Efforts to rejuvenate the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series paid dividends.
That was the synopsis from officials of the two rodeos involved in this year’s kickoff of what is thought and hoped could be return to days of yesteryear when a half dozen rodeos were a part of the series.
“Objective of the series is a joint effort to raise awareness of eastern Kansas rodeos among contestants and spectators with the primary purpose of increasing both entries and attendance,” explained John Teagarden, official of the Linn County Fair Board.
“High point winners were named in the 2015 Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series following completion of the Eureka Pro Rodeo, August 14-15, with points there added to points accumulated from placings at the Linn County Fair Rodeo, Mound City, August 6-7,” related Jamie Nelson, official of the Eureka Pro Rodeo Association.
“The original Eastern Kansas Series began in 1984, continued through 2006, and at the height of the program included rodeos at Iola, Mound City, Ottawa, Paola, Ft Scott, Fredonia and Gardner,” Teagarden elaborated.
Both rodeos this year were sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), and approved for winning contestant points in both the Prairie Circuit and Great Lakes Circuit of the PRCA.
“This rodeo series concept especially shows our appreciation for those circuit contestants who support our rodeos. They appreciate award recognition,” Nelson pointed out.
Through the years, the series featured added prize money, up to $1000 per event funded by the committees and a half dozen area sponsors, plus trophy buckles.
Series event winners this year received a trophy belt buckle designed by Maynard Buckles, and runner-up high point event contestants were awarded an engraved Moore Maker pocket knife.
“We envision adding more rodeos back into the series, hopefully with added prize money, and further enhancing contestant participation, and expanding rodeo attendance,” Nelson stated.
“The 69th annual Mound City, Linn County Fair Rodeo at Mound City, had more than 4,000 in attendance, up 300 from the previous year,” Teagarden said.
“A first for Mound City was showing the winning rides and runs on RFD TV’s Rodeo Roundup Show, hosted by Amy Wilson, on Wednesday evening, Aug. 12,” Teagarden added.
“The Eureka Pro Rodeo is one of the newest and fastest growing PRCA rodeos in Kansas and attracted more than 3,500 spectators in just its fourth year,” Nelson commented.-
“We had a record 212 contestants, and more than 100 sponsors. We attribute that growth in part to the series concept, but it was also ideal weather for spectators, plus rodeos at Coffeyville, Liberal, and Freedom, Oklahoma, the same week, did bring more rodeo contestants to the area,” Nelson added.
All-around cowboy at both Mound City and Eureka was Jeff Miller of Blue Mound, winning money in both calf roping and steer wrestling. He was third, 9.2 seconds, in calf roping at Mound City, and second at Eureka, 8.8 seconds, and with his steer wrestling runs, collected a total of $1,605, in prize money from the rodeos.
Importantly, Miller was the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series winner in calf roping and was second in the series steer wrestling. Kadin Boardman, Jackson, Missouri, was second in the series calf roping competition
Shane Henderson, Winfield, collected the series award in the steer wrestling, after placing fourth, 4.9 seconds, at Mound City, and second, 4.2 seconds, at Eureka, with payback totaling $817.
Series bareback bronc riding champion was Blaine Kaufman, Pretty Prairie, winning both rodeos. He marked 79 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Elvis at Mound City, and 83 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Little Dougy at Eureka, for total payback of $1,602.
Colton Delgado, Great Bend, was runner-up for the series bareback bronc riding title.
Hardy Braden, Welch, Oklahoma, was the series saddle bronc riding champion winning the Mound City round with 84 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Tear Drop, and then coming in third at Eureka with 76 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Viper, to collect $1,034 total.
Will Smith, Marshall, Missouri, was second in the series saddle bronc riding.
Barrel racing series champion was Bailee Snow, Miami, Oklahoma, winning the Mound City round in 17.2 seconds, and placing third at Eureka with a 17.97 seconds run, to take home checks from both totaling $991.
Emily Miller, Weatherford, Oklahoma, was the runner-up winner in series barrel racing tabulations.
Team roping results left no doubt who’d take home the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series tokens as Troy Boone, Mutual, Oklahoma, teamed with Dawson McMaster, Madison, to win both Mound City, 5.2 seconds, and Eureka, 6.2 seconds, each taking home payback checks totaling $1,919 .
Tyler Johnson, Mound City, teamed with Derrick Peterson, Louisburg, to come up second in the series team roping event.
Eric Lee came all the way from Adrian, Mississippi, to mark 88 points on United Pro Rodeo’s bull Karaoke at Eureka to win $1,074, as well as the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series buckle. Runner-up bull riding pocket knife went to Newt Brasfield, Lane, Oklahoma.
“We were pleased with the Eastern Kansas Pro Rodeo Series, and look to continuing next year, possibly with additional rodeos, more cowboys at all of them, due to additional prize money, and bleachers filled with spectators at every performance,” Nelson reiterated.
“Most importantly, we want to provide the best rodeo excitement in the Midwest right here in eastern Kansas,” Teagarden insisted.