2016 Champions, Elk City Rodeo

Teddy Athan, 2016  bareback riding champion

2016 Elk City Rodeo bareback riding champion Teddy AthanOn his first trip to the Elk City Rodeo of Champions, Teddy Athan won the bareback riding.

The Paso Robles, Calif. man made an 84 point ride on the Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. horse Foxy Lady, to win $2,789 and the title.

Last year was the thirty-year-old’s best year of rodeo, mostly because of fewer injuries. In 2013, a compression fracture in his neck caused him to miss much of that and the following year. In 2015, broken ribs had him out for the summer. In addition, he’s had a broken elbow.

When he got to Elk City in 2016, he was in the top twenty in the world standings, barely out of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals. His win at the Rodeo of Champions helped, but it wasn’t enough to make it, and he finished seventeenth in the world in 2016, less than $3,000 from making it to the Wrangler NFR.

On the road, Athan and his traveling partners enjoy water parks and golfing (“I’m not a very good golfer but I like to golf”). When he’s home in California, he works on a friend’s ranch.

Dru Melvin, 2016 steer wrestling champion

Dru Melvin needed to do well in Elk City, and he did.

2016 Elk City Rodeo steer wrestling champ Dru MelvinThe Hebron, Neb. cowboy turfed his steer in 4.2 seconds to win the 2016 rodeo and a check for $1,826. It was the last weekend to qualify for the Prairie Circuit Finals, and even though things fell in place for Melvin in Elk City, they didn’t at the Dayton, Iowa rodeo. “I ended up being short at Dayton,” Melvin said. “But Elk City was a good way to end the circuit season for me.”

It was on a steer that he’d seen before. “I’d seen that steer of Bennie’s (Beutler) go all summer and I’d hazed him quite a bit,” Melvin said. “I really wanted to run him, and got to draw him at Elk City. I was excited to draw him, and took advantage of drawing that good steer.”

Melvin, a two-time Wrangler NFR qualifier, rode his black horse Sambo. The twenty-year-old is a “good old campaigner,” Melvin said. He purchased the gelding in 2014, and the horse is gentle enough for Melvin to put his three-year-old son on him. “I throw Jaxson (his son) on him and ride the hazing horse, to bring them around. He likes his job but he knows the difference when you throw a little kid on him.” The horse doesn’t show his age. “You wouldn’t even know, if you didn’t look at his papers and see how old he was. He doesn’t look or act like a twenty-year-old.” The horse also loves long scores. “I’ve had great luck with him on the long scores, like Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. Every time I’ve rode him there, or somebody else has, they’ve won a check. He isn’t the fastest horse out there but he’ll let you win on the good ones. He’s pretty special in my book.”

Melvin and his wife Brittany have three children: Jaxson, who is three, and twins Chase and Raney, who are one and a half years old. The three are “like herding cats on a daily basis,” Melvin said. But they love it. “We’re lucky to have the kids we have.”

Melvin has competed in Elk City six times and won the Hard Luck award several years ago.

2016 Elk City Rodeo Team Roping (Header) champion: Cole Morgan

Cole Morgan was on the front-end of the team of ropers who won the team roping at the ’16 Elk City Rodeo.

2016 Elk City Rodeo team roping champs Cole Morgan and Cody DoescherThe Agra, Oklahoma cowboy and his heeler Cody Doescher roped their steer in a time of 5.2 seconds to win the rodeo.

They got to watch several teams rope before they did, and that was an advantage, along with the good steer they drew. “I think we were the eighth team out,” Morgan said, “so we got to see quite a few teams go, and that’s always good, especially at a three day rodeo. If you get towards the end of the draw, you know how fast you need to be, and you can get the feel of the steer. We drew a good steer there, and I made sure I ran to him and let Cody do the rest.”

Morgan, who is 26 years old, doesn’t rope full time but was doing his friend Doescher a favor the week of the rodeo. “Cody had just got back from (roping at rodeos) in the Northwest, and he was needing to get to rodeos for his circuit count. I knew going into it, I wouldn’t get my rodeo count.”

Morgan and his dad shoe race horses for a living. He also trains horses and gets to as many ropings, rodeos and jackpots as he can.

He often ropes with his twin brother Jess Morgan. In high school rodeo, the two of them won the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association team roping title in 2009 and 2010, and qualified for the National High School Finals three times, winning the second round in ’09 and ’10.

Morgan has never rodeoed full time but hopes to compete at more Prairie Circuit Rodeos this year.

2016 Elk City Rodeo Team Roping (Heeler) champion: Cody Doescher

The heel end of the team roping title at the 2016 Elk City Rodeo went to Cody Doescher.

The Oklahoma City, Okla. cowboy partnered with Cole Morgan to win the championship with a time of 5.2 seconds.

He rode an eleven-year-old gelding named Pistol, who he has owned for the past five years. Doescher put the finishing touches on the horse, who was started when he got him. The horse, who won a reining futurity finals as a three-year-old, is an excellent heel horse, Doescher said. “He’s got a lot of run, and is really, really athletic and very broke. He’s so athletic that you can be in a bad spot and he can make up for it if he needs to.”

Doescher, who is 26 years old, is also a steer wrestler who competes at about 150 events a year, including pro rodeos, regional rodeos and jackpots. He has qualified for the Texas Circuit Finals three times and the Prairie Circuit Finals once, in 2016.

In high school, he won the Oklahoma High School team roping title twice and qualified for the National High School Finals twice in the team roping and once in the steer wrestling.

Doescher spent part of this winter in Alvord, Texas, and when he’s not on the road, he enjoys waterfowl hunting and golf. The Elk City rodeo is special to him; it’s close to home and his family can come and watch. Last year, his mom, dad, and grandpa, who was a bulldogger in his younger days, watched him win the rodeo.

