Tim O’Connell is looking forward

While this has been the best season of Tim O’Connell’s career so far, he is already looking forward to the 2018 rodeo year and making plans for it. That has probably been part of the reason for his success this year. He planned for it, worked towards it and has had achievements beyond many bareback […]

Tim’s balancing act

The Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start of summer for most Americans. For rodeo cowboys, it means that the busiest time of the year is about to begin. That is a love-hate relationship for reigning world champion bareback rider Tim O’Connell. “I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I […]

Frank and Sally

When Heith DeMoss won his third consecutive Reno Rodeo bronc riding championship, he went into the record books as only a handful of contestants to accomplish that feat. Heith was the first contestant to win his third set of silver championship spurs since Kristie Peterson did that on her great horse Bozo in the barrel […]

No flowers on Mother’s Day for the O’Connells

Mother’s Day isn’t filled with flowers and candy for Tim O’Connell’s mom Joann. Instead, it has become a tradition for them to spend time together at Three Hills Rodeo’s Spring Buck Out. The event has special meaning for them. It is where Tim got on his first bareback horse and it paved the way to […]

Tim O’Connell focused on repeat

We are halfway through the rodeo season and bareback rider Tim O’Connell, our reigning world champion, is looking good for a repeat. The 2017 season started Oct. 1, 2016. Tim, who grew up near Zwingle, Iowa, went to a few rodeos to stay sharp and get a start on 2017 before last year’s Wrangler National […]

So There’s a rodeo in heaven

After covering rodeos for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of change and loss in the rodeo world.  I was at Cheyenne Frontier Days when Lane Frost took his last ride and in the Thomas and Mack Center when Brent Thurman did the same. I watched with agony as my dear friend and Wrangler […]

Welcome Home

There’s no doubt that rodeo is a community all its own. Traveling from one event to the next and spending much of the year on the road fosters a fellowship amongst competitors, stock contractors and personnel that is unique to the sport. And for most of those involved, more time is spent on the road […]

Junior NFR

Before gold buckles are awarded to the champions at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), some young people will be earning buckles of their own at the Jr. NFR at Cowboy Christmas. The inaugural Jr. NFR consists of eight events:  miniature bull riding; 14-and-under tie-down roping; mini bareback riding; 13-and-under girls breakaway roping; 18-and-under team […]

Sequins, baby powder and tape – lots of tape.

There are so many things that set the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) apart from other events – one of those is the locker rooms. Throughout the year, bareback, saddle bronc and bull riders pack their gear, travel, unpack, ride, repack and travel some more. There are a few rodeos where they ride twice and […]

Taking care of our own

Cowboys and cowgirls have a history of taking care of their own and the generosity that allows them to do that never ceases to amaze me. The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund was established in 1991 to help injured rodeo contestants pay their bills if they were injured and couldn’t compete. Since that time, over 7.8 […]

Not too cool for school

Rodeo like other sports has levels of competitions. Most of the contestants at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) have worked their way through those ranks to get to Las Vegas. They start with youth rodeos in local communities, join groups like the National Little Britches Rodeo or American Junior Rodeo Association. As they […]

Smokin Reata

He is the horse that was never supposed to be. Smokin Reata, a little sorrel blaze-faced gelding ridden by tie-down roper Shane Hanchey is like the little engine that could. At 17 years old, he is making his sixth appearance in the Thomas and Mack Center at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. When a 20-year-old […]

Exceptional Rodeo

When there is a good story, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s told, it’s still a good story. Such is the case with the Exceptional Rodeo held in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). It is an event that has brought rodeo contestants and special needs children together for the past 34 […]

Elevation Sunday

On Sunday morning, after the third round of competition at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), fans and contestants gathered in the Copperfield Theater at the MGM Grand. There was plenty of magic there, but it didn’t happen on stage, it happened in the hearts and souls of attendees. Charlie Kingsbury, a long-time tie-down roper […]

Watching the rodeo with a legend

Bob Tallman should be the national or even international ambassador for rodeo. He never met a stranger, always has time for a hand shake or hug, and a warm hello. After announcing the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) for 25 times since joining the PRCA in 1972, he may have stepped away from the mic, […]

Grand Entry

It’s a little bit like Las Vegas traffic, you know about your own car and driving skills, but you sure can’t control what the other drivers are going to do. It is the grand entry at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and some contestants say it is more nerve-wracking than competing. Having contestants ride […]

Teel wedding

Saying “I do” On Wednesday night, in front of close friends and family, Cody Teel said “I do,” and married his fiancée Kaitlin McDonald. Thursday, he will nod his head in front of 18,000 fans at the Thomas and Mack Center. Outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, in the Primrose Court Wedding […]

It’s Time to Rodeo! NFR Preview

When the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) starts in the Thomas and Mack Center on Thursday, it promises to be filled with upsets, thrills, spills and the most exciting rodeo action in the sport’s history. It’s been a long travel-filled year for the 120 contestants that made it and many more that didn’t. Rodeos […]

Benje the Mix Master Mutli-tasker

“There is nothing like the electricity in the Thomas and Mack during the NFR. You can sit in the stands with a glass of water and watch the water move,” – Adam Gray, 4 time NFR tie-down roping qualifier. That statement got me thinking. I’ve covered the Wrangler National Finals rodeo for many years. The […]

Which rodeo is your favorite?

One of the questions I get asked the most is “Which rodeo is your favorite?” Longtime rodeo personality Leon Coffee gave one of the best answers to that question as I was listening in on an interview. Coffee has entertained fans across the country including and is one of the most well -known barrelman in […]