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“First of all, I never knew I was nominated,” Veneklasen said. “They called me up and said I was PRCA Vet of the Year. I was kind of shocked and it is an honor. I was nominated in 2010 by Trevor Brazile, Speed Williams, and Travis Tryan. I got a little bronze and I never thought about it ever again. Brenda Binion Michael, who passed away in July, and who was my best friend, I’m going to accept with her. We are sharing it together. She told me I was never going to be Vet of the Year. She was very blunt. They are never going to be ready for a guy who wears Hawaiian shirts every day. I wear Hawaiian shirts every day and I always have.
“I would not be where I am today without Brenda (Binion) Michael. She introduced me to Clint Johnson and Mindy Johnson, who are my dearest friends, 30 years. I have done this because of Brenda.”
A practicing veterinarian for the last 40 years, Veneklasen has worked with the Frontier Rodeo Company for 15 years. He cares for many of their top bucking horses, ensuring they are healthy and able to compete at a top level. He has also cloned some of their award-winning bucking horses in an effort to keep the genetics viable for years to come.
Veneklasen is known to many contestants and stock contractors as Dr. Rodeo and is given credit for single-handedly revolutionizing the bucking horse industry.
The careers of some the greatest bucking horses were in danger of being cut short because of injuries or other ailments but Dr. Veneklasen dedicated his career and practice to helping these equine athletes through injections, supplements, nutrition, and rehabilitation. He received his DVM from Colorado State University and owns and operates Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Texas.
“I saw some of my letters that were written and obviously I have done a lot of timed-events and the first nomination (in 2010) was with timed-event people and this nomination is all with stock contractors,” Veneklasen said. “I still do timed events, but I think it is pretty cool that the PRCA is recognizing maybe these bucking horses are pretty cool after all.
“I have had a great life and a great journey prior to rodeo, and Brenda Michael and Michael and Paula Gaughan are my mentors, and I would have never had them without Brenda. I’m excited every day to get to do what I do.”
Veterinarians play an integral role in ProRodeo. This award, created in 2010, honors veterinarians who have dedicated their lives in support of the health and welfare of our ProRodeo livestock.
Veterinarians are nominated by PRCA membership and must exhibit an extraordinary commitment to the health and welfare of our livestock. A review and selection committee made up of advocates and industry experts carefully consider the merits of each nominee and their contributions to the sport of rodeo. The nominees are also judged on the number of years they’ve been involved in rodeo, as well as their community involvement.
Veneklasen will be recognized at the PRCA Awards Banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Las Vegas on Nov. 30.
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