(PRCA media release)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has announced finalists for the 2018 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year Award, including Bozeman’s Chris Ray.
Created in 2010 to spotlight and honor veterinarians who have dedicated time, talents and efforts to the health and welfare of rodeo livestock, the award allows the opportunity to give back to these deserving individuals. Membership of the PRCA nominate a veterinarian whom they feel has shown extraordinary commitment to the health and welfare of rodeo livestock. Nominations are considered by a review and selection committee comprised of industry experts and advocates which carefully reviews each nominee’s specific contributions to the health and welfare of rodeo livestock. Additional criteria, including the extent of involvement in the sport of rodeo and community involvement, also are considered by the committee. The recipient of the 2018 PRCA Veterinarian of the Year Award will be announced in mid-October and will be honored at the PRCA Awards Banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 5. The following six distinguished veterinarians have been selected as finalists.
Dr. Chris Ray, Bozeman, Mont.
Nominated by Bruce Keller
A recognized Equine Sports Medicine Surgeon, Ray has dedicated his life to the health, well-being, soundness and longevity of the rodeo-competitive horse.
With the clinical focus of prevention, rehabilitation and soundness in the future, Ray’s clientele includes past and present world champions of the PRCA and WPRA.
Ray is known not only for his professionalism and compassion while working with livestock and their owners, but also as an individual who puts the needs of livestock before his own personal time and financial gain.
Dr. Benjamin Espy, San Antonio, Texas
Nominated by the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
Espy, a life member of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, began volunteering at the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo in 1997. While maintaining and continually improving the operating procedures regarding livestock movement, transportation and conveyance at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, more than 60,000 animals move on and off the grounds under Espy’s watchful eye during the 18-day run.
With a passion for higher education, Espy works as an advisor to the students who receive the Veterinary School Scholarships through San Antonio Livestock Exposition.
Dr. Troy Ford, Clovis, Calif.
Nominated by the Clovis Rodeo Association
The son of a longtime rodeo committee member and volunteer, Ford has been the official Clovis Rodeo veterinarian since 1993. While putting his professional duties on hold during rodeo week, the effort provided by Ford extends into the preventative care of rodeo livestock by assisting in the renovation of the rodeo grounds and facilities.
In addition to duties with the rodeo, Ford unselfishly gives of his time and expertise to the Fresno and Clovis Police departments’ Horse Patrol Units, Fresno Humane Animal Services, Fresno Chaffee Zoo and numerous vocational education programs.
Dr. Charles Graham, Elgin, Texas
Nominated by Dr. William C. Anderson, DVM
A founding member of Rodeo Austin, recipient of two Distinguished Alumni Awards from Texas A&M University and an inductee into the Rodeo Austin Hall of Fame, Graham has been a driving force in the prevention and rehabilitation of rodeo’s top competitive horses for more than 40 years.
Known as a “straight talker” and an individual determined to “give back,” numerous individuals involved with the Western way of life have reaped the benefits of Graham’s advice, wisdom and passion.
Dr. Michael Harms, Canby, Ore.
Nominated by Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo, Canby Rodeo
As a Rotarian for more than 30 years and exemplifying the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self,” Harms has dedicated his life to the welfare of animals, livestock and his community.
He has served as the veterinarian for the Clackamas County Fair for 45 years and as the veterinarian for the Canby Rodeo for more than 20 years.
Harms is known, respected and loved by many. His wealth is in his dedication to not only his community, but the welfare of all animals he encounters.
Dr. Heather Schneider, Hudson, Iowa
Nominated by Cheyenne Frontier Days
Schneider’s passion for rodeo began long before becoming the exclusive arena veterinarian at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days in 2010. Over the course of her tenure with Cheyenne Frontier Days, Schneider has filled numerous roles, including Contestant Committee Member, Veterinarian’s Assistant and Miss Frontier.
Schneider was monumental in forging a partnership with Cheyenne Frontier Days and Colorado State University’s Equine Clinical Services Program, which has been designed to ensure the sport of rodeo and its livestock have qualified, dedicated and experienced veterinarians for years to come.