PRCA News: Great Steer Wrestling Horse “Moonshine” Dead

Sartain gets birthday wish fulfilled in Denver

Reno Rodeo Photo by Laura Leigh, Horseback Magazine

DENVER, (PRCA) – Nick Sartain may not have had a cake for his 34th birthday, but he received something even better – his first championship buckle from the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in the Denver Coliseum.

The Dover, Okla., header combined with his new team roping partner – legendary Rich Skelton – to take the three-head average with a time of 14.5 seconds.

“It was a great birthday present,” said Sartain, who immediately following his big win had to leave Denver to drive to Fort Worth, Texas, by Monday morning. “I’ve got to be at a horse show in Fort Worth tomorrow, but this will give me plenty to be excited about for my long drive.”

The newly-formed team has certainly started the rodeo season off on the right foot. Sartain says their styles mesh together in a way that always gives them a solid chance to win and has him excited about their prospects in 2013.

“When you’re roping with a guy like Rich, you never want to miss the steer because the crowd wants to see the eight-time world champion,” Sartain said. “We’ve been good friends for a while and our styles set us up to do well because I like to rope aggressive, and Rich always likes his header to be aggressive.”

The big early-season victory is something that has the veteran Skelton smiling like he did when he was reeling off eight consecutive gold buckles with Speed Williams from 1997-2004.

He says the importance of starting off the year quickly can’t be underestimated.

“To me, this is huge because neither of us made it to the NFR last year and it’s been two years since I’ve been to the Finals,” said the 46-year-old Skelton. “I know I’m not too old, and that I still rope good, but a win like this definitely helps the confidence of a new team and will get us rolling.”

Just because the pair hasn’t competed together before the 2013 season doesn’t mean they can’t be immediate contenders at every rodeo they enter. Sartain thinks the Denver win could be just the beginning of something special.

“We’ve been putting in the practice at home and working hard,” said Sartain, who says he and Skelton have grand plans on their mind. “I’d be lying if I said to win the world title this season wasn’t our plan. It’s a large talent pool in the team roping right now, but we are just trying to rope our best and improve each rodeo.”

The other champions in this $473,592 rodeo were bareback rider Ty Breuer (246 points on three head), steer wrestler Casey Martin (11.6 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Cody Wright (245 points on three head), tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (24.6 seconds on three head), bull rider Corey Navarre (247 points on three head) and barrel racer Jane Melby (45.96 seconds on three runs).

The National Western Stock Show closed its 16-day run on Jan. 27 with a Fan Appreciation Day crowd of 39,272, the second largest for a finale in the event’s history. Total attendance was 628,366.

2. Great steer wrestling horse Moonshine dies

DENVER – Dru Melvin’s great steer wrestling horse Diamond MS Moon, “Moonshine,” died Jan. 26 as the result of injuries suffered during competition at the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in the Denver Coliseum.

After a clean start out of the gate, the steer veered in front of Moonshine, causing a horrific collision which took horse, steer and bulldogger Todd Suhn crashing to the arena dirt. A horn went through Moonshine’s side and punctured his heart.

The horse was able to leave the arena on his own power, but died shortly thereafter. Suhn and the steer were unharmed.

“Moonshine was without a doubt the best steer wrestling horse I have ever had,” Melvin said. “He was the kind of horse that you just dream about; honest and he just loved his job.”

It was a view widely shared by bulldoggers at the top level of the sport. Casey Martin and Suhn rode Moonshine at last December’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and in Denver. Martin entered the final round Jan. 27 leading the two-head average after making two runs on Moonshine in 7.8 seconds and held on for the victory.

The eight-year-old horse had helped PRCA cowboys to nearly $300,000 in earnings in just three years.

“I’ve ridden a lot of horses in my career,” said Suhn, a 16-time Wrangler NFR qualifier, “and most of them I’ve trained myself. Moonshine was definitely one of the best. I’ve run thousands of steers and never seen anything like this happen in my life. My heart goes out to Dru and Brittany (Melvin). I know how much Moonshine meant to them.”

Moonshine is being transported back to the Melvins’ family ranch in Hebron, Neb., where he will be buried. He was the first horse the couple owned together and was included in their engagement photos because he was considered so much a part of the family.

