Hey! This ain't no game of cards, it's

CowboyPoker ! ! ! ! ! !

Also known as

About the history and some rules of Cowboy Poker
Should college rodeo in the U.S. be expanded for older students?
Rodeo related Links
Friends, Friends, Friends..
Other webpages authored by Mark James Mullins
About the history and some rules of Cowboy Poker || Should college rodeo in the U.S. be expanded for older students? || Rodeo related Links || Friends, Friends, Friends || Other webpages authored by Mark James Mullins

SINCE THIS PAGE HAS RECEIVED IN EXCESS OF 2500 CERTIFIED HITS, IT IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED BY ME AS A BEGINNERS PAGE. IT WILL LIKELY NOT BE UPDATED AGAIN UNTIL LATE 2001. YOU'RE ENCOURAGED TO RELOAD THIS PAGE IF IMAGES DO NOT SHOW.  

Updated 6-6-01
For your convienience, two easier URL's were added on 9-9-99 which include http://i.am/cowboypoker OR http://cowboypoker.i.am which you can click and SHOULD add to your bookmarks if you want to visit again. During 4/01, WBS.NET/Go.COM/Disney pulled all their personal web pages and gave NO advance warning so I could have notified all sites which had linked to this one. The only links which are absolutely solid are those using the redirector URL's! Use them in the event that NBCi follows suit and pulls their personal pages too. I have the entire site archived on non-volatile media and will restore it on my own server if necessary as I'm educated in these things now. As far as Disney is concerned, their obvious lack of consideration is not appreciated, nor will it be forgotten. Yes, they've heard from me on the matter in case you've wondered.

Special Thanks to the former WBS.NET system which was my inspiration to start up this unusual webpage. It was created on 8-2-97 when WBS was a webchat system. It has since been discontinued and replaced with MyWBS.com that has evolved into a subscription service. This webpage has been viewed in a number of countries by people both in and out of the rodeo sport from which this event evolved. More pics will be on the way as my schedule permits, As mentioned above, Disney pulled the plug on personal web pages. My apologies to each of you for recent difficulties in finding this site. Due to job hunting in and around Little Rock, with a part-time broadcast job mainly on the weekends, I've still not been to rodeos lately to get additional cowboy poker pics to add here or add additional information you may want from what you may have viewed. I'm striving to remedy that with time so thanks for your patience on this as you've not been forgotten! A number of e-mails I get are questions, some being media related. I always invite these. If I can answer them directly, I will. If I can't, I'll gladly forward these to others I believe can. ATTENTION Cowboy poker players with actual experience and hunger to do it again and again; more than once I've received inquiries from media wanting to do a story on this event. Since this is likely the first page explaining and featuring it, I'm considered a contact source for those in the event just by association, and if you wish to be on a e-mail contact list ONLY for the purpose for me to notify you that a news organization or entertainment show wants to arrange a demonstration of this true sport, you can e-mail me through the appropriate link(s) on the page with the subject line of "ADD ME TO CP LIST" and be prepared for me to reply quickly with specific questions. I won't release your address(es) to anyone unless you O.K. it beforehand. I want a quality list to use if at all possible, but I realize unless a lot of you live in close to one another that it could be tough to arrange. I'm also aware of the possibility that some journalists with an anti-rodeo or animal rights agenda could be making these requests. I will consult with others of expertese in the sport to attempt in filtering these and sparing players of any potential or unnecessary embarassment. A special request to any media who are requesting information, especially if you request a demo of this event for a feature or story. PLEASE give me plenty of time to attempt making any advance arrangements if I have a list successfully made here, especially during "off months" (generally Christmas through Easter) and toward any Finals which happen during the autumn months in most Associations. I can't do it by a quickened broadcaster's schedule without enough time to arrange for interested players to get together, or you'll have to arrange it yourself. Having it during a rodeo or all-bulls event is by far the easiest way to get what you're after! Contact a rodeo association and ask questions of which stock contractors have done this event, of what variations they may do of it as this website has an example or two mentioned, and keep in mind the rules of cowboy poker are not uniform across the rodeo world.
I'll add links from viewer's submissions with some of my own as I have time, and it should enrich your future visits. There's at least one CP video link I've sought permission to add, but no approval has been obtained from the video's retailer. When and if it's approved, It'll be added with image absolutely free further down this page.

My favorite chatroom today is through rodeo.about.com with Janet Ratzloff your Guide. She continues a sterling job of managing boatloads of links concerning different associations both amateur and pro, schools, equipment, and such as mine concerning variations and angles which are evolving in this sport and the lifestyle it's participants lead.
Cowboy Poker picture courtesy of Western Pro
Rodeo Productions  http://www.temelink.com/rodeo  Thanks Karyn!
This was the first cowboy poker picture I could find on the internet anywhere, and perhaps the first one uploaded. It came out probably a month after my page went online and no doubt receives a number of hits. The Western Pro Rodeo Productions set up that page and Thanks to Karyn for the linking.

