Rumford to be timed-event boss at the 'Superbowl of rodeo'
Rumford is a familiar name in the sport of rodeo and to cowboys from all over the world. The son of a stock contractor and now one himself, Bronc Rumford, head rodeo coach at Fort Hays State University, has experienced every aspect of the arena from competing on stock to running the show and from entertaining the audience to judging the events.
Years of experience have led Rumford to be chosen for his first-ever job as the timed-event chute boss of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Dec. 1 through Dec. 10 in Las Vegas, Nev.
As chute boss, Rumford will be in charge of all the calves and steers and the execution of all four timed events at the biggest and highest-paying rodeo in America. Only the top 15 (15 teams in team roping) cowboys in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings and cowgirls in the Womens Professional Rodeo Association world standings qualify for this "Superbowl of Rodeo."
"I will determine the health, availability and feed program of all the calves and steers," said Rumford. "I will handle all the duties of running each of the events in a fair and equitable manner so each cowboy or cowgirl has a fair opportunity and equal chance. I'm also required to do all of this in a time-efficient manner that fits into the overall production and entertainment value of the whole show."
With the Wrangler NFR broadcast live on Great American Country television, each rodeo performance must last exactly two hours, so every event is strictly allotted a certain amount of time.
Rumford will have a hand-picked crew of seven to assist him for the 10 days of rodeo.
"My crew and I are responsible for handling the barrier, neck ropes, running and sorting the cattle, and making sure everything runs and works properly."
Six of Rumford's helpers have been on the crew for several years under the previous chute boss, John Farris, who will serve as Rumford's assistant this year.
"I'm the new one coming in," Rumford said, "so I have to learn a lot of what's going on. The NFR is unlike any other show. There's lots of things that you have to get used to. Having guys that are knowledgable in their position and who have been there for a number of years is helpful to me. One of my goals is to do as good a job as John has done. Continuity. Consistency."
Rumford landed the job through application and selection.
"You have to meet all the specifications of Shawn Davis, the general manager of the NFR. He, along with the Las Vegas Events and Wrangler NFR committees, makes the final decision," Rumford said.
Although this is Rumford's first time to be timed-event chute boss at the Wrangler NFR, he has worked in other capacities there, including as the assistant roughstock chute boss for three years and on the roughstock and timed-event crews. He is also a past president of Miss Rodeo America Inc. The MRA pageant is held in conjunction with the finals rodeo. And he has been president of the board of directors of the PRCA Prairie Circuit (Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma) for about 30 years.
"My involvement in rodeo really promotes the program at FHSU," said Rumford. "With what I do in rodeo, so many have learned about the FHSU rodeo program. I took some FHSU students to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo earlier this year and to the Wrangler Timed Event Championships. What I learn on the road, I'm able to bring back to Hays and share with our members of FHSU Rodeo.
"Because of my involvement at the national finals, with FHSU and with MRA Inc., an FHSU student is going to sing the National Anthem at the Excalibur Hotel's King Arthur Arena for the opening of the MRA horsemanship competition," Rumford said.
That student is Kara Hackney, Hays junior, who is also the president, photographer and journalist of the FHSU Rodeo Club.
Rumford is looking forward to Las Vegas for a number of reasons.
"The thing that I most look forward to is the honor of having any position at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo," Rumford said. "Just to be considered and chosen for a position at that level is quite an honor. When you get to work and be around that caliber and that level of competitors--you're working with the absolute best in rodeo--there's so much you can learn. Then I have the ability to pass that knowledge and information on to students at FHSU.
"The NFR is the best rodeo there is, bar none."