Eastern Kansas Rodeo Series Early Leaders Named

The 2017 Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series, a joint effort between the Linn County Fair Rodeo, Mound City; Inter-State Fair & Rodeo, Coffeyville: and Eureka Pro Rodeo, Eureka continues this week, according to John Teagarden, LaCygne, series coordinator.

John Teagarden

The series features the three largest professional rodeos in eastern Kansas with eight Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo performances in nine days. Competition continues this week at Coffeyville Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 16-19, and Eureka, Friday-Saturday, Aug. 18-19.

Early event leaders were determined with the completion of the Mound City rodeo last weekend. Blue Mound cowboy Jeff Miller jumped to the lead in two events by placing first in both steer wrestling and tie-down roping.

Other event leaders: bareback riding, Jared Keylon, Ft Scott; saddle broncs, Kirk Nelson, Branson, Missouri; team roping, Adam Rose, Willard, Missouri, and J.W. Beck, Moville, Iowa; and barrel racing, Tracy Nowlin, Nowata, Oklahoma.

Series event winners will receive a Maynard Trophy Buckle. Reserve winners in each of the seven events will be awarded an engraved Moore Maker knife.

Rodeo fans that attend at least one performance at each of the three rodeos will be eligible in a drawing for an engraved series Moore Maker knife. The drawing will be during the Saturday, August 19, Eureka Rodeo. Proof of attendance will be a rodeo program from Mound City and a canceled admission ticket or program from Coffeyville.

Beutler & Son Rodeo Company, Elk City, Oklahoma, will produce the Coffeyville rodeo. The Eureka rodeo will be produced by United Pro Rodeo, Palestine, Texas The livestock of New Frontier Rodeo Company, Gypsum, was featured at Mound City.

The 2017 Eastern Kansas Rodeo Series is sponsored by the three participating rodeo associations plus area businesses that include Better Horses Radio, Cleaver Farm & Home, Chanute and Twin Motors Ford, Iola.

Weekend Celebration Of Flint Hills Grazing, Cattle Competition At Emporia

The Flint Hills Beef Fest was founded as an annual celebration of the grass cattle industry offering cattlemen the opportunity to enter stocker cattle in a summer grazing competition as well as feedlot and carcass shows.

“That meager beginning 31 years ago recognizing the Kansas cattle industry has grown and thrived with events for everyone in the family to enjoy,” according to Shelly Wiggins, energetic organization committee member.

The Flint Hills Beef Fest is August 18-20, at Emporia, highlighting main events at the Lyon County Fairgrounds, with the entire community planning related activities.

                         Kelly Lenz

“This is a non-profit group led by volunteers who care deeply about the beef industry and promote the grass cattle industry for which the Flint Hills is known,” Wiggins emphasized.

Friday, Aug. 18, kicks off with a Beef Producers Information Seminar coordinated by WIBW radio and hosted by longtime farm director Kelly Lenz.

In the Anderson Building, a complimentary breakfast is to be served courtesy of the more than two dozen sponsors who will have displays of their products and will be visiting with the more than 200 ranchers in attendance.

Lenz’ Morning Agriculture Roundup broadcast will be live at 6 o’clock, with attendees welcome to come on in. The beef breakfast serving starts at 7:30, and the seminar begins at 8:15.

It’ll feature First District Congressman Roger Marshall, The Washington Perspective; Kanas Livestock Association President David Clawson, Five Months After The State’s Worst Wildfire; and Glynn Tensor, Kansas State University Extension livestock economist, The Cattle & Beef Outlook.

A hay clinic is planned at 10 o’clock.

“New this year we have moved the Friday evening ranch feed to the grandstand area,” Wiggins said. “Come out and picnic with us prior to the popular ranch rodeo at 7 o’clock in the fairgrounds arena.

“The top teams that have placed in ranch rodeos from surrounding counties will compete for regional ranch rodeo honors,” Wiggins said. A calf scramble open for children ages four to 13 will also be a rodeo attraction.

