COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - The WPRA is pleased to announce their contract award winners that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all happen and keeps the Association alive and well, especially during this very trying 2020 rodeo season. Each winner will be officially recognized at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas during the Wrangler NFR festivities.
Honored this year with the WPRA Announcer of the Year award is ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer Bob Tallman. During a career that has spanned more than five decades, Tallman has announced rodeos large and small across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Tallman, of Poolville, Texas, will work his record 26th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2020 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Tallman last won the WPRA Announcer of the Year in 1998. He has also been named the PRCA Announcer of the Year a total of 10 times and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2004. He will be honored this year by the ProRodeo Hall of Fame with the Legend of ProRodeo Award.
Fans never see them but they are key to a successful rodeo. They are known as rodeo secretaries and are tasked with organizing and disseminating information to contestants, judges, stock contractors, announcers, committees and media. This year’s WPRA Mildred Farris Secretary of the Year is Sandy Gwatney. This will be the second time Gwatney of Marquez, Texas, has received this honor, the first being in 2016. She has also been named the PRCA Secretary of the Year twice (2016 & 2018) and is nominated for this prestigious award again in 2020.
One of professional rodeo’s longest partners, Wrangler, will be honored with the WPRA Corporate Partner of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Wrangler remained a strong partner in 2020 especially in the breakaway roping being an integral part in helping fund the $200,000 purse for the inaugural Wrangler National Breakaway Roping event, which will take place Dec. 8-10 at Globe Life Field.
“As a longtime supporter of the WPRA and PRCA, we are thrilled the talent and excitement of breakaway roping has landed for the first time at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo,” said Jeff Chadwick, Director-Western Special Events for Wrangler, when the announcement was made regarding the NFBR. “While the WPRA has crowned World Champions in breakaway roping for many years, this will be the first time it will crown a World Champion on ProRodeo’s grandest stage. A big thank you to the PRCA and the WPRA in coming together to make this happen. Long Live Cowgirls!”
In 2019, the WPRA Board of Directors launched a new award category titled Breakaway Trailblazer and the War Bonnet Roundup in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was the inaugural recipient. This past February, the Fort Worth (TX) Stock Show and Rodeo stepped up in a big way for the WPRA by not only including women’s breakaway roping in their legendary rodeo but they offered equal money and was a key event for many of the Top 15 breakaway ropers. As a result, they were named the 2020 Breakaway Trailblazer award winner.
Rodeo committees have long been the backbone of the rodeo industry and that was never more apparent during the 2020 rodeo season as we all dealt with the challenges of COVID-19. Without the hardworking rodeo committees, the industry would have a hard time existing. Following the abrupt shutdown of RodeoHouston in March, the Cave Creek (AZ) Rodeo Days was the first committee to “Kick Open The Chutes” at the end of May. The WPRA is recognizing them for being the leaders in getting the rodeo business back on track with the Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner Award.
Other rodeo committees that helped salvage the 2020 rodeo season and will be recognized by the WPRA include the Buffalo Stampede in Kadoka, S.D. (Small Rodeo of the Year), Killdeer (ND) Mountain Roundup Rodeo (Medium Rodeo of the Year) and the Fallon County Fair & Rodeo in Baker, Montana (Large Rodeo of the Year).
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 recognized by the WPRA in 2020.
Announcer of the Year
Stock Contractor of the Year
J Bar J (Sparky Dreesen)
Judge of the Year
(tie) Joe Bob Locke and Cliff Overstreet
Mildred Farris Secretary of the Year
Small Rodeo of the Year (added money of $5,000 or less)
Buffalo Stampede (Kadoka, S.D.)
Medium Rodeo of the Year (added money of $5,001 - $9,999)
Killdeer (ND) Mountain Roundup Rodeo
Large Rodeo of the Year (added money over $10,000)
Fallon County Fair & Rodeo (Baker, MT)
Corporate Partner of the Year
Outstanding Individual of the Year
Outstanding Rodeo Committee Partner
Cave Creek (AZ) Rodeo Days
Fort Worth (TX) Stock Show and Rodeo
Lenora Reimers Heritage Award