Bios, personnel – Elk City 2016

Wayne Brooks –rodeo announcer

It’s lucky for the rodeo world that Wayne Brooks wasn’t very good at riding bareback horses.

Because of instead of turning his attention to bucking horses, he got behind the microphone.

The Lampasas, Texas man was behind the chutes at a rodeo in 1990 when the announcer didn’t show up. The stock contractor’s wife walked around, listening to voices, when she chose Wayne. “She said, ‘you’re the guy,’” he remembers, and she promised him a free ride on a practice horse if he’d announce.

That was the beginning of his career. At the time, he was living near Phoenix, Ariz., and he worked any little job he could get: junior rodeos, high school rodeos, till finally working his way to the PRCA.

In 1994, he got his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card, and since then, he’s worked small and big shows across the nation.

He is a five-time PRCA Announcer of the Year and a six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo announcer.  But the favorite part of his job is not the awards and honors, but the people. “The people are the best in the business,” he said. “Our most valuable group of people in our business are the volunteers, and in that group are some of the finest, most benevolent people in the world. It’s the people in the business that I enjoy more than anything.”

Wayne has been married for 25 years to his wife Melanie; they have three children: daughters Taylor and Sheridan, and son Ace.

He has announced the Elk City Rodeo for the past nine years. 

Beutler & Son Rodeo Co., stock contractors

Labor Day weekend is “old home week” for Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. All year long, Bennie and his son Rhett Beutler travel across the nation, hauling their bucking horses and bulls to rodeos. But on Labor Day weekend, they’re close to home.

Rhett, who has never missed a year of the Rodeo of Champions, loves being only a few miles from home for a 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.”

Rhett enjoys the Elk City rodeo. “The past few years, the way the crowds have been, the rodeo is getting bigger and bigger. We fill the limit in the roughstock events and buck twenty horses a night. It makes it fun. There’s so much action, it gets the crowd into it. It makes a nice atmosphere. The cowboys love it and talk about it.”

Rhett and his wife Tracy’s kids, Taylor, age twelve, and Jake, who is nine, travel with the family and help out. Jake has chosen a PRCA bull rider as one of his heroes. Sage Kimzey, the 2014 World Champion Bull Rider, is at the top of his list. “Jake’s watched him ride bulls in college and here at the house in the practice pen,” Rhett said.

When Sage won a round at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals, he ran into Jake before appearing for the gold buckle presentation afterwards. “He talked with Jake and they took pictures together,” Rhett said. The TV people were “hollering at Sage to hurry up and come along, and Sage hollered back, ‘Wait up. These are my people,’” as he continued to visit with Jake.

Right now, Jake’s ambitions are to be a stock contractor some day. “All he wants to do is raise bulls and buck guys off,” Rhett says. “He talks about cows and bulls, breeding them, and throwing Sage off. That’s his aspect right now, but at his age it changes daily.”

His older sister, Taylor, also is involved in the stock contracting. “She has a list of names for bucking horses,” her dad said. “There are some that are really good, and there are some that are completely off the wall.” His kids “definitely keep it interesting.”

Bennie and Rhett provide livestock for about 25 rodeos each year. They were the 1997 PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year, and Bennie was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2010.

For more information, visit their website at

Justin Rumford - -rodeo clown and barrelman

Justin Rumford returns to Elk City for the third time as entertainer at the rodeo.

The Ponca City, Okla. man is no stranger to rodeo. As the third generation in his family involved in the sport, he has competed, driven truck, fed and sorted Justin Rumford is the 2017 Elk City Rodeo clown and barrelman. livestock, and now is the reigning PRCA’s Clown of the Year.

In fact, he’s won the PRCA’s Clown of the Year award four times, 2012-14 and again in 2016, and it not only humbles him, but drives him to work harder. “I get more nervous every year,” he said. “I sure don’t want to let people down. I don’t want anybody to say, that guy was a four-time clown of the year, and it seems like he doesn’t try too hard.”

The award doesn’t get old, however, he says.

He knew from his days in school that he loved to make people laugh. “Most of my teachers love me, still to this day,” he said, “but I got in trouble a lot for talking too much and entertaining when I shouldn’t have been. All my teachers said it was very entertaining to have me in their classrooms, even though I got detention. A lot.”

Rumford likes to keep his acts fresh for the fans. He has a cheerleading act that his fans enjoy, as well as a motorcycle jump, a gorilla catcher act, and he does a fine imitation of Spiderman as well.

Whatever he does, he does it whole-heartedly. “I leave it out there,” he said. 

He and his wife, Ashley, a former Miss Rodeo Oklahoma, are the parents of triplets, daughters Livi and Lola and son Bandy.

Chuck Swisher – bullfighter

A new face will make an appearance at the Elk City Rodeo of Champions this year.

Oklahoma native Chuck Swisher has been chosen as one of the two bullfighters at this year’s rodeo.Bullfighter Chuck Swisher. Photo by Kay Kanter.

