OGDEN -- Is the heat back on?
Regardless of the weather, things will be hot at Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo, which kicks off its five-performance run today in Ogden Pioneer Stadium.
Since switching stock contractors in 2005, Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo has been nominated five times (2006, 2008-11) as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's medium rodeo committee of the year ($3,000 to $9,999 added money per event).
In 2008 and 2009, Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo was named the best rodeo in the PRCA's Wilderness Circuit, which includes Idaho (south of the Salmon River), Nevada and Utah.
For starters, two roughstock riders -- each a $100,000 winner Sunday in their respective event at the 100th Calgary Stampede's "Showdown Sunday" -- are entered in Ogden's 79th annual rodeo.
Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo ranked No. 58 ($132,211) out of 572 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos staged in 40 states and three Canadian provinces during 2011.
Defending world champion Kaycee Feild, of Payson (bareback riding), and Wade Sundell, of Boxholm, Iowa (saddle bronc riding), are 2012 Calgary Stampede champions expected to compete at Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo. They will be joined by $100,000 timed-event champions Trevor Knowles, of Mount Vernon, Ore. (steer wrestling), Cory Solomon, of Prairie View, Texas (tie-down roping), and Sue Smith, of Blackfoot, Idaho (women's barrel racing).
Timed-event slack was run on Wednesday, with the rodeo wrapping up Tuesday.
Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo, which has 632 contestants (counting doctor and vet releases and notified turnouts) -- 75 more than last year -- is one go-round in each of the seven events except tie-down roping and team roping, which is two rounds plus an aggregate payout.
Two of the best Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's stock contractors -- Stace Smith Pro Rodeos and Korkow Rodeos -- are bringing their top horses and bulls to town for the 79th annual rodeo.
Additional stock contractors are Smith, Harper & Morgan Rodeo, of Athens, Texas, Bar T Rodeo Inc., of Chester, Utah, and Three Hills Rodeo Inc., of Bernard, Iowa.
Stace Smith, of Athens, Texas, is an eight-time PRCA stock contractor of the year (2004-11) and also hauls bulls to Professional Bull Riders, Inc. events. Korkow Rodeos is also a PBR stock contractor.
Stace Smith Pro Rodeos bucked two bareback horses and five saddle broncs at last December's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Korkow Rodeos, of Pierre, S.D., had one bareback horse, six saddle broncs and two bulls selected for the $6 million WNFR.
Smith, Harper & Morgan Rodeo bucked a bareback horse, three saddle broncs and five bulls, Bar T Rodeo had two bareback horses, four saddle broncs -- including the top Wrangler National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc horse, Fancy Pants -- and two bulls, and Three Hills Rodeo had three bareback horses -- Mama Mia was the WNFR's No. 3 bareback horse -- three saddle broncs and two bulls at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Bar T Rodeo won its second Remuda Award in 2011 for providing the best, most consistent pen of bucking horses to Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos.
Eight of nine PRCA and Women's Professional Rodeo Association defending world champions are entered in the 79th Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo: Trevor Brazile (all-around cowboy); Kaycee Feild (bareback riding); Luke Branquinho (steer wrestling); Turtle Powell (team roping, header); Jhett Johnson (team roping, heeler); Taos Muncy (saddle bronc riding); Tuf Cooper (tie-down roping); and Shane Proctor (bull riding).
Lindsay Sears (women's barrel racing) did not enter the rodeo.
Defending Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo champions who are entered include: Kaleb Driggers and Brad Culpepper (team roping); Utah's Cody Wright (saddle bronc riding); Justin Maass (tie-down roping); and Kaley Bass (women's barrel racing).
Unlike many of us, rodeo cowboys don't get summer vacation.
If they want to make the prestigious 54th annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 6-15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, summer is a steppingstone to their December destination.
Of the PRCA's 572 sanctioned rodeos in 2011, nearly two-thirds of them occurred during the summer. Contestants could be after more than $12 million during the lucrative summer run, which started with the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo in June and concludes with the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up in September.
Of the current leaders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and WPRA, Trevor Brazile (all-around cowboy, $124,749); Steven Dent (bareback riding, $73,985); Ethen Thouvenell (steer wrestling, $54,562); Kaleb Driggers (team roping, header, $62,212); Patrick Smith (team roping, heeler, $60,905); Wade Sundell (saddle bronc riding, $67,515); Justin Maass (tie-down roping, $77,271); Cody Teel (bull riding, $86,846); and Brittany Pozzi (women's barrel racing, $133,803) are entered in Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.
Notable Utah and Idaho contestants who are ranked in the top 20 of the world standings in their respective events:
* All-around cowboy -- 9. Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, $43,556.
* Bareback riding -- 4. Kaycee Feild, Payson, $54,631; 7. Caleb Bennett, Morgan, $42,743.
* Steer wrestling -- 10. Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, $35,068; 12. Tom Lewis, Lehi, $31,700.
* Saddle bronc riding -- 2. Cody Wright, Milford, $61,658; 3. Jesse Wright, Milford, $53,846; 7. Jake Wright, Milford, $41,057.
* Tie-down roping -- 20. Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, $33,207.
Other big-money Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos that have started or get under way this week include Snake River Stampede, The Days of '47 Rodeo, California Rodeo Salinas, which is a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Gold Rodeo, Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo -- a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver Rodeo -- and Cheyenne Frontier Days, which is a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Gold Rodeo.