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Taking Stock: The making of a great rodeo
by Rhonda Noneman

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That brings us to the other stock contractors who contribute so much to rodeo. People like Kevin Hensen who owns Rodeo Fever in Caldwell, Idaho, and Kelly Orr, owner of Circle Lazy K Stockdogs in New Plymouth, Idaho. These guys make it fun for the kids and give them an opportunity to experience the western way from an early age.

Hensen brings in the calves and steers for the kids events, and spends a great deal of his personal time teaching 7-14 year olds the art of bucking steers and horses. Who knows, the kids riding today may be the ICA and PBR stars of tomorrow thanks to Hensen.

Mutton Bustin Orr, a professional stock dog trainer, brings in his herd of wooly sheep(right) for the little tots to ride. Wide eyed and eager to win a buckle, their little hands grab ahold of as much rug as they can while holding on for dear life. It’s not as easy as you’d think, but at least it’s close to the ground.

And that’s the beauty of rodeo – it’s a family event. Blessinger admits that if it wasn’t for his family’s amazing support he probably couldn’t do this. “It requires so much time and involvement, that if they aren’t in 100% it just won’t happen,” he says.

Blessinger’s sons, Colton (below) and Wyatt (above), are really into it. They are very interested in learning the stock trade. They step up to those responsibilities by helping feed, rope, and brand at the family ranch. Both love to clown around as junior bullfighters during the kid’s events, but prefer being pickup men, just like dad. Even Blessinger’s wife, Glenda, found a niche in the rodeo world which allows her to be at all the rodeos with her family. Sassy Gals Western Wear, a clothing and jewelry store, let’s her pursue her passion without losing sight of her family…literally.

Colton Growing up around rodeo, riding saddle broncs and bulls, Blessinger remembers telling his dad that he wanted to be a stock contractor when he grew up. He now owns that stock company and averages 18 rodeos each year, but today he rides pickup instead of getting bucked off, and owns a fleet of trucks to haul his livestock around. Long gone are the days of sitting in a saddle for months on end moving cattle from Boise to Donnelly each winter and spring.

Blessinger brings to Eagle Rodeo the best of the best. Tonight you will see stock that has won Bull of the Year three years in a row, broncs that have been in the Bronc Finals year after year, and a team of bullfighters and pickup men at the top of their game. He continually looks for the best, so that cowboys get a quality ride, and ticket buyers enjoy a great show.

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