In the rodeo world, women don’t have much of a role when it comes to competition.

But that’s changing, and Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo is part of that change.

The rodeo includes breakaway roping, a women’s event similar to men’s tie-down roping. But in the breakaway, the women do not dismount from their horses to flank and tie the calf — the rope they throw around the calf’s head “breaks away” from the saddle horn.

And a new leader emerged after the second night of competition in Garden City.

Amber Coleman, Orchard, Neb., stopped the clock in 3.20 seconds to take the lead among the 25 cowgirls entered in the event.

Coleman has been competing in breakaway since her junior high rodeo days, qualifying for the Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo all four years and roping collegiality for two years at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, then two more years at Northwestern Oklahoma State in Alva. In 2003, her senior year of college, she qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo. She graduated with a degree in ag business and a minor in communication.

She’s pleased that breakaway is becoming a bigger part of the sport of rodeo. The American Rodeo in Arlington, Texas included it this past March, and Cheyenne Frontier Days will add the event at its rodeo this summer, as will the Rapid City (S.D.) Stock Show and Rodeo, among other rodeos. She just returned two weeks ago from the World’s Richest Breakaway Roping, held in Billings, Mont.

“There’s a lot more breakaway,” she said. “It’s great.”

Breakaway roping showcases women in the predominantly male sport, Coleman believes, and it adds more fans to the sport.

“It brings a whole other group to your rodeo,” she said.

In pro rodeo’s seven standard events, barrel racing is the only women’s event. Women have team roped and ridden bulls in the PRCA, but it rarely occurs.

Her job as an advertising representative for the Nebraska Cattlemen magazine allows her to work from home and travel as needed.

Her partner in the arena is an 18-year-old bay gelding named Conquistador. A former tie-down roping horse who was wound tight during his event, his former owner sold him, thinking he’d do better in the breakaway. He’s great, she said, solid every time, although sometimes “he’s nervous.”

The team roping lead changed during the Friday night performance. Brady Payne, Bluff Dale, Texas and Pace Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M. made a 5.9 second run to move into the lead.

Other fast times and high scores from the Friday evening performance include bareback rider Taylor Broussard, Estherwood, La. (79.5); steer wrestler Chad Van Campen, McCook, Neb. (5.6 seconds); saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas (80); barrel racer Alisha Broussard, Estherwood, La. (18.98 seconds) and bull rider Trevor Kastner, Roff, Okla. (77 points.) No tie-down ropers made a qualified run Friday night.

The final day of the 32nd annual Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo takes place Saturday, May 25 in Garden City. Tickets range in price from $16 to $24 and can be purchased at the gate. For more information, visit


Fast times and high scores from the 2nd performance, Friday

Steer wrestling

1. Chad Van Campen, McCook, Neb. 5.6 seconds; 2. Tom Littell, Elm Creek, Neb. 6.4; 3. Jasper Dunn, Whitehall, Wisc. 7.4; 4. JD Draper, Oakley, Kan. 8.1.

Bareback riding

1. Taylor Broussard, Estherwood, La. 81 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Innocent Dream; 2. Brian Brown, La Barge, Wyo. 76.5; 3. Garrett Shadbolt, Merriman, Neb. 76; 4. Joel Schlegel, Burns, Colo. 68.

Team roping

1. Brady Payne, Bluff Dale, Texas/Pace Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M. 5.9 seconds; 2. Adam Rose, Willard, Mo./Jett Hillman, McAlester, Okla. 6.9; 3. Troy Boone, Mutual, Okla./Tanner Nall, Alva, Okla. 7.5; no other qualified runs

Saddle bronc riding

1. Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas 80 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Anchor Management; 2. Wyatt Hageman, Jay Elm, Wyo. 74; 3. Colton Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo. 67; 4. Dean Wadsworth, Buffalo Gap, Texas 66.

Tie-down roping

No qualified runs.

Breakaway roping

1. Amber Coleman, Orchard, Neb. 3.20 seconds; 2. Melissa Couture, Alva, Okla. 3.58; 3. Y’Leigh Yarborough, Elk City, Okla. 6.71; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing

1. Alisha Broussard, Estherwood, La. 18.98 seconds; 2. Amy Wilson, Colby, Kan. 19.92; 3. Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo. 20.49.

Bull riding

1. Trevor Kastner, Roll, Okla. 77 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Flash Dance; 2, Zach Parker, Ft. Scott, Kan. 61; no other qualified rides.