As far as a young rodeo hopeful is concerned it does not get any better than having the opportunity to spend a day learning from some of pro rodeo’s best athletes. For their parents, it does not get any better than to have their kid taught by PRCA cowboys, and to get it all free. That is just what happened in the four corners area when for the third year the PRCA Outreach Program joined forces with the Four States Ag Expo to bring the PRCA Championship Youth Camp to Cortez, Colo.
“In 2009, stock contractors John Barnes and Maury Pate came to the PRCA with the idea of doing roughstock ground schools to give kids the opportunity to learn about roughstock events where they could stay focused on the technique and safety,” said Julie Jutten, PRCA Industry Outreach Manager. “The program has grown quite a bit, in 2009 we had five free roughstock camps, one of which was in Cortez, and this year we will host 21 across the country. Right now we are still focusing only on roughstock riding as that seems to be where the biggest need is for recruiting, but in 2014, we will expand the program to include timed events.”
“We get a lot of encouragement from parents. I think it helps a parent to be more comfortable when their kids learn about rodeo because we do have a controlled learning environment, which is how our program is designed. We also encourage the parents stay with us that day and watch the training, because, if it is something that the student wants to pursue, they are definitely going to need the support of their parents. We encourage parents to stay. ”
The goal of the Youth Camps is to provide a fun, positive rodeo experience. Camp curriculum includes an introduction to roughstock events with an emphasis on safety, fundamentals, chute procedures, livestock safety, overview of riding equipment, injury prevention and management, fitness and nutrition, introduction to PRCA business, and goal setting. Carefully selected instructors give positive feedback to the camp participants on their rodeo skills while stressing how important education and ethics are to their life.
Youth Camp participants get quality, real world instruction of the “been there, done that” kind. “We only use PRCA cowboys as instructors. They don’t have to be current members, but they have to have been members at some point,” said Julie Jutton. “We find that most of our instructors want to give back and help these kids succeed. There is a lot of mentoring that comes out of these classes.”
Darrell Triplett from Waterflow, N.M., is the Saddle Bronc instructor. Darrell has been competing in the PRCA Turquoise Circuit for over 15 years. “Everybody in my family has rodeoed and I want to give back to something that I enjoy so much,” said Darrell. “I figure that I can help them learn a little bit at these schools that would help them, not just rodeo, but using rodeo to teach them some life skills, ’cus there is a lot of stuff in life after rodeo.”
Bull Riding instructor, Jed Moore, echoed that philosophy, “There is so much more to rodeo, than getting on a bull or throwing a rope. Professionalism is a standard that cowboys should be held to. The old cowboy code of honesty, integrity, hard work, dedication and determination is still valid, and these are the core values that have made cowboys what they are. Having these young kids learn about those values and how they apply them to their everyday life is just as important as how they do in the arena.”
Justin Sports Medicine is a sponsor and they do a presentation about preventing injuries, proper fitness, and proper nutrition. Fitness and lack of injury are very important to a successful rodeo career. A contestant is not going to make any money if they are injured and cannot compete.
Jed Moore was, for the third year, the Bull Riding instructor and Jed is uniquely qualified to act as an instructor for the PRCA Youth Camps. He has competed in the PRCA Mountain States Circuit for many years. Moore has two degrees in education from the University of Wyoming and is the head rodeo coach of the Colorado Northwestern College rodeo team, which is located in Rangely, Colo. “I’ve known since I was in the fifth grade that I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. Being able to combine my love teaching with my love for rodeo is the best of both worlds,” said Moore.
Moore is the strength and conditioning coach at Northwest Colorado College for rodeo, baseball, men’s basketball, and the national Park Rangers Academy. He is in position to give expert advice on the important part that fitness plays in the career of a rodeo athlete and to get the youngsters started early in incorporating it into their lifestyle.
“PRCA outreach programs are designed to continue education and to create desire in young rodeo athletes, who are the future of the sport,” Moore said. “These are tomorrow’s professional athletes that we are coaching at these PRCA Youth Camps. I highly recommend to Roughstock athletes of any age or ability to find a PRCA Championship Youth Camp near them to help polish their skills and learn about the great opportunities that rodeo and the PRCA comes with.”
For information about enrollment or sponsoring a PRCA Championship Youth Camp, please contact PRCA representative, Julie Jutton at (719) 528-4729. ❖