2008 Grand Marshal – Kenneth R. Wivell
Kens family dates back to 1847 in Tuolumne County. Ranching in the Mountain Springs and Stent areas. Born to Jack and Isabelle Wivell in 1937 where Yosemite Title now stands. Ken attended Sonora Grammar and Sonora High School serving as Student Body President in the 1954-55 school year graduating in 1955. After some college and military duty Ken returned to Sonora and went to work for Baers Clothing and later owned the business. Ken married Carol Robinson in 1958 and raised two sons Cal and Kip. Now with eight grand-children and four great grand-children. The family lost Carol in 2003. Ken worked for Fred Leighton in Yellowhammer in 1950 and 1951 and coached football and track at Sonora High and also served as Booster President. He joined the Sheriffs Posse in 1973 and was Captain in 1982 and was instrumental in the purchase of the Posse’s first property. Serving as Round-Up General Chairman from 1978 to 1981 Ken started the popular calf scramble Calcutta and along with posseman Jerry Keith rearranged the Queen Contest to culminate with the Fashion Show which is considered one of the best contests in the country. This year Ken became a Life Member in the Tuolumne County Sheriffs Posse. For the passed ten years a good part of Ken’s summer is spent with the great crew in Kennedy Meadows. He is looking forward to a great weekend.
Rodeo Announcers – Bob Feist & Coy Huffman
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 – 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 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.”
2008 Rodeo Clown – Dwayne Hargo
Unlike many rodeo athletes, Dwayne Hargo did not grow up on a ranch. Dwayne went on daylong fishing expeditions, but one day when the fish weren’t biting he abandoned his rod and reel and went to watch horses. Working for the stable In exchange for riding the owner told him how to get involved in rodeo. Throughout high school Dwayne lived and worked for Misner and Son’s Rodeo Company. He became a test pilot to try new bucking stock but never lasted long on top of the animals’ back. When he was fifteen a bull riding event was about to begin and a bullfighter was nowhere to be found. The stock contractor told Dwayne “Go out there and save a cowboy”. Dwayne has been protecting cowboys and entertaining crowds ever since. I guess you could say he got “hooked” on rodeo.