Registration for the 5K Ranch Land Trust run and walk is at 7 o’clock, Saturday morning, when starting gun goes off at The Orchard, 8 o’clock.

“The ranch horse competition is back again this year also beginning at 8 o’clock in the arena,” Wiggins said. “This year’s competition is sanctioned by the Midwest Ranch Horse Association (MRHA) with top entries eligible for the MRHA Finals.

“Local cowboys are encouraged to enter horses to compete with awards in several divisions,” Wiggins encouraged. Information is available from Justin Keith at 620-343-4361.

At the nearby Emporia Livestock Sales, 9:30, owner-manager Brodie Peak will host the live stocker cattle show of entries ranchers have been grazing on Flint Hills pastures.

“The Flint Hills Beef Fest is adding fun for the whole family with an Ag Olympics that will begin at 10 o’clock,” Wiggins said.

“In partnership with the three Lyon County FFA chapters, the community is encouraged to form teams of five members with the desire to claim the championship title and prize money,” Wiggins said.

Teams will rotate through nine events that take regular-on-the-farm and ranch chores to a new competitive level.

These include cow chip toss, hay stacking, wheelbarrow race, water bucket challenge, milking competition, round bale hay rolling, dummy roping, feed sack tackle and an obstacle course.

Free hamburgers and soda pop will be offered for everyone at 11 o’clock, for as long as the lunch treats last, according to Wiggins

A junior ranch rodeo will be Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock, with entries to be made through Amy Potter at 918-213-5341.

.The Saturday evening banquet begins at 5:30, with the award’s ceremony followed by a complete steak dinner. Evening entertainment features comedian William Lee Martin.

The dance with Lucas Maddy and the Kansas Cartel is set for the Bowyer Building beginning at 9 o’clock.

A golf tournament is set for Sunday, 8:30, at the Emporia Municipal Golf Course, with Scott Jones, 620-341-0240, in charge.

In Cowboy Country, Eureka Pro Rodeo Friday And Saturday With Western Action Galore

It’d be tough to find more cowboy country than the Flint Hills of Greenwood County, Kansas, so “rodeo time” is a most significant community affair.

“That’s the sixth annual Eureka Pro Rodeo, Friday and Saturday evenings, with a full slate of accompanying activities planned,” according to Robin Wunderlich, editor of the Eureka Herald.

Certifying official rodeo time, festivities kick off Friday morning, Aug. 18, when the rodeo clown and stock contractor visit Eureka Nursing Center and Village Park, Wunderlich said.

“They head to Madison for a special presentation at the elementary school, before returning to Marshall Elementary School in Eureka at 2:30,” the editor explained.

“The Eureka Pro Rodeo Association has again coordinated the action,” Wunderlich pointed out. “Members have donated a great deal of time and effort while serving on the committee working to bring the best heart-stopping rodeo action to the community,” Wunderlich credited.

Action gets underway at 6:30, Friday evening, when gates to the Eureka Saddle Club Arena open, proclaimed Jamie Nelson, one of those hardworking rodeo committeemen. There’ll be a Mutton Bustin’ for youngsters six and under at 7 o’clock.

Jamie Nelson

Friday’s performance is dedicated “Military Appreciation Night” honoring those who’ve served and are serving, with flag representing all divisions to be flown.

Free admission for the slack competition of team roping, tie down roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling is 8 o’clock Saturday morning.

Eureka Main Street will be packed with horses, Western attractions and spectators everywhere at Saturday afternoon parade at 2 o’clock.

“Lineup is 1:30 in the park, with all businesses, ranchers and sponsors encouraged to participate,” welcomed Nelson, who can be contacted at 620-582-9565.

VFW Post 2712 and Shrine units will lead the procession recognizing the late Mike Burke as grand marshal, who’ll also be honored prior to the evening rodeo performance.

Gates open 5:30, Saturday, with kid’s games at 6 o’clock, and second go-round of mutton busting 7 o’clock.

“Saturday’s rodeo performance at 8 o’clock is dedicated as Shrine Night and Tough Enough To Wear Pink,” Nelson said. “Shriner’s Hospitals for Children and the June Bug Foundation will be recognized.”

