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West of the Pecos Rodeo Preview

Friday, June 26, 1998

Rodeo will bring in 1997's top cowboys

PECOS, June 26 -- The 1998 edition of the West of the Pecos
Rodeo will feature eight of the nine defending champions
from last year's National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas,four of
whom currently lead the world standings in their events, at
the midway point of this season.

Only 1997 NFR steer wrestling champion Brad Gleason will be
absent when the rodeo kicks off with slack competition
Monday morning at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena. Slack will
continue through Tuesday, with the official start of the
four-day rodeo set for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

Although the defending champion in steer wrestling will be
missing, the two current leaders in the 1998 world standings
will be on hand, in Steve Duhon from Sonora and Van's Rope
Myers, who is also the defending champion as All-Around
Cowboy from last year's West of the Pecos Rodeo.

The All-Around champ at the National Finals Rodeo from
1997, Dan Mortensen will also be appearing in Pecos next
week. Mortensen is not ranked in the All-Around competition,
which is based on earnings in more than one event, but in
the other event he captured first place in at the NFR,
saddle bronc riding, the Manhattan, Mont., cowboy again
leads the field, with earnings of $62.161.

In second place there, and in first place in the All-Around
Standings, is former Odessa College grad and six-time
world's champion Ty Murray. The Stephenville resident has
been plagued by injures the past several seasons, beginning
with an injury in 1995 just prior to the West of the Pecos
Rodeo. It broke Murray's championship string which began
with the 1989 National Finals Rodeo.

So far in 1998, Murray has earned $75,778. most of that in
saddle bronc and bull riding, as he looks to break the tie
with Larry Mahan for overall all-around championships. His
total is $12,000 ahead of Trevor Brazile, who won the 1995
All-Around title at the West of the Pecos Rodeo and placed
second in steer roping in Pecos a year ago.

Brazile is also second in this year's world standings in
that event, as he tried to catch perennial champion Guy
Allen on Lovington, N.M.

Allen is looking for his eighth straight world's
championship in steer roping and his 13th overall. So far
this season, Allen has earned just under $36,000, and, like
Murray, holds a $12,000 lead in earnings over Brazile.

The other two 1997 NFR champions who are on top so far in
1998 are team ropers Rich Skelton and Speed Williams. They
were not a team last year when the West of the Pecos Rodeo
rolled around, but paired up in the second half of the year
and wound up winning top honors in Las Vegas. Through
Tuesday, both had earned $35,876 in prize money in 1998.

Skelton did win the final go round in Pecos last year with
former partner Tee Woolman, who is 13th on this year's list
for headers. Last year's overall champs in Pecos, Steve
Purcella and Steve Northcott, are ranked 19th and 20th
respectively this season as header and heeler in the overall

The two other defending NFR champions who will be in town
for the West of the Pecos Rodeo are bareback rider Eric
Mouton and bull rider Scott Mendes. Mouton comes in ranked
25th overall in the standings, while Mendes is not ranked
among the leaders so far in 1998.

Former world's champion Deb Greenough of Red Lodge, Mont.,
leads the standings in bareback riding, with just over
$37,000 while Blu Bryant of Nacogdoches tops the list of
money winners in bull riding, with $45,802 in earnings at
the midway point of the 1998 season.

In ladies' barrel racing, Midland resident Sherry Cervi is
the current leader, with $54,045 in prize money, $15,000 up
on last year's champion, Kristie Peterson of Elbert, Colo.
Of last year's top finishers at the West of the Pecos Rodeo,
only third place Cheyenne Wimberly of Stephenville is ranked
among the leaders in 1998, standing in 17th place overall.

Geographic preparing feature on rodeos

PECOS, June 26 -- Sometime around the start of the 1999
West of the Pecos Rodeo people across the United States, and
others around the world, should be getting a look at the
1998 West of the Pecos Rodeo, as part of a feature on rodeos
for National Geographic magazine.

Photographer William Allard is scheduled to be in Pecos all
next week as part of the assignment, according to Barbara
Fallon, public relations director for the National
Geographic Society in Washington.

Many of the cowboys and other PRCA officials participating
in the West of the Pecos Rodeo are probably already familiar
with Allard. He began working on the photo assignment back
in December, at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and
will be continuing on to other rodeos after his work here is

The feature's completion and publication date have not yet
been determined, Fallon said. "The story is just titled on
our working schedule as `Rodeo.' It's tentatively scheduled
for the August, 1999, issue, but that certainly can change."

