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Autozone Liberty Bowl Rodeo


Article by SaraBeth Thompson; photos by Bill Kabel
Held in conjunction with the 57th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the 2015 Liberty Bowl Rodeo treated football fans to some top level rodeo action on Wednesday, December 30th 2015 at the Showplace Arena in Memphis, Tn.  The event featured local competitors as well as IPRA (International Professional Rodeo Association) professional cowboys in events such as Bull Riding, Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Calf Roping, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Barrel Racing. This was an important rodeo for those cowboys hoping to finalize their qualifying paychecks for the 46th annual IFR (International Finals Rodeo) held January 15-17, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Ok. 

In the Bareback Riding, Johnny Walker had a 77 point ride, sealing him the win and $324. In second, T.J. Lambert scored a 59 point ride, earning him $216. 

In the Saddle Bronc Riding, Kyle Page scored not only a 52 point ride, but also the only qualifying ride in the Saddle Bronc division for the day, taking home $360.

In the Tie-Down Roping, K.C. Jones earned the win with his 7.9 second time, earning him $486. In a close second, Shawn Coleman had a quick run of 8.0 and winnings of $364.  

In the Steer Wrestling, Troy Orr threw his steer in 5.4 seconds – quick enough for the win and $337, leaving Seth McDaniel in second with a 6.3 second score and $202. 

In the Team Roping, Adam Wallace and Doyle Schivner stretched their steer in 4.8 seconds, earning them $587 each. In second place were Jake Weddle and Sam Smith with a 5.0 second flat run, taking home $486 a piece. 

It was a fast and tough day of Barrel Racing, but Amber Mostoller was able to take home the win with a fast time of 13.958 seconds and $861 in her pocket.  Kindyl Scruggs with a 14.012 second turn round the barrels was right behind Amber taking home $564 and second place. 

In the Bull Riding, Ross Burney scored an 86 point ride winning him $450. Winston Cheek with a score of 83.5 was second, winning $337. 

Essential personnel who helped make the rodeo a success were:  Judges: Em Cragar and Alan Coleman; Arena Secretary Danna Gann; Timers Danna Gann and Sue M. Lytle;  Pickup men Joe Thomas and Tommy Pettit; Arena Announcer Trey Windhorst; Stock contractor MFJ Productions; Bull fighters Billy Lema and Cody Emerson; Barrel Man and specialty entertainment by Dusty Myers. Contestant and rodeo staff hospitality was provided by Rafter H Cowboy Church, led by J. Mark Wilson.

The rodeo also featured a special flag presentation presented by the Coyote Run Drill Team. 
The January 2, 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl game between Arkansas and Kansas State was one of the most viewed games on TV. Afterwards, Arkansas fans had much to celebrate, as a crowd of 61,136 saw the Razorbacks defeat the Wildcats 45-23. For more information on the Liberty Bowl, visit their website:

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