Liberty Bowl Pro Rodeo

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The 2016 IPRA sanctioned AutoZone Liberty Bowl Professional Rodeo, presented by Landers Auto Group, featured top rodeo performers from around the country, competing in Bull Riding, Bareback Bronc, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling and Barrel Racing. The Agricenter Show Place Arena was rocking with rodeo action on December 27, 2016, as 176 cowboys and cowgirls were competing for money and points toward the 2018 International Finals Rodeo. Slack was at 10 am and the main  performance at 7 pm Tuesday night. The rodeo was produced by MFJ Productions from Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Award winning rodeo funnyman Dusty Myers kept the crowd energized and entertained with corny jokes, singing, clapping, shouting, foot stomping to music, and – eventually – a rolling wave through the stands to Beach Boys Music. Dusty is 7x IPRA Clown of the Year, 8x IFR Barrel Man, in addition to numerous other rodeo awards.

The stands were packed, as dozens of buses brought members of the bands performing at the Liberty Bowl to enjoy the rodeo. Nearly all the competitors were professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, quite a few “stars” from the mid-south area. But one little barrel racing cowgirl stood out from the rest: 8-year-old Layla Holland riding Twinkie. She didn’t make record time, but she outdid the rest on the Cute Meter.

And, of course, the beautiful queens of the rodeo and Liberty Bowl graced the arena: Miss AutoZone Liberty Bowl Sylandi Brown and the Mid-South Rodeo Queen Taylor McNair. The Coyote Run Drill Team thrilled the crowds with their precision half time performance.

One sad part of the rodeo happened as a bucking Saddle bronc finished his round and collapsed on the arena floor. Cowboys rushed to see about the horse and, when he wasn’t able to rise, strapped him to a make-shift gurney (a fence panel) to take him from the arena for veterinary care. Mia B. Holmes, DVM from Tennessee Equine Hospital, Eads, TN clinic, was on the scene. She pronounced the horse deceased just shortly after the cowboys got him out of the arena. Dr. Holmes assessed the situation:

“Regretfully, the horse that collapsed during the Liberty Bowl Rodeo performance succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter. The Saddle bronc horse collapsed during competition and was immediately provided with supportive care for what appeared to be a cardiovascular event resembling a heart attack.  Despite our rapid response and best medical efforts, we were not able to revive the horse. I can assure everyone that the horse’s suffering was minimal and his passing was peaceful. My assessment of his condition is based upon my examination of the horse, his rapid decline, and a lack of any other outward physical injuries that would explain his sudden collapse.  Fortunately, sudden death is a very rare occurrence within the rodeo industry and the performance horse industry as a whole.  Research efforts to further explain the underlying cause of these events are ongoing and will hopefully help us to more effectively treat and prevent future occurrences of this type of condition.”
Winners in the divisions were:
Bull Riding: Corey Bailey (score 76)
Saddle Bronc: 1st, Austin Joseph (80.5); 2nd, Travis Gardner (72.5); 3rd Brandon Rippy (63)
Barrel Racing: 1st: Amber Mostoller (time 14.811); 2nd, Cayla Fielder (14.871); 3rd, Jodi Colton (14.953); 4th Jayma Shoemaker (14.972); 5th DJ Crenshaw (15.030); 6th, Vanessa Madison (15.138)
Team Roping: Tie 1st, Ty Hickerson & Tyler Jackson (5.2); Coy Rahlmann & Douglas Rich (5.2); 3rd, Bryan Wood & York Gill (5.4); 4th, Morgan Jones & Douglas Rich (5.5)
Tie Down Roping: 1st, Roy Lee (8.5); 2nd, JD Angle (8.8); 3rd, David Holt (9.2); 4th, Hadley DeShazo (9.3)
Steer Wrestling: 1st, Seth McDaniel (4.3); 2n2, Jordan Thrasher (4.7)
Bareback Bronc: 1st, Jonny Walker (74.5); 2nd, Cody Mounts (68)
The rodeo preceded the 58th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Friday, December 30, 2016, pitting Georgia against TCU. The Georgia Bulldogs are the 58th AutoZone Liberty Bowl Champions, besting TCU by 31-23. Find more information at and on facebook: Liberty Bowl Rodeo.

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