PRCA news and notes: July 30, 2009

Straight Talk with the Commissioner now available
Commissioner Karl Stressman will be doing regular video reports on Prorodeo.com, called Straight Talk with the Commissioner, as part of his ongoing effort to improve communication with members and fans.
The video is accessible on the PRCA's home page, and each report will be saved and remain readily available on RodeoUp.Com – the official video site of ProRodeo. The reports are being produced by PRCA Properties.
The first report, which went online today, features video of the new Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Exhibit in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, the July 11 induction ceremony, the new Mobile Merchandise initiative, the ProRodeo FanZone and much more.

Straight Talk with the Commissioner is soliciting questions from members, media and fans through a new e-mail address dedicated to this project: TalktoKarl@prorodeo.com

Chapman, Walls recovering from shoulder surgeries
Texas tie-down ropers Jeff Chapman of Athens and Trent Walls of Stephenville are both rehabilitating their shoulders after undergoing surgeries on July 15. Dr. Tandy Freeman of Dallas performed surgery on the cowboys to repair torn labrums and other structural damage. Chapman, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is expected to miss the rest of the season as he rehabilitates his right shoulder. The surgery also repaired a torn biceps muscle in Chapman's right arm.

Walls, a two-time Wrangler NFR tie-down roper (1998, 2002), had a torn labrum and joint damage in his left shoulder and opted for surgery after trying to rope with the pain for months. He expects to miss three to four months and said he could possibly return for some October rodeos.

Friends step forward to help injured bull rider Littlejohn
Four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Chris Littlejohn is undergoing treatment at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon, Mo., to recover from a severely bruised spine suffered during a bull-riding event June 20 in Odessa, Mo.

Doctors performed surgery to fuse three vertebrae in Littlejohn's neck. Though the injury produced some paralysis, the 36-year-old Tulsa, Okla., cowboy is reporting some progress through the rehab process and has some feeling in his lower extremities.

Friends have banded together to create a fund that will be used for the tremendous costs of his recovery — one Littlejohn hopes enables him to return to the sport he loves. While a permanent site is being established, a temporary address to send contributions is the Chris Littlejohn Medical Fund, P.O. Box 663, Maryville, MO 64468.

MRI shows Fulton has no tumor regrowth
A July 22 MRI revealed that PRCA all-around hand Brian Fulton of Valentine, Neb., has had no tumor re-growth and is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a second surgery to remove cancerous growths from his brain.

Fulton, 46, was paralyzed on his left side from head to toe after the second surgery on Jan. 22, but his family is reporting that he now has about 65 percent use of his left side. Fulton is going to therapy two or three times a week, and doctors are projecting another six months before his brain fully heals.

Fulton is a 12-time Badlands Circuit all-around champion (1984, 1986-90, 1993-95, 1997-99) who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as a tie-down roper in 1991 and as a steer wrestler in 1996, when he finished second in the world standings.

Rodeo Austin presents $352,000 in college scholarships
The Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo in Austin has awarded $352,000 in college scholarships to 44 Texas students this year through the University of Texas, Texas State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and Austin Community College. Scholarships are open to students of all majors and are awarded based on academic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

Since the scholarship program began in 1983, Rodeo Austin has awarded more than $4.2 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 Texas students.