Bios, personnel – Elk City 2020


Wayne Brooks –rodeo announcer

 

Wayne Brooks
For the twelfth year, Wayne Brooks is the “man behind the microphone” at the Elk City Rodeo.
The Lampasas, Texas cowboy has been around the sport all his life.

Job at the rodeo: Rodeo announcer, “bragging on my friends and the outstanding livestock we have in our industry. It’s the greatest job in the world.”

First prize he won: A small trophy for third place in the bareback riding at a non-sanctioned rodeo in Arizona. “I still have it. It’s on the shelf. I never won enough to buy a hamburger. I loved it but was never very good at it. That’s the reason I have so much respect for the cowboys and cowgirls.”
Favorite dessert: Peach cobbler, made by his mother-in-law. “Holy cow. It’s to die for. She’s the greatest southern cook in the world. It has heavy cream, lots of butter and lots of calories.”
Best part of rodeo, in his opinion: The people. “The friends, acquaintances, committee members, sponsors, and the contestants. It’s all about the people, because nobody gets rich in the rodeo business. But because of the people, it creates a passion for the game. And pretty soon you’re involved in it and you love it and want to be in it forever.”
One thing people don’t realize about being an announcer: “The homework. Tons and tons and tons of it, just to make the announcing sound natural. When you’re bragging on a cowboy or cowgirl, if you have a tidbit of personal information about them, then the fans become friends of that person as well. I take a lot of pride in that.”
Family: Wife, Melanie. “I married way over my head. I wouldn’t be where I am without my wife. She’s the greatest agent and cheerleader and secretary.” They have been married 28 years. Daughter Taylor and her husband, who live in Houston, with their daughter, Wayne and Melanie’s first grandchild. Daughter Sheridan, who lives in Austin, and son Ace, who is a senior in high school.
Rodeo accomplishments: Five-time PRCA Announcer of the Year; eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo announcer; fifteen-time Canadian Finals Rodeo announcer; Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Beutler & Son Rodeo Co., stock contractors

Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. will provide the bucking bulls and horses for the annual Elk City Rodeo of Champions.

Based out of Elk City, the Beutler family doesn’t have far to travel to get to this rodeo.

For their other events, Bennie and son Rhett travel across the nation, taking their award-winning livestock to rodeos from coast to coast.

But for Elk City, Rhett, the fifth generation of the family to be involved in rodeo livestock, it’s convenient to be close to home. “It’s nice to have a rodeo where you can drive from the house, and drive home afterwards. It’s a lot better than being crammed into a motel room and eating in a restaurant a couple times a day.”

Rhett and Tracy’s two kids, daughter Taylor and son Jake, are part of the family business as well. They travel with their dad and granddad, Rhett, to many of the rodeos and, during the performances, carry the American flag in the grand entry and clear the arena of calves and steers.

In August of 2019, Jiggs and Elra, Bennie’s dad and granddad, were inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, along with their stallion, Commotion. Lynn Beutler was inducted in 1979; Bennie was inducted in 2010.

Putting on the rodeo in their “stomping grounds,” is fun, Rhett said. “You live there, but you’re gone so much out of the year, traveling and rodeoing, that it’s nice to show up and see everybody. It’s good.”


Robbie Hodges

Robbie Hodges will work as the barrelman and rodeo clown for the 2020 Elk City Rodeo of Champions.
The Cave Spring, Georgia cowboy is making his second trip to Elk City.

Job at the rodeo: His job as a barrelman and rodeo clown “is different at a Bennie Beutler rodeo than anywhere else, because the bulls are so dadgum mean. You have to work the barrel a lot, and that’s why Bennie and I get along. I like to get run over (by his bulls) and he likes to run me over. He’s actually one of my favorite contractors to work for. You never have to worry about carrying his rodeos for lack of good stock or a lack of production.”
First buckle he won: The 1985 Georgia High School Rodeo champion bareback rider his junior year of high school. “It was the first thing I’d ever won in my life. I went from being a bullied kid in Atlanta, not able to do anything, to winning that championship.”
Best part of rodeo, in his opinion: The after-parties. “I love entertaining. I love hanging out with committees and volunteers. I love cooking for them, playing guitar for them. They call me Rockin’ Robbie for a reason. I try to give them everything I have in the arena, but after the rodeo, they have to be entertained.”
One thing people don’t realize about being a rodeo clown and barrelman: The travel. Fans “see us for two and a half hours, and they don’t realize the time we spend traveling. The easy part is at the rodeo.”
Making people laugh. “It’s hard, right now in this world, to make 5,000 people laugh and not offend somebody. (Before people complain), if they would take a few minutes, instead of waiting till Tuesday afternoon when I’m not there to defend myself, if they’d come and talk to me, I’d love to listen. Come by and let’s visit.”   
Favorite dessert: Crème brulee and cheesecake. “But I don’t eat a lot of desserts because I’m trying to get my modeling career back again.”
Family: Three kids. Reed, a college student at Coastal Alabama College, majoring in broadcasting and doing voice-over work; daughter Carli, a graduate of East Mississippi Community College and the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Ozark Region barrel racing champion, and son Blake, a sophomore in high school.

Rodeo accomplishments: Four-time International Pro Rodeo Association bareback riding qualifier; WNFR barrelman in 2010 and alternate in 2011; barrelman of the year for the PRCA bullfights, and “being known as the guy who helps the young barrelmen. When they call me, that’s the biggest accomplishment I can have, to help these young kids. I enjoy having the respect of the guys who aren’t afraid to call and ask me questions.”

Chuck Swisher

Chuck Swisher is half of the team of bullfighters working the Elk City Rodeo.
The Dover, Okla. man is in his fourth year at the Rodeo of Champions.

