News and notes from the rodeo trail, March 20

Longtime Casper (Wyo.) College rodeo coach Tom Parker passed away March 15 after battling cancer. He was 69. Memorial services for Parker will be held at 1:30 p.m., March 28 at Highland Park Community Church in the Sanctuary in Casper. Parker was in charge of the Thunderbirds men’s and women’s rodeo teams for more than 25 years. During his time at Casper College, Parker led three women’s teams to the College National Finals Rodeo. In recent years, however, it was the men’s team that garnered national attention, winning three Central Rocky Mountain Region titles (2011-12, 2015) and qualifying for the CNFR at the Casper Events Center five of the past six years ...

Juanita (Nita) Mary Humphrey Clark, a timer for Beutler Brothers and Beutler & Son, died in Redmond, Ore., March 12. She was 89. After her husband, Gene Clark, retired from the PRCA, they produced kids’ rodeos where she was business manager of the Gene Clark Junior Rodeo Association ...

The PRCA continues to receive a jolt in mainstream media, thanks to journalist John Branch. The renowned New York Times writer penned a story for the newspaper on rodeo and the Wright family. The six-page piece ran in The New York Times on March 15, 2015, on PRCA’s world championship saddle bronc riding family. That story was recently selected for the 2016 Best American Sports Writing anthology, and Branch has plans on extending the story on the Wrights into a book. In a Facebook post March 15, 2017, Branch said the following: “With luck, the book (still untitled) will be out in a year,” Branch said. “Proud to know the Wrights, an incredible family with a timeless story.” Branch joined The New York Times in 2005 as a sports reporter. He won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2013 for “Snow Fall,” a story about a deadly avalanche in Washington State.

            “Tom wanted to make sure his kids became good citizens and good contestants. That’s what he strived for. He’ll leave a lasting impression on a lot of kids.”
            ­­­– University of Wyoming rodeo coach George Howard on Casper College rodeo coach Tom Parker, who passed away March 15.

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