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People That Make It Happen

2005 Grand Marshal – Ty Wivell

2005 Grand Marshal - Ty Wivell

Ty Wivell is a fifth generation Tuolumne Countian on both his paternal and maternal sides. The Cholez’s on his mother’s side were the first French family in Tuolumne County. The families had owned ranches in the Mountain Springs, Campbell Flat area and in Stent and Coulterville. Born in 1933 to Jack Tyrus Wivell and Isabel Cholez Wivell, the eldest of five children, Ty attended school in Sonora from kindergarten through high school graduating in 1950. He was student body president and lettered in football and baseball and won numerous academic awards. He was one of the original members of Sonora 4H. He has had a lifetime love affair with horses and ranching and received his first horse at a very young age which he raised, broke and rode for 20 years. He attended college at University of California, Berkeley, interrupting his schooling for a stint in the US Army for two years and returning to complete his schooling and graduate from UC Berkeley in 1959. While in the service in the State of Washington, he and some fellow infantrymen from Sonora ( including two lifelong friends from Tuolumne County) started an Army Rodeo Team and got their weekends off to participate in local rodeos.

Ty had a variety of jobs from grammar school through college, including a paper route and yard work in downtown Sonora, milking cows at Liljedahls dairy, working at various ranches and pack stations, working at Pickering Lumber and for PR&E. Ty married while in the service and had three children supporting the whole family while continuing at UC Berkeley until his graduation. He went to work for a CPA firm and a trucking company and eventually went to work for Great Western Savings. He remained at Great Western for 30 years. He married his wife, Toni, in 1968. She had tow children and they raised five other children together in southern California where Great Western Savings was headquartered. Needless to say, the family of seven came to the Mother Lode Round-Up every Mother’s Day (where Ty volunteered his help at the rodeo) and made almost every Posse camp out at Kennedy Meadows for the next 23 years. Ty’s uncle and three brothers were all Posse members at various times (Uncle Ray Cholez, brothers Ken, Newt and Doug) during those 23 years.

Ty and Toni moved back to Sonora in 1991, having bought a ranch on J59 for a cow/calf operation which they are still running. Ty joined the TCSP that same year and became rodeo chairman in 1992, and has continued as such for 13 years with the additional job of General Chairman for six of those years. Truly a “workhorse”, but for Ty, a labor of love. Ty held many Posse offices and was Captain of the Posse in 2000. He still actively serves on the Board of Directors. Love for the County of Tuolumne has motivated Ty to become active in many areas such as: Tuolumne County Planning Commissioner; founding member of the Historic Sonora Chamber of Commerce; Tuolumne County Film Commission; Tuolumne County Ag Advisory committee; Tuolumne County Farm Bureau; Tuolumne County Cattleman’s Association; past Director of the Mother Lode Fair; Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year (2000) and Ty has been a full time banker in Sonora since 1991, currently a Senior V.P. with Mother Lode Bank.

Ty’s first love is rodeo- from childhood to today- and he was humbled by this honor of being chosen Grand Marshal of the Mother Lode Round-Up Parade by his peers in the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse. Ty has been a respected mentor to younger Posse members and has provided them consistent leadership. He wishes all the Mom’s here this weekend a Happy Mother’s Day and hopes y’all come to his “baby” – the Mother Lode Round-Up Rodeo !!!!!! Rope ’em Ty

Rodeo Announcers – Bob Feist & Coy Huffman

Bob Fiest

Bob Feist – Anyone who follows team roping has heard of the BFI. The Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic is the world’s richest team roping. Cowboys competed for over $250,000 in cash and awards at the 2006 “Open to the World” Roping. Bob Feist is the publisher of Ropers Sports News, the “Bible” of team ropers. When time permits you’ll find him on the rodeo circuit as a rodeo announcer or on American Cowboy and Rodeo Sports Page, as well as on various television and radio shows. He announces over 150 performances each year which has included shows from Alabama to Hawaii and from Washington to Arizona. His announcing record also includes the 1980 National Finals Rodeo.

That relaxed, resonant voice coming over the mike is Feist’s stock in trade. He has been greeting people, winning public speaking awards and acting as master of ceremonies from the time he was old enough to open the front door; according to the lady who knows him best, his mother.