3. Finally healthy, Smith Xtremely good in Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Tyler Smith finished off what he called “a sort of Fourth of July run in mid-January,” with a financial reward most guys only dream about reaping from Cowboy Christmas.

On his sixth consecutive night of riding bulls, Smith won both rounds of the Rapid City Xtreme Bulls event and the first Tour Division 1 average title in his five-year career. His 176 points was eight better than Howdy Cloud in second place.

Smith, of Fruita, Colo., had an event-best score of 91 points on Burns Rodeo Company’s Smoke Signal and then backed that up by winning the short round with an 85-pointer on Sutton Rodeos’ Sandman. His total winnings? A whopping $15,102.

“I’d been bucked off twice in Denver and three times in Fort Worth (Texas),” Smith said, “so it was nice to hear the whistle here. I was close a couple of times earlier in the week and having this result helps me feel like I’m getting back in the groove after a rough couple of years.”

After qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2010, Smith tore his right biceps muscle from the bone at the Dinosaur Roundup in Vernal, Utah, the following July. That required surgery and six months of rehab.

His return last winter was short-lived when he had a hematoma in his back, then a torn meniscus in his right knee (“it kind of folded over like a taco”) suffered while working on the family ranch. That led to another surgery and another five months on the sidelines.

All of this was especially hard on his bank balance, his earnings going from $156,132 in 2010 to $36,111 in 2011 to $8,677 a year ago.

“I think I only went to 12 or 13 rodeos all season,” Smith said. “It just feels great to be back out on the road competing. Staying healthy is the key to everything.

“The bull in the short-go (Sutton Rodeo’s Sandman) was a good draw for me. I didn’t know anything about the bull, but I’d heard he bucked and so I figured to just bear down and try, and usually the harder you try, the more times it will work out for you.”

4. News and notes from the rodeo trail

Linn Churchill may have celebrated his 44th birthday earlier this month, but don’t let it be said the Valentine, Neb., steer wrestler isn’t competitive any more. A 3.7-second run in the first performance of the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo in Rapid City, S.D., on Jan. 26 has him in the lead by 1.4 seconds and in contention to win his first PRCA rodeo since 2006 when he captured the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days title and three others on his way to finishing seventh in the world standings … Wrangler NFR bareback rider Winn Ratliff received a certificate of appreciation from the Vernon Parish Police Jury on Jan. 22 for representing his hometown of Leesville, La., and Vernon Parish in a positive way … Attendance at the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show on Jan. 26 was 138,300, the highest total for the second Saturday of the event in its 117-year history. And that figure is the third-highest for any day, with only the third Saturdays of 2011 and 2012 surpassing it. The total attendance for the 2013 Stock Show stood at 370,400 through Jan. 26, which is 3,700 visitors ahead of last year’s record pace, when the event had total attendance of 1,166,000 … The Casey Tibbs Foundation will open its new sculpture garden on June 1 at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre, S.D., as a tribute to South Dakota’s many great saddle bronc riders. It will start with a Tony Chytka statue of Billy Etbauer scoring an 89 on Harry Vold’s great horse Painted Valley to win the 2009 Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days and two additional bronzes are planned, according to director Cindy Bahe … Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have been chosen as the Grand Marshals for the 88th Tucson Rodeo Parade on Feb. 21 (www.tucsonrodeoparade.org) … Former PRCA steer wrestler, pickup man and rodeo judge Billy Joe Nicholas died in Hooper, Utah, on Jan. 18. He was 75 … Before tons of dirt is hauled into the AT&T Center and the San Antonio Spurs haul luggage for their two-week Rodeo Road Trip, there first has to be the Cowboy Breakfast to kick off the $1 million San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The 35th annual edition of the food fest was held Jan. 25 with nearly 55,000 people showing up at the Cowboys Dancehall parking lot for free egg tacos with biscuits and gravy … After years with Rafter H Rodeo, the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla., is changing stock contractors this year and going with Carr Pro Rodeo of Dallas … The Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo Committee held its 13th annual dinner, auction and dance at the Elks Lodge on Jan. 26 to raise money for community causes. Committee Chairman Neil Day says the event began as a means to raise money for the family of committee member Jim Washmon after he died of a heart attack and was continued to help regional initiatives that needed funding; it has raised more than $350,000 … The 10th annual Cowboy and Cowgirl Reunion was held Jan. 26 at the Holiday Inn Grand in Billings, Mont., the major fundraiser for the Montana ProRodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. To date, the event has raised nearly $300,000 in college scholarship money for local high school seniors.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I’ll ask if they sell eyeliner whenever I run out of my own. Yeah, guys asking about weather-resistant eyeliner often get some strange stares.”