Allard was on the road and unavailable this week, but
Fallon said "Bill is very famous for his cowboy photography
and for his people photos. He did a beautiful cover story
for us on minor league baseball. It was not a lot of sports
pictures, but more what was going on in the bleachers."

"Bill tends to be very thorough," Fallon said. "He'll be
snapping away when he's there, and I'm sure he'll take in
the whole atmosphere of the town."

Fallon said along with the rodeo project, Fallon may be
juggling other assignments for National Geographic, and
other rodeos will be part of the final story. But she said
the West of the Pecos Rodeo will probably make the final cut
when the story hits the stands.

"To commit that many days to be in town, I'm sure Pecos
will have to be in the magazine," Fallon said.

The West of the Pecos Rodeo has attracted a number of
out-of-area photographers in recent years. The Dallas
Morning News sent a photographer out for last year's rodeo
performance, and earlier this month, rodeo committee members
were contacted by two television stations from Sweden and
Denmark that are interested in possibly attending the rodeo
and featuring it in their respective countries.

Dobbs into final go round as rodeo clown

PECOS, June 26 -- Even though Quail Dobbs, famous rodeo
clown, has announced plans of retirement, he will still be
joining everyone at the 116th West of the Pecos Rodeo.

A special favorite, not only with rodeo spectators, but
among local residents Dobbs arrives in Pecos a few days
before the rodeo begins to visit children at day care
centers and residents at Pecos Nursing Home. He also
participates in the West of the Pecos Rodeo parade.

The Coahoma native joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys
Association in 1963, when it was more simply called the RCA.

He is one of the very few men to work the National Finals
Rodeo as both a bullfighter and a clown.

He plans to retire next year, but since Pecos is a favorite
of his, he may come out of retirement for the Pecos rodeo

Dobbs is also an experienced and recognized barrelman,
working inside heavily padded steel barrels to distract the
bulls and keep them hopping. The clown is perhaps best known
in Pecos for his comedy car act and other humorous routines.

Since 1981, Dobbs has been spending his July 4 in Pecos. He
has entertained everyone at the rodeo events with his
cantankerous car, visited with young people and charmed
those at the nursing home.

Each year he visits the West of the Pecos Museum and is
generally a very sought after, popular fellow while in town.

He will be joined by Jimmy Anderson, Mark Callihan, `Smurf'
Horton, and Mark Swingler.

Anderson is making his 17th appearance here, while Callahan
is a relative newcomer, in his fourth rodeo. They will
assist the cowboys and help out wherever they are needed.

`Smurf' Horton performed here last year with Dobbs and
Anderson, and was a big hit with the crowd.

Swingler is a barrel man who made his first appearance at
the West of the Pecos Rodeo in 1997. He has a car act that
is different than the one in which Quail Dobbs performs, and
the two rodeo clowns will take alternate nights on their car

An animal trainer, Anderson specializes in sheepdogs and
cowboy monkeys, horses and bulls for use in special acts for
pro rodeos and movies.

He is an award winning pro rodeo clown/bullfighter and a
Screen Actor's Guild Stunt Coordinator. He is also a TNN
Helmet Camera Operator.

Andreson was featured in 1989 as stunt double in "My Heroes
Have Always Been Cowboys," for actor Scott Glenn and
returned to the silver screen in 1993, doubling for Luke
Perry in the Lane Frost move, "8 Seconds."

Callahan trained at the Rick Chapman and Skipper Voss
Bullfighting School and received his PCRA card in 1988.

Sheriff's posse, rodeo, share `oldest' label

PECOS, June 26 -- Along with serving as the home of the
World's First Rodeo, one of the groups strongly associated
with the West of the Pecos Rodeo, the Reeves County
Sheriff's Posse, also shares a unique distinction.

Incorporated in 1939, the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse is
the oldest sheriff's posse in Texas. Posse members will host
rodeo cowboys, staff members, area officials and others this
Wednesday for a barbeque lunch following the West of the
Pecos Rodeo Parade. Members will also be working at the Buck
Jackson Arena during the rodeo, while the nearby Sheriff's
Posse Barn will be the site of one of the two dances
following the rodeo each night.

The posse was formed to educate the public, especially the
youth, in horsemanship. The organization's original by-laws
promote teaching youth how to feed, breed and show
livestock, as well as work to prevent cruelty to animals.

Within two years of its formation, the Sheriff's Posse was
50 members strong in Reeves County. Today membership has
dropped to about 25 members, but they are still active in
civic life.

"We cater any time of the year," said Shirley Hannah, wife
of posse Captain Andy Hannah, "and have begun giving away
scholarships (last year was the first year) and do community

Nikki Walker, current posse "Sweetheart," is currently
serving her second year of a two-year term.