Job at the rodeo: bullfighter. “When the bull rider gets bucked off the bull, our job is to distract the bull long enough to get the bull rider out of harm’s way.”
First buckle he won: A bullfighting buckle at the age of fifteen, at a Northwest Oklahoma Junior Rodeo Association event. “I wore it for a long time. I probably wore the shine off of it.”
Best part of rodeo, in his opinion: “There are so many good parts. I love the travel. That’s a bonus. I love meeting new people and having family in every city and state we go to. We’ve been going to rodeos for so long, we’ve built up friendships and we call them family now.
One thing people don’t realize about being a bullfighter:  “If we’re not in the arena, we’re not getting paid. So if we get hurt or the rodeo is cancelled, we don’t make a dime. (The COVID-19) quarantine sucks for sure, but it’s a good eye opener. It’s how fast an injury can happen or your career can end.”
Favorite dessert: “Plain Jane chocolate chip cookies. I made some pretty good ones the other day. My wife even said they were the best she’s had.”
Hobby: Beef ranching with Swisher  Beef, raising black Angus beef for customers and selling quarters, halves and whole beef to customers. “I started this in December of 2018. My goal was to sell ten head of beef in the first year. In February of 2019, two months after I started, I sold my twelfth beef. It blew up way faster than I thought. Quality is our main focus. We spend more up front to have better quality in the end.”
Family: wife Carolyn, his wife of one year, and parents Mike and Kim, who live in Leedey, Oklahoma.


Weston Rutkowski
Weston Rutkowski is part of the duo of bullfighters who serve as “bull rider protection” at the Elk City Rodeo.
The Cleburne, Texas man will work the rodeo alongside Chuck Swisher. He is not only adept at rodeo work, but also competes in freestyle bullfighting, including the Bullfighters Only.

Job at the rodeo: protect bull riders so when the 8 second buzzer sounds, he can distract the bull, giving the cowboy time to get to safety
Best part of rodeo, in his opinion:  “The brotherhood it creates when you’re on the road. These people, they become your family. You see different people at different rodeos, and it creates a real big brotherhood. It’s pretty neat.”
First buckle he won: “I think it was for a calf scramble. I know I won a pile of them at playday rodeos as a kid. I did all events: barrel racing, poles, flags, everything. My mom (the 1976 Miss Rodeo Texas) made sure we got up in the saddle.”
Favorite dessert: “My mom’s banana pudding.”
Hobby: “Anything that revolves around being outside. I love to hunt, to golf, to be on the lake. Staying cooped up in the house is not me.”
Rodeo accomplishments: Has won the Bullfighters Only World Championship three out of four years (2016-2018); finished as reserve world champion for the BFO in 2019. Was selected to work the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2016.


Flying Arena Stars – specialty act

 

Speed, glamour, sequins and sparkles, all on a cowgirl on the back of a galloping horse, while hanging precariously from a narrow leather strap on a saddle!

That’s what Flying Arena Stars is all about, and what fans will see when the trick riders ride into the Elk City rodeo!

Flying Arena Stars: Dusta Kimzey O’Connell and sisters Shyla and Layna Navarre, will trick ride and snap whips as the specialty act during the rodeo.

The sisters are the daughters of Corey and Melissa Navarre of Weatherford, Okla., and are the third generation of trick riders in the family; their mom, Melissa, and her mom, Dollie Beutler Riddle, also trick rode.

The girls specialize in their own things. Shyla, who is fourteen, loves the whip cracking, where Layna, age ten,prefers the trick riding, although Shyla trick rides, too. Shyla will crack whips with fire; Layna, along with her sister, will do the riding stunts: the Cossack death drag, the hippodrome, the lay-over-the-neck, and more.

It will be a family affair at the rodeo, since Melissa is the niece of Bennie Beutler, stock contractor for the rodeo. Her mother, Dollie, is Bennie’s sister. Melissa and Shyla are the only mother/daughter team to trick ride at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo; the duo was there in 2013.

Dusta also has rodeo in her background; she is an accomplished trick rider and specialty act and is the daughter of Ted Kimzey, long-time PRCA barrel man. Her brothers, world-champion Sage, and Trey Kimzey, ride bulls; her husband, Will O’Connell, is a pickup man.

 

 

 


WI FMX – specialty act
Horsepower of another kind will be on hand to entertain at the 2020 Elk City Rodeo of Champions.

Cody Cavanaugh and second freestyle motocrossrider, both part of WI FMX, will do freestyle motocross for fans.

The men have entertained at rodeos and other events for years, doing crazy stunts thirty feet in the air, such as the Lazy Boy (laying back stretched on the seat); Captain Morgan (standing up in mid-air, saluting the crowd); the Indian air (scissors kicking), the hartache (doing a handstand while holding the seat and looking behind), and more.

It’s something Cavanaugh loves to do. “I believe I’ve been told by counselors that I might be addicted to adrenaline,” he jokes, “which is a real thing.” He compares it to riding bulls, but says it’s a little safer. “I like to think bikes are a little more predictable than a bull.”

The motocross men start on seventy feet of carpet, giving them good traction. The take-off ramp is twenty feet long, and in the air, they peak at thirty feet high.  The landing ramp will look different than what fans might normally see. It’s an inflatable, with two blowers hooked to it that blow air in constantly. “It’s so much softer on your body,” Cavanaugh said. “It takes a lot of the impact out.”

The guys jump in second gear and are going between twenty-five and thirty miles per hour when they jump. 

Cavanaugh loves entertaining. “You hear the roar of the Sunday crowd, as Garth (Brooks) says. It makes you feel alive, it feels good. It’s time to go.”

Fans shouldn’t miss it, he said. “We’ll bring you two guys on dirt bikes and make them fly.”