Whitaker wins all-around titles in Hawley and Merrill

8x Linderman Award winner adds to saddle collection

Kyle Whitaker, 8x PRCA Linderman Award winner, won the 2017 all-around titles at both Barnes PRCA Rodeos during the second weekend of June.   Whitaker competed in Saddle Bronc, Tie-Down Roping, and Steer Wrestling.   Whitaker consistently enters Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s due to the caliber of animal athletes.  “They have a lot of nice bucking horses that give a guy a chance to win,” he stated.  

The American Heroes PRCA Rodeo was held June 9-10 during the 58th annual Hawley Rodeo Fest in Hawley, Minn.   Whitaker placed second in the Steer Wrestling, third in Tie-Down Roping and made a qualified ride on his saddle bronc horse.  Following his Saturday night performance  in the North Star state he drove seven hours to the second Barnes PRCA Rodeo of the weekend in Wisconsin.  Whitaker’s Sunday performance at the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo in Merrill awarded him with a brand new trophy saddle for his collection.  The O’Neill, Neb. native won the Steer Wrestling with a 4.3 second run and placed in the Tie-Down Roping.  He also rode Barnes’ saddle bronc horse 5X0.

“One of the huge incentives for going to Merrill is the trophy saddle,” stated Whitaker.  

The Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo celebrated its 28th year and was held June 9-11. Whitaker previously won the Merrill all-around saddle in 2004. Whitaker’s collection of trophy saddles is pushing  30 now.   

The Linderman Award recognizes excellence at both ends of the arena.  To qualify, a cowboy must win at least $1,000 in each of three events, and those events must include at least one roughstock event and one timed event.  Whitaker’s first event specific trophy saddle came in 1998 while a student at the University of Nebraska. He won the Great Plains Region Steer Wrestling Championship and also captured the All-Around title.  Twenty years ago he won his first PRCA Lindeman Award.      

 Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Rodeo Chairman Bryan Block said his rodeo has been awarding  trophy saddles for nearly 20 years.   He continued by acknowledging the top quality of contestants they draw, “we have great stock and great hospitality. Marty Barnes and his crew are great to work with and make the rodeo happen,” replied Bloch.  ” It is a joy having him (Marty) here, as our stock contractor and providing quality entertainment for the community,”  finished Bloch.  

The Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo also awards the top barrel racer with a trophy saddle.  This year Ashley Baur from Virnamwood, Wis. won the barrel racing with 17.74 seconds.  Alexis Bratka from Phillips, Wis. placed second with her 17.75 second run.  Rounding out the top three in competition was Dusta Lee Kimzey from Strong City, Okla. with 17.79 seconds.  Kimzey also made the seven hour drive from Hawley to Merrill to compete on Sunday.  Kimzey worked as the specialty act, Tricked Out Trick Riding, for Barnes PRCA Rodeo in Hawley, Minn.     

The Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo is the reigning 2016 Great Lakes Circuit – Medium Rodeo of the Year.  Their rodeo dates for 2018 are June 8, 9 and 10.  Barnes PRCA Rodeo will make prorodeo stops in Glenwood City, Wisconsin for the St. Croix Valley Pro Rodeo June 16-17, 2017. Following the Fourth of July  the 64th Heart of the North Rodeo in Spooner will be held Fri – Sun July 6, 7 and 8.  Spooner, Wis. is the 2016 Great Lakes Circuit Large Rodeo of the Year.