The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Sports

March 27, 2007

Making it happen in Huntsville

Busy Beaver wouldn’t miss his hometown rodeo

Though five-time world tie-down roping champion Joe Beaver is competing at a lucrative rodeo in Laughlin, Nev., this week, he’ll also find time to ride in his hometown.

In Beaver’s mind, the Walker County Fair and Rodeo, which runs Friday and Saturday at the Walker County Fair Arena in Huntsville, is the smaller rodeo that could.

That’s the reason he flew to Las Vegas on Monday night so he could compete the next day at Laughlin’s annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show. After that, it’s back to Huntsville.

One reason the Huntsville rodeo draws top timed-event competitors such as Beaver, a three-time world all-around champion, is because its organizing committee has made a staunch commitment to pay them well.

For example, the local committee puts up $6,000 in “added money” in tie-down roping and steer wrestling, twice as much as bull riding and saddle bronc riding.

Added money is the organizing committee’s contribution to the rodeo purse that’s coupled with competitors’ entry fees.

“A lot of towns don’t add what they could at their rodeo,” Beaver said. “But we just make it happen.” 

The 2007 Huntsville rodeo has drawn four-time world all-around champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, defending world tie-down roper Cody Ohl of Hico, former National Finals Rodeo steer wrestling qualifier Cash Myers of Athens and former NFR tie-down roping qualifier Stran Smith of Childress.

“Over the years, we’ve built a good timed-event rodeo,” said Byron Sandel, who chairs the rodeo’s organizing committee. “But we’re also working on making the roughstock end of the rodeo stronger.”

Look for the rodeo to also draw accomplished bronc and bull riders. The Huntsville committee has hired Stace Smith of Athens for the first time. He’s the PRCA’s top stock contractor in 2004, ’05 and ’06 and he has a following.

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