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International Finals Rodeo notebook: Monkeying around at the IFR

Wade and Carie White of Richfield, Wisc., just one of two husband and wife participants in the International Finals Rodeo, travel with pet monkeys.
by Ed Godfrey Published: January 19, 2013
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photo - Brian Barefoot flies through the air during the steer wrestling event at the International Finals Rodeo at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City,  Saturday,Jan. 19, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Brian Barefoot flies through the air during the steer wrestling event at the International Finals Rodeo at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday,Jan. 19, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Wade and Carie White of Richfield, Wisc., just one of two husband and wife participants in the International Finals Rodeo, travel with pet monkeys.

“My wife had one before we got married and I bought another one for her for Christmas four years ago,” said Wade White, who is originally from Okmulgee and is making his 16th trip to the IFR in tie-down roping.

White thinks he is the only cowboy who brings monkeys to rodeos, “except for a couple of rodeo clowns,” he said. The animals have been certified as “helping hand” monkeys so “they can go anywhere with us,” he said.

“They sleep in bed with us. They take showers with us. Everything,” he said. “We have them more for companionship than anything. They are like kids.”

His wife, Carie, qualified to her fourth IFR in barrel racing. The only other husband and wife IFR pair are Brad and Amanda Stewart of Mount Ulla, N.C. Brad qualified in steer wrestling while Amanda qualified in breakaway roping.

VIOLIN OR FIDDLE MUSIC?

When it comes to music, a cowboy's taste normally is country and western or blue grass, but saddle bronc rider Austin Joseph was trained on a violin, not a fiddle.

“I was born and raised playing classical music,” said the 25-year-old cowboy from Benton, Ky. “We got into a little bit of folk music but mostly it was classical.”

Joseph has been playing the violin since he was 4. He rarely performs in public, but does plays in church.

In 2011, Joseph performed the national anthem on the violin at the National Finals College Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

His choice of music today seems more fitting for a cowboy.

“If I play anything now it's more country or church music,” Joseph said. “I don't listen to classical.”

Joseph was a member of the rodeo team at Murray State University in Kentucky and would bring his violin on the road at the request of his coach.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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