International Finals Rodeo opens Friday at State Fair Arena

Thirty-two Oklahoma cowboys or cowgirls have qualified to this year's IFR, the most in recent history and more than double any other state or Canadian province.
by Ed Godfrey Published: January 16, 2014
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The International Finals Rodeo opens Friday at State Fair Arena with a strong Oklahoma presence.

Thirty-two Oklahoma cowboys or cowgirls have qualified to this year's IFR, the most in recent history and more than double any other state or Canadian province.

Canada, which had the most contestants last year, will have 17 representatives this year followed by North Carolina's 12.

More than half of the field in the Cowgirl Breakaway event are Oklahoma riders, led by Weatherford and Southwestern Oklahoma State University assistant rodeo coach Jenna Lee Hays, who is currently second in the world standings.

The top 15 cowboys and cowgirls in the season standings of each event qualify to the IFR, the championship rodeo of International Professional Rodeo Association which is based in Oklahoma City.

The IPRA is the second largest rodeo organization in the country, behind the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

There will be no drama for the all-around championship at the IFR as eight-time champion Shawn Minor of Camden, Ohio, has a near $30,000 lead over his nearest competitor.

Minor, a former rodeo cowboy for Southwestern State, has won seven consecutive IPRA all-around titles, seven bareback crowns and three saddle bronc crowns.

Minor, who is making his 11th consecutive appearance in the IFR, also leads the race for the IPRA championships in the bareback and saddle bronc events entering the Oklahoma City rodeo.

He has won the triple crown, the all-around and both bronc riding championships, in the same season only once before.


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
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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