Rodeo climax dance is at the Half Dollar, with the band Low Water, featuring Eureka’s own Tate McCoy.

“First and foremost, top Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) contestants from around the country are entered at Eureka, competing on livestock supplied by United Rodeo Company of Palestine, Texas,” Nelson said.

“What’s a rodeo without the best livestock, and certainly Danny Reagan, Mark Owen and Don Reno have very top broncs, bulls, and speed event cattle,” Nelson continued. “Additionally, we’re fortunate to have Scott Grover, Weston, Missouri, as announcer, and Gizmo McCracken, Fairview, Missouri, as the clown-funnyman.”

Eureka is part of the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series, which includes Mound City and Coffeyville.

“So, we’re expecting contestants wanting to garner series award points, and also spectators eligible for an engraved knife drawing by attending all series rodeos,” Nelson noted. “The drawing will be here Saturday night, with proof of attendance being a ticket stud or program from all rodeos.”

“Scott Grover has been announcer for the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo six times, the National Circuit Finals Rodeo, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Tour and the PBR World Finals,” Nelson said.

A Morrowville, Kansas, native, Grover said, “I’m more comfortable behind the microphone in a full coliseum than I am in a one-on-one situation. You get the excitement of the crowd.

“I like taking people to almost screaming their heads off, to almost tears, to right back to screaming again. I think it’s the thrill of control, in a way,” the announcer added.

A former agriculture education instructor, Grover stepped out of the classroom and into a full-time rodeo announcing career.

“Gizmo McCracken started his career as a bullfighter and moved into stand-up comedy at a show in Branson, Missouri,” Nelson said. Gadgets and gizmos that went sour were often part of his routine, hence the name “Gizmo, The World’s Greatest Inventor.”

Contracting PRCA rodeos 25 years, McCracken has worked Circuit Finals Rodeos, the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days, been nominated Coors Man in the Can, Clown of the Year, and Comedy Act of the Year and featured act at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Mike Burke

“I like to keep people looking for me and wondering what I am going to do next,” Gizmo said.

“The acts share a high energy, clean, family oriented feel which adds a fresh new atmosphere to any rodeo he is a part of,” Nelson assured.

“The late Mike Burke, Severy, born and raised in Greenwood County, was an avid supporter of rodeo and ranching,” Nelson said.

“Graduating from Climax High School in 1942, Burke was in ranching partnership with his father,” Nelson said. “Mike rode bareback horses and competed in the Wild Horse Races during the 1940s and early 1950s.

“In 1962, the Burke Ranch starting running cattle for Oppenheimer Industries,” Nelson continued, “while Mike handled cattle inspections for Oppenheimer Industries in many other states.”

Mike Burke passed away March 16 this year, at the age of 92, while his family continues the ranching operations.

For Wyoming 4-H’ers, it’s Time to Head Back to High School and College

Wyoming 4-H is continuing its Pathways to Higher Education program, an advanced placement partnership with the University of Wyoming that gives high school students the chance to earn college credits based on their 4-H livestock programs. Now entering its second year, the program already has 20 students enrolled in the university’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

New Miss Rodeo Kansas Passionate To Teach About Sport’s Tradition

“I really have a strong passion for educating others about rodeo, and its great Western heritage.”

Miss Rodeo Kansas 2018 Mikhayla DeMott emphasized objective of her reign traveling the state on behalf of the sport.

“Rodeo has changed, been progressive, yet retained the very traditional values on which our forefathers built this country,” Queen DeMott declared.

“While promoting this great sport, I intend to share those values which have always remained strong in rodeo cowboys and cowgirls,” she said.

With a lifetime and continuing close involvement in all aspects of rodeo, DeMott was crowned climax of the 54th annual Miss Rodeo Kansas Pageant.

Miss Rodeo Kansas 2017 Hannah Neuenschwander bestowed the tiara and sash as highlight of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Stringent competition before a panel of three judges tested queen contestants in six categories.

