Bios, personnel – Elk City 2019


Wayne Brooks –rodeo announcer

For the eleventh year, Wayne Brooks will be behind the microphone at the Elk City Rodeo of Champions.

Brooks, from Lampasas, Texas, works rodeos across the nation, from Rodeo Austin (Texas), to the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round-Up, even to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which he has been selected to announce eight times.

But coming to Elk City, and other medium-sized rodeos like it, is one of his favorite things, and one of his favorite places to be. “It’s the heartland of America,” he described. “When you talk about small towns, whether it’s in Iowa or Nebraska or Oklahoma, they’re the thread of American society, and that’s good.” Brooks has many rodeos in big cities, but coming to small towns is good, too. “It’s fun to be in the big city where you have all the bells and whistles, and all the things that make an event shiny. But coming back to your roots is good. The heart and the soul of the rodeo business is the grassroots rodeos that began seventy or eighty years ago, like Elk City.”

Brooks grew up in Wyoming and Montana and competed as a bareback rider before becoming a rodeo announcer. He loves helping fans have a good time at the rodeo. “When fans are enjoying it, and reacting to a specialty act, the competition or the clown, then I know I’m doing my job. When you group those things together, when the crowd and fans enjoy what they’re watching, then we know we’re doing our job. Me, the stock contractor, the sound guy and the scoreboard guy, are spokes in the wheel. I take a lot of solace in the crowd enjoying themselves. It’s very rewarding.”

He also prides himself in being part of the eighty-one years of tradition in Elk City. Before Brooks announced the rodeo, Randy Corley did, and it was Corley and Corley’s father-in-law, Hadley Barrett, who signed for Brooks to get his announcing card 25 years ago. “Hadley and Randy started me in the business,” he said. “To follow them, and to work with the Beutler family and carry on the tradition that Hadley and Randy started, is an honor.”

As Brooks spends time traveling, he listens to podcasts, talk radio and the news. “The older I get, the more I enjoy learning stuff,” he said. He especially enjoys the Ted Talks. “I feel like I’m doing myself a service by listening to talks with interesting guests and different points of view.”

Brooks has been married to his wife Melanie for 27 years. They have two daughters, a son, and a grandchild.


Beutler & Son Rodeo Co., stock contractors

When the Beutler family brings their bulls and horses to the Rodeo of Champions, they’re not far from home.

Bennie and his son Rhett travel the nation nearly year-round, taking livestock to rodeos.

But for Labor Day weekend, they’re close to home.

The Beutler family began in the rodeo business in 1929.

Now, nearly ninety years later, their animals are still excelling.

Wound Up, a saddle bronc, was voted the 2017 Saddle Bronc of the Year, and Killer Bee, another saddle bronc, was the top saddle bronc for the 2013 and 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeos.

At the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. had six bareback horses, four saddle bronc horses, and four bulls selected to buck.

Rhett works alongside his dad Bennie, and now the fifth generation of Beutlers: Rhett and his wife Tracy’s kids Taylor and Jake, are helping out.

When the kids, ages fourteen and eleven respectively, aren’t busy with school and sports, they’re helping out on the ranch. “They help work bulls and cows,” Rhett said, “and they pick out the ones they like.”

The kids are good help. They are on horseback, helping move cattle and horses, and Rhett can send Taylor out to do jobs while he’s within sight.

Rhett has never missed a year of the Rodeo of Champions in Elk City, and he loves his hometown rodeo. “You live here, but you always see people at the rodeo, that it’s the only time of the year you see them. Everybody comes by and says ‘hi’, and the whole town comes together.” 

For more information, visit their website at BeutlerandSonRodeo.com.


Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey

The one and only Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey will entertain in Elk City in 2019.

Whiplash will don cowboy clothes: chaps, a shirt and leggings, and a custom made cowboy hat. Then he rides his mount, a border collie, as they round up sheep in the rodeo arena.

The Capuchin monkey loves doing the act. “He gets wound up when it’s time to go,” said Kenny Petet, his owner. “He knows the rhythm. When I’m changing into my dress clothes, he knows the rodeo music, and he can hear it, because we park close to the arena. He’ll crawl up on my lap and put his arms out so I can put his shirt on.”

New this year to Petet’s act is a rat rod that he has designed and built himself. He and Whiplash drive into the arena with it. The rat rod is built from various parts: the cab from a 1946 Chevy, the air tank from an antique fire extinguisher, and even a two-foot sawblade mounted on the top of the air cleaner!