– PRCA barrelman David Engelkes talking to the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal about the perils of shopping at Target.

NEWSPAPER LEAD OF THE WEEK

“There’s one profession that requires a flak jacket, but doesn’t involve bullets. Bull riding.”

From Benjamin Brayfield of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal.

5. Next Up

Jan. 28     Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, Rapid City, S.D., ongoing

Jan. 28     Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo ongoing

Jan. 31     SW District Fat Stock Show & Rodeo, Lake Charles, La., begins

Feb. 1      Stampede at the Ike, Monroe, La., begins

Feb. 1      Los Fresnos (Texas) PRCA Rodeo begins

6. 2013 PRCA WORLD STANDINGS

Through Jan. 28, 2013

Bareback Riding

1.    Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.                                              $15,901

2.    Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas                                              8,686

3.    R.C. Landingham, Pendleton, Ore.                                   8,626

4.    Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa                                         5,975

5.    Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas                                       5,720

6.    George Gillespie IV, Placerville, Calif.                             5,263

7.    Jake Halverson, Decatur, Texas                                         5,240

8.    Matthew Smith, Leesville, La.                                          4,999

9.    Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore.                                                 4,651

10.  Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn.                                      4,417

11.  Jake Brown, Hillsboro, Texas                                            4,273

12.  Jared Smith, Cross Plains, Texas                                       4,067

13.  Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo.                                            4,024

14.  Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas                                                3,690

15.  Orin Larsen, Twin Falls, Idaho                                          3,611

16.  Jet Price, Buffalo, S.D.                                                      3,546

17.  Chris Harris, Itasca, Texas                                                 3,444

18.  Dustin Smith, Rome, Ga.                                                  3,080

19.  Tray Chambliss III, Waller, Texas                                     2,913

20.  Steven Anding, Athens, Texas                                          2,880

Steer Wrestling

1.    Casey Martin, Sulphur, La.                                            $17,068

2.    Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo.                                     13,020

3.    Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont.                                               6,975

4.    Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D.                                          6,262

5.    Cooper Shofner, Huntsville, Texas                                    5,000

6.    Shayde Etherton, Borden, Ind.                                         4,844

7.    Jule Hazen, Ashland, Kan.                                                4,642

8.    Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb.                                             4,386

9.    Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo.                                           4,213

10.  Tee Burress, Piedmont, S.D.                                             4,210

11.  Derek Stewart, Hearne, Texas                                           4,163

12.  Juan Alcazar Jr., Kissimmee, Fla.                                      4,038

13.  Justin Thigpen, Waycross, Ga.                                          3,915

14.  Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La.                                                3,729

15.  Weston Taylor, Perryton, Texas                                        3,661

16.  Les Shepperson, Midwest, Wyo.                                       3,502

17.  Kamry Dymmek, Kissimmee, Fla.                                     3,437

18.  Quinn Campbell, Robertsdale, Ala.                                   3,226

19.  Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore.                                          3,114

20.  Monty Eakin, Pecos, Texas                                               3,114

Team Roping (header)

1.    Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla.                                              $8,796

2.    Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas                                    7,503

3.    Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont.                                           6,664

4.    Bradley Massey, Perry, Fla.                                               6,594

5.    B.J. Campbell, Aguila, Ariz.                                              6,589

6.    Justin Van Davis, Madisonville, Texas                              5,881

7.    Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas                                                 5,633

8.    Nathan McWhorter, Telephone, Texas                              5,499

9.    Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas                                      5,167

10.  Landon McClaugherty, Tilden, Texas                               5,068

11.  Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz.                                      4,750

12.  Calvin Brevik, Durango, Colo.                                          4,598

13.  Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D.                                           4,357

14.  Zayne Dishion, Bishop, Calif.                                           4,183

15.  Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D.                                              4,124

