story by Lindsay Humphrey A graduate of a school known for its rodeo team – Oklahoma Panhandle State University – Austin Hawkins didn’t compete until […]
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Meet the Stock Contractor Wolf Creek Rodeo
story by Siri Stevens
This will be the first year for Wolf Creek Rodeo to debut stock at the KPRA rodeos. “We have contracted one rodeo for 2018 and are waiting to hear back from two more committees,” said Justin Russell, who started his venture to help his son, 18-year-old Taylor, find practice horses for saddle bronc riding. “He started riding saddle bronc horses and needed something to practice on and it just grew from there,” he said. Taylor is a senior at Follett High School in Texas, leading the THSRA Region 1 in saddle bronc riding. He’s heading to college hopefully on a rodeo scholarship.
Justin and his wife, Jessica, along with Taylor, 18, and Loclynne, 11 live in Lipscomb, Texas, in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle. “We saw a need from the kids who are learning to ride rough stock – to bring something to the table that’s not a colt or a NFR caliber horse or bull and it’s just blossomed from there. We have everything from the easy hoppers to the ones we take to the bigger events.” Taylor is excited for the new venture, and Loclynne will continue the family tradition of showing steers and heifers.
The combination has worked well for the family – Justin and Jessica maintain an oilfield service business. They own and operate a set of mobile trailer houses that they move from location to location with the drilling rigs. He’s been involved in that for more than nine years. Jessica is right there with him, setting them up and keeping them clean and running for the next client. “My mother-in-law, Barbara, is an integral part of this too. She helps with the moving and cleaning of the houses. It’s a small family business.”
They have gathered their herd from sales and word of mouth. “I fell in love with the horses and that’s the part I like,” said Jessica, who admits to raising her hand at the sale barn based on looks, while Justin goes for confirmation and ability to buck. Justin and Jessica have built the company to be able to supply bulls, horses, and steers. “I’m staying away from the calves to be fair with the cowboys – my biggest concern is to take care of the contestants – if you don’t have them, you don’t have a rodeo.”
The future is wide open and Jessica is excited – “It’s growing – that’s what we want it to do. We want to build up the rough stock events by bringing an even pen of stock that the cowboys can win on.”
Justin roped through high school and college and has been involved in rodeo his entire life. “Ever since I was a kid, I have been infatuated with stock contracting. I love hauling these animals up and down the road and watching them perform. They are athletes but they are also part of the family. They are totally different at home in the pasture than they are at the rodeo.” Their pen now consists of around 25 horses and 20 bulls. “The goal is to put on a great rodeo for spectators and contestants and not short change anyone. It’s relatively simple for me. I do this because I love it – it consumes me – and it’s everything that I wanted to accomplish.”