Farm Talk

Equine

March 3, 2009

Kan. rodeo contractor heading for Spain

ABBYVILLE, Kan. (AP)—He has trucked his rodeo stock from coast to coast and shipped saddle horses and bucking bulls to nearly a dozen overseas ports.

But for Charles ``Bronc'' Rumford, a Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, 2009, booking in Spain and Portugal stands as ``a completely different deal.''

On this trip, he's packing an entire rodeo: 56 horses, 20 Brahma bulls, 25 steers and 25 roping calves. He's even bringing 52 performers and the full arena.

The soft-spoken, second-generation rodeo stockman wears a gentle smile and loves the rodeo game. Family lore has him up on a horse when he was nine days old and then riding Sonny, his first bucking horse, at age 3.

His dad, the late rodeo man Floyd Rumford, billed him as the world's youngest bronc rider, which gave him the nickname.

What rodeo crowds then didn't know was that a fishing line hooked to Sonny's flank allowed Floyd to control how high Sonny jumped.

But moving an entire rodeo to another continent includes a different set of challenges.

``You can't just put a bucking horse on an airplane, tell him his seat is E4 and to go sit down,'' Rumford joked. ``It's a huge undertaking.''

He'll truck the livestock to Chicago, where they'll be impounded, inspected and crated.

In Spain, they'll stage back-to-back rodeos in 10 cities before moving on for two stops in Portugal, for a total of 24 performances.

He's putting together a cast of ``good'' animals, but not his ``A'' team.

``It's like starting a ball club,'' Rumford said. ``You have your stars and the utility players.''

Recently, with help from Justin Williams of Hutchinson and Erin Cota of Nickerson, Rumford helped prepare one of the horses—Alley Cat—for the trip.

Sometimes those horses get mixed up on what job they're doing, Rumford said, adding a shake of his head and a wide grin.

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