16.  Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore.                                     3,913

17.  Clay White, Shandon, Calif.                                             3,876

18.  Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas                                              3,762

19.  Justin Lovell, Grapeland, Texas                                        3,736

20.  Brock Hanson, Casa Grande, Ariz.                                   3,592

Team Roping (heeler)

1.    Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas                                            $10,364

2.    Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas                                              8,760

3.    Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo.                                                 6,664

4.    Shane Hester, Lakeland, Fla.                                             6,594

5.    Ryan Zurcher, Torrington, Wyo.                                       6,458

6.    Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif.                                      5,810

7.    Twister Cain, Gonzales, Texas                                          5,499

8.    JoJo LeMond, Andrews, Texas                                         5,389

9.    Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla.                                     5,167

10.  Tommy Zuniga, Centerville, Texas                                    5,068

11.  Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz.                                               4,750

12.  Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb.                                                  4,357

13.  Tyler McKnight, Wells, Texas                                           4,319

14.  Travis Woodard, Stockton, Calif.                                     4,233

15.  Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M.                                  3,913

16.  John Chaves, Los Alamos, Calif.                                      3,876

17.  Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas                                      3,762

18.  Travis Graves, Jay, Okla.                                                   3,736

19.  Michael Fortenberry, Groveton, Texas                              3,736

20.  Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev.                                                  3,684

Saddle Bronc Riding

1.    Cody Wright, Milford, Utah                                         $16,052

2.    Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M.                                             10,613

3.    Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah                                         9,738

4.    Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn.                                     7,489

5.    Brad Rudolf, Winnemucca, Nev.                                      5,700

6.    Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D.                                       5,564

7.    Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.                                                4,985

8.    Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb.                                               4,694

9.    Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas                                          4,633

10.  Tyrel Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba                                           4,345

11.  Mert Bradshaw, Eagle Point, Ore.                                    3,436

12.  Curtis Garton, Kaitaia, New Zealand                                 3,381

13.  Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D.                                            3,370

14.  Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, Texas                                 3,287

15.  Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D.                                                   3,096

16.  Dean Wadsworth, Ozona, Texas                                       2,881

17.  Mike Johnson, Adair, Okla.                                                2,801

18.  Samuel Kelts, Millarville, Alberta                                     2,724

19.  Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D.                                         2,603

20.  Nick Laduke, Livermore, Calif.                                        2,540

Tie-down Roping

1.    Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La.                                        $11,299

2.    Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah                                10,551

3.    Jade Conner, Iowa, La.                                                   10,243

4.    Justin Maass, Giddings, Texas                                          9,556

5.    Dane Kissack, Spearfish, S.D.                                           7,215

6.    Blair Burk, Durant, Okla.                                                  6,600

7.    Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah                                         6,279

8.    Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas                                            6,093

9.    Caleb Smidt, Yorktown, Texas                                         5,616

10.  Jeremiah Peek, Pueblo, Colo.                                            5,534

11.  Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla.                                          5,006

12.  Riley Pruitt, Gering, Neb.                                                  4,981

13.  Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho                                     4,767

14.  Barrett Threadgill, Hallettsville, Texas                              4,564

15.  Shane Slack, Idabel, Okla.                                                4,193

16.  Jesse Clark, Portales, N.M.                                                3,897

17.  Blake Hirdes, Turlock, Calif.                                             3,668

18.  Justin Macha, Needville, Texas                                         3,570

19.  Tyler Thiel, Belle Fourche, S.D.                                        3,249

20.  Will Blomberg, Sweetwater, Texas                                   3,050

Steer Roping

1.    Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas                                          $11,207

2.    Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas                                          7,247

3.    Bryce Davis, Ovalo, Texas                                                5,941

4.    Joe Wells, Cisco, Texas                                                     5,084

5.    Kim Ziegelgruber, Edmond, Okla.                                    4,935

6.    J. Paul Williams, Burbank, Okla.                                       4,705

7.    Vin Fisher Jr., Andrews, Texas                                         4,276

8.    Chet Herren, Pawhuska, Okla.                                          4,232

9.    Tony Reina, Wharton, Texas                                             3,570

10.  Tim Abbott, Midland, Texas                                             3,361

11.  Coy Thompson, Whitewood, S.D.                                    3,017

12.  Walter Priestly, Robstown, Texas                                     2,525

13.  Shorty Garten, Pawhuska, Okla.                                       2,420

14.  Scott Snedecor, Fredericksburg, Texas                             2,262

15.  Rod Hartness, Pawhuska, Okla.                                        2,169

16.  Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, Texas                                        2,151