DeMott, 22, Manhattan, won four of those divisions: speech, modeling, horsemanship, rodeo knowledge, and tied in photogenic.

First runner-up to the queen is Brook Wallace, New Cambria, who topped the pageant promotion division while tying for photogenic.

Sharon McLachlan, Pittsburg, was named second runner-up to Miss Rodeo Kansas.

Mikhayla DeMott, Manhattan, is the 2018 Miss Rodeo Kansas, and Jaylinn Pfeifer, Ellis, is the 2018 Miss Teen Rodeo Kansas. They were crowned at the pageant during the recent Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Jaylinn Pfeifer, Ellis, was crowned Miss Teen Rodeo Kansas 2018 at that pageant also during the rodeo.

Active rodeo contestant, Pfeifer topped congeniality, photogenic, speech modeling and horsemanship divisions.

Winning the rodeo knowledge competition, Emmie Noyes, Linwood, was first runner-up Miss Teen Rodeo Kansas 2018. Pepper Kay Splechter, Wichita, was second runner-up.

Originally from Rio, Illinois, DeMott moved to Kansas four years ago to attend Kansas State University.

“My family has ties to the state, and K-State offered unique opportunities for me in rodeo and for my career,” DeMott said.

On the KSU Rodeo Team in National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association rodeos, DeMott also served as the K-State Rodeo Club president.

Studying agriculture communications, emphasis in broadcast journalism, DeMott graduated this spring. Working in the economics department while a student, she’s now employed by the KSU Department of Communications and Agricultural Education.

Prolific writing agriculture news for the university, DeMott has been an occasional guest host for “That’s My Farm” television program two years.

“I’ve been competing in rodeos ever since I was in kindergarten,” she said.

Barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, team roping and goat tying, DeMott qualified for the junior high and high school national finals rodeos.

“I also competed in high school cutting and qualified for nationals my last two years,” the cowgirl added.

Participating in a junior rodeo pageant at an early age, queen competitions got in DeMott’s blood. She served as Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois 2012-13.

“But, I hadn’t been in any pageants since high school until the Miss Rodeo Kansas competition.”

On the K-State Rodeo Team barrel racing all four years, DeMott served two terms as the club president. “I’ve been the rodeo club’s Ag Student Council and Sport Club Council representative this past year,” she added.

“Participation in the Miss Rodeo Kansas pageant has always been on my agenda,” DeMott admitted. “With school, rodeo and work, there wasn’t time to serve the way I wanted to until now.”

Longtime impressed with rodeo commentators, DeMott decided on a career in broadcast journalism. “I hope to become a spokesperson for all of rodeo and agriculture.

“Serving as host for the farm and ranch television program was actually my first broadcasting experience,” DeMott said. “I really love it.”

Again, the queen emphasized, “I have such a passion for educating young people about rodeo and all things agriculture.”

As the state’s rodeo queen, DeMott said, “It’s a large platform to serve as a role model for the sport.”

An all-around cowgirl, DeMott has competed in nearly every equine competition.

“However, I’m ‘horseless’ now,” she said. “I’ve had several outstanding horses throughout my rodeo career. I’m looking to acquire a new ‘project’ horse.”

With reign officially in the new year, DeMott anticipates riding horses owned by rodeo contractors. “They’ll help me further develop my horsemanship skills,” she claimed.

Queen duties will keep DeMott booked as she’s already getting appearance requests. “I want to go to as many rodeos as possible and other agriculture related activities,” she said.

Advancing media studies, DeMott said, “I plan to pursue a master’s degree, but I don’t want a career in academia.”

Having conducted rodeo and horsemanship camps, the queen looks to teaching more such activities. “It’s so important that the youth as well as adults learn how to handle horses more correctly and positively,” she said

Admitting rodeo has struggles, DeMott said, “Communities and committees are the backbone of rodeos. I want to help them and everybody involved in this great sport.”

Looking ahead, Kansas Rodeo Queen 2018 Mikhayla DeMott will be Kansas’ candidate for Miss Rodeo America. “I’m going to this year’s pageant at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas to get better prepared,” she said.