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New Town rodeo will go on

Submitted Photo World Champion saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell is pictured on the bronc H46 Spider, last year in New Town.

NEW TOWN – What a year 2020 has been. Summer is in full swing, but yet, it doesn’t feel like summer normally does. Maybe because by this time in the year, we have produced or taken bulls and horses to upwards of 13 rodeos across the U.S. Instead, we have done six. It’s been a tough year, for everyone, in one way or another.

But things are slowly getting turned around for the better and fortunately, our state has opened up some freedoms again for us all. Therefore, all of us at Bailey Pro Rodeo agree it’s time to crack the latches and rodeo!

The 10th Annual Adrian Foote Sr. Memorial Rodeo 2020 would have had the highest payouts and prizes in all the Badlands Circuit. However, due to the economic conditions, they had to make the tough decision to cancel the Memorial this year.

Bailey Pro Rodeo out of Karlsruhe has produced the New Town Rodeo for many years. When the Foote family cancelled the Memorial, Shane Gunderson, president of BPR, immediately went to work on a plan to continue on with the event. He knew he couldn’t make the large payouts and prizes happen as the Foote Family and their great sponsors did, but he could do it on a smaller scale. Which would, at the very least, give the fans and contestants an opportunity to be a part of something fun again.

You see, due to the COVID pandemic, there have not been any rodeos since March. PRCA – Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association – contestants go to rodeos all year to earn money that counts toward the end of the year standings, and to compete at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. The NFR takes the top 15 guys in the world in each event. No rodeos…no earned money…no finals. It has been a domino affect that has been disastrous for our sport.

This all brings us to current day and Gunderson’s determination to produce a rodeo despite many odds being against him. I asked him his reasoning and his thoughts on producing this event, and what drives him to continue to produce rodeos in this day and time, with the hardships the industry faces.

“Rodeo has given us friends that we all consider family now. I talk to many of the contestants and fellow stock contractors, sometimes daily. That’s the kind of things I wouldn’t trade for anything,” he said.

“In regard to the New Town rodeo, my Uncle Buzz Lindley used to help produce the 4H Rodeo in New Town in the early 80’s. That’s actually the first arena I won buckles in the bull riding and in the bareback riding. So, cancelling this rodeo was the last thing I wanted to do. I knew it would be a gamble, but I also know there are lots of rodeo fans that love the sport. Plus, society is ready to be back to normal.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Adrian Foote Sr. Memorial was put on hold until next year. But on the other hand, we are going to be one of two PRCA rodeos to be held in the entire country and will feature hundreds of the greatest cowboys in the world. Cowboys that are often only seen on TV will now be at the New Town rodeo grounds competing. Having all of these guys here at the same time will probably never happen again in my lifetime.”

The rodeos take place this Friday and Saturay at 6 p.m. at the New Town rodeo grounds.

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