The Dover cowboy grew up the son of a bull rider, but he was too scared to ride.

So he decided to step in front of them as “cowboy protection”, instead.

“My dad used to ride bulls, before I was born,” Chuck said. “I grew up and wanted to be a cowboy, 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.”

So, at age fifteen, he began fighting bulls. He attended a Sankey bullfighting school in Kansas, where he learned the basics. The rest, he learned through the experience of getting in front of as many bulls as possible.

The 26 year old cowboy would rather be on the ground, in front of a bull, than on the bull. “If you’re on one, you’re tied in,” he said.  “If you think about it, those guys only know how to run to the fence to get away. We know how to maneuver around them, to stay out of the way.”

He has been a PRCA member since he was twenty, and works some of the biggest and most prestigious rodeos in the nation: San Antonio, Houston, Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sikeston, Mo., Colorado Springs, Colo., and a couple dozen others: Ponca City, Okla., Joseph, Ore, Rochester, N.Y., and for Beutler and Son Rodeo, Woodward, Okla., Abilene, Texas, and Elk City.

His bullfighting career satisfies the adrenaline rush he craves. “You could say I’m an adrenaline junkie,” he said. “It’s a job that takes a lot of courage, and it’s a lot of fun.”

As a kid, his mom wouldn’t let him play football, because of the danger. She “wouldn’t let me have a motorcycle or play football because they were too dangerous,” he quipped, “but she let me start fighting bulls.”

He loves all the other things that go along with rodeo, too. “My favorite part is going to new places and meeting new people.” As he travels the country, he makes sure to take in the sights. He has hiked the mountains in eastern Oregon and fished for trout, among other things. He likes to get off the beaten path. “It’s not really about getting on a tour bus. I like to go out and experience it for myself.”

Swisher will join Weston Rutkowksi in the rodeo arena September 1-3, 2017. Swisher is the son of Mike and Kim Swisher.

Weston Rutkowski – bullfighter

For the second year, Elk City rodeo fans welcome bullfighter Weston Rutkowski to the arena.

The College Station, Texas man will work alongside Chuck Swisher as cowboy protection during the bull riding.

Rutkowski, who is 27 years old, grew up in a rodeo family, the son of John and Glenda Gayle (Chapman) Rutkowski. His mother was the 1976 Miss Rodeo Texas, and his maternal uncles, Terry Chapman and Keith Chapman, were stellar saddle bronc riders. Weston was riding a horse by the time he could walk.

He participated in playdays and junior rodeo, mostly in the calf and steer riding, but in high school, his rodeo stopped. He focused on football, in the hopes of having a college career. When he realized he probably wouldn’t play a lot of college ball, he switched back to rodeo. “I was too competitive” not to participate in a sport, he said.

And, as par for most bullfighters, he got his taste of bullfighting when he stepped in to help at a bull riding. The fire was lit. “One day I fought (bulls) and found out I could be an athlete again,” Weston said.

He loves to work out and is at the gym five days a week, sometimes twice a day. He works on footwork drills and agility and skills that give him a quick burst of speed when it’s time to move away from a bull. Being fit is important to him. “In our industry you have to be in shape. It can mean the difference between a bruise and a broken bone.”

In addition to working rodeos, Weston competes in the Bullfighters Only (BFO) tour, and was crowned the 2016 BFO champion. He is a 2017 graduate of Blinn College in College Station, with an associate’s degree in agricultural economics.

Weston loves rodeo and everything about it. “Rodeo is something I’ve wanted to do since I was  a little bitty kid. If you find something you love, you won’t work a day in your life. I enjoy fighting bulls for a living, and I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to do that."

Bobby Reid, skydiver

Bobby Reid, skydiver, presents the American flag at the Elk City rodeoThe American flag is presented in an unusual way in Elk City.

When the flag comes in, it’ll come from 4,000 feet in the air.

Skydiver Bobby Reid flies the flag in, jumping out of a small plane above the arena.

He’s been jumping out of planes since 1968 and jumping with the flag since 1988, and he loves it. “I feel real honored to be able to carry that flag in,” he said.

He jumps when the plane is at 4,000 feet, freefalling for five seconds before the parachute opens. He carries the flag in front of him, and adjusts where he jumps depending on the wind. He uses a wind drift indicator, coordinating with what direction the wind is out of and how fast it’s going.

Weather conditions can also affect his jump. If the wind is more than 20 miles per hour, which happens occasionally, he won’t jump. And if the cloud ceiling is too low, he won’t jump. “I have to have 4,000 feet of ceiling,” he said, even though he’s legal at 2,200 feet.

Reid, who lives and farms near Montrose, Iowa, rode bulls for four years but went back to a “safe sport,” he jokes.

And bringing in the American flag is special to him. “It gives me chills. I feel so proud to be able to do it. It’s all about the flag, it’s not about me.”