The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) announced their finalists for the 2018 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year Award. The award coincides with the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The National Finals Rodeo is taking place from December 6th to the 15th in Las Vegas. The WNFR brings together the top 15 cowboys in the PRCA standings to battle it out for $10 million in prize money. It is the crown jewel of the rodeo circuit and the most anticipated event each year in the PRCA circuit.
The Veterinarian of the Year award was created in 2010 to highlight veterinarians that have dedicated their time, energy, craft, and knowledge to making sure that rodeo livestock are well taken care of and in great health. The veterinarians are nominated by members of the PRCA that feel the veterinarian has gone above and beyond their normal duties in making sure that the rodeo livestock are treated and taken care of.
After they are nominated, a review committee that is made up of industry experts and advocates will review every single nomination to decide if they should be considered for Veterinarian of the Year. The review committee considers the nominee’s contributions to the health and wellness of the rodeo livestock, their rodeo community involvement, their involvement in the sport of rodeo, and how long they have been involved in the sport of rodeo. The nominations are narrowed down to a small list of 6 veterinarians and they are all praised and acknowledged as being the best veterinarians in rodeo. The small list is honored at the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the PRCA Awards Banquet on December 5th, the night before the first day of competition.
Here are the 6 finalists that have been chosen by the committee:r words, media, and layout in n
Dr. Chris Ray, Bozeman, Mont.
Nominated by Bruce Keller
Ray has worked with many past and current world champions of the National Finals Rodeo and the WPRA. Ray is known for putting the needs of livestock above anything else. Ray will happily sacrifice his own personal time and finances in order to ensure the health of rodeo livestock. Ray focuses a lot of his medicine on prevention, rehabilitation, and ensuring that the rodeo livestock is in tip top condition. Ray
Dr. Benjamin Espy, San Antonio, Texas
Nominated by the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
Espy, has been a lifelong member of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, started volunteering at the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo in 1997. Espy has been continuously working at improving the livestock’s quality of life at the show and improving operating and transportation procedures so they can live healthy. 60,000 animals move during the 18 day event and they all are under Espy’s watch. Espy also works as an advisor to veterinary students that receive a scholarship through the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Dr. Troy Ford, Clovis, Calif.
Nominated by the Clovis Rodeo Association
Ford has been the official veterinarian of the Clovis Rodeo since 1993. Ford closes his practice for an entire week and donates his time to ensure that the livestock at the rodeo are well taken care of. Ford also helps out with the renovation of the Clovis Rodeo grounds and facilities to make sure that the livestock has the highest quality of life at the event. Ford also has many other volunteer services including the Fresno and Clovis Police departments’ Horse Patrol Units, Fresno Humane Animal Services, Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Ford is a model veterinarian and is incredibly proud of this work.
Dr. Charles Graham, Elgin, Texas
Nominated by Dr. William C. Anderson, DVM
Graham is one of the best and oldest forces in rodeo. He is one of the founding members of Rodeo Austin and has received two Alumni Awards from Texas A&M University. He was also inducted into the Rodeo Austin Hall of Fame. He has been working in rodeos for over 40 years now and he has been giving back to the sport ever since.
Dr. Michael Harms, Canby, Ore.
Nominated by Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo, Canby Rodeo
Harms has been working as the veterinarian for the Canby Rodeo for more than 20 years and he also works for the Clackamas County Fair and has been doing so for 45 years. He is dedicated to the well being and preservation of livestock and wants to ensure that every single animal is taken care of. He is the backbone of the veterinarian community in his part of the country and has done so much to give back to the rodeo community.
Dr. Heather Schneider, Hudson, Iowa
Nominated by Cheyenne Frontier Days
Schneider has been the exclusive arena veterinarian at Cheyenne Frontier Days since 2010 and has really grown into her role. Schneider was instrumental in creating a partnership between Cheyenne Frontier Days and Colorado State University’s Equine Clinical Services Program which has ensured that the event will have incredible veterinarians for years to come.