The Historian

Nov 5, 2021

The Historian

There may not be anyone who knows the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo® as well as Kyle Chapin, who has filled different and vitally important roles with the rodeo for decades.

Kyle Chapin is country & Western through and through, and became involved with the NFR when he was rodeoing for former NFR general manager Shawn Davis at the College of Southern Idaho. He and some others were asked by Davis to lend a hand. It has become much more than filling a role for Chapin.

Due to his long tenure, he takes great pride in tracking the history of the event in addition to some of the important elements of show production. His impact is not taken lightly by incoming general manager Allen Rheinheimer.

“Kyle is quite the historian when it comes to the NFR,” says Rheinheimer. “He is one of the longest repeat NFR employees left on our team. He brings a great deal to the table when putting together openings for the NFR and writes most scripts for various voice overs used in the special awards. He also is quite an artist and understands the complete package of the NFR.”

Here’s a little bit more “behind the chutes” with the historian, Kyle Chapin, in his own words.

There are two things that first come to my mind when it comes to the Wrangler NFR. The first is the production. Years ago, Shawn Davis developed a timeline that we strictly followed. We believed anything over a 2-hour show was too long. It was implemented, proved way successful and has become the industry standard. Although we have added commercial breaks this year, which will add to the overall length of show, adhering to the timeline is still the most important thing in the production. 

The second thing I think about is the tradition. Like anything, the NFR will, and has, evolved. I feel, as much as I can, I will always try to keep alive the history and traditions that have been established over the years.

The NFR is Rodeo at its best, and Vegas completely turns into a cowboy town each December. To take a large city, with all that it offers, and make it feel like the NFR is the most important thing in town is unreal. It’s truly an event; not just a happening.

Over the years, much as the NFR has, my role has evolved. I have been involved in almost every aspect of the rodeo. Primarily, I work with our crew in the development and production of the openings. I am also in charge of decorating the arena. During the performance, I trouble shoot for the production manager.

Allen Rheinheimer has a deep understanding of all aspects of the NFR production. Like me, he has been there a long time and has seen how it has been so successful. I believe he will hold on to what really works and implement successful additions and changes that always come in a production of this size.  

My rodeo career was pretty typical. I rode saddle bronc and also did team roping, and I was successful in high school and college. In the PRCA, I was mostly on the Wilderness circuit.

I had a graphic artist shop for a long time and that knowledge was one of the reasons that I started doing a lot of the NFR visuals for Shawn. I don’t do art as much nowadays, but I did win 5 or 6 “Rockies” awards back in the day.

My role with the NFR is very important to me, and like anything in life, you want to take care of it for as long as you can. Then hope whomever follows respects it as much as you do.