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Growney Brothers Provide Stock for Stonyford Rodeo

Bullfighter distracts the bull. (Photo by: Roy Stewart)
Bullfighter distracts the bull. (Photo by: Roy Stewart)

John Growney will be bringing his rodeo stock to Stonyford on May 2 and 3, 2015, for the town’s 72nd annual rodeo.

Rodeo is a pageant of the American West. Its events are those that a cowboy has to master to be good at his job. The events are chock full of action, as well as triumph and heartbreak. Triumph comes with that rare, and often stunning, eight-second bull, bareback or saddle-bronc ride. Heartbreak comes to every rider who fails to stay on his animal’s back, or who misses with his lasso, or is unable to throw his eight-hundred pound steer.

Like a pageant, the rodeo has a cast of performers. The main performers are, of course, the cowboy contestants who ride the bulls and broncs, rope the calves, and throw the steers. But there are others who risk life and limb, as well. There is the specialty act—a team of trick riders, The Daredevil Sweethearts. There are the bull-fighting cowboys, the pick-up men, the announcer, and the rodeo clown—who is also the barrelman.

The bullfighters are brave and skillful cowboys. They wear colorful clothing to attract the bulls and prevent them from turning on the rider they have just thrown. The pick-up men are expert horsemen who come along side of a bucking horse to retrieve the rider still aboard at the sound of the buzzer. The announcer is the man on horseback, expert on rodeo facts, who keeps the crowd informed. He’s also the straight man to the rodeo clowns’s one liners. The rodeo clown is also the man in the barrel for the bull and steer-riding events. The barrel is used to attract the bull away from the thrown rider. At the Stonyford Rodeo, these performers are the best in the business.

Eric Layton and Tim O’Conner are the bullfighters. Eric was a champion amateur bullfighter and was named bullfighter of the year in his first two amateur years. He turned professional in 2005 and has worked some of the best PRCA rodeos on the west coast. Tim has been bullfighting for more than eleven years as a member of the PRCA. He has been selected five times to protect the bull riders for the California Circuit Finals, in addition to many other major rodeos.

Bobby Marriott and Matt Twitchell are the pick-up men. Bobby has more than fourteen years experience. He was voted by the PRCA rough stock riders to pick-up at the NFR in Las Vegas, in both 2006 and 2009. Matt is on his fourth year as a pick-up rider and has demonstrated skills that will take him to the top of his profession.

Don Jesser is the announcer. In 2014, Don celebrated his 21st year at the Stonyford Rodeo. He is a great announcer and very knowledgeable about this sport. He also works exceptionally well with the rodeo clown. This year’s clown and barrelman is Clinton “Wolfey” Selvester.

This will be Wolfey’s first year at the Stonyford Rodeo. Though new to Stonyford, he is experienced in the world of rodeo. He has worked the California Circuit Finals, the Rolex World Cup, and has even opened for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. Knowing no limits, he has also driven right into the motorsports world by becoming the premiere entertainer “Sprocket” for the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam. As “Sprocket,” Clint worked the 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIV, in Las Vegas.

Even way behind the scenes, the Stonyford Rodeo is staffed with the best in the business. The secretary for 2015 is Haley Schneeberger; she was voted 2013 PRCA Secretary of the Year. The secretary has an important job: she keeps track of official scores and times, she works with the judges to monitor animals and record the contestant’s draw of an animal athlete for their event, and she collects entry fees, calculates purses, and determines how many places will be paid. Lastly, she mails the results to the national headquarters, so that official championship points are assigned to the winning cowboys.

Come on out to Stonyford and see these professionals in action. Get your tickets online at www.stonycreekhorsemen.org, or at any of the area businesses shown on the website. Tickets purchased in advance of the rodeo are $10 for adults and $6 for children. Tickets purchased at the gate are $15 for adults and $7 for children. Go to the website for a schedule of weekend events.

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