Whiplash has a line of merchandise: t-shirts, hats, and dolls for sale on his website (www.WhiplashTheCowboyMonkey.com).

He loves the Oreos he gets at the end of his act. “He knows that when we get back to the trailer, we get Oreos,” Petet said.

Whiplash loves sweets, including whipped cream, and he knows how to work the whipped cream can. At Thanksgiving, while the refrigerator door was open, he stole the can out of the frig and took it to the living room. There, he made a pile of whipped cream, “as big as he was,” Petet said. “He sat in the middle of it, shoveling it in his face as fast as he could.”

Whiplash and Petet will entertain during each night of the rodeo August 30-31-September 1.


Weston Rutkowksi, bullfighter

Weston Rutkowksi is one-half of the bullfighting duo at the Elk City Rodeo.

The Cleburne, Texas man has been a professional bullfighter for the past six years.

He takes care to stay physically fit, working out every day. “If you’re not physically fit and you’re fighting bulls for a living, they’ll take you out,” he said. “Being in shape sure helps in the long term. Instead of being seriously injured, it’s just a bruise or not as serious.”

He admits he doesn’t always love going to the gym, though. “I’m not necessarily motivated but I am dedicated. It’s one of those things that I understand my job and what I’ve signed up for. It’s not only to perform at a high level, but to keep bull riders safe. If I’m not physically fit to do my job, I’m putting somebody else in danger.”

As is typical of the occupation, Rutkowski has had his share of injuries. He’s dislocated his hip, fractured the orbital bone around his right eye, and “destroyed” his right ankle. The only part of the ankle that wasn’t injured in the accident that occurred in 2015 was the Achilles heel.

Nagging injuries come with the job, Rutkowski said. Bullfighters are usually stiff and sore “from taking shots all the time,” he said. “Pains that go with the job, legs, knees, and ribs that are sore. But you have to know what you signed up for. Nobody’s making you do this but yourself.”

Favorite meal:  Mexican. “I grew up in west Texas so I’m a Mexican food connoisseur. I love spicy. I love jalapenos and I put them on everything. Hamburgers, nachos, eggs, you name it, I’ll put jalapenos on just about anything.”
Favorite beverage: “Beer, but I don’t drink a lot of it. I have to stay in shape.”
Favorite music while traveling:  “I listen to it all. We’re in the truck so much, that (listening to) one thing gets old. I try to mix it up so I don’t play out one thing to where I hate it.”
Role models: Mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor. “I’ve never met him, but I admire his work ethic. He gew up with nothing and was always told he wouldn’t make it. Now he’s one of the most well-known mixed martial artists in the world.”

Chuck Swisher – bullfighter

Chuck Swisher is one-half of the bullfighting duo at the Elk City Rodeo.
The Dover, Okla. cowboy got his start in the rodeo arena at the age of fifteen. His dad was a bull rider, and he grew up wanting to be a cowboy, but bull riding wasn’t for him. “I wanted to be like my dad, but I was too scared to get on a bull. So I figured to be in front of them (as a bullfighter) wouldn’t be as scary.”

Now, more than a dozen years later, Swisher works pro rodeos from coast to coast. He was selected to work the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014, and the next year, he won the Bullfighters Only world championship. This is the third year he will work the Elk City rodeo.

When he’s on the road, he loves to try new foods. The self-proclaimed “foodie” will eat nearly anything. “I’m not a big fan of sushi but just about anything else, I’ll go to town on.” He likes finding local restaurants and coffee shops in the towns he visits, going to a new one every day. “I told my fiancée, my goal for us is to never eat at a chain restaurant while I’m on the road. I feel like we miss out on too many good opportunities at the little holes-in-the-wall.” In Elk City, his “café” of choice is his mom and dad’s kitchen: Mike and Kim Swisher, who live in Leedey.

Swisher started a new business last fall, Swisher Beef Co. He sells beef that is steroid and hormone free. The business has done very well; his original goal was to sell ten beeves by December of 2019. By February 1, he had sold twelve. “It’s going crazily good,” he said. Advertising is by word of mouth and his Facebook page (Chuck Swisher/Swisher Beef Co.)

He is engaged to be married to Carolyn McLean.

Favorite beverage: latte, with his favorite café being Local Coffee in San Antonio. “It’s such a cool atmosphere and the coffee is so good.”
Favorite movie: “Anything with Will Farrell. That guy cracks me up.”
Favorite music to listen to while traveling: “Usually my go-to music is any kind of Christian music: worship, rap, or a Christian radio station. If I get really bored, I’ll listen to a sermon podcast.”
Nickname: Swish