The best professional rodeo contestants in the world are anxious to get back in the arena to compete.
Proof comes with the highest caliber of cowboys and cowgirls entered in record numbers for the Eureka Pro Rodeo this weekend.
Serious health concerns during early part of the season caused cancelation of many of the largest rodeos in the country.
“Committees are now moving forward with events attracting large numbers of outstanding rodeo contestants,” according to Jamie Nelson.
“Record entries are set for the ninth annual Eureka Pro Rodeo Friday and Saturday evenings, Aug. 14-15,” said Nelson, rodeo chairman.
“Our Eureka Pro Rodeo Committee was beyond excited when we received the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) contestant list,” Nelson admitted. “Several former world champions will be among the outstanding competitors at the saddle club arena east of Eureka.”
There are a total of 302 entries including PRCA cowboys as well as Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) contestants.
This compares to 179 entries in 2018, and 143 last year.
“Cowboys and cowgirls from 24 states plus two Canadians are coming to compete in seven rodeo events,” Nelson tallied.
“The numbers are great in every event,” Nelson verified. “We have 40 bull riders, so each performance with start and end with bull riding, 20 contestants each night”.
Additional entries include saddle bronc riding, 34; bareback bronc riding, 14; bulldogging, 54; tie down roping, 56: team roping, 40; and cowgirls barrel racing, 48.
Highlighted by National Finals Rodeo (NFR) caliber livestock, United Pro Rodeo, Palestine, Texas, is the rodeo stock contractor.
Eight times PRCA Clown of the Year Justin Rumford, native of Abbyville now from Ponca City, Oklahoma, will entertain.
“Where do we start when talking about the ‘big name’ contestants entered?” asked Scott Grover, rodeo announcer from Weston, Missouri.
“There are at least seven world champions plus multiple past NFR qualifiers in every event,” Grover said. “Many of the currently top ranked contestants vying for qualification to the 2020 NFR will be at Eureka.”
Among former world champions entered at the Eureka Pro Rodeo feature:
Cowgirls barrel racing: Sherry Cervi, Marans, Arizona, four time world champion with lifetime winnings of $3.3 million.
Tie down roping: Shane Hanchey, Carmine, Texas, 2013 world champion, and Caleb Schmidt, Belleville, Texas, 2015 and 2018 world champion.
Team roping: Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Oklahoma, 2009 world champion heeler, and Cory Petska, Marana, Arizona, 2017 world champion heeler.
Saddle bronc riding: Taos Muncy, Corona, New Mexico, 2011 world champion, and Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, 2015 world champion.
Also showing saddle bronc riding skills at Eureka is Cody DeMoss, Heflin, Louisiana, 13-times NFR qualifier with $3 million earnings.
Three outstanding Kansas cowboys are entered at Eureka. Cooper Martin, Alma, a three time NFR qualifier is currently 24th in the world tie down roping standings.
A two time NFR qualifier, Tanner Brunner of Ramona, is currently ninth in steer wrestling. Buddy Hawkins, Columbus, is 13th in the world team roping heeler standings.
Wyatt Casper, Pampa, Texas, currently ranked first in the world saddle bronc riding standings will also compete at Eureka.
BryAnn Haluptzok, 20-year-old cowgirl from Tenstrike, Minnesota, won $16,500 at recent Kansas rodeos in Dodge City and Phillipsburg. She moved from 100th to 24th in the WPRA barrel racing standings with intentions to maintain that momentum at Eureka.
Information can be found on Facebook at Eureka Pro Rodeo and Greenwood County Rodeo Association.