As the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association celebrates its 10th National Finals in Winnemucca, Nevada, we reflect on ways the organization has evolved and enriched the sport of ranch rodeo the past decade.
The Western States Ranch Rodeo Association was formed in 2009 to provide an opportunity for full-time and day-working cowboys to showcase their skills in events based on jobs they do every day on the ranch. Since 2010, the association has sanctioned hundreds of rodeos and ranch bronc ridings in western states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming, as well as in Canada. And, through the years, membership has grown from the first five members to more than 700, and now includes generations of family members carrying on ranching and ranch rodeo heritage.
The 10th annual WSRRA National Finals Rodeo will be held October 31 to November 3, 2019, at the Winnemucca Events Center in Winnemucca, Nevada. More than 45 four-person open and all women teams, as well as the top 15 ranch bronc riders and women steer stoppers will vie for cash, prizes and championship honors. Six teams of youth and adults in the new junior-senior division will also compete. Throughout the weekend there will be jackpot events, the Buckaroo Christmas Trade Show and more for the entire family.
Mary Hyde, official photographer of the WSRRA National Finals, created a series of collectible posters commemorating the 10th annual event, shown below.
In celebration of WSRRA’s 10th anniversary, we’ve compiled 10 highlights from the past decade that show the association’s evolution and dedication to fostering ranch rodeo for the future.
2010: The first WSRRA National Finals was held in Winnemucca, Nevada. Thirty-six teams and the top 15 contestants in women’s steer stopping, ranch horse competition and stock saddle bronc riding competed for $50,000 in cash and prizes.
The first champions crowned were:
- Team: Box-Dot of California and Nevada (Wyatt Bourdet, Dan Locke, Matt Mori and Travis Timm)
- Ranch Horse: Darrell Norcutt, Fallon, Nevada
- Women’s Steer Stopping: Kassi Venturacci, Fallon, Nevada
- Stock Saddle Bronc Riding: Derrick Huffaker, Woodruff, Utah
- Top Hand: Ty Holly, Prairie City, Oregon
2011: The WSRRA National Finals added a Ranch Dog Challenge showcasing the cattle savvy of working stock dogs and their handlers.
- Open Class: Sharon Edsall of Montana and her dog, Mocha
- Ranch Cowboy Class & Overall Ranch Dog: Ty Openshaw of Nevada and his dog, Zeke
- Dog with Heart: Rosi Stoddart of Oregon and her dog, Dezi; and Lisa Bedell of Nevada and her dog, Pepper.
2012: The WSRRA Cowboy Crisis Fund and silent auction was established and raised money for its first beneficiary, Randy McClure, a Nevada cowboy who was critically injured in an automobile accident.
2013: A women’s division was added to the WSRRA National Finals in partnership with the Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association. Eight four-women teams qualified during the year.
The first champions in the women’s division were:
- Team: Outback Stallion Station of Idaho and Nevada (Carmen Buckingham, Marcia Eiguren, Kim Grubbs and Katie McFarlane)
- All-Around Cowgirl: Mindy Goemmer
- Top Hand Cowgirl: Katie Jo McFarlane
- All-Around Ranch Horse: Watch Genuine Red, owned by Hanging H Ranch and ridden by RaeLyn Gilmore.
2014: 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stops were added to the WSRRA ranch bronc riding circuit, creating more added money and point incentives for the cowboys.
2015: The first annual Great Basin Gathering was held during the WSRRA National Finals to offer a place for cowboy musicians and poets to perform and for cowboys to trade and sell their gear.
2016: The first Canadian teams and ranch bronc riders qualified for the National Finals in a partnership between WSRRA and the Ranch Rodeo Cowboy Association in Alberta, Canada. The Meadow Springs team consisted of Calin and Colt Duce, Trav Neilson and Kent Nelson. Travis Jordan, Harley and Wyatt Wilson and Alton Wood made up the Alta Bar team. Qualified Canadian ranch bronc riders were Wacey Marr and Aaron Mercer. Mercer won the WSRRA Rookie of the Finals award.
2017: Neo Mori received the first WSRRA Neo Mori Heritage of Ranching Award for blazing a trail for other ranchers with his dedication and vision for the ranching industry. The annual award recognizes the humanistic, scientific and technological contributions of an individual in the ranching and livestock industries.
2018: Youth compete at the National Finals. In an effort to entice families and youth to compete in WSRRA-sanctioned events, the association started offering a junior-senior team division in which a four-member team of two adults (17 years and older) and two youth (16 years and under) compete in six standard team events, including working ranch horse, team roping, trailer loading, tie-down roping, doctoring and branding. They also added a junior ranch bronc riding event with a scholarship going to the winner. Cauy Pool of Oregon was the first scholarship winner. He competed on the New Mexico State University Rodeo team as a bareback rider and is now riding in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
2019: WSRRA celebrates its 10th National Finals and portions of the event will be televised in programs on The Cowboy Channel and RDF-TV.