The 29th Annual Casey Tibbs Foundation Tribute Dinner is sold out for Nov. 3. The Tribute Dinner is an opportunity for friends and families in the ranching and rodeo communities to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of South Dakota cowboys, cowgirls, families and animals. This event is an annual fundraiser for the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center. The nominee’s photos and biographies are added to the permanent “Wall of Fame” each year, located in the Rodeo Center.
“We have a great line-up of nominations for the six divisions and ticket sales reflect that,” said Director Cindy Bahe. “We sold half the 250 tickets in two hours on the first day of ticket sales.” The Casey Tibbs Foundation will be honoring the following nominees:
Rodeo Cowgirl Great: Kristi Lensegrav-Birkeland of Dupree
Kristi is a nine-time SDRA Goat Tying Champion and a 6-time reserve SDRA Champion. She was a 3-time NIRA Great Plains Region Champion, multiple-time NRCA Champion and Mid-States Association Champion. Kristi was also a multiple year-end fast time award winner as well as Horse of the Year honoree. Her daughter Sidni was this year’s pole bending Champion and won the 4-H finals in Goat Tying this year. Their triplet sons, Fletcher, Cruz and Tee all rodeo as well. She and her husband Jace ranch south of Dupree.
Rodeo Cowboy Great: Jake Rinehart of Highmore
Jake has represented South Dakota in 4-H, high school, amateur and professional rodeo in the United States and Canada. He competed in steer wrestling 3 times at the NFR in 2007, 2009 and 2011. In 2009 he was the California Rodeos SIX PAC High Point Winner. Over the years, Jake has won Deadwood, Corn Palace Stampede, Denver Stock Show, Dodge City, and St. Paul, OR. He was the Columbia River Circuit Champion and won the Playoff in Puyallup, Washington. He has competed and placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th at Houston and the Calgary Stampede Rodeos. Winning the 2009 Steer Wrestling Title at the Cheyenne Frontier Days is one of his greatest goals met. Known as a gentle giant, “Big Jake” has been labeled as the largest competitor in Pro Rodeo at 6’8’ and 295 pounds. He and his wife Molly, reside on the family ranch in northwest Hyde County.
Past Rodeo Great: Steve Mowry of Presho
Steve started rodeo as a rough stock rider in Little Britches and High School Rodeo with limited success. Opportunity knocked when he was just 16 years old when he helped with bullfighting duties at the Kennebec 4-H Rodeo. It was “love at first fright.” Steve quickly climbed the ranks working the finals of 4-H, College, All-Indian, and Canadian Rodeos. He was selected to be a member of the Wrangler Jeans Bullfighting Tour in 1983. Mowry finished his first year as runner-up to the World Champion and then returned to the Finals again the next year. A big, bad Louisiana bull broke his back in 1985 and Steve spent the summer working at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, Colo. After much therapy and many prayers he qualified for the Wrangler Bullfight Finals in Las Vegas in 1986 and 1987. Steve retired in 1990 to spend more time with the cows he had accumulated as a Wrangler Jeans Bullfighter. Today, he and wife Deb (Bruner) own and operate Ma & Pa Angus. They have two sons, Sage and Shilo.
Rodeo Promoter: Raymond W. Sutton Sr. of Gettysburg
Raymond grew up outside Agar with brothers John and James. The Sutton Ranch hosted rodeo competitions from 1926-1936 which included entertainers like Lawrence Welk. Raymond partnered with George Fairbank creating the Sutton/Fairbank Rodeo Company. They held rodeos with specialty acts including chariot racing with mules or unbroken buffaloes. Raymond would ride Dude the Jumping Horse who leaped over steers and other horses. As the Great Depression deepened, the partnership was dissolved. In the late 1930s there was again a demand for rodeo performances. The Raymond Sutton Rodeo Company was born. In the mid-1950s Raymond joined with his brothers and Erv Korkow to form the Sutton/Korkow Rodeo Company. In the early 1960’s Raymond sold his share of the company to his brother James. Nine decades later Sutton Rodeo continues today under successful management of James and his family and is alive and well.
Ranch Cowboy Family: Glen and Yvonne Hollenbeck of Clearfield
Glen’s grandfather Earl, produced some of the first rodeos in the Sandhills of Nebraska, circling Model T’s and wagons around to create an arena. Glen became one of the top pick up men in the country and trained and mentored others such as Steve Sutton. He was the 1960 Little Britches National Champion calf roper. Yvonne was a professional rodeo organist and secretaried many rodeos, sometimes handling both duties at the same rodeo. At age 40, Glen won the Mid-States calf roping championship in 1982, against much younger competitors. He won the U.S. Calf Roping Assn. Championship in his age division in 2003 and 2006. In 2017 at the tender age of 75, he won the Senior Pro Assn World Championship. Sons Shawn and Jay excelled in calf roping and other family members actively participate in rodeo.
Rodeo Animal Athlete: Frenchmans Guy owned by Bill and Deb Myers of St. Onge
Frenchmans Guy is a 1987 Palomino Stallion. His progeny have been NFR qualifiers in the Barrel Racing, Team Roping and Bull Dogging as well as Junior NFR qualifiers with over $12 Million being won to date in the rodeo/performance arenas. His owners, Billy and Deb Myers are the leading breeders of arena performance and rodeo champions. Though he lost his right eye as a yearling, Frenchmans Guy became a highly competitive arena athlete in the barrel futurity and PRCA/amateur rodeo circuits. He was a finals qualifier PRCA Badlands Circuit and South Dakota Rodeo Association, Northwest Rodeo Cowboys Association Reserve Champion and Finals qualifier PRCA Badlands Circuit and South Dakota Rodeo Association, just to name a few. He is known as an elite competitor especially for his natural athletic ability, big heart, extended stride and speed. Frenchman’s Guy is now 31 years old and resides on the Myers ranch in St. Onge.