The Ram Top Gun award was established for the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to reward the contestant who did the best over 10 days at ProRodeo’s championship.
But maybe the Ram folks (formerly the Dodge folks) should consider a name change and call it the Tough Gun award, given to one tough-luck contestant who failed to cash in at the NFR.
Here’s why I think that: First off, the people up for the Top Gun award earned enough money over the course of the NFR to buy their own vehicles. For heaven’s sake, Trevor Brazile earned the title by winning $211,509 at the NFR and added $28,000 at the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.
As always is the case, the man walking away with the new Ram pickup is less in need of it than, say, Ryan Gray (injured) or Dustin Flundra, both of whom earned the right to play on the biggest stage of the sport but didn’t earn a stinkin’ dime. Put their names in a hat and draw for the Ram Tough Gun award winner.
Because Trevor, J.W. Harris ($158,738), Cody Wright, ($148,287) and all the others who finished in the top 10 of the Ram Top Gun award did well enough to buy their own. Give it to the contestants who could really use it.
debbie browning / December 15, 2010
that’s an excellent idea!
jeff / December 15, 2010
Well, We all know its not about the hardships a athlete goes thru or the ability to get to the wnfr. This so called award is designed to get the top athlete (s) in the business to help promote the product. It would be to easy to award the truck to someone that didnt make a dime, but you as everyone else knows. Its about image and “losers” and i use that only for this statement, Do not fit in the programs theses companies would like to associated with. It has to be the winners, that have to be seen with the product, JUST BETTER BUSINESS. I back you 100% on your article. Thanks for bein on the Right side.
Ted Stovin / December 16, 2010
First of all I have to say to you Ted, I think I might have saw you somewhere in Vegas this past week but I never got to meet you I would have liked to though. Secondly I think that Ryan Gray should have won the truck too, even though I am Canadian and should probably root for Dustin Flundra. To be coming into the finals in the top spot (I think, if not he was second) then get hurt and taken out of the picture for an entire season no questions asked has to be tough. That means he went from having a chance to win his first World Championship this year to not being able to even be a contender next year. Two NFR’s total missed deserves something. We as competitors already have a tough enough time getting down the road.
This sport is for the wealthy in many cases. Unless you can come from nothing and be great enough to be the top in the World and make a living at it, your often losing money. I’m not trying to say that your idea is wrong either Jeff, but I think we can go about giving these awards in a different way. Like changing the entire reason to give it out to what Ted thinks. An example could maybe be a cash award for some different qualities. We do this at my bull riding event in Drayton Valley, AB. We give out 4 different awards of $500 to 4 different riders. All of whom don’t place in the bull riding for staying on. The different categories are
1. Sportsmanship in and out of the arena-
2. The Rider having an overall Positive Attitude-
3. The rider with the Biggest Heart and most Try-
4. Our last award is given out to the bull rider of choice, chosen by the mother of guy who we put the bull riding on in honor.
They have actually come to be some highly coveted awards, and the idea didn’t even come from someone with a rodeo background. It was my own mother’s idea and she has only watched me ride about 10-15 times ever.
So in all we had a $2000 added but paid out over $10 000 when it was done because of the entry fees, those awards and another part where we gave all the gate donations out as scholarships. How about an NFR top person under 21? A new truck for them would be pretty great too wouldn’t it? I think Issac Diaz would agree. He qualified for two NFR’s while attending Tarelton University in Stepheville, TX. We all know how much money we have in school. I sure can’t afford a truck like that right now.
So I think there are some other options out there where a truck could go to a “Champion at heart” where it might not actually be showed directly in the arena by winning 14 World Titles. Do you think there are other ways like this a person could give out the truck award?
jeff / December 17, 2010
Ted, what a great insite, I agree with your comments on how to give awards away or to present them to athletes. I have rodeo’d a long time, and in all the years, i have only seen awards like that, at very few rodeo’s and the committees have given them for years that way. But i have never seen any major sponsor of the PRCA give or offer awards like that anywhere.
These companies are just that companies, that have sales in mind. Dont get me wrong but they only care about the bottom line and what there sponsorship or association with the PRCA can bring in for the companies bottom line. They will offer awards and product to athletes, but only if it can benefit them in a way that will generate sales.
It is all about a image game when doin so, i know this first hand, if you are the talk of town and they see that you can benefit them with sales (promotions) then you are their golden egg. If you are the champion in this case you, are the Golden Egg, they have been waiting for. You will be the talk of the town and if your wearing, using and driving their product, then they look like champions too to the comman person. That truck in this case will have a contract rider attached that the lettering (promoting that Company) will have to stay on the vehicle for two or three years.
Its the nature of the business, But like i said above earlier if your not a champion or finish in top 3, then you are not the athlete they would like to have promote their product. Sad these companies think this way. Corporate American only thinks of it bottom line and profits.
I think if you make the NFR in your event they should award them all trucks, because they are all the quality you would want to represent your company.
Ted Stovin / December 17, 2010
As cool as it would be to see everyone get a truck I don’t see that happening ever haha. But it is cool to think about the possibilities. I have a question for you though. If you were at the finals and you heard about Dodge giving away this truck what would you have done when Bob Tallman announced Trevor Brazile as the winner? It really wasn’t a huge deal was it? Now lets think about the other way. Ryan Gray was in the hospital all week, and Mr. Tallman announces his name as Ryan Makes his way into the arena. How about the standing ovation that would get? Wouldn’t that make a bigger impact on the people present? I think I would remember an injured Contestant showing everyone he’s alright and then getting that tough luck award would have a much greater impact. I’m only 20 though, not the guy who makes the decisions right? I might not “have the experience.” I have a feeling that really, no one even thought about this other option and I bet it changes next year.
jeff / December 17, 2010
Well to answer your first question. No i would not bat a eye, about Brazil gettin the truck, nature of business, Some there may have thought it was the great thing since the I-phone. Second Question, You bet i would have been more preceptive to the truck going to Ryan and yes it would have been a more meaningful aspect in regards to the fans rememberin that Ram gave him the truck and it would have generated a more positive sales aspect for the company and its pr with the fans and potential customers. Well ted only 20, but you are the future of Rodeo and our Country, so I say you may not be making decisions now, but keep up the positive attitude you have for the sport and the athletes and you will be the decision maker. You will be the one that can determine the right aspect for the company you are associated with. As for the changes for next year, well i have the wait and see policy, hope it does, but will never hold my breathe on it.
Ted Harbin / December 17, 2010
I love the posts. They are insightful and, more importantly, the type of thoughts that help a sport like rodeo grow.
I think there are marketable aspects in any scenario of this truck giveaway. I think the powerful minds at Dodge Rodeo could find ways to give Dustin Flundra or Ryan Gray the truck and help sell a few million more Rams.
I’m a firm believer in sponsorships being more than donations — I think they should be tremendous marketing tools for the companies putting up the money or prizes. If the Top Gun award is a winner for Dodge, then great. But I suspect there’s a terrific marketing angle that could be made on the opposite end of the NFR spectrum.
Keep ’em coming. I love it.