17.  Neal Wood, Needville, Texas                                            2,106

18.  Mike Outhier, Utopia, Texas                                             2,037

19.  Shane Suggs, Granbury, Texas                                          2,005

20.  Will Gasperson, Decatur, Texas                                        1,837

Bull Riding

1.    Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo.                                              $16,204

2.    Scottie Knapp, Albuquerque, N.M.                                 15,996

3.    Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas                                13,974

4.    Kanin Asay, Powell, Wyo.                                              11,491

5.    Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas                                             10,726

6.    Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla.                                      10,287

7.    Cooper Davis, Jasper, Texas                                            10,026

8.    Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo.                                            9,474

9.    Ardie Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.                                        9,229

10.  Corey Navarre, Weatherford, Okla.                                  9,044

11.  Howdy Cloud, Kountze, Texas                                         8,241

12.  Jeff Askey, Martin, Tenn.                                                  7,817

13.  Brett Stall, Detroit Lakes, Minn.                                       7,813

14.  Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont.                                           6,975

15.  J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas                                                 6,375

16.  Tate Stratton, Kellyville, Okla.                                          5,868

17.  Cole Echols, Elm Grove, La.                                             5,446

18.  Reese Cates, Monticello, Ark.                                           5,392

19.  Dalton Votaw, Liberty, Texas                                           4,768

20.  Nate Perry, Elk City, Okla.                                                4,639

*2013 Barrel Racing (through Jan. 28, 2013)
Barrel racing standings, provided by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), are unofficial, subject to audit and may change. Unofficial WPRA Standings are published by the PRCA as a courtesy. The PRCA is not responsible for the verification or updating of WPRA standings.

1. Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas                           $19,480

2. Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla.                                 16,828

3. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas                            10,347

4. Annesa Self, Sanger, Texas                                        8,235

5. Kenna Squires, Fredonia, Texas                                 6,672

6. Kelley Carrington-French, Boston, Ga.                      6,637

7. Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore.                                  6,533

8. Kendra Dickson, Aubrey, Texas                                 6,436

9. Rainy Graham, Gardendale, Texas                             5,753

10. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas                                 5,727

11. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas                                       5,301

12. Benette Barrington-Little, Ardmore, Okla.              4,661

13. Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M.                      4,416

14. Liz Combs, Eltopia, Wash.                                       4,190

15. Sabra O’Quinn, Ocala, Fla.                                       4,075

16. Jymmy Kay Cox, Gonzales, Texas                           3,821

17. Kay Blandford, Sutherland Springs, Texas              3,749

18. Lee Ann Rust, Stephenville, Texas                           3,656

19. Cassie Moseley, Cedar Lane, Texas                         3,565

20. Kassidy Dennison, Tohatchi, N.M.                          3,298

7. 2013 PRCA Xtreme Bulls Standings

Unofficial through Jan. 28, 2013

1.    Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo.                                               $16,944

2.    Scottie Knapp, Albuquerque, N.M.                                  11,944

3.    Kanin Asay, Powell, Wyo.                                               11,252

4.    Blaine Skaggs, Hubbard, Ore.                                            8,353

5.    Howdy Cloud, Kountze, Texas                                          8,143

6.    Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas                                                7,396

7.    J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas                                                  7,390

8.    Ardie Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.                                         7,077

9.    Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont.                                            5,971

10.  Nate Perry, Elk City, Okla.                                                4,639

11.  Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo.                                             4,628

12.  Dalton Votaw, Liberty, Texas                                            4,491

13.  Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla.                                         4,322

14.  Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas                                   3,834

15.  Josh Koschel, Nunn, Colo.                                                 3,631

16.  Tim Bingham, Honeyville, Utah                                         3,335

17.  Cooper Davis, Jasper, Texas                                               3,314

18.  Corey Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.                                        2,369

19.  Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash.                                 2,345

20.  Cody Samora, Cortez, Colo.                                               2,336