When I began covering professional rodeo in the mid 1980s, Lewis Feild was the kingpin.
I witnessed Feild clinch the world all-around title in 1985 at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
The NFR moved to Las Vegas that year after being in Oklahoma City for the previous 20 years. When Feild clinched the ’85 all-around title, he became the first bucking stock rider to do so in 12 years. The last roughstock rider before Feild to win the all-around title was Larry Mahan in 1973.
Feild, who thrived in both saddle bronc riding and bareback riding, also won world all-around titles in 1986 and 1987. He finished as the world’s No. 1 bareback rider in 1985 and 1986.
Feild always was a nice person to be around and to interview. He also was regarded as a cowboy who knew the business side of traveling and competing on the North American rodeo circuit.
My dad impacted a lot of people’s lives. Just the shake of his hand influenced that person, whoever he met. To be his son is a blessing more than words can express.
Kaycee Feild, a four-time PRCA world champion bareback rider, on his late father, Lewis Feild
But in recent months, Feild faced a much tougher challenge than any bronc he took on. He was stricken with pancreatic cancer and died on Feb. 15 at his home in Elk Ridge, Utah, at the age of 59.
Feild was honored on Feb. 28 at the RFD-TV’s The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Within the rodeo performance, organizers broke from the action and showed a short feature on Feild on the giant screen above the arena.
“It was amazing,” said Feild’s son, Kaycee, a four-time PRCA world champion bareback rider. “My dad impacted a lot of people’s lives. Just the shake of his hand influenced that person, whoever he met. To be his son is a blessing more than words can express.
“I hope people remember my dad for as long as I live. But I hope they remember him as a good man and not just as a pro rodeo champion. He was a family man. He taught us kids everything. He taught us the true meaning of life, which is to love one another, to embrace your friendships and embrace your family.”
Reese Riemer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Amarillo against The American for declining to pay him $600,000 for winning the tie-down roping title last year.
Within the past year, rumors have surfaced that Riemer, who is from Stinnett, agreed to split the purse with other finalists and was allowed to win because he was eligible for a share of the $1 million side pot, an accusation Riemer denies in a prepared statement on the lawsuit.
Randy Bernard, who heads up The American, said Rural Media Group Inc./RMG Events LLC officials have opted to allow the court to decide the verdict.
Houston rodeo update
Former National Finals saddle bronc riding qualifier Isaac Diaz of Desdemona has advanced to the semifinal round at RodeoHouston. Diaz made the cut after earning $6,250 in the prelims last week.
The Houston rodeo uses a tournament format called the Super Series. Diaz competed in Super Series 1, which was a bracket within the tournament. The semifinal is scheduled for March 16-17 and the final is March 19. Each single event champion will receive $50,000.
Brazile riding tough
Trevor Brazile of Decatur finished second at the Cinch Timed Event Championship of the World with a time of 295.9 seconds last weekend at the at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie, Okla. Paul David Tierney won the event with a 267.9
On the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, Ryan Dirteater clinched the title at last weekend’s tour stop in Phoenix after earning 517.5 points. Fabiano Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, finished second with 345.
In the world standings, Shane Proctor is ranked No. 1 with 1,812 points. Joao Ricardo Vieira, another Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is ranked No. 2 with 1,665.
This weekend, the tour stops in Duluth, Ga., in the Atlanta area.