I'd heard from the executive secretary of the Military Rodeo Cowboys Association during 98' and had coorespondence from at least one of the "poker players" whom Jewel told me had extensive experience in this, some of these men have been bullfighters and understand toro behavior well. She added that most of the public are ill-prepared for this kind of participation. I agree strongly, but I'll add that experience in rodeo isn't necessary for this event although highly recommended. Since the event was young at that time, I noticed examples of people with no experience in the event who have successfully won, even several times at that in this madness. Like rodeo itself, it ain't for everyone to do, but anybody can watch! Since I've mentioned the MRCA, Dan Montgomery e-mailed me in December 98'. This former member of the Military Rodeo Cowboys Association for 5 years during his service at Camp Pendleton mentioned he was developing a database of various rodeo related links. The address he supplied doesn't work today, so if you happen to run across Dan, have him surf here so I can find out what's what. There's no doubt with his experience, he has many a "poker game" to fill us in.
He wrote me on 12-10-98:
 "As far as poker stories.. Ha ha. Let me tell you about the 1998 California State Fair in Sacremento. The Flying U Rodeo Co. in Marysville contracted me and my "Professional Poker Playing Team" for the entire fair. This consisted of Sonny Badolato, Chris May, Keegan Barret, and myself. Ten days of non-stop poker playing. I am not kidding when I say we were the talk of the fair. The local news featured us in one of their broadcasts. The next day ALL OF SACREMENTO KNEW US BY FACE AND NAME! I was walking around the fair before a show and this little boy yelled out "Mommy look! It's one of them Poker Cowboys!" She let him go and he came running over to me, pulled out a poker card, and asked if I could sign it. I was dumbfounded! We were notorious for signing "THE DECK" and throwing them into the crowd after the show or when one of us got up after being knocked off of the table, and I guess was a hit cause little kids and grown-ups alike would ask us for autographs on playing cards and other things. For the final show of the fair, we all decided to put on a really good show for Cotton Rosser (owner of the Flying U) and thought it might be pretty neat to see the Poker players "FIGHT BACK". Well we all loaded up with about six water balloons each and two cans of "Silly String." That bull came out the chute straight for us and we let fly with the balloons. He didn't know what to think. He ducked off and we watched him, then he came back at another angle we let him have it. Again he was confused at the balloons. The crowd was going NUTZ! He ran off to the far end of the arena. SOOOO we picked up our chairs and held them to our seat and moved ourselves (still in the chairs), the table and (since there was no more balloons) the silly string CLOSER TO THE BULL. He saw this and came at us! We sat down real quick and let fly with the string. No Dice! He was on to us and pretty ticked! We all yelled OH +%"[email protected]!! The animal freight-trained right through the middle of the table. Chris dove out of his chair to save the bottle of J.D. (Cottons extra bonus for the poker players) and made a touchdown catch Jerry Rice would have been proud of. Well, Chris was out of the extra hundred (we split all prize mony four ways regardless actual winner got the extra hundred, usually the prize money was $500 so each player got 1 and the winner got 2) but he got the bottle of Jack and it was a good thing cause he needed it. 'Bout that time the bull steamrolled him right down the middle. He wasn't hurt and got up and ran, but he felt it that night. The rest of us miraculosly survived untouched! The beast then stopped and hit me straight in the back. I got launched! I ran to the fence, threw my cards, then ducked to a corner. Sonny and Keegan were still sitting and the bull was 10 feet away, but I was right behind it! The bullfighters tried to get to hit them but he wouldn't move. So I ran from behind it and he instanly responded. I cut back RIGHT IN FRONT OF KEEGAN! The bull smacked him head on (sorry Keegan!) Keegan got rolled underneath the bull as the DARN THING WAS STILL ON MY ***. Finally I made it to the fence. Sonny won, but it was one of my best poker nights ever."
 Likely the finest element to his story was signing of the decks and other things to interested fans. It's that kind of interaction which makes rodeo a special breed of sport, and the evolution of it in part due to cowboy poker and related events should easily prove the Western spirit and soul as Y2K compliant and beyond. Let me beg again, if you discover additional links or pics of this type that would work with the theme of this page, feel free to e-mail me.  Dan wrapped up his message "I still will play poker anytime and anyday!" which I'll assume he means cowboy poker, perhaps the most insane action-filled entertainment in many cream-of-the-crop rodeos and "bulls only" events today.

