The 2011 season marked two significant accomplishments for Nebraska cowboy Kyle Whitaker.
The biggest, and most celebrated, is his record sixth Linderman Award, given to the cowboy who best exemplifies the
historic, all-around standard of being great hands in both timed events and roughstock events, qualifying in three events. In Whitaker’s case, he ropes calves, wrestles steers and rides saddle broncs.
With his 2011 victory, Whitaker stopped Trell Etbauer’s reign at three straight years. It also marked the first time in five years Whitaker won the award – Mike Outhier won the title in 2007, followed by Etbauer’s three-year run. But this is nothing new to Whitaker, whose father, Chip, won four Linderman’s in his career.
But the younger Nebraska cowboy has been quite proficient, too, qualifying for the annual award each season since 1997 – to qualify, a cowboy must win at least $1,000 in each of three events, and those events must include at least one roughstock event and one timed event.
“It means more to me than a lot of guys,” Whitaker told the PRCA. “When I was a kid, everywhere my dad competed, they introduced him as the Linderman Award winner. From a young age, I’ve known the history of it. The award was always something I had in mind that I wanted to win.
“It seems like there aren’t a lot of people who have a real awareness of what it means. It is my goal every year to qualify for it and win it. I’ve done it (qualified) every year since 1997, so that’s 15 rodeo seasons. I take real pride in that.”
Kyle Whitaker is a class act, and I love visiting with him any time. He deserves this award as much as anyone, and I’ll make sure to spend some time with him in two months when he goes to Las Vegas to receive the award during the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.