Rodeo honors fallen cowgirl, demonstrates horse training, competition

College athletes compete at the Great American Stampede Rodeo, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 5, 2014 | Photo by Holly Coombs, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — A tribute to a fallen cowgirl, a professional horse performance act and college rodeo competitions were the highlights of the first night of the 13th annual Great American Stampede Rodeo Friday.

The rodeo began with a grand entry by rodeo royalty and rodeo clown Randy Munz entertained the crowd throughout the night.

A fallen cowgirl

Friday night’s rodeo was dedicated to Nevada native Rachel Hendrix, 18, who died Jan. 26 from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning while residing in the living accommodations of her horse trailer.

Hendrix attended Southern Utah University on academic and rodeo scholarships and was well known for her rodeo talent as the 2013 Nevada State High School Rodeo Champion.

Hendrix earned third place in the breakaway roping and fifth All-Around Cowgirl in the 2013 National Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, prior to her death.

“We call this night her night,” the rodeo announcer said, Friday. “Rachel this is all for you.”

Art of Liberty

Equine Extremest Tommie Turvey and his wife, Chantal, performed a routine with their paint horses, Joker and Ace. Tommie Turvey, a well known horseman and stuntman, has performed in places including the World Equestrian Games, Tournament of Roses Parade, the Walking Dead, Budweiser Superbowl Commercial, Equine Affaire, Horse World Expo, Denver Stock Show, Fort Worth Rodeo, Toronto Royale, Washington International and Del Mar Night, according to his training website.

Turvey’s “Art of Liberty” training is based on allowing the horses to run free.

A horse is a horse when you let them run free, true Liberty is they run free, but make the decision to come back to you,” Turvey said, according to the website.

The Iron Rangers Arena was silent as the crowd watched Turvey gallop on the bareback horses with his hands raised high and free of the reins. The two paint horses followed Turvey’s lead as performed backing skills, walked around the arena, laid down and rolled over on the arena ground.

“He’s very graceful with his horses when he performs,” Cedar City Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association member Shauna Faye said.

Turvey’s comedy act will be performed at Saturday’s rodeo, Faye said.

College Rodeo competition

Cowboys and cowgirls competed in preliminary events of  breakaway roping, calf roping, team roping, bulldogging, bull riding and barrel racing. Young children also competed in the mutton busting.

The finals of each event, as well as other events, will continue at the rodeo Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

Competing college teams included SUU, Utah State University, Weber State University, Snow College, Dixie State University, Utah Valley University, Idaho State University, Mesa State University, Colorado Northwest Community College and College of Southern Idaho.

Faye, who retired last year from working in the SUU Financial Aid office, said she likes to watch and support the college students by attending events like the Great American Stampede Rodeo.

“I really enjoy being at the rodeos,” Faye said. “It’s so much fun. I like seeing the behind the scenes and watching all these college students go out and perform.”

Faye and her husband have volunteered four years with the Cedar City PRCA.

The Cedar City Lions Club hosts the rodeo each year and provides food concessions and aid in the animal chutes.

“This event has been a great attraction to the community,” Nelson said. “The money we raise from the rodeo goes right back to  help the community.”

The Lions Club’s mission is to serve the community through their hosted events including the rodeo, the July 4th celebration and a Kite Flight For Reading and Sight event that encourages kids to bring completed reading charts in exchange for a kite, a book or movie ticket.

The rodeo continues Satuday evening at the Iron Rangers Arena off Cross Hollows Drive in Cedar City. Tickets: Adults $10; Children 12 and under $6; Family passes for up to 6 people $30.

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Event details

  • When: Sept. 5-6 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Iron Rangers Arena, Cross Hollows Event Center, 11 N. Cross Hollows Road, Cedar City
  • Tickets: Adults $10; Children 12 and under $6; Family passes for up to 6 people $30

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