The posse teaches respect for law enforcement and the
United States' Constitution but it is no longer a
requirement that each member own their own horse, rifle and

"We're a little more liberated now," said Hannah.

Bunton set as marshal of parade

PECOS, June 26 -- Judge Lucius Bunton will lead this year's
annual West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade. As grand marshal
Bunton will be at the head of the parade scheduled to begin
at 10 a.m., next Wednesday and wind its way from the west
side of town to the West of the Pecos Rodeo Grounds.

The parade will pass by the Lucius D. Bunton Federal
Courthouse on its route, and employees there will be joining
Bunton in the parade, along with the West Texas Trailriders
and Eddy County Sheriff's Posse.

Theme for this year is "The Old West." First through third
prize winners will be announced following the parade.

Each Golden Girl candidate will have a float in this year's
event and Congressman Henry Bonilla will again be joining
Pecosites and visitors.

Out-of-town judges will be on hand to choose the best
floats, trailriders and assorted parade entries.

Entries for the parade will be accepted until the last day,
but those interested in participating are asked to contact
the chamber for a better lineup, according to chamber of
commerce office manager Rachel Orona.

Lineup for floats will be at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, with
the parade actually starting at 10 a.m.

The parade route will start at the intersection of State
Highway 17 and Business Loop 20 (West Third Street) and run
east to Cypress Street. From Cypress it will go south to
Fifth Street, then east on Fifth to Oak, turning back north
to First Street, and then east on First to Cedar, in front
of the West of the Pecos Museum. On Cedar, it will run 16
blocks south to the Rodeo Grounds.

Once there, the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse will be
hosting a Bar-B-Que for parade participants, where the
plaques for first, second and third place winners in each
category will be handed out.

Representatives from each float are asked to attend the

Windmill Square players prepare melodrama

PECOS, June 26 -- Local actors have already been refining
their talents for an upcoming production set for July,
during the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

The Windmill Square Players have been practicing every
Tuesday and Thursday at the Pecos Learning Center in
preparation for the production, "Ratcatcher's Daughter," a
play by Tim Kelly.

Each year the actors put together a play during rodeo
events, and director Jay Spence said, "There will be five
performances in all and we want everyone to come out and see

The first performance is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, at the
Pecos Learning Center. Another performance will be held at
8:30 p.m.

Senior citizens will get in free on Sunday at the 3 p.m.
performance, but everyone is welcome to attend.

"This is not just for the senior citizens, but for
everyone, it's just that the senior citizens get in free at
this particular performance," said Spence.

On Monday and Tuesday, the play will begin at 7:30 p.m. and
the July 4 show starts at 3 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the door, and are $5 per
person for all performances.

"We want to invite everyone to come out and have a good
time," said Spence.

Along with the play some singing will be performed and
Spence stated, "they can even come out and sing along."

"It's sort of a musical and it will be family oriented so
the whole family is invited," said Spence.

Sign honoring Jackson added to arena

PECOS, June 26 -- The West of the Pecos Rodeo Arena, which
received a new name five years ago, will have a sign to
signify that name change for the first time this year,
thanks to a sign which went up last month.

The Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena sign was installed by Reeves
County Road and Bridges employees in May. It was funded by
private donations and is prominently displayed above the
ticket booths at the front of the arena.

Five years ago the rodeo grounds were renamed by county
commissioners for Jackson, who MC'ed the rodeo from the days
when it was little more than a dirt lot lined with Model A's
with spectators sitting on the hoods, until 1982.

Jackson, who announced the West of the Pecos Rodeo for over
50 years remained in attendance at the West of the Pecos
Rodeo after leaving that post. He served as guest announcer
several times prior to his death in 1993.

Jackson, who also served as Reeves County Sheriff in the
years just after World War II, was known for his repertoire
of stories and encyclopedic knowledge of rodeo. He started
announcing the rodeo in 1928, when it was still done on

Being a rodeo announcer requires the ability to fill in
slow spots in the show with "the gift of gab," and probably
no one west of the Pecos could excel Jackson at the trick.

"It just comes to me naturally what to say. I'll see
someone or something in the arena and it'll remind me of a
joke or a story," he told one interviewer.

But, Jackson's contribution wasn't a joke or a story. He
also knew the cowboys, the events and the rules.

He watched the West of the Pecos rodeo grow from an event
where most of the contestants were amateurs, full-time
cowboys out for the prize money, to one where most are
professional rodeo hands and members of the Rodeo Cowboys

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise