonight would have gotten a zero,” added Hedeman.

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"I want to say thanks to everyone that stood behind me this far, I have finally qualified for my first WNFR beginning with my wife Jerica who has believed in me since day one. She pushes me every day to be the best I can be and most of all her patience she has for me being gone 24/7,” said Bingham after he received official word he would be competing at the NFR won six titles this season.

Tyler and Jerica Bingham recently celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary.

Tyler and Jerica Bingham recently celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary.

The 5’10 165 pound Bingham admits to losing the “fire” for bull riding when he went to college but rekindled the flame when his brother Tyler qualified for the NFR. Older brother Tim Bingham, 26, is a three-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in bull riding. The NFR rookie credits brother Tim for teaching him how to rodeo and achieve his goals in and out of the rodeo arena including heading to the practice pen to stay in shape.

“Every year I go watch him in Vegas, and he shows me how much it means just by watching his actions watching Tim go to the finals kind of re-lit the fire. Pretty much every year just makes it better,” Tyler said.  

The bull riding brothers, Tim and Tyler Bingham of Honeyville, Utah.

The bull riding brothers, Tim and Tyler Bingham of Honeyville, Utah.

Bingham is the 2011 National High School Bull Riding Champion and CBR World Finals qualifier for four consecutive years (2015-2018). He is a graduate of Freemont High School where he was on the wrestling team as well as high school rodeo. Bingham attended Hill College where he was on the rodeo team.  Bingham works construction part time when he is not riding bulls and aspires to someday retire as a full-time rancher.

I’d also like to thank my parents for always supporting me through all the ups and downs – they are amazing.  Tyler is a former National High School Finals Rodeo Champion (2011). There are a couple reasons why Bingham is in this position, fighting every day to not only hang on to a bull but to score high enough to keep pace in a hotly contested rodeo season.

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Tuff Hedeman Announces Stoney LaRue Joins Bossier Bull Riding Lineup

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 Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding presented by Landers Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Tickets on Sale

Bossier, Louisiana – Get a jump on the holiday season with the ultimate stocking stuffer! Four-time World Champion Bull Rider and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman announced today tickets are on sale for the annual Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport bull riding presented by Landers Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Bossier with a special guest this year, Stoney LaRue in concert immediately following the bull riding.

The annual event will be held February 2 at the CenturyLink Center at 8:00 pm.  Tickets are available online Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding, Ticketmaster, and the CenturyLink Center box office, 200 CenturyLink Drive, Bossier, La., 71112

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Hedeman and Larue invite you to bring the family and friends to cheer on the top-ranked and world-renowned bull riders as they battle the next generation on the televised Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour and then relax and enjoy the Stoney LaRue concert. LaRue has sold over one million records over his career and plays 200-plus shows a year and is known and loved for his real life, thinking man’s music.

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With 30 years of bull riding history on his resume,  Hedeman is one of the most recognizable cowboys in the history of rodeo and bull riding, but he defers to the young superstars that are currently leading the ranks of pro bull riding and rodeo as the best bull riding talent he has seen in over 15 years.

Presented by Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour, the Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport Bull Riding event is the second stop on the televised tour featuring 24 of the world’s top bull riders who are selected by Tuff Hedeman, 4- time World Champion and pro rodeo Hall of Famer, to test their skills against the highly-skilled animal athletes.

2018 Eldorado Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Champion Sage Kimzey accepts the check from Tuff Hedeman

2018 Eldorado Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Champion Sage Kimzey accepts the check from Tuff Hedeman

Elite riders including 7- time World Champion Sage Kimzey, will have his hands full as he battles multiple National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and the emerging young talents who won Tuff Hedeman Tour titles in 2018. The riders will compete in a 24 man field in a three-round tournament style event with the winner taking home the lion's share of the $30,000 prize package.

You and your family will enjoy top-shelf entertainment including the Tuff Hedeman Bullfighters, grand pyrotechnics introductions, and great family fun entertainment from leading rodeo entertainers in a jammed packed two-hour adrenaline rush show.

The former 4-time world titled Hedeman, who in recent years has made a name for himself in the production of great bull riding events will serve as the "chute boss" and television commentator from the dirt in front of the bucking chutes.  Come early and enjoy the pre-event activities including great food, cold beer, shopping, and autograph opportunities.

The Annual Stick Bull Riding competition held during the bull riding is a local favorite for kids.

The Annual Stick Bull Riding competition held during the bull riding is a local favorite for kids.

Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for ticket holders to enjoy the activities on the concourse including great shopping and meet and greets. Riders and Hedeman’s appearance schedule for Bossier will be released at a later date. 

Tickets are available at the CenturyLink Center Box Office located at ground level across from parking lot A on the Northwest side of the arena.  The Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:30am – 4:30pm. Patrons may purchase tickets in person during these times or 24-7 online at Ticket Link or Ticketmaster.com.   

For more information, interviews and media credentials, please contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112 or tuffhedemanpr@gmail.com.

National Finals Rodeo Qualifier Profile Trey Benton III

Trey Benton III, the only bull rider in history to win the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge after competing their as a youth in the intermission steer riding competition.

Trey Benton III, the only bull rider in history to win the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge after competing their as a youth in the intermission steer riding competition.

 Fueled by extreme motivation, Trey Benton III has developed into a five-time NFR qualifier by maintaining his level of effort. In the face of fatigue, physical training, pain, and distraction, Trey Benton III of Rock Island, Texas remains motivated to become the best bull riding athlete he can be.

Benton is a student of the mind, body, sport, and his four-legged opponents.  His pro career began in 2012 when he earned the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year title. But the years of highs and lows have taught him to recognize that his own foundation is the key to supporting his solid effort and accomplishments.

Persevering past double knee replacement and then a broken femur during the course of his young career, Benton has evolved into a competitor that understands the thrills and spills of the sport.

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Earning over a million dollars in his nine years as a pro, it is no secret that trusting motivation is the key to his success. Benton is aware it is the only factor an athlete can control. Whether you were on the couch or in a seat at the Thomas and Mack arena last year, you recognized Benton managed his bull riding ability at the 2017 National Finals Rodeo as he mounted an attack on the number one bull rider in an effort to knock Sage Kimzey off the pedestal. Benton finished second and left with $181,981 in NFR earnings. He earned a total of $322,208 for the 2017 season.

“I was an underdog the first few trips (2012-14) but last year I finished second in the world, and I'm looking for first this year," said Trey Benton in July.

"I grew up watching the NFR in Las Vegas, the noise and the vibes here for those two weeks is unbelievable, I am living the dream and wouldn't have it any other way," said Benton during his NFR run this summer.

Benton arrives in Las Vegas as a top ten ranked cowboy earning $100,931.60 on the 2018 pro rodeo trail with hundreds of rodeos in his rear view mirror, this year began with a bang with two 90 point rides to win the San Angelo rodeo for the third consecutive year. He finished fourth in the 2018 Extreme Bull Standings with $37,523.17. He has won 5 rounds in his career NFR competition and has finished in the top ten twice in his four qualifications.

A graduate of Sam Houston University, Trey is an all-around cowboy who began his rodeo career as a mutton buster in 1996, he progressed to roping and riding bulls. He holds titles in roping events as well as bull riding including Texas Jr. High School Champion calf roper. Benton can rope both ends in the team roping competition and is a multiple Texas Youth Rodeo champion in bull riding, calf roping, and team roping and earned All-Around Champion buckles in 2008-2010. He racked up titles in the Texas High School Rodeo Association and qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo twice, once as a tie-down roper and then a bull rider.

Benton stands alongside the legends as a three-time George Paul Memorial Bull Riding Champion (Del Rio) and won the coveted Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge buckle in 2014. He remains the only champion of that event that also competed in previous years as a junior steer rider during intermission. He enjoyed a stellar CBR career winning multiple event titles including the premier bull ridings in Fort Worth, Del Rio, Lufkin, and Bossier and competed in numerous CBR World Finals.  

Benton riding Mike Rawson’s 1380 Lumberjack at the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding circa 2013

Benton riding Mike Rawson’s 1380 Lumberjack at the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding circa 2013

 Twenty-seven-year-old TB3 was born with undeniable gifts. He is a professional athlete with a college degree, and he’s the kind of guy that you don’t mind waiting on for an interview because he is pulling trinkets out of his rigging bag for young fans while signing autographs.

In the face of career ending injuries, followed by insanely competitive comebacks, it is not his mind or his physical strength that pervails, but his passion for rodeo and competition. Benton refuses to show any signs of personal doubt. He has always carried on keeping the injuries in perspective.

“A chance to compete is all I want.”

Trey Benton is a cowboy and thrives on the western tradition surrounding that label.

 

Tuff Hedeman welcomes Trey Benton to the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour.

Tuff Hedeman welcomes Trey Benton to the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour.

Tuff Hedeman Announces Season Opener Tickets on Sale

Tickets are on sale NOW to the Hobbs Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding at the Lea County Events Center in Hobbs, New Mexico

Tickets are on sale NOW to the Hobbs Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding at the Lea County Events Center in Hobbs, New Mexico

Hobbs Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding

HOBBS, New Mexico – Get a jump on the holiday season with the ultimate stocking stuffer!

Four-time World Champion Bull Rider and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman announced today tickets are on sale to his annual bull riding in Hobbs held January 19 at the Lea County Events Center at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are available online Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding, selectaseatlubbock.com and at the box office located at 5101 N Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, 88240.   

 Bring the family and friends to cheer on the top-ranked and world-renowned bull riders as they battle the next generation on the televised Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour.  

 With 30 years of bull riding history on his resume,  Hedeman is one of the most recognizable cowboys in the history of rodeo and bull riding, but he defers to the young superstars that are currently leading the ranks of pro bull riding and rodeo as the best bull riding talent he has seen in over 15 years.

 Presented by Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour, the Hobbs Bull Riding event is the season opener for the televised tour where 24 of the world’s top bull riders are selected by 4 times World Champion Tuff Hedeman to test their skills against the highly-skilled animal athletes.

 Elite riders including 7 time World Champion Sage Kimzey, will have his hands full as he battles multiple National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and the emerging young talents who won Tuff Hedeman Tour titles in 2018. The riders will compete in a 24 man field in a three-round tournament style event with the winner taking home the lion's share of the $60,000 prize package.

 You and your family will enjoy the personally selected Tuff Hedeman Bullfighters, grand pyrotechnics introductions, and great family fun entertainment from the top rodeo entertainers in the business combined in a jammed pack two-hour adrenaline rush show.

 The former 4-time world titled Hedeman, who in recent years has made a name for himself in the production of great bull riding events will serve as the "chute boss" and television commentator from the dirt in front of the audience.  Come early and enjoy the pre-event activities including great food, cold beer, shopping, and autograph opportunities.

 Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for ticket holders to enjoy the activities on the concourse including great shopping and meet and greets. Riders and Hedeman’s appearance schedule for Hobbs will be released at a later date.

 Tickets are available at the Lea County Box Office in person or online electaseatlubbock.com.  For more information, interviews and media credentials, please contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112 or tuffhedemanpr@gmail.com

NFR Qualifer Profile Cole Melancon

Two -Time NFR Qualifier Cole Melancon rides Time to Shine (Winston/Melton) for 89.5 points at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge last April.

Two -Time NFR Qualifier Cole Melancon rides Time to Shine (Winston/Melton) for 89.5 points at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge last April.

“Get my job done” is always the mantra of Southeast Texas cowboy Cole Melancon when describing his professional career goals. In spite of surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back last January, Melancon defeated the odds of recovery and used the fear of not returning to the NFR to fuel his competitive fire and qualify for his second PRCA National Finals Rodeo.

“Having to sit out two months after the NFR was hard and with my family and new baby girl being born right before surgery, I knew I had to get back,” said Melancon.

Melancon, who advanced to the Shoot Out Round at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Bull Riding Challenge in April earned his No. 11 position winning a total of $99,973.49 in PRCA earnings and collected five PRCA rodeo titles during the 2018 qualifying season.

Cole Melancon on Chaos Ghost (Melton Bull Co.) in the four-man Shoot Out round at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge.

Cole Melancon on Chaos Ghost (Melton Bull Co.) in the four-man Shoot Out round at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge.

Described by Tuff Hedeman bullfighter Bryce Redo as having an “electric type of ride style different from most others," Melancon earned $200,350 riding in PRCA competition, including $92,288 at the 2017 NFR in Las Vegas.

According to Cole one of his favorite match ups was in Hugo, Oklahoma where he was 87.5 on 144 Deets (Rafter H) to win the rodeo, but the highlight of his year was in Bremerton, Washington.

“It was getting close to the end of the year and I was on the bubble. I was starting to get aggravated with myself because I wasn’t riding so good. I saw my chanced of making the finals going out the window. I needed something big to happen. I ended up winning the Xtreme Bulls that night and that win secured a spot in the top 15,” continued Melancon.

At his first NFR Melancon was seen and heard. He placed in four rounds, splitting the Round 3 win (91.5 points) with Sage Kimzey.

Enduring pain in his back and legs for eight months during and before the NFR, Melancon still managed to finish sixth in the 2017 PRCA World Standings.


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After the NFR, I just decided I was going to have some time off, and I wanted to get it fixed. I tried everything else to get it fixed before surgery with rehab and everything, and it wasn't getting better. It was something I didn't want to deal with anymore."

Melancon’s then returned to competition Feb. 21-22 in San Antonio riding one of three. He advanced to the final four Shoot Out Round at Rodeo Houston.

 “Everything felt great, I was just pretty sore because I had not ridden in two months,” Melancon said. "Since the surgery, my back feels a lot better, and the problem really wasn't my back. The disc was in my lower back, and it was pinching my sciatic nerve, and it was going down my leg, and that's where the pain was. I'm glad I had the surgery because the pain is finally gone."

Melancon had some ups and downs and moments he was not sure he would make the trip back to Vegas.

The right-handed bull rider's climb to the Super Bowl of two years ago began with missing the 2016 NFR.

Coming close was my inspiration for 2017, I had to get the confidence in myself that I could hang with the top 15 riders – every weekend,” said Melancon who also represented the USA in the inaugural 2017 Global Cup bull riding competition.

Beyond the Dream

Just before having back surgery, Melancon and his girlfriend, Raelee Self, welcomed a daughter, Lariat Lace, into the world.

Cole, Raelee Self, and Lariat Lace Melancon

Cole, Raelee Self, and Lariat Lace Melancon

“It was good to be home for around two months to be with my daughter,” Melancon said.

The 24-year-old graduate of Hull Dasietta High School was born in Beaumont and currently resides in Liberty, Texas, a small town rich in rodeo culture located south and west of Beaumont.  He joined the PRCA in 2014 after competing in just five rodeos in 2013.

"No one in my family really rides bulls. Once I was old enough to see bull riding, I knew I wanted to do it, so I took off and did it," he said.

Melancon gets a little help from his friend - neighbor and Tuff Hedeman Tour bullfighter Bryce Redo who describes him as “electric”.

Melancon gets a little help from his friend - neighbor and Tuff Hedeman Tour bullfighter Bryce Redo who describes him as “electric”.

In 2015 he ranked sixth in the Resistol Rookie Standings for bull riding; and won the Xtreme Bull Riding (Albuquerque, N.M.) with a 70th place that year in the world standings with $18,703 in earnings.

Melancon is the 2017 College National Finals Bull Riding Champion and was a four-time Texas High School Rodeo qualifier (2009-12).

Representing Hill College, Cole accepted the honors in 2017 as the Intercollegiate National Bull Riding Champion

Representing Hill College, Cole accepted the honors in 2017 as the Intercollegiate National Bull Riding Champion

The 5’9 145 pound athletes’ preparation schedule for the 10 rounds in Las Vegas includes working on his new place he purchased, getting on some practice bulls and riding his drop barrel.

 “Champions are not people who have never lost they are people have never quit,” Cole Melancon on Facebook.

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Looking out for each other Southeast Texas Cowboys Cole Melancon (Liberty, Texas) and Bryce Redo (Dayton, Texas) on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour.

Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour Salutes PRCA Award Nominees

Each year, the PRCA recognizes and awards a group of highly skilled and enthusiastic nominees for their highest honors bestowed at the annual PRCA Awards Banquet in Las Vegas held before the start of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour is fortunate to have the pleasure of working with many of these professional rodeo personnel nominees and we would like to congratulate them and wish them luck.

The selections are made from a ballot process for eligible voting PRCA members. The winners for each category will be announced at the PRCA Awards Banquet at the South Point in Las Vegas on Dec. 5.

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Music Director of the Year Nominee

Jill Franzen Loden - Riverton, Wyoming

Working 36 events a year totaling 121 performances Jill Franzen Loden loves being a music director. Citing “Don’t stop Believin’ (Journey) as her favorite song, the ultra-talented rodeo and bull riding DJ admits she’s an 80’s classic rock nerd.

“Entertaining crowds and enhancing the sport of professional rodeo through great sound and music, it’s my passion and what I love most about my job,” said Loden

Franzen hails from a famous rodeo stock contracting family, Powder River Rodeo Company and can trace her roots to a mishap one weekend some 19 years ago.

“When you are a contractor’s daughter you fill in wherever you are needed at the rodeos, back then it was just “the sound guy” didn’t show up to a bull riding. My folks nominated me. I was terrified but really enjoyed it and decided to pursue it. Now I’m super blessed with an amazing career and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

“When you are a contractor’s daughter you fill in wherever you are needed at the rodeos, back then it was just “the sound guy” didn’t show up to a bull riding. My folks nominated me. I was terrified but really enjoyed it and decided to pursue it. Now I’m super blessed with an amazing career and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Clown of the Year Nominees


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Cody Sosebee - Charleston, Arkansas

The 2017 man in the barrel at the NFR and 2018 Clown Act of the Year Nominee, is known nationwide as the fan-friendly face - stopping in Cheyenne to give fans rides in a mini chariot pulled by ponies, taking selfies along the parade route, and forever grateful for the life he leads and how rodeo has affected his entire outlook.

“I am thankful every day for the life I lead, traveling in and out, jumping on plane and being in Las Vegas one day and back in my home town a day later, all in the name of making people happy and I’m grateful I have a platform to use for good.”

Sosebee says his secret weapon when coming up with jokes or acts is everyday life.

“I’m a glass half full guy and try to see the positive in everything, but the daily mess ups are what’s funny to me and is what helps me so much,” said the guy who says he is part of the “chicken mafia.”

How does he describe his first NFR appearance (2017)?

 “I had so much fun, I can’t describe it,”  he said. “Everything was 10 times more than I thought it would be. It was 10 times more work, 10 times more fun, and 10 times more gratifying.”

 Sosebee says the best part is working and producing a clean family comedy show intertwined with one of the most traditional sports in America, my teachers said I would never make it being a clown - but I’m proving them wrong.”

Cody Sosebee and Tuff Hedeman have been working together since – well no one really remembers when - but it’s been over 10 years. He can be seen in the arena and on the concourse making people laugh again beginning in January on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour.

 “My job is to always make sure people are having fun.”

JJ Harrison - Walla Walla, Washington

Also nominated for 2018 PRCA Clown Act of the Year, 43 year old JJ Harrison is an off the cuff style clown and spur of the moment trickster. He is a combo of his bigger than life experiences including graduating from Washington State University and he earned a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. He can be found on the motivational speaker trail and various voice talent endeavors when he is not entertaining rodeo fans.

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JJ Harrison has been a PRCA clown since 2006. He is known for his sumo suit, queen run, and walk and talk antics. He keeps the fans on the edge of their seats in Las Vegas at the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding and before he takes to the dirt you can find him taking selfies and singing autographs on the concourse with fans. JJ Harrison grew up in Okanogan, Wash., where his love for the rodeo began. It wasn’t until high school when JJ Harrison decided to actually get involved in the events at the rodeo.

He took his passion to college with him and joined the rodeo team as a bull and bronc rider at Washington State University.  “I gradually realized that I was a wimp and I migrated to team roping.” Harrison said. “I had a lot of fun and success roping over the years, but it wasn’t a career I could have.”

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Harrison taught science and social studies at a Walla Walla middle school for eight years. “I think I enjoyed that middle school humor almost more than the kids.” After a few years of balancing teaching and rodeo, Harrison was forced to choose between the two.

Harrison believes that his time in the classroom has influenced his act as a rodeo clown. “I’m a ball of energy that is quick witted and eager to find humor in every situation. I think it stems from natural ability and my experience in the classroom.”

Harrison will describe himself as a ball of dancing energy that will be all over the arena.

“I think comedy and comic relief are both a very important part of rodeo and its entertainment value.” 

Justin Rumford - Ponca City, Oklahoma

Justin Rumford entertaining the crowd at the Red Wilk Construction Bull Bash on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour in Huron, South Dakota.

Justin Rumford entertaining the crowd at the Red Wilk Construction Bull Bash on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour in Huron, South Dakota.

2012 PRCA Clown of the Year, and the 2014 NFR man in the barrel, Justin Rumford is a third-generation rodeo cowboy and considered by his peers as one of the top barrelmen in the PRCA.

His grandfather, Floyd Rumford, started Rumford Rodeo Company in the 1950’s and ran the company until he was laid to rest in 1998. Justin’s father, Bronc Rumford, took it over and still raises rodeo stock in the small town of Abbyville, Kansas.

Justin has seen both sides of the arena working working as a contestant and pick-up man in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association since 1999. He qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo, in steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding, three of his four years of college. In 2010, his rodeo career took a different direction when he was asked by a friend to fill-in as the barrel-man for a rodeo in Kansas. One month later, he received his PRCA card to be a rodeo entertainer and he’s been on the vertical rise ever since! He returned to the CNFR as a clown in 2011 and 2012.

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Justin has been blessed with a deep family rodeo history and a bright future in the sport he loves, “the greatest show on dirt.” 

Snapchatting Rumford was a super-sized hit at the 2018 Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding in Huron, South Dakota as he entertained the arena level VIP’s for two nights.

Follow Tuff @TuffHedemanOfficial on Instagram and Tuff Hedeman on Facebook.

For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112 or tuffhedemanpr@gmail.com; www.tuffhedemanbullriding.com. 

 

NFR Qualifier Profile Koby Radley

 It’s Geaux Time

Deep in the bayou state, there is an athlete from the Baton Rouge area who has surfaced in a sport's national rankings and is not on the No. 3 ranked LSU football team. He is the professional bull rider, Koby Radley.

Radley rides Mike Rawsons Kojack for 88 points at the 2018 Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding at the South Point Hotel and Casino Equestrian Center.

Radley rides Mike Rawsons Kojack for 88 points at the 2018 Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding at the South Point Hotel and Casino Equestrian Center.

Radley, the 20-year-old Cajun Cowboy from Montpelier, Louisiana, a town of 214 people near Baton Rouge, heads to Las Vegas to ride bulls for the first time in December after completing his best season professionally since turning pro in 2016. Radley who has wanted to ride bulls all his life, stepped up and out of his comfort zone in 2018 to compete in the PRCA with one goal – qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).

Radley finished 28th last year in the PRCA and that disappointment turned into inspiration for this year.

"I had to prove myself this year, and I am ready to get after it for the richest 10 days in rodeo," said an excited Radley from a duck blind in Nebraska.

Radley cites respect as the best cowboy tradition, and he earned $97,257.63 of it this year to finish just outside the top ten, No. 12 in the bull rider in PRCA earnings this season.

Radley competed on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour during his first successful NFR run.

Radley competed on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour during his first successful NFR run.

In addition to qualifying for his first NFR, Koby rode on the Tuff Hedeman tour.

He was recruited to be a member of the Panola Junior College Bull Riding team as well where he represented the club in bull riding at the College National Finals Rodeo riding two of three and advancing to the short round with a top 10 finish. 

The 5'7 145-pound bull rider who can be found duck hunting and fishing before getting back on some practice bulls won 10 PRCA rodeo titles including two Xtreme Bull competitions. He finished fifth at Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo winning the first round and leading the average thru the second round.

Koby Radley of Montpelier, La., rode Dakota Rodeo’s Soup In A Group for 91.5 points to win f the Mandan Rodeo Day on July 2. Photo by Jackie Jensen

Koby Radley of Montpelier, La., rode Dakota Rodeo’s Soup In A Group for 91.5 points to win f the Mandan Rodeo Day on July 2. Photo by Jackie Jensen

“My best ride this year was in Mandan, I scored 91.5 points on Dakota Rodeo’s 34 Soup In A Group, a bull that was only ridden once last season, to win the rodeo,” continued Radley.

Radley has qualified for the Texas Circuit three times, and in 2017 he finished 28th in PRCA standings with $52,880 in earnings and three event titles.  Radley joined the PRCA in 2016.

THE BEGINNING

Radley is a past International Finals Rodeo (IFYR) Youth World Champion bull rider where he was the only rider to cover three bulls at the 2015 Super Bowl of youth rodeo. He started riding calves when he was 8. He began competing and progressed in junior rodeo including competing in high school rodeo in both Mississippi and Louisiana as a junior bull rider.

 “I have been waiting on this for a long time, this is my dream, I started riding when I was 8 or 9 years old when my Dad put me on for the first time,” remembered Radley.

Radley won the Mississippi High School Rodeo title 3 times as a freshman, sophomore, and junior.

In 2016 Koby Radley joined his brother in law as a professional bull rider. Radley’s sister Kortlyn is married to NFR qualifier Jacob O'Mara, and they competed on the road together. In their journeys, they amassed seven CBR event titles with Radley winning the Salina Championship title and the year-end CBR Horizon Championship buckle and the bonus check.

Jacob O’Mara, Kortlyn Radley O’Mara and Koby.

Jacob O’Mara, Kortlyn Radley O’Mara and Koby.

According to Radley, they used their time in the truck wisely talking about bulls and how they can better their riding skills and themselves. With O'Mara retired now from riding, Radley filled his seat in the truck with Eli Vastbinder. The buddy system seems to work for Radley and Vastbinder as they operated together – monitoring and helping each other. The two traveling together, both earned back numbers for the 2018 NFR.

Traveling with Eli Vastbinder, these thicker than thieves bull riders believe being together is one of the secrets to their success. Radley had competed and traveled with brother in law Jacob O’mara when he began his pro career during the 2015-16 season. He learned that studying, talking and getting on bulls constantly with someone has its advantages.

Koby Radley and Eli Vasbtinder, 2018 NFR Qualifiers

Koby Radley and Eli Vasbtinder, 2018 NFR Qualifiers

 “I’ve always wanted to do this, watching everyone else ride while I was growing up, it’s my dream.”

Radley who describes his ride style as “under control” likes time in the chutes to assure the bull is standing.

As a first time competitor at the NFR, odds are unpredictable but be assured Koby Radley will be prepared. His young life to this point has been preparing for this moment. He lives, eats, and breathes bull riding. He studies bulls, knows bulls and will be prepared for each ride as much as possible.   

Follow Koby and the NFR bull riding on Facebook, Tuff Hedeman; Instagram, Tuff Hedeman Official, and Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.

 

NFR QUALIFIER PROFILE - JOE FROST

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While many bull riders feed off of adrenaline rushed schedules and lifestyles, steadiness seems to suit 2018 NFR bull riding qualifier, Joe Ferd Frost.

