Friday, December 10, 2010

Gold Buckle Dreams

Six Team WYO Members Pursue the 2010 World Championship Title at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas

Rodeo and Wyoming are synonymous with one another. Wyoming kids are on horses before they can walk and the western lifestyle is treasured in a place often referred to as the “Cowboy State.”

There is a rodeo every summer weekend in Wyoming whether a small town affair or the “Daddy of ‘Em All” - Cheyenne Frontier Days. There are no major league sports teams and while gifted athletes, such as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Brett Keisel, were raised in Wyoming it is the homegrown pro rodeo cowboy and cowgirl that make residents most proud.

The concept of forming a team of these athletes began following the 2004 world championship bareback riding title victory by Kelly Timberman. He has matured to become widely regarded as one of rodeo’s leading spokesman. His passion, enthusiasm and warmth attract the attention of anyone who approaches Timberman whether it is for a national television interview or a talk with a small-town newspaper reporter.

Team Wyoming is sponsored by the Wyoming Office of Tourism. It is the only contractual agreement in the U.S. between a state entity and pro rodeo athletes. Membership is obtained by earning a berth to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Team members have worn the “WYO” brand while competing in each event at the national finals with the exception of tie-down roping.

Gene Bryan, Manager of the Cowboy Marketing Program and Team WYO said,” "Team Wyoming members, past and present, represent the very best Wyoming has to offer. Not only are they at the top of their game in their chosen profession, they represent their state with the same passion and dedication. Yes, they are superb professional athletes, but they are Wyoming to the core--proud, independent, respectful and polite to a fault ('Yes, Sir' and 'Good morning, Mam' are as natural as breathing). Every Wyomingite would be proud to call them 'son' or 'daughter.’”

This year three of the “Top 15” bull riders competing in Vegas are Team Wyoming stalwarts. One of them, Seth Glause, made the cut on the final weekend of the regular season by winning paychecks in three rodeos in three states. And two of those rides were after Glause was stepped on by a bull after an 82-point ride in the Playoff Finals in Omaha. Kanin Asay will be attempting to cart off his first world champions’ gold buckle. He won the WNFR bull riding competition last year in Las Vegas and his ride of 93 points was the highest score of the 10-day event. Bobby Welsh has punched a ticket to his sixth straight national finals. He won more than $14K in the Xtreme Bulls Finale in Ellensburg, WA late this summer and most of that money came in Welshs’ Championship Round ride on a Wyoming bull called “Kid Twist” – owned by Burns Rodeo Co. in Laramie

Kelly Timberman returns for his seventh straight WNFR in Las Vegas. Kelly Timberman is a three-time winner of the tribute rodeo staged every November in Casper in LeDoux’s honor. Kelly won the Central Wyoming Fair & Rodeo this summer in Casper and had the highest scored ride in the finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days. He recently began competing in two timed events – team roping and steer wrestling – the latter a rather impressive undertaking for a man who is just 5’ 8” inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. Here is a rare look behind the scens at hard practice and new life in coaching:

kelly NFR pkg
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The newest Team Wyoming member for 2010 is Bobby Harris – a team roping heeler contestant. He first won a gold buckle in Las Vegas in 1991 and returns this year #5 in the world standings. Harris puts on popular roping schools across the country and has trained a good number of the young people now competing in the pro ranks. Bobby is 47 years old making him the elder statesman of this years’ national finals. He is of Native American ethnicity and a grandfather was chairman the Eastern Shoshone tribal council on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming for nearly a half-century.

Bobby H. pkg
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Bullfighter Dusty Tuckness is working his second consecutive WNFR. He is highly regarded by his peers and has no fear when it comes to placing himself in harm’s way to protect the safety of bull riders. Tuckness was recognized as the “2010 Bullfighter of the Year” at the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association banquet and has continued to show his amazing skills at this year's finals rodeo:

Dusty pkg
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The Wyoming Office of Tourism posts daily highlights and video from the WNFR on The Rodeo Hand blog and will continue to highlight Team WYO members throughout the 2011 rodeo season. You can follow or subscribe to the blog at

To schedule an interview with one on the cowboys, please contact Chuck Coon, 307-630-4004 or Lori Hogan, 307-631-3948.

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