The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s third-place Justin Boots Best Footing Award for the California Circuit goes to the Ramona Rodeo.
The award was announced during the WPRA’s annual luncheon at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, and Ramona Rodeo Committee member and former Miss Rodeo California Kayla Duba accepted it on behalf of Ramona Rodeo. The Red Bluff Roundup received the circuit’s first-place award and California Rodeo Salinas was the second-place recipient.
“We were really excited. We were thrilled,” said Kayla Duba. “It was kind of an honor to be recognized next to those two rodeos.”
The Ramona Rodeo received a plaque for its third-place circuit award and was also given a $350 check.
“I think it’s nice to have Ramona’s name out there and recognized in the circuit,” said Duba.
WPRA barrel racers vote for the award recipients. “It recognizes all of the rodeo committees’ efforts to make the ground consistent and even,” said WPRA president Kathi Myers. “The purpose is to keep the ground consistent so the competition will be even.”
That consistent ground provides equal opportunities for all barrel racers regardless of where they run during the rodeo.
“Ground’s really important,” Duba said.
Duba noted that consistent ground not only ensures that the later barrel racers will have opportunities equal to the first riders but also reduces the risk of injuries to the horses.
“It also makes for good watching for a good competition,” she said.
Art Thomsen and Bennett Goldberg worked the grounds for the 2009 Ramona Rodeo, which took place May 29-31. Others raked the ground to ensure that the barrel racers had as consistent a surface as possible.
“We want them to have recognition and let them know how much we appreciate them taking good care of the grounds,” said WPRA California Circuit chair Gina Graham.
Graham noted that the added money for the Ramona Rodeo and the number of entries is also reflective of the rodeo committee’s efforts.
The Springville Sierra Rodeo received the circuit’s Most Improved recognition.
“The WPRA’s just very proud to partner with Justin in bringing this award to the committees,” Myers said. “Without the committees, we don’t have rodeo.”
“It’s quite a feather in our cap,” said Joanie Georgeson, Ramona Rodeo co-chairman. “It’s amazing to compete with these bigger rodeos. I honestly didn’t know there was an award like that. We try to keep the grounds nice all year-round, and it’s nice to be appreciated for it. Now that we know there’s a competition, we’re going for first place next year.”
The 2010 Ramona Rodeo will take place May 21-23.
In addition to the WPRA luncheon, Duba attended the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association convention at the South Point.
“It was nice to be able to represent Ramona,” she said. “It was a big honor for us to be recognized.”