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Meet the 2017 Producer of the Year Shellie Newman
by Naomi Loomis, WSRRA
The eighth-annual Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals was held November 2 – November 5 at the Winnemucca Events Complex in Winnemucca, Nevada. The Western States Ranch Rodeo Association (WSRRA) continues to experience solid support in thirteen states and Canada with teams coming from as far away as Nebraska and Wyoming plus, four 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 2017, WSRRA sanctioned more than 49 open ranch rodeos, 20 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, the top 15 women’s steer stoppers, and the top 15 ranch bronc riders competed for cash and prizes at the National Finals. Prizes included Gist buckles, Yeti coolers, custom made gear made by Ricardo’s Saddlery and John Mincer, halters, stirrups, and custom made hats donated by Chaz Mitchell Hatz.
Behind the scenes of the WSRRA are the ranch rodeo and ranch bronc riding producers who sanction their events with the WSRRA. These fine folks do not go unnoticed. At the 2017 WSRRA National Finals, we recognized Idaho’s Shellie Newman, of the Rexburg Ranch Rodeo, as one of our 2017 WSRRA Producers of the Year. She has been on her local ranch rodeo committee since 2002, and has produced the Rexburg event since it started in 2010. “We wanted a night of rodeo for the county fair. I think people look forward to it.”
The Rexburg Ranch Rodeo has been sanctioned with the WSRRA every year. “Sanctioning it with the WSRRA really helps draw cowboys who are trying to get qualified for the national finals.” Doctoring, branding, team roping, trailer loading and steer tying are the main events for her ranch rodeos. “We sometimes have ranch bronc riding and sorting, too,” Shellie adds. “Running a smooth ranch rodeo can be challenging at times, especially outdoors. You never really know what strange things can happen, but for the most part, our events run smooth with little to no problems. I have found that having a fantastic ground crew with the cattle is the most important. If the books are in order ahead of time and you have a crew that keeps your cattle moving, things go really smooth. We have been lucky enough to keep the same crew over the years, so they know their duties. Shaney Cheney works right alongside me at every rodeo, and I couldn’t do it without her help,” Shellie says.
The Rexburg Ranch Rodeo is held on a Tuesday night, which draws a good crowd and draws cowboys/cowgirls in August. “I have teams from Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Montana and, of course, Idaho.”
Shellie, her husband, Monte, and their six children have ranching and rodeo in their blood. “All of our boys ranch for a living and it is one of the reasons I started helping at the rodeos. They love to compete and they love to work together,” Shellie says.
Shellie believes that ranch rodeo is more of a family event. “I have helped with our annual rodeos in Blackfoot in July, the Rexburg Ranch Rodeo in August, and the Dubois Ranch Rodeo in September. The Blackfoot Ranch Rodeo has team and kids events that include the whole family. The ranch lifestyle is a family lifestyle and I feel that if you have never been to a ranch rodeo, you should really go to one. The cowboys and cowgirls usually bring their families and there are many father-son teams and mother-daughter teams for the women,” she states.
“I love the fact that WSRRA gives these ranch cowboys and cowgirls an opportunity to showcase their everyday lives and something to compete for. It is the most competitive ranch rodeo you can see, always with action and entertainment and family all around fun. You would be amazed at the amount of talent that these guys bring it to the arena.”
“I think people are always intrigued with the “Cowboy” and his lifestyle. The ranch rodeo keeps it alive and shows people not familiar with that true lifestyle what really goes on and these guys make it look easy, even though it is very hard work.”
Shellie’s goals for her 2018 ranch rodeo seasons include to get more teams, get more sponsors and attract bigger audiences. “I think that people are just really starting to get into ranch rodeos and the differences between the different rodeos. It is always fast moving; I hope to keep growing in both participants and spectators.”
On behalf of the of WSRRA, thank you for being a producer and congratulations!