Lyndal Hurst and Brad Vogele on Double Duty at the NFR

 By Lindsay Whelchel 

Many are familiar with the sense of struggle and triumph for the arena athletes, cowboys and cowgirls, who qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each year, but there’s an equal dose of emotion coming from the other side of the chutes. For the stock contractors who are awarded the honor of bringing their bucking stock to Las Vegas, the experience is one of a kind. And like the many CBR bull riders competing at the 2014 WNFR, multiple CBR stock contractors are making their presence known.

There are over 600 bulls submitted to consideration for a trip to Vegas, explains Brad Vogele, a 2010 CBR stock contractor of the year. Of those 600, only 100 are chosen. Vogele, with Silver Creek Rodeo, has two at the WNFR.

“We’ve had the rodeo company for three years now. This is our first year to get to bring bulls to the finals, so we’re really excited just to be able to come. It’s kind of a big deal for us,” Vogele said.

Finding out the news they’d been selected was the icing on a cake that Silver Creek Rodeo had been baking all year.

“Going through the selection process you select what bulls you have that are qualified, so I knew going in that we had a chance to get two or three, or I felt that was so, and when I got the word it was really exciting,” he said and added, “you work all year, not only going to the bull ridings, but the rodeos that you put on. It’s a little bit of a dog fight as far as putting on a production and making sure the rodeo is good enough for the cowboy, but then being able to finish the year off by having a bull at the finals, with the potential of maybe winning a round or a cowboy being able to do really good, it’s a really cool feeling.”

Stock contractors aren’t able to do their own feeding, watering and exercising of their bulls while in Vegas. The PRCA staffs that task, but they can go out daily to check their herd and otherwise keep busy at the ample events surrounding the rodeo, like the bull sale at South Point Hotel and Casino.

It’s only when the nightly performance is upon them that things might get more hectic for the stock contractors.

“As soon as the saddle broncs buck they’ll start loading the bulls. You’re still waiting for a couple of events to come down- the calf roping and the barrel racing, and so at that point you go back and get your flank on your bull and you begin to prepare for when he’s going to be ran into the chutes,” described Vogele.

It is monumental to be behind the famous yellow bucking chutes at the Thomas & Mack Center where the WNFR has long been held, he said.

Vogele has been impressed by the synchronization of the rodeo and organization of the PRCA staff.

“I was very intrigued at how the PRCA faculty click this rodeo off. It is unbelievable how precise they are. They are so rhythmic by the time you start in the morning. You get there the first time, and they take care of you. They have a room for you to sit and watch the rodeo where they feed you really good food, and they’re very good about telling you where you need to be,” he said.

When CBR caught up with Vogele on Sunday before Round 4 of the finals, CBR bull rider Tyler Smith had drawn the un-ridden Silver Creek bull, 96 Dougie. After the round was over, Dougie remained un-ridden. Despite the buck off, it’s important for the stock contactors to be there and have the chance to help out the cowboys, Vogele said.

“When you really sit back and look, it’s such an honor to be able to be here and participate and have a hand in maybe helping a cowboy to win round money or possibly win the round.”

The significance of the task is also not lost on Stock Contractor Lyndal Hurst who is in his third year bringing bulls to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“Yesterday I was so nervous all day I couldn’t even spit,” Hurst laughed when recalling the tension of the match up between CBR rider Cody Teel and Hurst Rodeo bull, Iron Horse.

“You’re worried to death you’ll have that one bad trip. Every bull tends to have one, you’re worried you’ll have that one bad trip on national T.V. in front of a sold-out arena,” Hurst said.

Teel was in the money, third in the round when it was all said and done.

“You’re very honored to get to be here. It’s a tough game. There are 78 different contractors, and they only take 100 bulls. It’s pretty prestigious. It’s the biggest stage there is,” Hurst said.

Having CBR stock contractors at an event like the WNFR is comforting, though not surprising, to Sage Kimzey, reigning CBR World Champion and leader in the PRCA world title race at his first WNFR.

“It’s great knowing the contractors and having them in both places.  We’ve been on a lot of [the bulls]. The CBR is a growing organization. They put on some of the best bull ridings in the world, and it’s awesome to meet up with some of the same guys we have there, because the people at the CBR are always great,” Kimzey said after his Round 4 win on Frontier Rodeo’s Kojack.

For Vogele and Hurst, once the WNFR ends, it will be time to hit the Road to Cheyenne. Hurst will be going to all the CBR tour events except two, starting up in Hobbs, New Mexico, and Vogele is ready to roll as well.

“As soon as we get done at the NFR, I’m going to fuel my truck back up and we’re taking off again!”