Meet the Member Colby Houlton
story by Lindsay Humphrey In Kiowa, Kansas, just about everything is as deeply rooted in family as it gets. That’s especially true for Colby Houlton […]
By Siri Stevens
Leon Winfrey has been part of the KPRA since 1985, when it was called the Kansas State Rodeo Association. The 58-year-old heeler from Plains, Kan., started roping when he was 20. “I didn’t have any roping background, we were all farmers, but I fell in love with horses.” Leon competes in the World Series and several jackpots around his home. “None of those compare to team roping in a rodeo association,” he explained. “There’s a high sitting the corner of the box, knowing you only get one run.” Leon pro rodeoed for six years. “Rodeo is what I love, the rodeo family is different – my kids started junior rodeos, high school, college, and we’re still the same family.” Leon’s daughter, Teddi Winslow, is the breakaway director and her husband, Kyle Winslow, team ropes. “When you pull in the arena, you know everybody. It takes 15 minutes to park because everyone comes up to the window.” He admits that one of the luxuries of competing in the KPRA is “you can rodeo and be home every morning.”
His wife, Nancy, is the cheerleader. “She’s the rock of this deal. We run three or four businesses and she keeps track of all of them.” The Winfreys have run a hunting lodge for pheasant and deer for 26 years. Flying W Outfitters hosts hunters from all over the nation in their lodge that sleeps 17. “We will have hunters October to April 1 every weekend. They can hunt on 20,000 acres of owned/leased ground. We raise a lot of native birds because of the way we farm – we farm for the pheasants.”
They also have a corn chip company, Pedros Corn Chips. “We raise the corn, make, and distribute the chips,” he said. In addition to the corn, they raise milo and wheat and run stocker cattle all winter. Leon’s son, Dustin, farms alongside his dad. His other son, Weston, works for American AgCredit in Pratt, Kan., but lends a hand during harvest and big pheasant hunts. The family gets together to rope at their arena whenever they can. “It’s hard, but we do it,” said Leon.
Leon brings years of experience on many boards to his position as president. “I’ve been on the Kansas High School Board; I’m on the committee at Meade KPRA, and I’ve been on the Farm Bureau board. I was a huge FFA freak, so parliamentary procedure is my strong point. With as many businesses as we have, running meetings has to be formal.”
His goals being the president are to make the association stronger and hopefully add a few more rodeos. “Our membership went up this year because the finals were held in Dodge City. The partnership with Boot Hill Casino and the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo committee really made this year’s Finals one to remember. I guarantee that next year it’s going to be even bigger and better.”
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