Combining his speaking talent and his love of the sport of rodeo, Feist now feels that he is serving the public in a way that he can best utilize his talents. He does over 90% of his shows horseback, as he feels he can better entertain the audience by being closer to them.

Coy Huffman Rodeo Announcer

Coy Huffman – Professional rodeo announcers play a major role in connecting the audience to the action. It takes a unique individual to acquaint the fans with the cowboys, the stock and rodeo itself. Coy Huffman has just the right touch to excite and to get you involved.

Coy has worked all phases of rodeo from behind the chutes to out in front earning a “Gold Card” (lifetime membership) in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

A few years ago Coy began to pursue his life long vision of being a pro-rodeo announcer. Facing many challenges in a highly competitive field, Coy worked the rodeo labor list as chute boss at Cheyenne, Salinas, Dodge City, Colorado Springs, the Cow Palace and Sonora. He took advantage of opportunities to announce or emcee autograph parties, Exceptional Rodeo, high school rodeos and other events.

Coy Huffman and his wife Donna have their headquarters in Tucson, Arizona where they manage their rodeo business and ministry. Donna is a gifted writer, office administrator, driver and trusted counselor to rodeo wives. One of Coy’s favorite sayings is, “Today is the best day of my entire life!” You are going to have a good friend by your side making every effort to help you have a great day at the rodeo. The Mother Lode Round-Up is happy to bring you the voice of Coy Huffman.

Growney Brothers Stock Contractors

Growney Brothers Stock Contractors

Growney Brothers Rodeo Company was born in 1979 when Growney purchased Rodeo Stock Contractors, Inc. and turned professional three years later. He opened eyes at the 1981 National Finals Rodeo when his bareback horse, Dreamboat Annie, teamed with Larry Peabody for an 89-point ride, an arena record that stood until 1995.

In the early days of the company, Growney did all he could to work as many rodeos as he could. He knew how to hustle. “We did all kinds of rodeos,” Growney said. “We put on high school, junior and Indian rodeos. In 1982, we did 82 rodeos. We were going hard.” This year, Growney is supplying livestock to 24 rodeos that include four events on the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour and some of the most prestigious and lucrative events on the calendar.

Growney starts his year in April at the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale, Nevada and then returns home for the Red Bluff Round-Up and Clovis Rodeo. By the end of the year, he will have worn out roads leading up the Pacific coast through Oregon- hitting such spots as St. Paul, Joseph and Canby – and Washington, highlighted by rodeos in Bremerton, Walla Walla and Puyallup.

Over the years, bucking bulls have made the Growney name a force in the rodeo business. Growney gives that credit to his partner, Don Kish, who started raising bulls nearly 20 years ago.

The company inherited ProRodeo Hall of Fame bulls Red Rock and Oscar and countless others. Growney’s Wolfman, who in 1991 teamed with Wade Leslie for the only 100- point ride in rodeo history, has bloodlines to both legendary bulls. Each year, it’s another crop of athletic beasts that can produce 90-point scores for the cowboys who can manage to ride them.

“I thought he was nuts for trying it,” said Growney, reminiscing about Kish’s decision to get into the bull breeding business. “We were broke all the time, but that’s what we’re known for now.”

2005 Rodeo Clown – Dale

2005 Rodeo Clown - Dale

Rodeo clown, barrelman, animal trainer and contestant. And he feels right at home wearing each and every one. When he is not working on his small ranch in Canon City, Colorado, Dale enjoys calf roping and team roping. In 1959 Dale started his career as a contestant and in 1965 began pursuing his career as a rodeo clown.

Dale’s dream came true in 1975 when he joined a PRCA. Since then, Dale has been selected as Sierra Circuit Clown of the Year, and was chosen as the National Finals Rodeo Barrelman in 1992 and also given the nod as rodeo clown specialty act for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 1994.

Along with working circuit final rodeos for the Sierra, Columbia River, Prairie and Mountain circuits, Dale has been a nominee for PRCA Rodeo Clown of the Year numerous times. Dale truly enjoys what he does. Its pure fun for him. He feels it gives him a chance to do things most people dream of but never get to do. “We’re all clowns inside,” Dale says. “I’m just lucky enough to get paid for it”.