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Eddie Taylor named 2019 PRCA | Zoetis Vet of the Year

by Matt Naber | Oct 15, 2019

PRCA Media Coordinator

Dr. Eddie Taylor, of LaPorte, Colo., was named the 2019 PRCA | Zoetis Veterinarian of the Year thanks to 32 years as the attending veterinarian at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz. 

“I wasn’t worth beans as a cowboy, but I still got to be part of rodeo and met so many great people in the sport that’s been my favorite sport my entire life,” Taylor laughed, adding that he’s honored to be recognized for his work.

Taylor’s dad, Ed, and uncle Bill Taylor were members of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, the precursor to the Rodeo Cowboys Association. 

“We were horse-poor,” Taylor said. "We had more than we should have, and he (Ed) was a great horse lover with six to eight horses on the ranch in central Arizona, and I grew up with them. I didn’t get the vet medicine bug until I was 18. A friend’s horse was hurt, and we felt helpless.”

It wasn’t long after that incident that Taylor enrolled in veterinary school at the University of Arizona and earned his DVM from Oklahoma State University in 1985. The following year he moved to Gilbert, Ariz., to work at an equine horse surgery facility. 

“I’ve had a love for horses all my life and grew up riding them, so it seemed natural,” Taylor said. 

By 1988, he was helping at the Tucson rodeo and has been going strong ever since. 

“I’m down in the arena the entire time, prepared with a medicine bag, so to speak, that can be thrown down from the announcer’s booth if something happens,” Taylor said. 

Taylor was the 1998 Arizona Equine Practitioner of the Year and has served in the same capacity at Prescott (Ariz.) Frontier Days, the Coors Showdown Rodeo, the RAM Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo and other ProRodeo competitions. 

Taylor was instrumental in designing the animal care unit and animal care and emergency procedures for La Fiesta de los Vaqueros and leads the annual review of animal welfare procedures. He also built a mobile equine practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., and continued that service in Colorado after moving there in 2007. Taylor is also the Assistant Chief of Fire Operations for the Livermore, Colo., Fire Protection District.

Although he no longer lives near Tucson, Taylor continues to make the trek from northern Colorado to southern Arizona for the annual rodeo.

“It’s a great family of rodeo people there,” Taylor said, adding that he and the Tucson crew are ready for any possible need. “Over the years, we’ve had a well-run and clean rodeo. It all goes like clockwork.”

The veterinarian of the year award was created in 2010 to spotlight and honor veterinarians who have dedicated time, talent and effort to the health and welfare of rodeo livestock. 

“I’m just happy that the PRCA took the proactive stance in recognizing the veterinarians’ contributions to rodeo, and the PRCA took the stance a long time ago to be very proactive with it rather than reactive with it,” Taylor said. “We are providing the best care we can for the animal athletes.”

Taylor will be honored at the PRCA Awards Banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Dec. 4.

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