courtesy of Don Reichert The 30th Reunion Celebration of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni (NIRAA) was held at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, […]
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NIRA Alumni Honorees
courtesy of NIRAA
Four former National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) standouts will be acknowledged during the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming June 18 and 19.
Butch Bratsky will be recognized as the 2020 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni, Inc. (NIRAA) Alumnus of the Year during the June 18 performance of the CNFR and Martha Jordan will receive the 2020 NIRA Alumni, Inc. Outstanding Contributor of the Year Award at the NIRA Foundation Luncheon, June 19. At press time, the 2021 awards had not been selected. They will be announced in an upcoming issue of the Rodeo News.
Both awards are given yearly to outstanding members of the NIRA Alumni, Inc. The criteria includes individuals who have made a significant difference in the growth, quality, and progress of the NIRA and/or NIRA Alumni, Inc. The 2020 and 2021 honorees will be recognized in 2021 due to the cancelation of the 2020 NIRAA, Inc. Reunion.
NIRAA, Inc. 2020 Alumnus of the Year
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Inc. was lucky enough to have Butch at the helm of the organization for eight years. After stepping down in 2019, he has remained a productive board member and contributor to the NIRAA Scholarship Fund. So, it was a natural that the NIRAA Board of Directors would nominate and select him as their 2020 Alumnus of the Year recipient.
“I have always felt that contributing to the NIRA Alumni Scholarship Fund is my way of giving back to college rodeo athletes. Hopefully it may help some deserving student get their education just as it did for me many years back,” explained Butch.
So, how did Bratsky get his start in rodeos? He started out competing in mutton bustin’ and from there he graduated to junior high and high school rodeos. He attended Montana State University on a rodeo scholarship, where he competed for the MSU Bobcats in bareback riding, bull riding, and steer wrestling.
In 1974 he was crowned the NIRA Bull Riding Champion in his college’s hometown of Bozeman Montana. He also was instrumental in advancing his MSU Men’s team to the national championship title for two years, along with a runner-up title.
These days Butch continues to be a cheerleader for the Bobcats and is an avid supporter of their rodeo scholarship program as well. At the CNFR, one can see he and his wife Shannon cheering on the competitors wearing the blue and gold vest from MSU.
“Rodeo has been a huge part of my life and I’m proud to call my friends and acquaintances from those years my second family,” stated the NIRA Alumni, Inc. Alumnus of the Year, Butch Bratsky.
NIRAA, Inc. Outstanding Alumni Contributor
Not only has Martha excelled in the rodeo arena as a world class barrel racer, she is also an avid supporter and board member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni (NIRAA). Consequently, the NIRAA recently named her the 2020 NIRAA Contributor of the Year.
During the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), each of the winners of the barrel racing go rounds and the barrel racing rookie of the year will receive a $500 scholarship given by Martha.
“I hope my contribution to the NIRAA Scholarship fund encourages and allows a college student to achieve their dream and passion,” stated Martha.
She continued, “I think the scholarship fund is key and in some instances helps in furthering the education of young men and women who also love to rodeo.”
Martha attended college at both Tarleton State University (TSU) (College, when she was there) and Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. She graduated from Tarleton in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a certification in Medical Technology.
Martha was an outstanding college rodeo athlete capturing the NIRA Southwest Region Barrel Racing Championship in 1971 and ’72. She was also crowned the CNFR Barrel Racing Champion in ‘71 and the NIRA Barrel Racing Champion the same year. Like most NIRA Champions, she aided her TSU Women’s Team to the National Championship in ’71. In ’72 she attended ENMU and was a member of the NIRA Champion Women’s Team there as well.
The 1971 Tarleton State University NIRA Champion Women’s Team were honored and inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboys Hall of Fame (TRCHF) in Fort Worth in April. Martha and her dad, Harry have been inducted into this hall of fame previously.
A few years ago, Martha and Larry Jordan began a new journey in life. The two met on the rodeo trail when Larry was competing on the PRCA circuit in saddle bronc riding.
Yearly, Martha and Larry host the World of Rodeo Reunion and Gold Card Gathering at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The event is one to attend during the NFR to meet up with former collegiate and professional rodeo athletes.
Martha still resides at the Slash W Ranch and has continued the legacy of the Wright Way. Her web site is: