MARQUEZ, Texas – Only the very best in the business earn a trip to the most prestigious events in the Professional Cowboys Association.
Sandy Gwatney is one of those individuals.
Not only has she been recognized as one of the top personnel – she is one of five nominees for PRCA Secretary of the Year, her third straight nomination – Gwatney also has been selected to perform her duties at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, which will take place Nov. 11-12 at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kan.
This season also marks her third straight year to have been selected to work the steer roping finale, an honor bestowed upon the top personnel in the business. They will be joined by the world’s best top 15 steer ropers, who will battle for the world championship.
“She puts all of her effort into her job and is devoted to it,” said JoJo LeMond, who sits 13th in the world standings and is qualifying for the finale for the third time. “She’s worked all ends of a rodeo, not just as a secretary. She’s been sorting cattle, running a neck rope and doing all sorts of other things, so she understands all aspects of a rodeo.
“She’s a very valuable player for a rodeo organization.”
Gwatney was raised in northern California, attending school in Yuba City; she also lived in Hesperia, and being a cowgirl is who she is. Over her rodeo career, she has served as a contestant, a contractor and an all-around horsewoman when needed. It has served her well.
Now she’s focused on the duties that come on the production side of the business. While competitors make their living eight seconds at a time, Gwatney handles many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that help make everything go seamlessly.
Gwatney will be working the rodeo with her husband, John, who will serve as the NFSR’s chute boss for the seventh straight year. The two travel the rodeo trail together, working diligently to make sure each competition and each performance goes off without a hitch.
Over a career, Sandy Gwatney has served as a timer for the steer roping finals and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. She has also served as an assistant secretary at the Wrangler NFR.
While contestants appreciate her work, they also look beyond that; there they see into her personality, which is one of the most telling traits she has.
“You can trust her, and, in turn, you get the trust and the loyalty she’s given to steer roping,” LeMond said. “She stands behind our event, and you always have a smiling face to greet you.
“She’s just very good at her job.”
Those are just a few of the reasons she’s received the recognition, and they’re why she remains dedicated to the job.