Producing rodeos in California has put stock contractor Cotton Rosser up against some stiff competition when it comes to the general public’s coveted entertainment dollars. And that’s why he believes rodeos should be more than just a sporting event – they should be entertaining as well.

When its 80th annual edition takes place Feb. 19-27 in Tucson, Ariz., La Fiesta de los Vaqueros will attract cowboys, year-round residents and “snowbirds” alike to an event that’s been a desert entertainment staple since 1925. The Tucson Rodeo’s a unique and enticing winter spectacle for a number of reasons – not the least of which is a climate where average February temperatures are in the mid-50s, but can climb into the 80s.

Although creating a rodeo organization from scratch is no easy task, the National High School Rodeo Association – organizers of the new Wrangler Division for junior-high school students – has been there before. Texas educator Claude Mullins developed the NHSRA in the late 1940s as a way to convince ranch kids in his state to stay in school and earn their diplomas.

Canadian horsemen Jeff and Jesse Beckley, a father-and-son duo share a reining-horse training barn at the family's Three Bars Guest Ranch near Cranbrook, British Columbia, which also supports a cattle operation. No matter what a horse's job with the outfit, he is trained for a reliable stop. Obviously, the reiners slide long distances, but ranch cow and guest horses are expected to be dependable in their stops, as well.


In the August issue, trainer Randy Rieman addresses the very real problem of buddy- and barn-sour horses. Breaking the magnets that hold your horse's attention is key to making him a willing partner and your initial training session begins with catching him in the pasture.


When Arizona trainer Lance Valdespino first began ground-driving horses more than 30 years ago, there were few options available for surcingles. He tried using one from a traditional set of driving harness, and found that the screw-in metal rings were set too high for many horses. Running the lines through the stirrups on a saddle, as often is recommended, also didn’t allow the flexibility he wanted and often placed the reins too low.

Training your mule for the trail takes time, patience and practice says Montana mule trainer Brad Cameron (see WH story, “The Mule Mindset,” May 2007). And, one of the most important lessons you can teach your mule is to stand still for mounting. Getting on an animal that won’t stand still is dangerous.