By Eric Butler
Royce Ford doesn’t mind wearing hand-me-downs.
His father, five-time world champion Bruce Ford, won the spurs at the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association in Clovis five years ago.
Now the younger Ford, who lives in Kersey, Colo., is looking for a set of his own when the 33rd annual Pioneer Days PRCA Rodeo begins on Thursday night.
“The spurs I use when I ride are Clovis championship spurs. He won it a couple of times there, and one pair he gave to my cousin — when he started riding,” said Royce Ford, a 21-year-old bareback rider. “The new ones he gave to me. I’ve been using these spurs for about four years now. They’re the best-feeling pair of spurs I’ve ever rode with. I’ve just about wore them out though.”
If Ford is fortunate enough to win another pair here, he isn’t planning on then using them himself.
“I’ll probably give them to my dad,” Ford said. “I’ve used his. Now, maybe I can give him a new pair to put on his trophy wall.”
One of the features of the Pioneer Days Rodeo is the two-head steer roping event starting at 6 p.m. tonight at the Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena.
Guy Allen, a 16-time world champion, is expected to compete. Last year, Buster Record dethroned the Lovington native at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and he’ll be in the Clovis field as well in this event.
Also competing Wednesday night are Cody Ohl and Trevor Brazil, the world all-around cowboy winners for 2001 and 2002, respectively.
“There’s not a whole lot of rodeos anymore that have steer roping, and so that’s one of the reasons we want to keep it,” says Duane Castleberry of the Curry County Mounted Patrol, the organizing group for the rodeo. “It’s a big deal. These guys have to go somewhere.”
The usual events will take place when the main rodeo begins on Thursday — barrel racing, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping and steer wrestling.
The rodeo begins at 8 p.m. each night through Saturday.
Castleberry said with a total of 303 participants, there’s more than the usual amount of competitors this year. Other former world champs scheduled to compete are Cody Hancock in the bull riding and team ropers Speed Williams and Rich Skelton.
For the fans, the quality of the athletes is one draw. But the Clovis rodeo has its share of other top-notch contributors.
Colorado stock contractor Mike Cervi was recently inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall Of Fame. For the entire run of the rodeo in Clovis, including this year, it’s Cervi who supplies the steers, calves and bulls.
“He’s a legend in the business. And the announcer we have, Boyd Polhamus, has done the National Finals Rodeo the last nine or 10 years — he’s a big deal,” Castleberry said. “When I go to the National Finals convention, we get a lot of compliments. People say ‘Man, a little rodeo like you have in Clovis and you’re got Mike Cervi and Boyd Polhamus — and you’ve got steer roping with Guy Allen. That’s really neat.’”