Frost is one of two bull riders at this year’s NFR that is making his fifth consecutive appearance. His life changes significantly each year, but the constant is that every December he packs his truck and heads to Las Vegas to attempt the one title that eludes him -  PRCA World Champion Bull Rider.

Joe Ferd Frost knows how to win. The five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier is the first and only cowboy in history to earn the triple crown of national championship titles. He entered the professional rodeo world as a promising young bull rider who won the National Jr. High School title (2007), a few years later he stood on the podium winning the National High School Rodeo Championship (2010), and soon advanced to earn College Rodeo's top bull riding honor in 2014.

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"You have to block out the pressure and be the very best every time, and if you can't do your job you take a chance of getting hurt, it's a dangerous sport and important to stay focused," said the bull rider who hails from a long line of pro rodeo athletes named Frost.

Frost is an all-around cowboy who enjoys competing in multiple events. He claimed four individual rodeo all-around titles in 2017 and earned over one million dollars as a professional athlete. His mantel is littered with buckles and awards including the coveted Bill Linderman Memorial Award, which is presented yearly to the leading cowboy with minimum earnings of $1,000 in three events.

THE ODDS

Since first taking the dirt in 2014 at the Thomas and Mack, Frost has won five rounds in NFR competition. He has never finished outside the top 5 in the average. His best finish was that same year where he was second in the average, 490.5 points on 6 bulls, and second in the final PRCA World Standings. In 2015 he tied for fourth with Clayton Foltyn,404.5 pts on 5.  In 2016 he did not win an NFR round, but was fourth in the average, 407.5 on five.

In 2017, Frost rode 7 of 10 and 585 points to finish second in the NFR standings and fourth in the title race. His strong second in the average finish was slightly overlooked in the rodeo world behind the highly contested photo finish between Trey Benton and Sage Kimzey.

Flanked by Clyde and Elsie Frost, his wife Kylee and a host of special people in Joe’s life, he accepts the Round 7 NFR win buckle at the South Point buckle ceremony in 2017.

Flanked by Clyde and Elsie Frost, his wife Kylee and a host of special people in Joe’s life, he accepts the Round 7 NFR win buckle at the South Point buckle ceremony in 2017.

A great deal has changed in Joe’s life and the PRCA since he began his career. Joe graduated from Panhandle State University, he was married in 2017 (Kylee Frost), and his younger brother Josh is now carrying the Frost family tradition as a professional bull rider, and they travel together when possible.

“Our goal is to be first or second wherever we go. There is nothing better when we all do good. We don't even care who is first, second or third. We want to take everything home in the same truck,” said Joe referring to his younger brother turning pro.

“Our goal is to be first or second wherever we go. There is nothing better when we all do good. We don't even care who is first, second or third. We want to take everything home in the same truck,” said Joe referring to his younger brother turning pro.

THE BEGINNING

Joe Frost is a third generation PRCA competitor. His grandfather Joe Frost and his Dad Shane Frost were both PRCA members. Josh's great uncle Clyde Frost competed at the first NFR in 1959 in bareback riding and returned multiple times in both bareback and saddle bronc riding. Josh's second cousin is the late Lane Frost, a five-time NFR qualifier and PRCA World Champion bull rider whose rodeo life was depicted with Tuff Hedeman in the feature film 8 Seconds.

This generation of Frost’s grew up in Utah in a family that also included two brothers and a sister.

It is no surprise he wanted to be a bull rider. He learned how to ride bulls by watching his legendary cousin’s instructional video, “Lane Frost Bull Talk.”

“That’s the basis of my riding,” he said. “I started watching that when I was 4 or 5 years old. Before I came out here (to the NFR), I watched it every day.

 “You grow up a Frost, we all ride bulls. My dad and Lane, my brothers. That’s all we talk about,” Joe said. “That’s all we play as little kids. Riding bulls.”

“I’ve been very lucky to have so many great people around, a lot of great mentors,” Joe said. “My dad has been the biggest mentor and role model for me my whole life. He taught me everything I know.”

He graduated from Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah where he won two state bull riding championships and an all-around state title. He would go on to win the 2014 intercollegiate bull riding championship as a member of the Panhandle (Okla.) State rodeo team and it was there he met one of the most influential people in his life, his rodeo coach and nine-time NFR qualifier, Craig Latham.

TURNING PRO

Joe dedicated his 2014 eighth-round win to Latham and presented him the buckle at the South Point ceremony following the victory. Latham was fighting cancer at the time and made the trip to Las Vegas not knowing how many more chances he would have to see his star student compete.

“I’ve learned so much being around him, I’ve learned a lot about rodeoing, but even more about the type of person I want to be,” said Frost.

“Good character is more important than winning, it goes alot further because when you’re done rodeoing, all you got is a pile of hardware and the friends you’ve made.” - Joe Frost

“Good character is more important than winning, it goes alot further because when you’re done rodeoing, all you got is a pile of hardware and the friends you’ve made.” - Joe Frost

Although the final word is yet to come on the 2018 season, Joe won 8 PRCA bull riding event titles to earn $96,162.70 in the qualifying regular season race and enters Vegas as the No. 13 bull rider.

Since turning pro in 2013, Joe has dabbled in bull riding only tours winning Tuff Hedemans Bossier (2015) and his legendary Fort Worth Championship Challenge in 2017.

According to Frost, the Fort Worth event win was special. With close family friend Tuff Hedeman handing him the check and the buckle, and earning the W at the event that is revered as the historical birthplace of stand-alone bull riding.

“It was exciting to have my name up there in history on such a prestigious event,” said Frost.

In 2018 Joe and his brother Josh competed in the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour with a top 3 finish in El Paso and they competed in Las Vegas as well. Joe is a CBR two-time event champion and was a three-time CBR World Finals qualifier. One of Joe’s highest marked career rides was with Hedeman standing at the chute when he posted a 92.5 in 2017 on Hurst’s NFR bucker - Yellowhair.

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THE CONSISTENCY THEOREY

One of Joe’s mentors is Denny Flynn, a 10-time NFR qualifier and 3-time average winner. Joe follows Denny’s advice of getting on practice bulls consistently during his career, the gym does not provide the same workout as getting on bulls, and it seems to be paying off, year after year.

How do you prepare mentally?

I think over the last 4 years it has gotten easier to prepare because I have a better understanding of where I need to be mentally and physically when I walk into the Thomas and Mack Center for the 1st round, as well as how I need to feel when I walk in there on the night of the 10th round. I better understand the emotional roller coaster that those 10 days attempt to take you on and how I have to battle that.

What will be your physical workout routine?

“I will prepare for the finals by riding between 20 and 25 practice bulls, the main reason for that is to make sure I am in the best “riding shape” possible. I will also work out daily for the whole month of November, workouts that target flexibility, strength and speed.

What would be your first and last round stock picks if you could select?

If I could pick my first and last round bull what would it be? I don’t really know what pens will be put on those nights but if it was all up to me, I’d start out with Broken Arrow of Bar T and end with Sweet Pro Bruiser of D&H.”

Best up and coming bull rider you saw on the trail this year?

 There are a lot of young bull riders that I’m really impressed with right now, I would have to say Koby Radley really impressed me bring a young guy who stepped up when it mattered and made the finals kinda how Boudreaux Campbell did last year!

What do you do when you are not on the road riding bulls?

“When I’m not rodeoing I’m at home doing ranch work, my wife and I have 150 head of cows and we also spend a lot of time gardening and we have gotten into preserving a lot of the food we grow, we also have about 50 head of chickens and 6 ducks. After that Amy spare time I spend doing leather work or braiding bull ropes.”

What is Joe Frost's inspiration this year?

My inspiration comes from a lot of people like that who have had an impact on my life. But at this point in my career it’s as simple as I love riding bulls and more than that what really thrills me is riding really rank bulls and making it look easy, it doesn’t happen like that as often as I’d like but that’s the goal I have every time I get on.

*Frost is a second cousin to Lane Frost who won the PRCA world bull riding title in 1987 and was killed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming in 1989 by a bull he had ridden in the finals for prize money.

NFR Bull Rider Profile Eli Vastbinder

Cowboys are the epitome of the pioneering, “if you want it, work for it” spirit of America.

Current television broadcasts of rodeo and bull riding demonstrates what the modern day cowboy looks like. But if you are searching for cowboy authenticity while attending or watching the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) on television, its best to get to know the #14 ranked bull rider-cowboy, Eli Vastbinder.

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“I am a cowboy, my life is centered in the cowboy way, I love everything western - old country music, new country, George Strait, Cody Johnson, riding horses bareback, I really eat sleep and dream it. I don’t watch football and if I’m not watching rodeo on TV, I’m thinking or doing something cowboy, or I’m hunting,” chuckled Vastbinder on his way back from an elk hunting trip in Colorado.

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He describes his riding style as an “all in anything kind of bull rider,” Eli has lived up to his form this season. Admitting he is best under pressure, when money and titles are on the line, 27-year-old Vastbinder has traveled over 100,000 miles to get to 93 rodeos and has qualified for his first NFR with PRCA earnings of $95,114.26 in 2018.

Citing Gary and Judd Leffew as the people who taught him how to ride bulls, Vastbinder says they developed him as a competitor and keep tuning him up when he needs it. Eli was eager to talk about this particular part of the journey where he believes - you become who you are around.

“In some way I feel like I owe a little of everything I’ve accomplished to them, from how to ride to my style and confidence - My style is not perfect and I keep going back to them and refuse to give up. and I keep trying to better myself and they help me do that, being around champions helps a lot.”

Eli Vastbinder at the South Point Hotel Tuff Hedeman Championship in March

Eli Vastbinder at the South Point Hotel Tuff Hedeman Championship in March

IN THE BEGINNING

Eli got his start riding rough stock, sheep, at age 3. His mom’s side of the family rodeoed and introduced him to the sport. His older brother, Coy, competed in team roping and steer wrestling and cousins rode bulls. Eli’s first official bull riding title came when he won the Ohio Little Britches Junior Bull Riding Championship.

By 2009, Eli was an All-Around cowboy proficient in roping categories as well as bull riding and clinched the Ohio High School Rodeo Association Bull Riding Championship and the Reserve All-Around Cowboy titles at that year’s finals.  

THE PRO’S

At 18, Eli began competing in the bull riding only world with PBR and then CBR and a few rodeos on his MapQuest routes. In 2014, after several years and a lot of miles traveling to and from his North Carolina home, he hit his stride with CBR and began collecting event wins.

It is no surprise that Vastbinder lists 4 Time World Champion bull rider and Prorodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman as a mentor on his Prorodeo.com bio. Eli has won three events (Las Vegas, Bossier, Laughlin) with Tuff Hedeman standing and applauding him in front of the bucking chutes.

“When you come to Tuff’s events, you know you are guaranteed to get on a good bull and the atmosphere and the fans are just inspiring,” said Vastbinder.

“When you come to Tuff’s events, you know you are guaranteed to get on a good bull and the atmosphere and the fans are just inspiring,” said Vastbinder.

In 2017, Eli’s confidence and consistency merged, and he came extremely close to dethroning Sage Kimzey as the 3-Time CBR World Champion. Vastbinder missed that gold buckle in Cheyenne by 6 points.

Deciding to turn lemons into lemonade, the Ohio native, who recently moved from North Carolina to Texas, began the 2017-18 season focused on qualifying for the super bowl of bull riding, the NFR.

The Season

Eli, who officially joined the PRCA in 2015, won 6 rodeo bull riding championship titles this season. According to Vastbinder, his best ride was at Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo where he was 89 points on 34 Soup in a Group. He also rode a rarely ridden bull that Kimzey won round 5 on at the 2017 NFR, 322 Shootin Stars (Beutler). Eli was 88.5 on 322 in Greely.

But before those two great rides, Vastbinder had a little help from some friends.

“I had rodeoed for 5 years so I knew which rodeos were good for me, Sage (Kimzey) helped me and Koby (Radley), out a lot. Sage sat down and helped us get thru it all year and figure it out and get entered where we should.”

Vastbinder said he and his traveling partner, fellow NFR qualifier Koby Raldey, entered everything they could and went everywhere they could get to.

“If we had a day off and there was a little rodeo in California, by God we were headed to Cali,” continued Vastbinder.

Through the years, consistency over title wins has always served Vastbinder well and if history repeats, that steadiness will turn into money for him at the 10 round super bowl of rodeo.  

Tuff Hedeman and Eli Vastbinder at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Championship in April

Tuff Hedeman and Eli Vastbinder at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Championship in April

THE ODDS

In 2015, he rode 44.59 percent of the bulls he attempted. In 2016 he posted a career year-end high with 60.94 percent. Also in 2016, his year was forced into a hiatus when he lacerated his spleen, broke three ribs and damaged a kidney, at the PRCA’s Extreme Bull Riding event in San Antonio in late February. That injury would keep him out until April 30 where he returned for Del Rio, Texas.

In 2017 he rode over 70% of the bulls on the CBR’s Road to Cheyenne. In his four years with CBR he was in the top ten twice, top 15 once and six points to finish second to Kimzey in 2017.

But what’s impressive is his performances when the lights are brightest. In all three world finals appearances, Vastbinder rode four of five bulls.

Add a Great Lakes Circuit Championship to the resume and second last year at the All-American and you are starting to see the pattern.  

Statistically in 2018 he is riding over 50% and has posted seventeen 90 point plus career ride scores.

AND THEM SOME…

Vastbinder who is active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, never misses an opportunity to thank his fans, family and solidify his faith. He will arrive in Las Vegas as a newlywed as he plans to marry on November 10. His fiancé, Paige Futrell, has stood by his side for over five years as he pursued his dreams and he is excited for this new chapter in his life.

Eli plans to keep in shape by riding horses and working out a little before December.

“I am going to keep it simple, not build it up too much in my mind - and continue to hunt before Vegas,” added Vastbinder.

In modern times, fans often forget about the authentic, real cowboy roots that developed the events of rodeo. But this year in the bull rider locker room there will be one more NFR contestant who hails from deep-seated rodeo roots and intends to continue planting that tradition.

“After a rough last month of the 2018 season, I’m headed to my first NFR!! I just want to say thanks to my future wife @paige_futrell and to all my buddy’s, also I owe a special thank you to my parents for letting me grow up to be a cowboy!! #thankful #blessed.

“After a rough last month of the 2018 season, I’m headed to my first NFR!! I just want to say thanks to my future wife @paige_futrell and to all my buddy’s, also I owe a special thank you to my parents for letting me grow up to be a cowboy!! #thankful #blessed.

 

 

 

National Finals Rodeo Qualifier Profile Trevor Kastner

NFR Qualifier Trevor Kastner

Bull Riding

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30-year-old bull rider Trevor Kastner from Roff, Oklahoma, is now a four-time qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo (2011-13, 2018) and known to many people for a variety of reasons.

"My goal each year is to make it to the NFR, and a little more luck came my way this year, I didn't do anything different, and it feels good," said Kastner taking a break from ranch work to talk.

To NFR trivia enthusiasts, Trevor is remembered for his record-setting earnings performance at the 2012 NFR where he won $58, 895 as the only qualified score in the “rank pen” of buckers in round 9. In talking about the rule that is now in place at the NFR where all that money would have counted, he said:

“I like the change, any money you win there (NFR) should count towards the standings, its earned.”

To rodeo fans, he is the one that led the bull riding standings after a strong winter run this year winning the Southwestern Expo and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, the second time in his career, on Feb. 3 earning $12,655.

“Not sure why I win in Fort Worth, the format may be, its two longs and a short," said Kastner.  

Two weeks later he led San Antonio thru the first two rounds eventually pocketing $17,613 for a top 3 finish.

To eight-month-old McKenna Mae, he is Daddy.

“It worked out great, she was born when I was home between the long pen rounds and the semifinals,” laughed Kastner. 

To Kate, he is the husband who fought hard to get back to the NFR this year after finishing 16th in 2016 and 23rd in 2017.

Today, Trevor is a member of the rodeo elite that will take center arena in Las Vegas for the 2018 National Finals Rodeo on December 6.

The Rest of the Story

Citing a family to support, Kastner has declared he has many reasons to celebrate 2018 as he heads back to Vegas for the fourth time in the bull riding, but the first time since 2013.

The Roff, Oklahoma resident recovered from a bull riding accident in March where he recovered from a laceration of the liver, six broken ribs, and concussion after bucking off Beutler and Son Tombstone in Austin which sidelined him from competition for over eight weeks.

"The bull turned back in the gate to the left, and when he threw me off it slapped my head against the ground, it dazed me pretty good, and before I could get up, he came back around and stepped on me around my stomach. I got (bucked off) quick, and I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. I had never been on that bull before. He was a young bull, I didn't know who he was."

But it was not the first time he left Austin injured. If you are wondering where Trevor was in 2014, he broke a bone in his hand that is considered the slowest healing bone in the body and that break sidelined him for the rest of the year.

"I tried to come back too early and rode in Reno, it wasn't healed, and I was out again," said Kastner. 

The Odds

Competing in approximately 60 rodeos this season, Kastner’s lifetime profile would indicate he likes “big time” rodeos where he rides and finishes strong.  Kastner’s 2018 highlights include winning four rodeo championship titles, including placing third at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

“I think my best bull ride all year was in Austin on Yellow Fever to win a round,” recalled Kastner.

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Statistically, Kastner is even in Las Vegas odds, riding 4 out of 10 bulls all three times he has competed at the NFR. 

Kastner debut in Las Vegas in 2011 and finished 12th in the world standings with $101,202.

Kastner’s best PRCA finish was in 2012 when he won two rounds and placed in three rounds, finished fifth in the PRCA world standings, and third in the NFR average with $80,096 in Vegas for grand total earnings of $168,553.

In 2013 he won round 6 and tied round 9, placed in one other round to finish eighth in the world standings with $129,434.

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While Kastner’s lifetime earnings are in excess of 659,00 in pro rodeo he has probably rounded the corner and is a member of the million dollar bull riding club after competing in several bull riding only organizations.

In bull riding only competitions, he has competed in Tuff Hedeman’s legendary Fort Worth Challenge, finished in top 3 in Del Rio, ridden in PBR competitions, and advanced to the finals at the 2011 CBR World Finals where he finished seventh.

He plans to stay in shape for the next few months helping his Dad, a former saddle bronc competitor, ride colts at the ranch and maybe will get on some practice bulls closer to NFR time. Kastner expects his entire family to join and cheer him on in Las Vegas.

Rostockyj Honors Wheeler by Riding to his Standard

The Wheeler, Beasley, and Harris families with event champion Cody Rostockyj and Tuff Hedeman

The Wheeler, Beasley, and Harris families with event champion Cody Rostockyj and Tuff Hedeman

Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding

Twenty-nine-year-old Cody Rostockyj of Waco, Texas was one of three bull riders to earn a qualified score on two bulls to win the inaugural Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding, a Tuff Hedeman Breakout Series held in Jacksonville, Texas celebrating the life of a cowboy, a hero and a legend of the bull riding industry.

Thirty bull riders joined Tuff Hedeman at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena to pay tribute to Nicky Wheeler, a champion bull rider who rode nine out of ten bulls at the 1977 PRCA National Finals Rodeo. Wheeler was a pioneer in the bred to buck bloodlines of today’s premier bucking bull athletes as well as a proud father, businessman, and rancher from Flint, Texas. Wheeler passed away last spring.

Riding in a style that would make Wheeler proud, Rostockyj never let up receiving the highest marked score in both rounds to claim his first Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding event title.

I knew the Nicky Wheeler legend, and he was someone everyone looked up to, everybody wants to win a coveted title, and I get to wear that buckle, no one else can say that,” said Rostockyj.
Cody Rostockyj rides 277 Dirty LIttle Secret, owned by Harris Bucking Bulls

Cody Rostockyj rides 277 Dirty LIttle Secret, owned by Harris Bucking Bulls

Rostockyj quickly took control of the event winning round one with 88 points on Mike Rawson’s Louisville Slugger.

“I have seen that bull about 15 times and was excited to draw him, he usually is out on the left, and they switched him to the right, but he bucked good – maybe a little better on the right, he was into my hand and made me hustle, but I got past him, and it started a good night," said a fit and healthy Rostockyj.

With nine qualified rides in the long round including scores from veteran riders US Army Veteran Juan Alonzo (82.5), Lane Toon (83) and Tyler Taylor (82.5), the next generation was also getting warmed up for an upset against the band of bull riding veterans that included World Champs and NFR cowboys.

Lane Toon scores 88.5 in the championship round on 33 Tamale from Harris Bucking Bulls

Lane Toon scores 88.5 in the championship round on 33 Tamale from Harris Bucking Bulls

Defending Jacksonville event champion Austin Patterson and Trey Kimzey, the recently set the record for the PRCA’s “most money earned on a permit bull rider”, turned in a pair of 86 point scores. THBRT rookies Jaron Hughes and Cole Miller were 84.5 and 87 points respectively, followed by Midwest Swing Champion Matt Palmer who was 87.5 to round out the long round.

With only 9 qualified rides, four riders were drawn back to compete in the final round based on time ridden. Matt Halbert, Adam McConnel, Cody Hodges, and Chandler Bownds got a second chance to earn a score and a check in the Championship round.

After a heartfelt tribute to the Wheeler family from friend Terry Holland and a presentation from the Harris and Beasley families, event co-producers, the bulls were once again locked and loaded.

Celebrating the life and legend of Nicky Wheeler, an intermission tribute by Terry Holland and buckle presentation to Beverly Wheeler.  Brian and Haley Beasley, Terry Williams, Cole Wheeler, Tuff Hedeman, Mike Rawson, Blake Wheeler, Lacee, Jeff, and Susan Harris, and Terry Holland.

Celebrating the life and legend of Nicky Wheeler, an intermission tribute by Terry Holland and buckle presentation to Beverly Wheeler.

Brian and Haley Beasley, Terry Williams, Cole Wheeler, Tuff Hedeman, Mike Rawson, Blake Wheeler, Lacee, Jeff, and Susan Harris, and Terry Holland.

The final round began with the first five bucking off until Lane Toon brought the crowd back to life striking first with an 88.5 ride on 435 Big Show (Harris), Toon took the lead with 171.5 total points. The next three would fall short until Tyler Taylor tapped off 4733 Fat Boy (Harris) for 87.5 and 170 total points.

Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Texas celebrates going 2 for 2 at the Nicky Wheeler Memorial.

Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Texas celebrates going 2 for 2 at the Nicky Wheeler Memorial.

Rostocky patiently watched the 11 riders attempt to win, but with a rematch brewing underneath him,  Rostockyj dominated the scoreboard in the Championship Round with an 89 point victory on Jeff Harris’s Dirty Little Secret, a bull he was anxious to ride after losing to him earlier in the season.“  

"I was excited to have this bull again, he bucked me off once before when I lost my bull rope at 7.8 seconds, but he was the one to win on tonight, and I was glad to get some redemption -  he felt great, and I got my rope really stick – you might have noticed when I hung up a little trying to get off, said Rostockyj following the win.

Rostockyj, a fan favorite, celebrated the win adding that he was proud to wear and would cherish the first Nicky Wheeler Memorial bull riding buckle.

Rostockyj who can currently be seen on the Cowboy Channel as a color television broadcaster for the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour has dominated before on bull riding tours winning multiple televised top-level tour competitions and is a past NFR qualifier and round winner.

Multiple injuries have sidelined Rostockyj periodically in 2017 and 2018, dropping him out of the PRCA’s top 50, but after winning two events in one weekend, it looks like he is heading in the right direction to be back on the road as one of the industry’s top contenders.

Average NWM Bull Riding Results

1., Cody Rostockyj, Waco, Tex., 177, $5608.96. 2, Lane Toon, Lane, Okla., 3280.32, $1,640.16.3, Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Tex., 170 pts, $1028.16.

Round by round scoring available on Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.com.

Bownds Leads List of Bull Riders for the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Bash

3-Time National Finals Rodeo Qualifier and reigning ERA World Champion bull rider Chandler Bownds returns to Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding action in Jacksonville.

3-Time National Finals Rodeo Qualifier and reigning ERA World Champion bull rider Chandler Bownds returns to Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding action in Jacksonville.

Tuff Hedeman Breakout Series


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JACKSONVILLE, Texas (October 5, 2018) -  Chandler Bownds, the 2016 Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) World Champion Bull Rider and 3-time National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier, returns to action on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour this Saturday at The Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Bash in Jacksonville, Texas. Bownds, a past PRCA Rookie of the Year and Youth Bull Riding (YBR) World Champion has ridden professionally since 2011 including the highest marked ride at the National Finals Rodeo that same year.

"Rodeo has brought me a quality of life full of life-long friendships and memories. It has taught priceless lessons and given me experiences which have shaped the man I am today," says Bownds.

For Chandler to be the first cowboy to wear the Nicky Wheeler Memorial buckle he will have to get past several strong and daunting opponents both on top and inside of the bucking chutes.

2018 National High School Rodeo Champion, Cole Skender to ride in Jacksonville

2018 National High School Rodeo Champion, Cole Skender to ride in Jacksonville

Returning to defend his Jacksonville win of 2017 will be Austin Patterson, Stephenville, Tex., and the reigning National High School Rodeo Finals Champion, Cole Skender of Hamburg, Arkansas.  NFR qualifier and THBRT broadcaster Cody Rostockyj is entered as is veteran THBRT contenders Tyler Taylor, Juan Alonzo, and Lane Toon. The two most recent winners on the THBRT include Midwest Swing Champion Matt Palmer of Jones, Okla., and Tristan Mize, Red Wilk Construction Bull Bash (Huron) Champion.

Tristan Mize, THBRT Red Wilk Construction Champion

Tristan Mize, THBRT Red Wilk Construction Champion

Providing the power inside the chutes for the annual Bull Bash are the four-legged opponents due to start unloading today in Jacksonville. The 40 plus “outs” on Saturday night include some of the elite bucking bull athletes of the industry and a few young newcomers to the arena.

The stock contractors arriving with their pen of buckers are Lyndal Hurst (Hurst Ranch & Rodeo), Hat Brand Rodeo Bulls (Colten Sullivan) and Rawson Bucking bulls (Mike Rawson).

Off of Hurst’s trailer, Lyndal selected one bull for the watch list. He is grooming a bull branded #45 for the 2019 season. Named Humble Pie, #45 is a 3-year-old son of his famed PBR bucker Mooseknuckle, as are 4 others bucking in Jacksonville, and at this point in his young career he is what Lyndal best describes as “unpredictable.”

Stock Contractor Lyndal Hurst brings the next generation of bucklers to Jacksonville

Stock Contractor Lyndal Hurst brings the next generation of bucklers to Jacksonville

“He’s a very athletic bull, what I like about him is he is light on his feet and can kick over his head and spin and also be a bull with good timing,” said Hurst.

Mike Rawson brings his regulars from the THBRT including rider favorite 9100 Kojack, 1R6 Louisville Slugger, 2642 Houdini Martini and 642 Two Socks. New to Rawson’s string this weekend is MN Road Trip, a bull he recently picked up on - you guessed it - a road trip to Waterloo, Illinois. Rawson had a hard time picking just one to highlight but finally settled on the bull in the championship round, 2801 Speckled Chicken. 2801 bucks not only at THBRT but also can be seen at PRCA and PBR events. He has been ridden by NFR perennials, Trey Benton, Jeff Askey, and Ty Wallace.

“He’s a good bull and the one you want if you make it to the short round and they have seen him before,” said former World Champion bull man and Stock Contractor of the year, Mike Rawson of Martinsville, Texas.

Stepheville’s Tyler Taylor on Mike Rawson’s 9100 Kojack, both headed to the Bull Bash this weekend.

Stepheville’s Tyler Taylor on Mike Rawson’s 9100 Kojack, both headed to the Bull Bash this weekend.

Hat Brand Rodeo brings what might be the rankest bull on the roster, 251 Scooby who bucked off Trey Benton at the Fort Worth THBRT in April has been an elusive bucker on the THBRT. Although he was recently ridden by JT Moore for 91 points at an open event, an 8 Second ride on this bull might win you the competition. According to announcer Chris Rankin, “he will be the one to watch.” 

Hat Brand Rodeo brings 251 Scooby to the bucking bull fans in Jacksonville. Dalton Bates and Lacy Nichols of Hat Brand accepting the Bull Team Win check at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge.

Hat Brand Rodeo brings 251 Scooby to the bucking bull fans in Jacksonville. Dalton Bates and Lacy Nichols of Hat Brand accepting the Bull Team Win check at the Tuff Hedeman Fort Worth Challenge.

We highlighted Jeff Harris’s 277 Dirty Little Secret earlier in the week as a “cowboy favorite” and as Cody Rostockyj pointed out, “one that will take you to the pay window every time.” 

Out of the woods and what Jeff is calling a "gem in the rough," Harris is looking forward to seeing 403 Banana Nut perform.

"I am in the process of solidifying my roster for the remainder of the year and next year, and this is one to watch, hopefully, the next big thing," laughed Harris, co-producer of the Bull Bash.

Tickets are available online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nicky-wheeler-memorial-bull-bash-tickets-48716784213 and are available now at Raven Jute (107 E Commerce) and during the autograph signing on Saturday until 3 pm.

Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Bash Schedule

Friday, October 5, 2018

7 pm - Nicky Wheeler Pre Party at Sadler’s Kitchen, 101 S. Bonner Street, Jacksonville, TX

HOST HOTEL       HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS    1923 S Jackson St, Jacksonville, TX 75766                              

Saturday, October 6

1 pm - Tuff Hedeman/Boudreaux Campbell/Bryce Redo Autograph Signing, Raven Jute Company, 107 East Commerce, Jacksonville, TX

5 pm - Doors Open and Mutton Bustin Registration Opens

5:00 pm - Doors Open including Food drive, concessions, pony rides, goat roping, carnival games, and merchandise available.

 Neckover Booth Open with trailer raffle

6:30 pm Mutton Bustin’

7 pm - Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Bash Begins

9 pm - Autograph Session along the fence - Immediately following bull riding 

 

 

Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Celebrates the Life of Nicky Wheeler

NIcky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding 

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JACKSONVILLE, Texas (October 4, 2018) - Do good works and service, carry on their work, develop what they admired, develop in yourself what you admired in them, are all ways we honor someone’s memory.

Saturday night, October 6, at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Breakout Series will celebrate the life of Nicky Dan Wheeler.

Nicky Dan Wheeler wrote his own story. He decided first to use his stunning gifts: his strength and athletic ability to ride rough stock, his wit and way with people in creating a youth fundraising business, and his mind and heart, to figure out at a reasonably young age, who he was, what he believed, and how to live his best life acting on what he believed.

Nicky had a genuine love of his sport and was loved by all he met. Nicky helped numerous others to compete and to love rodeo as well.

“Whatever he did he was successful, a smart guy, and he treated everyone like they wanted to be treated,” remembered 4-time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman.

Nicky Wheeler is remembered as a "great guy," a dedicated father and husband, a superior bull riding judge, a bucking bull man, rodeo producer, and talented fundraiser, but will be honored Saturday night in Jacksonville first and foremost as a bull riding champion.

Nicky Wheeler and family

Nicky Wheeler and family

Nicky was a bull riding champion before he became the champion of the youth. The kind of guy that rose from every defeat.

“Nicky was a great bull rider regardless of what era it is - there are very few people that go to the NFR (1977) and ride 9 out of ten,” said Hedeman, a friend and colleague.

Most of the bull riders from that era say he could have won as many world titles as he wanted to – he had the kind of talent like Jim Sharp and Sage Kimzey he looked flawless riding bulls. He was described as never moving his head, his free arm was perfect and was always in complete control.

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“Nicky Wheeler had the talent and had the best personality and sense of humor and taught me what the word humble meant -I didn’t have much humbleness as you know and I didn’t care – but I learned what it was by being around him – he did not get excluded from anything, just a great person,” said 8 Time PRCA World Champion bull rider Don Gay. 

Many of the bulls you see tonight are a direct product of the change in the industry that Nicky Wheeler led.

Along the way, he was buying green crossbred bulls to buck at his arena. Wheeler's arena became a mainstay in developing bulls and bull riding talent in East Texas.

“After Nicky retired from riding, he was judging the PBR in New Mexico, and we left there and drove to Alex Naccarato's in California, and we stayed with him for a week to get him to sell us some Oscar sired cows -finally on the last day he got Alex to agree to sell him the cows, and that was the beginning of the born to buck bull Wheeler breeding program that Nicky started and enjoyed so much,” remembers his wife of 36 years Beverly.

Wheeler would work hard and develop one of the most coveted bloodlines of buckers in the industry and was wholly dedicated to the process until his sons picked up a rope.

He followed the industry breeding carefully until his kids became of age to compete.

“Nicky was crazy – always into one thing completely and after the boys started roping - it was roping, all the time, remembers Beverly.

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“Any kids that needed a daddy to push steers or anything at the youth competitions, he would help whoever, always inviting kids to the house to practice,” continued Beverly.

Nicky truly supported and completely loved helping youth with their dreams, and many will carry that memory of Nicky forever.

Lacee Harris, Beverly Wheeler, Susan Harris

Lacee Harris, Beverly Wheeler, Susan Harris

Wheeler showed horses as a child, and his passion for all things livestock lives on with his son Blake getting his feet wet in the bucking bull business and is now continuing the born to buck program at the Wheeler ranch, working and competing with the Wheeler bred bucking stock.

Nicky and Beverly started Fresh Country Wholesale in 1983 in Longview, TX. This grew into a family venture with the addition of Nicky’s brother, Jimmy, in 1985, when the fundraising portion of the business began. Nicky, Beverly, and Jimmy have worked over the ensuing years with various FFA groups, elementary schools, and others, spanning five states. These groups and their members mean a agreat deal to the Wheeler family.

Recently, Wheeler’s son Cole has assumed his position at Fresh Country Fundraising working with his uncle Jimmy WHeeler who created the business, Fresh Country Fundraising, with his brother in Longview in 1988. Fresh Country Fund Raising offers schools and organizations the opportunity to raise money through professionally developed Fund Raising Programs. Both remain committed to continuing the business.

Doing something concrete and meaningful that pays tribute to the life that was lost is a way people are often able to find peace in a loss, and the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding this weekend will celebrate the life Nicky loved.

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On April 18 we buried only Nicky Wheeler’s body. His spirit, his soul, his amazing ability to give is still with us. He lives on in the stories people are sharing tonight both on and behind the bucking chutes, in the stands and in their hearts of how he touched their lives.

His love is in the spirit and resilience of his children. Things will never be the same – but the world is better for the years Nicky Wheeler was alive.

Tickets for the Nicky Wheeler Memorial will benefit the youth scholarship program of Cherokee County. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nicky-wheeler-memorial-bull-bash-tickets-48716784213 or at Raven Jute Company, 107 East Commerce, Jacksonville, Texas. Tuff Hedeman, NFR Qualifier Boudreaux Campbell and Professional Bullfighter Bryce Redo will be signing autographs at Raven Jute on Saturday at 1 pm.

About Nicky Wheeler

Mr. Wheeler passed away Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Tyler. He was born in Lubbock, Texas and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. He was the founder of Fresh Country -Raising in Longview. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly Conine Wheeler; his sons, Trent Wheeler, Cole Wheeler and Blake Wheeler who will be in Jacksonville on Saturday night. Nicky was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Billy Don Wheeler. He is survived by his loving family, including his wife of 36 years, Beverly Conine Wheeler; his sons, Trent Wheeler, Cole Wheeler and Blake Wheeler; siblings, Alan Neil Wheeler and wife Rachel, and Jimmy Wheeler; his uncle, Lloyd Wheeler and aunt, Sandy, as well as many nieces and nephews; and his lifelong friend Ricky Blalock.

“He had more ability than me, Tuff Hedeman, and Jim Shoulders all rolled together,” continued Gay.

Described by Gay as having an inherent unique natural ability. We would ride the same bull, and I would marvel at how easy he made it look.

 “Never met a man that was more loved than Nicky Wheeler. He had a big heart and never met a stranger,” ended Gay. 

The Game Changers

First-time Qualifiers head to Las Vegas

 

A pause in the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding schedule to give a big congratulations to the first time qualifiers of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The courage and determination it takes to land as one of the top 15 bull riders in the world is astounding. We will be highlighting and profiling their careers on TuffHedemanBullRiding.com in depth as the NFR approaches but for now a shout out to these warriors of the road.

