Most cowboys put on their best duds to go to town, but rodeo contestants usually show us what we want those duds to look like.

Article by GARY VORHES • Photography by DARRELL ARNOLD, article originally published in the May 1988 issue of Western Horseman

To most folks, “rodeo” and “cowboy” are words that just go together naturally. And although horse people know that there are lots of distinctions within the cowboy category, rodeo competitors are the most visible group.

The companies that make Western wear are very conscious of this, and it’s not uncommon for a hat company, for instance, to give hats to contestants at a rodeo that will be televised. The company knows that prospective buyers watching the rodeo will be influenced by what the “pros” are wearing. Some Western wear makers have even offered bonuses to contestants who win while wearing the maker’s products.

And the contestants can increase their income by endorsing clothes and gear. A big winner, in fact, can make as much money from his endorsements as he does from his athletic efforts. The following are photographs and information gathered during 1987 at the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in Pueblo, Colorado, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and the National Little Britches Rodeo Association Finals, both held in Colorado Springs.

On the left is June Pasha, a NHSRA competitor from Great Falls, Montana. June is wearing a Stetson hat and a Miles City hatband. Her blouse is by Wrangler because “they have lots of colors,” and her pants are from Rocky Mountain, of Denver. She is wearing Tony Lama boots, and her buckle is an all-around cowgirl buckle made by Johnson Held Ltd., of Denver. Gina Icenoggle competes against June and is from Cut Bank, Montana. Gina has a Stetson hat, a Caribou blouse and Rocky Mountain pants. Her boots are Acme because “I like the comfort, the color, and they are inexpensive.” She made the belt herself, and the buckle is by Robert Yellowhair of White River, Arizona. Another Montana high school competitor is Darcy Nevala, of Geyser. She has a Resistol hat and Wrangler pants. Darcy made her own blouse. The boots are from Nocona and the buckle from Montana Silversmiths. Her sister, Raelene, made the belt.

This distinguished looking gentleman is Herb Brock, the caller and trainer of the Dandies. Herb is wearing a Resistol hat and a Circle S suit which he says travels well and is comfort­able. He is wearing a standard white dress shirt. His buckle has his name on it and was made by Nelson Silvia. The boots are Tony Lama ropers.

Laura Boyett is from Los Lunas, New Mexico, and rides cutting horses. Her hat is from Davis Hats, of Albuquerque, her blouse is from Western Warehouse, and her pants are Wranglers. Her boots are Sanders— “the only kind of boots I wear” —and the buckle is from the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association finals, where Laura qualified for the nationals.

PRCA bareback rider Jay Slagowski, of Mountain View, Wyoming. He is wearing a straw hat from American Hat Company. He doesn’t know where he got the shirt, but his pants are black Wranglers because he appreciates Wrangler’s support of rodeo. He is wearing Tony Lama muleskin boots, which he feels are tough enough to take a beating for a long time. He has Tim Bath chaps, Blackwood spurs and a glove from Peter John Hennessee of Ce­leste, Texas. He also uses a Barstow rigging.

These are two of the Dandies, Marcie Emerson (left) and Karla Stephens. Marcie is from Cameron, Oklahoma. She is wearing an American hat and a blouse from Rockmount Ranchwear. Her pants are Wrangler; Wrangler Western Wear helps sponsor the team. Marcie is wearing Justin ropers. Karla is from Roland, Oklahoma. Her clothes are the same as Marcie’s except that she is wearing Reata boots, which she bought to match her outfit.

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