Thumbing through old issues of ProRodeo Sports News has become a fascinating hobby of mine recently. Yeah, I’m nostalgic, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Just the other day, I remember that I was quoted in one of the stories published in the May 16, 2001, issue. There, on Page 14 in Troy Schwindt’s story about
Mark Gomes’ victory in Guymon, Okla., are the two words I recited to Schwindt moments after Gomes said them to me.
“ ‘Redemption time,’ he told one reporter,” Schwindt wrote. Yep, I was that one reporter.
I remember where it happened on the east side of Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena that Sunday afternoon in early May. Gomes had drawn Harry Vold Rodeo Co.’s Sheep Tick, the same horse that had smashed him in the chutes in Cheyenne, Wyo., breaking Gomes’ pelvis in three spots.
The wreck happened in July 2000, just a few months before the Arizona-raised cowboy tested his talents – and his fears – on the bucking horse. The revenge ride was just two and a half years from Gomes’ world championship, earned in 1998 after he won the average championship at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That was my first year covering Pioneer Days Rodeo, and I wrote about the Kansas cowboy’s big win. He and Sheep Tick danced across the dirt for a then-Hitch Arena record 87-point ride, and the move bolstered Gomes’ opportunity to make the NFR again after missing the 2000 championship because of the injury.
The PSN story included a photo of Gomes with his sons, Conor and Colton, the latter of whom was an infant when Gomes won the world title in 1998.
Much has changed since that May afternoon in 2001. Mark Gomes no longer rides rank bareback horses, and Conor Gomes will be a senior in high school starting this fall.
But I still like reading nostalgic stories, even telling a few along the way.