This year Kaycee Feild a bareback rider brought to the finals a special breed of good luck, American Armed Forces Members in the form of two Marines from the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The Marines along with a special shirt signed by hundreds of Troops who the bareback rider met during his second trip overseas to combat areas as part of the yearly Armed Forces Entertainment Wrangler National Patriot Tour all added up to some serious 'mojo'.
"When First Sergeant Roger Griffith and Staff Sergeant Mark Terrell showed up and I got to spend time with them on the eve of the final night, it sent a shiver up my spine ... I was just so humbled by their taking time out to come see me compete" said Kaycee, adding "American300 and Wrangler did it for me last year as well (coordinate a special visit by troops that Kaycee had met while on the tour to Iraq and Afghanistan) I thought I'd be ready for it this year... but when you see these guys here in Vegas, having last seen them on the front lines... it's a heavy experience ... fires me up in ways that words can't explain."
Insisting that he wear the Wrangler Tour custom shirt that he had singed by hundreds was met by total approval from the Wrangler Corporation and PRCA WNFR Committee. "From a distance Kaycee looked like he was walking around in a shirt with 'arena' on it... wasn't till folks got close up that they could see that the marks on his sleeves were actual troop signatures." reflected Jeff Chadwick, manager of western events for Wrangler and fellow troop tour participant over the past 2 years.
While Kaycee and the rest of the WNFR competitors were busy preparing for the final nights performance, Wrangler and American300 had the Marines engaged in everything from Flint Rasmussen's show to Cowboy Christmas and a special visit with Karl Stressman and the PRCA staff. "Now I feel like a real man." joked Flint (a huge supporter of the program) during his liveshow, as he stood between the two Marine Special Operators on stage.
"We'll fly this flag at the headquarters with pride." said
Commissioner Stressmen to the Marines and Wrangler Tour participants as they presented him with a US Flag that was flown on a US Air Force Combat Mission while the tour was going on this year.
In keeping with a tradition that started last year when Wrangler and American300 flew in Army Sergeant Chris Bullis for the opening night and Lt Colonel Werner Holt for the final night (both of whom had met Kaycee Feild on their bases), the PRCA and Wrangler National Finals Committee had the Marines join Wrangler Corporation senior staff members for a special Patriot Night Presentation where Wrangler showcased the over 500 thousand dollars which has been raised to date for our Service Members, Fallen and Wounded members and their families through the Wrangler National Patriot program.
As a special video of the tour, complete with a shout out recorded in afghanistan by Staff Sergeant Terrell ended... Bob Tallman's voice could be heard "....well friends... Staff Sergeant Terrell and First Sergeant Griffith are no longer in Afghanistan... they're with us here tonight, please join us in welcoming them to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.... "and with that the two Marines along with Wrangler Executive Vice-President Joe Hertz (a Vietnam Purple Heart Recipient) along with 'Medal of Honor' the song composer and singer Lucas Hoge were marched out to great other Wrangler Senior Staffers who had rolled in on a stage coach which was now parked in the middle of the arena. "Hard to believe, but I think the fans are even louder this year..." said Robi Powers, of American300 to Jeff Chadwick as the two soaked up the moment and standing ovation. " I don't know, it's kind of academic when the crowd drowns out Bob's voice through the public address system" added Chadwick with a smile.
Kaycee Feild had sown up the World Champions title in bareback the previous night, so the focus was on the WNFR 'Top Gun' award which he was in an all out 'rodeo within the rodeo' to win. With two special Marine guests and hundreds of troop signatures on his sleeves tagging along for the ride, Feild wrapped up the 2011 WNFR as not only a World Champion in Bareback but also the finals 'Top Gun' winner, setting a new single
event earnings record in the process.
"I've been deployed in combat zones all of my adult life, over the past two decades plus of service to our country, this has been one of the most moving experiences I've ever been a part of... the way American300 and Wrangler along with the entire western community have welcomed both Mark and I to your championships is beyond words." said First Sergeant Griffith, adding "The Wrangler Corporation, Amerian300 and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association have truly shined a spot light on the USMC, we're honored to be here."
For more information about the all volunteer nonprofit organization American300 Warrior Tours please visit: www.American300.org
For more information on Wrangler's commitment to our Service Members visit: www.wranglernationalpatriot.com
For more information on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association please visit: www.prorodeo.com
The Tours Continue...