When Lori Franzen, co-owner with her husband, Hank, of Powder River Rodeo Co. in Riverton, Wyo., is asked what she enjoys most about being a professional rodeo contractor, her answer says a lot about why the company is one of the top professional-rodeo stock-contracting companies in the nation.
“That’s easy; the baby colts in spring; we love when the little colts are born in the spring. It’s a wonderful time,” Franzen said.
“You have to love the livestock. If you didn’t, there wouldn’t be any reason to be in this business. You have to care and love these animals. They are so unique.”
A successful formula that most likely explains why Powder River Rodeo Co. was recently chosen by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as one of 2013’s top five stock contractors on the PRCA circuit, an honor previously bestowed in 1998, 2003, and 2005.
Raised on ranches, perhaps it wasn’t unusual that Hank (a Sidney, Mont. native) and Lori (of Gillette, Wyo.) had a yearning to get into stock contracting after meeting at Casper College — where Hank won the 1978 College National Finals bull riding and all-around titles — and marrying shortly thereafter.
After ranching for a few years, in 1986, they jumped at an opportunity up to get into the stock-contracting business, purchasing 40 horses and 20 bulls. They have been raising quality livestock ever since.
“It is extremely hard business to get into and we are one of very few stock contractors that started from scratch on their own and are still in business. Most are born into it or had money behind them,” Franzen said.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have some great horses through the years," she said. "Khadafy Skoal, a three-time PRCA bareback horse of the year, and some other great horses come along like Miss Congeniality, PRCA saddle bronc horse of the year in 2005 and 2007.”
For Powder River Rodeo Co. , the good fortune just keeps coming as the seven of the company’s horses and two bulls were selected for the National Finals Rodeo. Shepherd Hills-Tested was chosen by the rodeo performers as one of the top five bulls in Las Vegas and Craig at Midnight one of the top bareback horses.
“We feel that being nominated again this year as Stock Contractor of the Year is an enormous honor,” Lori Franzen said. “Hank and I are just two kids who started up on their own and have been able to make a name for ourselves, so we are pretty proud of that, and also of the fact that the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association voted us the Stock Contractor of the Year so we’ve had some pretty good things happen to us this year.”
A number of Powder River’s best stock will be on display at the 2014 Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo beginning with the Pioneer Bank & Trust Professional Saddle Bronc Match at the James Kjerstad Events Center Central States Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and at a number of the PRCA rodeo events during the show as well.