Each winner will be officially recognized during the annual WPRA Star Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Grand Ballroom of the South Point Hotel and Casino.
The Lenora Reimers Heritage Award is given annually to an individual or group that has been a longtime supporter of the WPRA and works to continue the heritage of the Association. This year’s recipient is Pam Minick. Minick has worked tirelessly her entire life in supporting the WPRA as competitor, through her work in the media, during her time on the Board and her involvement with the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
“I am honored to be selected to receive the Lenora Reimers Heritage Award,” said Minick. “Supporting the WPRA has been something I have been passionate about for more than 40 years! I first received my GRA card in 1973 when I was Miss Rodeo America – I was named GRA publicity director in 1978 and produced my first GRA promotional video that year. I then served for 16 years as Turquoise Circuit Director, 2nd Vice President, and 1st vice president under presidents Sammy Thurman, Kay Young, and Jimmie Munroe.
“Since then I’ve continued to be a contestant in the WPRA both as a barrel racer and as a roper and I am very proud of the Association and its progress. Being recognized for doing something I am passionate about is the icing on the cake.”
Minick joins a list that includes Wanda Bush, Jimmie Munroe, John and Mildred Farris, and Florence Youree.
Much like Minick, Martha and R.E. Josey have spent their entire lives involved in rodeo initially as competitors and now giving back through clinics and events they produce. The WPRA will honor them this year with the Lifetime Family award. Past recipients of this award include the Potter Family, the Harper Bush Ranch, the Youree Family, the Harry Vold Family and the Neal Gay family to name a few. So the Josey family will definitely be joining an elite group of families who have provided so much to the sport of rodeo.
It has truly been a banner year for the WPRA with history being made on August 5, 2017, when barrel racers were inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. In recognition of this historic day the WPRA will honor the ProRodeo Hall of Fame with the Distinguished Partnership Award. In addition, PRCA Board member Troy Weekley will be presented with the Outstanding Individual award.
Two new awards will be presented this December in honor of rodeo committees. The first will be known as the Innovative Rodeo of the Year in recognition to a committee that looks for new ways to present the sport of rodeo to fans. The other will be the Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner. The inaugural Innovative Rodeo of the Year will go to the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo in Salt Lake City, who this year raised the bar with a new format, more money and Olympic-style medals. The Calgary Stampede will receive the Outstanding
Rodeo Committee Partner for elevating the sport of rodeo, specifically barrel racing, for the attention to safety of the contestants and equine athletes and for the overall partnership they have shown over the years with the WPRA.
There is no doubt that rodeo would have a hard time existing without hardworking rodeo committees. The WPRA honors rodeos in each circuit with the Justin Best Footing Awards that will be announced at a later date, but they also recognize rodeos in the large, medium and small committee category. Winning for the first time is the Fallon County Fair and Rodeo in Baker, Mont., in the large committee category.
Each year, the little town of Baker swells as big names in rodeo flood in for the rodeo. It has put itself on the map as a great-paying one-head rodeo that brings in top contestants and provides lots of excitement.
Two years ago, the committee for Baker decided to add money into the team roping event after the loss of a team roping mentor in the area. The $15,000 added money was a hit, and thanks to a large sponsor-base for the rodeo, they were able to add money again this year.
“We decided to pick three events, and we wanted to feature the barrels as one of them,” explained Jerrid Geving, Rodeo Director. “The women work just as hard and travel just as many miles as the cowboys.”
At this year’s 94th annual Fallon County Fair and Rodeo, there was $15,000 in added money in barrel racing, tie-down roping and single steer roping.
In 2010, the rodeo in Estes Park, Colo., was a co-winner in the small committee category. They have been elevated to a medium size and will be honored this year as WPRA’s Medium Rodeo Committee of the Year. This past year the Rooftop Rodeo did a complete overhaul of their rodeo ground and the results spoke for themselves. The work did not go unnoticed.
Winning for the second time in the Small Rodeo Committee of the Year is the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo (Merrill). They last won the award in 2011.
The WPRA would like to congratulate each of the award recipients as well as those that were nominated for these prestigious awards.
Below is a full list of those that will be receiving awards at the 2017 WPRA Star Celebration.
Announcer of the Year
Stock Contractor of the Year
Cervi Championship Rodeo – Binion Cervi
Pro Official of the Year
Mildred Farris Secretary of the Year
Small Committee of the Year (added money of $5,000 or less)
Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo (Merrill)
Medium Committee of the Year (added money of $5,001 – $9,999)
Rooftop Rodeo (Estes Park, Colo.)
Large Committee of the Year (added money over $10,000)
Fallon County Fair & Rodeo (Baker, Mont.)
(tie) Barrel Horse News (Bonnie Wheatley) and Spin to Win (Chelsea Shaffer)
Sponsor of the Year
Outstanding Individual Award
Lenora Reimers Heritage Award
Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner
Innovative Rodeo of the Year
Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo (Salt Lake City)
Lifetime Family Heritage Award
Martha and R.E. Josey
NFR Achievement Award
Distinguished Partnership Award
ProRodeo Hall of Fame
Press release provided courtesy of the WPRA.