By Lindsay Whelchel
The Big Hat Rodeo Company’s “Rich and Famous Tour” was a special series that took place over the summer and culminated in a series finale held Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 in Eureka, Illinois.
It was non-stop action with a lot of incentive on the line for the cowboy and cowgirl contestants who worked hard all summer to excel in the series.
Big Hat Rodeo Contractor, Lenora Calzavara Nolan explained prior to the start of the summer that this year they added five new rodeos to the series which would pay more than $25,000 total in cash and prizes, with $10,500 coming from cash bonuses alone. The benefits of connecting stops on their 2016 “Rich & Famous Tour” through a series are far reaching, she said.
“I think it really does help everybody else understand that the contestants really do need more prizes, more awards, more cash to, not only be able to compete consistently, but to be able to come from long distances,” Nolan said.
And the tour stops certainly stood out with the excitement building toward Eureka.
“The rodeo went wonderfully well,” Nolan said of the finale. “We enjoyed a spectacular weekend at the Big Hat Rich & Famous Tour Finale rodeo in beautiful Eureka, Illinois. Our hosts went above and beyond to make sure that everything they could control went perfectly,” Nolan said and added, “The people that host that rodeo are truly one of the best I’ve ever seen. [The] weather should have been a bummer according to the weathermen, but it was clear skies and sunshine…ground was good and there was some tough competition. Some of the races were decided before we hit Eureka, but the Cowgirls Barrel Racing was a super tough battle between Brenda Mager and Amber Mostoller. [It] came down to the last run, and Amber prevailed by winning the rodeo while Brenda finished fourth. Amber picked up a $1000 bonus, beautiful trophy spurs and straps, custom frame and photo, a pair of earrings and Big Hat apparel for the win!”
For Mostoller, the series proved to be a good opportunity.
“I have always liked the bonuses that Big Hat Rodeo offers at several of their rodeos. They also offer different awards at some of the rodeos as well. This year with the $1,000 event bonus they were giving for the Tour Champions it was even more incentive to make their rodeos a priority,” Mostoller said and added, “The awards they gave away were great, and I just really appreciated the extra effort they put into making it special! The goal is always to win money at the rodeos we go to, so when they offer extra goodies, it’s icing on the cake!”
And it was extra icing for bareback rider and United States Marine Veteran, Mike Sumner, who would walk away with the high-point championship and $3,500 in bonuses.
“The big hat rodeo series is a great opportunity for those of us in the Midwest who are looking for a little something extra to compete for each year. I was blessed enough to win the bareback championship this year and walked away with numerous awards and a ton of prize money,” Sumner enthused.
Chance Locken took the win in the calf roping, ChrisCoulter and Blake Kadel in the team roping and David Franks in the steer wrestling.
For more information, visit bighatrodeo.com