Hailey rodeo is
upgraded to PRCA event
Big move upwards
Days of the Old West
Express Staff Writer
In its 55th
year, Hailey’s Days of the Old West rodeo has gone big time.
Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club, a non-profit organization that has produced
Hailey’s Independence Day rodeo as its primary fundraiser since 1947,
has been approved to host a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)
event starting in July 2002.
have upgraded our annual July 4th event from IMPRA (Intermountain
Professional Rodeo Association) to PRCA," said Sawtooth Rangers
Riding Club secretary Amber McMurdo.
"This means the top rodeo cowboys in the country are invited to
compete at our rodeo."
Juanita O’Maley’s Slash T Rodeo Co. of Gooding will continue to
provide the stock for Hailey’s rodeo, as they’ve done for 16 years.
Both the O’Maleys
and the Sawtooth Rangers have committed to paying more money to become
associated with the PRCA, so they can bring better cowboys to Idaho,
attract more sponsors and crowds and make more money.
who has been coming to the Hailey rodeo for close to 40 years, said,
"You already see an awfully good rodeo in Hailey. And you’ll still
have a lot of the same cowboys, especially in timed events.
the PRCA will do is eliminate the lesser cowboy in Hailey. The quality of
cowboy will just be better."
Many of the
PRCA cowboys in the Wilderness Circuit of Idaho, Nevada and Utah already
have their schedules lined up for 2002, so this year’s Hailey rodeo may
be a shakedown cruise—with better cowboys coming in the future.
might be a little rocky this year," McMurdo said. Juanita O’Maley
added, "You’re not going to get the #1 and #2 PRCA cowboys this
year. A lot of it is a schedule thing."
sanctioning assures is Hailey getting top-notch cowboys.
because, in the PRCA’s circuit system, contestants must compete at a
designated percentage of rodeos within their circuit to qualify for first
the Wilderness Circuit Finals, held in January at Ogden, Utah, and then
the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello each March.
some of the changes:
money. Now $1,500 for each of seven events with the Rangers providing
$1,000 and sponsors coming up with the other $500. The Days of the Old
West rodeo used to provide only $500 in added money.
added money draws the cowboys. Each year we’d like to add some
more," McMurdo said.
events are the five PRCA standard events—bareback and saddle bronc
riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling—plus two optional
events, team roping and women’s barrel racing.
roping has been eliminated at the Hailey rodeo.
new roping box. The Rangers have invested in a new box that will
hopefully get the cowboys and calves out in a straighter line and make
things a lot smoother at show time.
installed new bucking chutes two years ago.
announcers and bull fighters. "We have to get PRCA-licensed
announcers and bullfighters," McMurdo said about the required
contract personnel. "There are a lot more hoops to jump
the Rangers intend to benefit from the PRCA’s identity and 60-year
tradition, its national sponsors, professional support and officials, plus
its media exposure and support and professional standards.
that the Rangers’ arena lease from the city of Hailey expires in 2007
and there have been many options voiced for the future of Hailey’s
rodeo, McMurdo said, "In the long term it could be a huge rodeo,
possibly televised like the one they had in Vail."
professional-looking rodeo program. The Blaine County 4-H Club will
still sell the informative program, but the 2002 Days of the Old West
program will have color quality, which will presumably attract more
advertise in the program call Renee Brochu at 788-6776 by May 31. Or
e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
advertising banners around the arena. McMurdo said, "In the past
we just went to the sponsors we had the previous year. This year we’re
soliciting new sponsors. There will just be a lot more banner room."
said the impetus for the upgraded Hailey rodeo came from the stock
producers, the O’Maleys.
came to us and said they needed at least five rodeos in this region to
qualify for a PRCA permit," said McMurdo. "Pat told us it looked
like a good deal. We trusted him."
said there are only about 65 PRCA stock contracting companies in the
country. In the last year Slash T Rodeo Company became the only stock
contractor in Idaho with a PRCA card, she said.
just can’t go out and get one. They are few and far between. It’s an
exclusive group," said O’Maley, likening the PRCA card to owning a
liquor license. "Diamond G Rodeo Company in Utah had two, and we
bought one of theirs."
a generally slicker production all around that makes for a lot more work
for the Sawtooth Rangers volunteer force, the Hailey rodeo will look much
bullriding and the Days of the Old West queen contest will remain as big
draws. The Slash T stock will be as good as ever if not better.
said, "Hailey is always a fun rodeo to do because it’s such a crazy
crowd. We don’t see that kind of crowd everywhere we go."
Hailey Days of the Old West rodeo will include three evening performances—Thursday
through Saturday, July 4-6 at 7:30 p.m., with slack in the timed events
after the Friday night performance.
have scheduled a public function at which people can ask questions and
voice any concerns about the major changes.
annual breakfast ride is Sunday, May 19 at Glendale Farms south of
Bellevue. Breakfast starts at 8 a.m. and the general meeting begins at 10
a.m. Call McMurdo at 788-1232 if you can attend.
meeting, the Rangers expect to hear a presentation from Kieran Donahue,
whose Rexburg-based company staged a Professional Bull Riding Invitational
"Bulls Only" event at Hailey the last two years.
some problems with last year’s PBI show. So, before they vote on PBI’s
conditional Aug. 25 return to the Hailey arena, the Rangers have asked
Donahue to agree to a written contract to make sure the arena is returned
to its original state.
"We want to continue to offer events at the arena," McMurdo
said. "We had the first Hispanic rodeo Sunday. We hope to have two
more, July 25 and Sept. 1. We’ll help them advertise for the Labor Day
Rangers officers are president Steve Fairbrother, vice president Mike
Kimball, treasurer Michelle Bobbitt and secretary McMurdo plus board
members like Bill Sherbine, Laddy Dale, Roxanne Martin, Rupert House and