Trell Etbauer, 2016 tie-down roping champion

Trell Etbauer nearly always does well in Elk City, and last year was no exception.

The Gruver, Texas cowboy posted a time of 9.3 seconds in the tie-down roping to win the ’16 title.

2016 Elk City Rodeo tie-down roping champion Trell EtbauerIt wasn’t the first time Etbauer has won a check at the Rodeo of Champions. He’s won the saddle bronc riding title twice, in 2008-2009, and in 2009, he split first in the steer wrestling.

The thirty-two-year old cowboy is a member of the famed Etbauer family, known for their rodeo prowess. His dad is Robert, and his uncles are Dan and five-time world champion saddle bronc rider Billy Etbauer. When Trell married his wife Kaylee in 2010, Uncle Billy gave him a special gift: a horse, named Corduroy.

Corduroy was Trell’s mount in the tie-down at Elk City last year. The twelve-year-old dun is special to him, in part because it reminds him of his childhood horse, another dun. His granddad Etbauer would give each grandchild a horse, and when he was five, Trell got the dun, and promptly named him “Trell.” Trell the horse carried Trell the cowboy throughout junior rodeos, high school rodeos, amateur and pro rodeos.

Corduroy was five when he was given to Trell and Kaylee, and Trell ranched on him for a few years, then turned him over to his dad, who trained him in the tie-down. For the past two years, Trell has used Corduroy (named by Billy’s son Tregg, after the bear in the “Corduroy” books) for both the tie-down and steer wrestling. In Ft Worth in 2016, Trell won a round and placed in a round in the steer wrestling on Corduroy. Corduroy is “the spitting image of the old horse my grandpa gave me,” Trell said. “He’s been a heck of a horse, for sure. He turned out to be a really good horse that Billy probably wishes he had kept himself.”

The Elk City rodeo is one of Trell’s favorites. “I’ve always enjoyed that rodeo. That arena is pretty neat, how the stands go all the way around. They get a big crowd.”

He and his wife Kaylee have a two-year-old daughter.


CoBurn Bradshaw, 2016 saddle bronc riding champion

2016 Elk City saddle bronc riding champion CoBurn BradshawCoBurn Bradshaw paired up with Beutler and Son’s Mean Dream to turn in an 83 point ride for the win.

The Milford, Utah man, who is 22 years old, made his first trip to Elk City, along with his brother-in-law Jake Wright, another saddle bronc rider. They decided to come because there is “quite a bit of money added, and we had a day to work it.”

Bradshaw, who has qualified for two Wrangler NFRs, had one of his better rodeo years in 2016, which he attributes to drawing well. But his Wrangler NFR wasn’t so good. He went into the ’16 WNFR in second place, which caused a lot of pressure, unlike the previous year, when he’d come into the Finals in thirteenth place. He still did well, finishing the 2016 rodeo season as th third best saddle bronc rider in the world.

Bradshaw is married to Rebecca, a Wright girl and the sister of Jake, Jesse, Cody and Spencer Wright. It’s a family full of bronc riders, and “a good one to marry into,” Bradshaw said. He and Rebecca have a daughter. 


Tracy Nowlin, 2016 barrel racing champion

Tracy Nowlin won the 2016 barrel racing at the Rodeo of Champions with her 15.95 second run.

The Nowata, Okla. cowgirl pocketed $1,536 for her efforts, aboard her eleven-year-old mare named Dolly Jo. She has owned2016 Elk City Rodeo barrel racing champion Tracy Nowlin the horse for nearly three years, started her on the barrels, and has done well on her, winning first in Sikeston, Mo. in 2015 and second in 2016, first on her in Manhattan, Kan. last year, and second in Wahoo, Neb. Nowlin also won the average on her at the 2016 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Nowlin, who has rodeoed since she was “little-bitty,” qualified for the International Finals Rodeo fourteen times and the Prairie Circuit Finals eight times. She’s been a Women’s Pro Rodeo Association member since 2003, and makes sure her horse is well cared for. “My horse probably feels better than I do,” she joked. “If she’s off just a little bit, she gets taken care of. If I’m off a little bit, I have to suck it up and live with it. Nobody cares if I’m limping,” she said.

Nowlin has a seventeen-year-old son who is a tie-down roper.


Nate Perry, 2016 bull riding champion


A hometown cowboy won the bull riding at the 2016 rodeo.

Nate Perry, who was born and raised in Elk City, made an 83.5 point ride on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Make My Day to win the title and $3,591.

It was revenge time for Perry and the bull. He had been bucked off Make My Day the previous month, in Coffeyville, Kansas, and Perry was ready for a rematch. “I was tickled to have him. I knew he was a good bull, and I knew it would be a dogfight from the get-go. I ended up getting him rode in front of my hometown crowd, and it turned out to be a good payday.”

Riding in front of his family, friends and neighbors can be a bit challenging, Perry said. His mom and dad Daryle and Carrie Perry, and his sister Micah and her husband Marte Mullens, were all in attendance. “There’s a lot of pressure there,” Perry said. “Everybody’s always asking you how you’re doing, and when you’re going to be close, and they come and watch. It gets your blood flowing a little more than usual, and you always want to do good, but it’s harder to do good in front of your hometown crowd.”

When he’s not on the rodeo road, Perry helps his brother-in-law in running cattle, and does a little team roping. There’s always something to be done when he’s home. “We’re gone quite a bit, so when you’re home it’s sure enough nice to be home, relax, and get stuff done that gets piled up from being gone.”