On the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour we have a total of 11 bull riders who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo, and of those 11, 4 are making their first appearance at the NFR.

Congratulations to all but for now let’s take a look at the riders going to Las Vegas for the first time as NFR contestants.

#3 Dustin Boquet, Bourg, Louisiana

“If prayer becomes a habit then success becomes a lifestyle.”

Dustin Boquet

Dustin Boquet

24-year-old Dustin Boquet rose from a 2017 50th place finish in pro rodeo to #3 as of October 2. He guesses he went to about 110 rodeos that earned him $114,587.51 during his quest to compete in Las Vegas. Boquet didn't get on his first bull until he was 16 which some would call a "late" start, but he more than made up for it with this stellar season. His process was to give it all he had and know that there would be tough times and great times. “I just keep my faith strong and kept chasing the goal I had, and it paid off.“

Koby Radley rides 9100 Kojack (Mike Rawson) at the Southpoint Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding in March. Radley will return to Las Vegas riding for the first time at the National Finals Rodeo.

Koby Radley rides 9100 Kojack (Mike Rawson) at the Southpoint Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding in March. Radley will return to Las Vegas riding for the first time at the National Finals Rodeo.

#12 Koby Radley, Montpelier, Louisiana

“It’s been a year to remember! Thanks to the man upstairs and everyone else who has supported me along the way!”

The standings changed rapidly in September and bull rider Koby Radley rode the tide from 18th to 14th then to 12th where he finished. The 20-year-old from Louisiana is the former International Finals Rodeo Champion bull rider, won multiple CBR events, and is a regular and a favorite on the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour. $97,257.63 in PRCA money earned.

#14 - Eli Vastbinder, Union Grove, NC 

Eli Vastbinder discussing his ride with Tuff Hedeman at the Fort Worth Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Challenge

Eli Vastbinder discussing his ride with Tuff Hedeman at the Fort Worth Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Challenge

"It's been a long year but the best year I've ever had! I had one goal, and that was to make the Finals! I've been to 93 rodeos this year and driven close to 100,000 miles since last November."

Eli has been all over the top 15 landscape earning $95,114.26 to accomplish his goal of riding in December in Las Vegas. Vastbinder is an accomplished multi-titled bull rider remembered recently for the one that got away. Vastbinder came within 6 year-end points of beating Sage Kimzey at the 2017 CBR World Finals.  

#9 Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, Utah

"I want to say thanks to everyone that stood behind me this far, I have finally qualified for my first WNFR. I will start saying thanks to my beautiful wife who has believed in me since day one. She pushes me every day to be the best I can be and most of all her patience she has for me being gone 24/7, Second is Tim Bingham (former NFR qualifier) who taught me how to rodeo and achieve my goals in and out of the arena. Every year I go watching him in Vegas he shows me how much it means just by watching his actions. Third, I’d like to thank my parents for always supporting me through all the ups and downs – they are amazing.” 

25-year-old Tyler Bingham earned $101,583.48 this year in pro-rodeos after barely missing the NFR in 2017 (18th). He used his momentum after winning the THT Championship in El Paso in February to make an impressive rodeo run, and he enters the NFR in the 9th position.  Tyler is a former National High School Finals Rodeo Champion (2011).

Tyler Bingham wins the Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding, El Paso, Texas

Tyler Bingham wins the Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding, El Paso, Texas

About the NFR

The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is the 10 round season-ending championship event for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and is widely acknowledged to be the world’s premier rodeo. Held annually since 1959 – and since 1985, every December at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas – the NFR is ProRodeo’s richest and most prestigious rodeo, and it showcases the very best cowboys and cowgirls in the world.

A few things to know about the NFR that keep the event exciting and the outcome unpredictable:

- 10 rounds – one round on each of 10 consecutive days; each contestant competes once each day.

- Competitors earn money by placing first through sixth in any round and pick up more money by -placing first through eighth in the average (cumulative times or points earned during the 10 rounds).

- At the end of each NFR, there are two champions in each event (four for team roping): the average winner, who won the Wrangler NFR by having the best cumulative time or score for that event over the 10 rounds, and the world champion, who finished the year with the most money (including what he or she earned at the NFR).

- For each event, the average winner and world champion may be the same person or different people.

*For more information on the NFR and the complete list of qualifiers and see Prorodeo.com.

 

 

 

Nicky Wheeler Memorial - Bull Spotlight

2018 National Finals Rodeo Qualifier Koby Radley on 277 Dirty Little Secret owned by Jeff Harris

2018 National Finals Rodeo Qualifier Koby Radley on 277 Dirty Little Secret owned by Jeff Harris


277 Dirty Little Secret

Sire: Zorro

The definition of a dirty little secret is something kept hidden or unexplained, a mystery, something divulged only to those of one’s own company – in short, a trade secret.

It is no accident that bucking bull #277 has become one of Jeff Harris’s trade secrets. Before he was a regular on Jeff Harris trailer, #277 won $150,000 as a two year old competitor in the futurity games. Most fans will say they come to the events to see the super star riders of the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding tours, but this year add a Bull of the Year to the list of reasons you buy a ticket to the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena on October 6.

Once described as “just a bull” that Harris was grooming for rider competition, 277 has become the anchor of Harris’ pen of buckers at the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour events and additional bull team competitions. Harris credits the bull’s success to his love for the job of being a bucking bull.

“He is one in a million animal, gentle, just a big pet and he loves what he does and loves to get on the trailer when we are loading up for the trips,” said Harris.    

Besides being part of the team that has made Harris in excess of half a million dollars in bull team earnings, Dirty Little Secret is one of the most coveted bull names that right handed bull riders want to see their name next to when they check in with the event secretary, and one lucky rider will get that experience at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena on Saturday night at the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding.

“277 is the bull to have not only this weekend but anytime. He’s proven that every time he’s ridden it’s straight to the pay window. And speaking from experience he feels great and I’m looking forward to the rematch,” said former NFR qualifier and current THBRT competitor and television broadcaster, Cody Rostockyj.

Cody Rostockyj hopes for a rematch with 277 Dirty LIttle Secret when he arrives in Jacksonville this weekend.

Cody Rostockyj hopes for a rematch with 277 Dirty LIttle Secret when he arrives in Jacksonville this weekend.

Bucking in the first round position at four of the five Tuff Hedeman tour events this season, 277 carried some of the most prestigious names in the industry to the 8 second whistle. Tristan Mize was unfamiliar with the bull until he was matched with him last month where he thrilled the crowd with an 88 point spin to win the semifinal round in Huron, South Dakota.

“I got on 277 and he was a really nice bull, all my buddies said he was the one to have and it worked out he was a really, really good bull. I didn’t know any of the bulls here, but I knew Jeff from early in my career - and he helped me out,” said Tristan Mize.

“I got on 277 and he was a really nice bull, all my buddies said he was the one to have and it worked out he was a really, really good bull. I didn’t know any of the bulls here, but I knew Jeff from early in my career - and he helped me out,” said Tristan Mize.

The reigning National High School Rodeo Champion Cole Skender drew him as his first bull at his first professional event and rode him for 90 points in El Paso. Louisiana cowboy Koby Radley, who recently qualified for his first NFR, placed in Fort Worth thanks to his 87.5 ride on the almost palomino colored bucker.

Arkansas cowboy Cole Skender captured his first qualified ride at a pro event with his 90 points aboard Harris’ prize bucker in El Paso at the Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.

Arkansas cowboy Cole Skender captured his first qualified ride at a pro event with his 90 points aboard Harris’ prize bucker in El Paso at the Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.

Brody Yeary took him for an 89 point spin in Las Vegas and Dalan Duncan was 89.5 on him in Bossier.

Owned by Jeff Harris of Palestine, Dirtily Little Secret is the bull he can always count on to have the same trip. Ridden by six of the newly named 2018 National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, including Sage Kimzey, Jeff Askey, Joe Frost, Eli Vastbinder and Trey Benton, 277 can be a friendly foe or a fierce opponent if you are left handed.

Dalan Duncan on 277 at the Eldorado Resort Casino TH Bull Riding Tour event.

Dalan Duncan on 277 at the Eldorado Resort Casino TH Bull Riding Tour event.

Harris, a World Champion Bull Team owner, owner-operator of Rafter J Ranch in Palestine, is the co-producer of the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding and will add flanking to his list of chores on Saturday night as he loads 277 and others into the bucking chutes.

Harris with his wife Susan and two children, Lacee and Tate, will be helping with the annual fundraiser for the area 4-H and FFA Youth Scholarship Programs.

 “I raised my kids in and around the bucking bulls and we are blessed to all participate in the family business, they all recognize good bulls and we don’t sugar coat the truth,” laughed Harris.

 “We are proud to work with Haley Beasley, the backbone of this event, and we all pitch in and raise money for the FFA and 4-H students in Cherokee County,” continued Harris.

For more information about the Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding contact Haley Beasley- 903-747-7199 or Lacee Harris - 903-724-0591. Tickets are on sale at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nicky-wheeler-memorial-bull-bash-tickets-48716784213 of thru http://www.tuffhedemanbullriding.com.