Joyce Whitis

This just in! Here’s a scoop for all rodeo fans across the country. The talented roping horse, Great Smoking Wonder, known to her hundreds of friends and thousands of fans as Pearl has been named PRCA Roping Horse of the Year.

Pearl belongs to State Representative Sid Miller of Stephenville and has earned more than $150,000 for her owner. All the great ropers have ridden her to victories including Trevor Brazile, Hunter Herrington and Cody Ohl.

When I talked to Sid about this beautiful horse that carried her riders to win more than $50,000 in a single weekend, he laughed and said, “It’s like having another wife with a paying job.”

I guess we all know who’ll be in Las Vegas during the National Finals December 3-12.

RANDON ADAMS, of Dublin, currently ranked 7th in PRCA Team Roping heelers, was all smiles when he heard that his great heeling horse, Diesel has won PRCA heeling horse of the year for the second consecutive year. Great rodeo athletes claim Erath County as home and that goes for the horse athletes as well. 

After only four days into the nine-day run at the Heart O’ Texas Fair Complex in Waco, records are being broken, a steer wrestler has made it into the elite finals in Las Vegas and bull rider BANDY MURPHY of MORGAN MILL has already collected two go-round buckles and 1st place paychecks. The cowboy from Erath County scored 90 points on David Bailey Rodeo’s Billionaire on Oct. 9 and then scored 84 points on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Smoke the following day. Murphy won both rounds and collected more than $5,000 at the pay out window.

The Heartland ProRodeo Championships conclude with the finals set for 7 p.m. Saturday.

ISAC DIAZ of Stephenville, currently ranked 8th in PRCA Saddle Bronc Riding has been moving into the winners’ circle lately headlined by his big win a couple of weeks ago at the Justin Championships. Diaz, who also rides for Tarleton rodeo team and is second in the competition, pocketed just over $21,000 by edging out J.J. Elshere for $13,251 in the final round.

Bull riding fans who have enjoyed the events on DIRECT TV got a rude awakening a couple of weeks ago when the PBR announced that they had signed an exclusive contract with DISH network. In an explanation from general manager, Randy Bernard, it was stated that the PBR had been unable to strike a deal with Versus and Direct TV and that Versus would now carry all PBR action including the finals in Las Vegas on DISH, leaving Direct TV subscribers without a screen to watch.

However fans may continue to watch the growing Championship Bull Riding and its local promoter, Tuff Hedeman on GAC (Great American Country) on both DISH and DIRECT TV. CBR has a great Web site and since moving their headquarters to the Stockyards in Fort Worth is attracting more attention from those who enjoy this tough sport.

In more bull riding news, I recently got to sit in on a conference call originating from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and including Jerry Jones, Randy Bernard, Cody Lambert and Ty Murray. In a joint announcement the men stated that the PBR would have a very special bull riding event in the Cowboys Stadium on  Feb. 20. Jones said that the plan had been in the works for four years. He was presented with a special issue belt buckle as a gift of appreciation.

Please don’t ask me how they will get all that dirt in and out for the performance which will be just one night with the winning rider and the winning bull being presented with the title “Iron Man” and “Iron Bull.” Of course American Airlines Center knows how to do that trick every year for the rodeo.

Until next time, Happy Trails to you.