Pastor Frank Lenihan
with 3 other 'players' at Herbert, SK Canada with 'Frostbitten' your bull -
1999. Click for larger image.
 Click the image above for the full-sized one. Pastor Frank Lenihan contacted me recently. He participated in the 13th annual Herbert Stampede in Herbert, Saskatchewan Canada in conjuction with the Christian Cowboys Association and the CPRA. Pastor Frank is the new minister of the local country church, and never tried bull poker before. He added "The whole 'game' lasted 9 seconds with me getting the first and biggest hit by 'Frostbitten.'" Additional credit is due to CFWB of Swift Current, SK for the video shoot. Frank reportedly got some air travel and summed it up,"It was one experience I don't think I would like to repeat again!" I'll judge by the dust caught in this shot that he took a lickin' but kept on tickin'. It takes a brave man to experience what he did, but even moreso to declare Jesus as your own and stand with faith. Thank you Pastor Frank for the story, and may the Father and Holy Spirit be with you always in Jesus' name through you ministry and beyond is my prayer to you. Thanks also for helping to bring additional Canadian visitors to this site. Due to fewer .CA domains versus the .COMs, it's difficult to guage how many from the Great White North visit here, but they comprise roughly 10 percent of the total traffic.

 Whoa Bubba! I got this picture recently but have no clue who to credit this to. This was likely Springdale, AR sometime in 97' or 98'. I'm lookin' for the cards to fly.. It'd be cool if at least one of the guys had an Ace in the hatband, and maybe toss it at the beast? So much for wishful thinking at least this time, and I imagine they're glad it's overwith, or are they?

 Recently I heard from Jack in Hawaii who tells me much about his cowboy poker experience. I hope to finally put together his details and post his story. (If you're reading this Jack, please keep trying to send me those pics! I know AOL isn't that friendly in transferring .JPG's to some accounts, and you're NOT alone in being frustrated.) He brings up a great question which I also want to ASK EACH COWBOY POKER PLAYER who views this page. Do you believe there's enough of you to consider forming a NATIONAL Cowboy Poker/Bull Poker Association? I hear that some of you compete and really get hooked on this as Jack is - and perhaps better winnings and uniform standards are in order for serious competitors.. Give it at least some thought as I'll be glad to get those interested in contact with one another if mutually acceptable to talk this over and measure the possibilities. I want nothing out of this, other than helping to get like-minded contestants in contact with each other to see if such an organization has any possibility, then having the capability to report any results on this webpage. When one considers that some players have participated several times, including a fellow Arkansan from Mulberry, who according to an interview in the Southwest Times newspaper published in Fort Smith had earned around 2,500 dollars (including at least 3 performance wins in a row at Harper Stadium that year) and planned to continue so. I've not seen him compete since but hope to secure an interview for this webpage in the future if our paths cross. By the way, he's aware of this webpage, even though he lives in an area which had no local internet at the time.


I know the nickname "CowboyPoker" must be a bit bizarre, but so is the event which it represents. I am NOT gay, so please don't allow the "handle" I had used on WBS/Infoseek or other related chat rooms to this day force judgment of my personal character. I have nothing against that lifestyle, but it's not me. I chose the handle from WBS since no one had taken it, and no one had a page on the internet at that time to my knowledge which explained or showcased this event. To have the first of something is always pretty cool in my book, regardless of it's success.
The cowboy poker event has proven to be among the HOTTEST new additions to entertainment at many rodeos since rodeo clowns took up bullfighting. At least 2, and usually not more than 4 very brave souls will sit in the arena comfortably at a small table while a bull is released. The "comfort factor" won't last long as that bull is to try and scare away the contestants whose hands must remain on the table or they'll be disqualified, however the WPRP link above taught me that the cowboy poker rules are not uniform across the rodeo world yet. If you visit their page by the link above, you'll discover that the last "player" in their chair gets the $$, but the pic you see above shows one man with his hand on the table. If this were in Fort Smith in 97' at the Old Fort Days Rodeo, he'd been the winner of that round and advance to the "roulette wheel" during the final go. 97' was the only year the "roulette wheel" was used to eliminate down to the winner, and I have no pictures of that to offer here. (sigh!) The clowns can "lead" the bull by teasing the animal and this includes running around and even standing on the table if the contest would be decided quicker. If a bull doesn't do as expected, another will take his place. The last hands on the table belong to the winner. If there are other variations of the rules that cowboy poker is "played" in your area, e-mail me with the specifics, and I will update this. This page exists partially for information and educational purposes concerning this form of entertainment, but I doubt I'll ever try it. I'm a saddle bronc student still in training. I have a return to rodeo school fully funded and plan to attend it after I've landed a new job starting my new computer career.

