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7th Annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals Rodeo
story by Naomi Loomis, WSRRA Representative
The most successful ever seventh-annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National
Finals Rodeo was held November 3 – November 6 at the Winnemucca Events Complex in Winnemucca, Nevada. Teams came from thirteen western states including far away states like Nebraska and Wyoming plus, new this year, two teams from Canada. Established in 2010, the WSRRA has experienced incredible growth, each year growing in number of events and members. The association currently has more than 700 members.
Throughout 2016, WSRRA sanctioned more than 48 open ranch rodeos, 22 women’s ranch rodeos, 25 women’s steer stoppings and over 100 ranch bronc riding events. The top open and women’s teams from each of the ranch rodeos, and the top 15 women’s steer stoppers, and top 15 ranch bronc riders competed for cash and prizes at the National Finals. Prizes included Gist buckles, custom made gear made by Ricardo’s Saddlery and Mincer Silversmiths, John and Kristen Mincer, halters, stirrups by Weber Stirrups, and custom made hats donated by Chaz Mitchell Hatz.
The Nationals Finals kicked off Thursday with the women’s long go team events, the opening of the Christmas Buckaroo Trade Show and jack pot roping events.
The jackpot roping winners were Gary Grockett and Jesse Jolly in the Big Loop, Gene Harry and Daxton Jim in the team roping and Kyndall Tibbits in the steer stopping.
Friday, November 3, one member of each open team started the day showing off their highly skilled ranch horses in a working ranch contest. Then the teams competed in long go events of load & tie and team roping. The evening’s performance featured “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” theme. Grand Marshal, Governor Jim Gibbon from Nevada, made an exciting grand entrance in a refurbished horse drawn stagecoach. If that wasn’t enough, the first two rounds of the Professional Wild Horse Racers Association (PWHRA) national finals got everyone’s blood pumping! Rodeo clown, Tuffy Gessling entertained the crowd with his rope tricks and laughs. Joining us for the first time was J and R Rodeo with mini bareback horses for kids ages 6- 14. In between specialty acts, WSRRA Ranch Bronc riders and open and women’s teams showed their talents in featured performances.
Saturday morning started with three rounds of Women’s Steer Stopping, followed by open team long go’s of sort & rope doctoring, and team branding. Later in the day WSRRA National Sponsors, the Boot Barn, sponsored a dummy roping contest and a stick horse barrel race for the kids. Gist Buckles were given as prizes. The second annual Great Basin Gathering; music, poetry and trading gear was a spotlighted event. Afternoon rodeo action featured jackpot family branding won by Tyler Miller, Tub Blanthorne, Bea Lee and Will Knight. As the sun was going down, the second evening performance started. This performance was full of Wild West action and western traditions. Featured performances of more of the open and women’s teams, along with two rounds each of PWHRA and WSRRA ranch bronc riding kept the arena dust stirred up and the crowd’s excitement high! Performances by Tuffy Gessling and R and R Rodeo, mini barebacks lived up the evening’s experience. Saturday ended with year-end and long go awards at The Winners at Winners WSRRA awards party, followed by dancing to music by the Jeff Palmer Band, both hosted by the Winners Inn & Casino.
Sunday, November 6th, WSRRA held Cowboy Church by Bo and Kathy Lowe it was well attended. After Cowboy Church, WSRRA held the short go of the national finals for the open and women’s divisions and the final rounds of PWHRA wild horse racing and WSRRA ranch bronc riding. At the end of the afternoon, champions were crowned with Gist Silver buckles, homemade headstall by Ricardo’s Saddlery with Mincer Silversmith WSRRA conchos and silver stirrups by Weber Stirrups were handed out.
Congratulations to all the contestants not just the winners. First time visitors to the event were totally impressed with the quality of the competition and the stock. A huge thank you to all the office help, chute help, announcers, judges, vendors, stock contractors, and particularly Hot Creek Ranch, owned by Bobbi and Dave Murphey, who supplied nearly 250 top quality Corriente cattle for the event.
The WSRRA wouldn’t be around without the help of our sponsors and major supporters which include: Winnemucca WVCA Board, Ram Trucks/Ram Rodeo, Boot Barn, Performix Nutrition, Les Schwab Tires, 8 Seconds Whiskey, Twisted X Boots, Gouveia Ranches, Working Ranch Magazine, Mary Williams Hyde/Buckaroo Country, Rodeo News, Yeti, Big Bend Trailers and Chaz Mitchell Hatz, and host hotels, Winnemucca Inn and Winners Inn Casino.