 As for the history of it, I don't know when the FIRST game of cowboy poker took place. One of the WBS Cowboy chat regulars told me this is a variation of "Mexican Poker" of which others have since told me this was probably the first name the event carried, and few use any longer out of concerns of offending those from Mexico or Mexican Americans. I've heard of at least one round being "played" during 1996 but I'm not certain. I witnessed my first round of it during the first 1997 show of the Old Fort Days Rodeo on May 28. This PRCA sanctioned show brings out top talent from 40 states and Canada. Many know this rodeo for the World's Richest Barrel Futurity which preceeds the rodeo usually the week or two before (and continues to grow in participation.) It's usually the only major rodeo series going on the week it runs due to the ongoing history, hard work and great planning behind the scenes, excellent contractor and sub-contractor stock (which are contracted after NFR around the first of the year), and of course the prize monies which rank it among the "must go" shows for those eyeing the NFR in December held annually in Las Vegas, NV.

  Cowboy Christmas 1999 had its somber and fantastic moments which highlight the soul of rodeo, and if you were in the area and didn't go, well, you sure missed out! Harper & Morgan Rodeo Co. along with the fine efforts of the Rodeo of the Ozarks Committee brought an exciting rodeo of fine tradition in it's 55th year to Springdale, AR and especially so when I visited on the Fourth of July. It was at this rodeo that a new kind of poker was being played. Called "Cowboy Dodge Ball", it's cowboy poker with a twist! A 30 foot diameter circle was drawn out in which the poker table and chairs were placed in the center. The bull was let out, the table and chairs went, and unlike classic cowboy poker as mentioned earlier, the last man in the circle named Joe Woods was roughed up a bit, but won the money. Due to camera problems, I wasn't able to get a good picture of this. I hope to get pictures of this new spin of extreme on-the-edge entertainment to share with you in the future as I attend more rodeos.

While I'm at it, let me mention two names in which you may wish to remember their contributions to the sport for the Rodeo of the Ozarks who have passed on; Lloyd Johnson was the former Board President, and to Phil Gardenhire who was remembered with prayer during the 4th performance, whose untimely death on April 16th, 1999 left professional rodeo void of among the finest announcer talent the sport has ever known. He had a strong understanding of the sport, having been a contestant years ago, and Phil had no doubt about his priorities including his commitments, family, and his relationship to Jesus Christ. If you ever met Phil or heard him announce rodeos as I have on both points, you'll understand he was one of a kind, well grounded in his native Oklahoma, and definitely not ashamed of who he was, often mentioning to others about one's Christianity. Phil, we sorely missed you at both Old Fort Days and the Rodeo of the Ozarks, and your boots will be very tough to fill, but you'd be among the first to say the rodeo should go on, and so it will, but your memory won't be far away either. Now your entry fees are paid in full, thanks to Jesus.

Any details I've left out? Variations of this event? Let me know please.

 I've heard from several players over the time which I've had this page up, and several had questions concerning cowboy poker protection equipment and strategies to use. Since I've never tried this, I would certainly entertain answers from players, especially those whom I've repeatedly e-mailed over time. I have no idea who gets the credit for this action-filled form of extreme entertainment, other than you're twisted in the mind and we'd probably get along pretty good. Let's party sometime!

 Note that each winner of the 97' Fort Smith go-arounds had advanced to the "roulette wheel", and there were 5 on that wheel. There were 4 at the table during each go-around to determine the winner advancing to the wheel, and although I didn't attend that Fridays go-round, I heard it didn't last that long! Yes, this Made For The 90's into Y2K event is proof positive that people will do ANYTHING for $$ !!! After Old Fort Days came the Rodeo of the Ozarks at Springdale's (Arkansas) Parsons Stadium, where Ferdinand (his stock contractor isn't known by me) tested out 2 players on 7-1-97, the first go-'round of that prestigious show held annually during Cowboy Christmas in that large outdoor arena. One of the board members of Rodeo of the Ozarks said in an interview to KFSM-TV 5 in Fort Smith at that time "We get calls all the time from people wanting to get in to play cowboy poker." So personally, I foresee this event and variations of it to remain with many rodeos for some time to come. So far I'm happy that the Federal Government hasn't required mandatory helmet or other head protection for rough stock riders as was suggested in an FDA proposal from 1996. It's my opinion this should always be a personal choice. I'm a declared libertarian that will help those in and for the sport to fight such silly measures that I believe stink of dictatorship. Although the intentions may appear good to some, it tends to smack directly against the spirit of the sport. My libertarian leanings haven't changed at all as of this Spring 2001 update. I'm registered with the Party as of 8/7/00.  

Your attention please!


 The Older College rodeo change page and survey is history and unfortunately too few responded to push forward with any additional planning to attempt expansion of intercollegiate rodeo to interested, capable, and eligible college students. Read my final statements on this through the page to follow. I'm dropping any and all future efforts toward this and moving on. If you had any interest, either critical or supportive, you will understand my efforts weren't just blowing smoke.

College rodeo "change page" and survey is overwith!

This link and the associated page will be removed on 1-1-2002.

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Janet Ratzloff continues her superb work of gathering links to quality sites in the rodeo and Western world. If you have some time to spend online, pull off your boots and visit a spell. Save time at About.com by using the search box.

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