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Bulldogs Jump Into AP Rankings On Eve Of Hosting ULM

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:29
STARKVILLE, Miss. –Preseason WNIT champion Mississippi State moved into the Associated Press Top 25 poll on the eve of wrapping a five-game homestand against the University of Louisiana at Monroe Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Bulldogs' Victoria Vivians Named SEC Freshman Of The Week

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:08
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A WNIT MVP performance earned Mississippi State freshman Victoria Vivians a pair of weekly honors Monday.

Rodeo passion leads Bennett to NFR

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:48

MORGAN, Utah – The reason Caleb Bennett loves rodeo is very simple.

“The rodeo atmosphere is me,” said Bennett, a bareback rider from Morgan. “It’s like whiskey to a drunk or poker to a gambler; it’s just something you’ve got to have.

“I love it. I love traveling. I love 10-hour drives with buddies, and I love getting on bucking horses when I get there.”

That passion has carried the 26-year-old cowboy to his third straight qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s year-end championship set for Dec. 4-13 in Las Vegas. Only the top 15 contestants from the regular season in each event advance to the 10-round finale, which offers the greatest payout in the game, $6.375 million.

Caleb Bennett

Caleb Bennett

The combatants will all battle for the $19,000 payday during each go-round over 10 December nights in southern Nevada, and the contestants with the most money earned at its conclusion will be crowned world champions. Through the regular season, Bennett pocketed $85,225 and will arrive in Sin City next week No. 8 in the bareback riding world standings.

“Everyone starts the year with the goal of making it to the NFR,” said Bennett, who earned nearly $64,000 last December. “This is how we make our living, so it’s a huge goal.”

The Utah cowboy heads to the finals after his best regular season. He had nine Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association titles in 2014, including wins in Rapid City, S.D.; Clovis, Calif.; Pendleton, Ore.; and the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“Winning the national championship was awesome,” he said of the April rodeo in which he won a boatload of cash and a voucher toward the purchase of a Ram pickup. “That’s always been a goal of mine to go to the Ram finals and win that, and this was only my second year of qualifying for that.

“It’s just another stepping stone and what I want to accomplish in my career.”

His year was solid from start to finish, and that helped him find a comfort zone to this year’s NFR. That’s quite a change from 2013, when he had to finish with a flourish in order to qualify in the 15th and last spot.

“I had a great season, and I tried to plan things differently this year,” Bennett said. “I tried to set up my winter runs by hitting the bigger, better rodeos and taking advantage of that. All summer long I entered like that. I tried to enter smarter instead of by quantity.

“I won more money this year than I had either year before when I qualified. That really made the month of September a lot easier on me. I could go to the bigger ones and relax a little bit and not have to worry about making it.”

That pressure-valve rele3ase paid off in Pendleton, one of the biggest and most historic events in ProRodeo. He rode Sankey Rodeo’s Thunder Monkey for 87 points to win the short go-round and share the average championship with fellow NFR qualifier Tim O’Connell.

“That’s a world-renowned rodeo that everybody wants to win,” said Bennett, who competed on the rodeo team at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, after a stellar career that saw him win the 2007 National High School Finals Rodeo bareback riding title in one of his four qualifications. “I’d never made the short round before, then I snuck in and happened to draw the best horse.”

Of course, nothing comes without assistance. He gets plenty of support from his family; his father, Bob Caldwell, rode bucking horses and continues to compete in team roping; his mother, Claudine, has always been around barrel racing. Bennett, two brothers and three sisters were all raised around the sport and all but one have competed.

“My family’s been a huge support for me,” Bennett said. “I swear my mom is my biggest fan. They’ve always been a great support group of mine to get from points A to B throughout the summer.”

That family also consists of his traveling posse, a foursome of bareback riders who go by the moniker “Flow Riders,” primarily because of their long hair. That group also includes NFR qualifier R.C. Landingham of Pendleton, who has finished 16th each of the past two seasons; Clint Laye of Cadogan, Alberta, among the top 25 in 2013-14; and J.R. Vezain of Cowley, Wyo., a three-time NFR qualifier sitting 10th in the world standings.

“The main reason we started growing our hair was to honor R.C.’s mom, Wendy Stiver, when she started losing her hair while battling cancer,” Bennett said. “She is such a strong woman, and it goes for anyone out there who battles cancer. She’s been an inspiration for all of us. We started growing our hair for her this year.”

Moments like that help the cowboy stay grounded. He realizes he has blessings and talent, and he plans to take advantage of both. He has an amazing support system, which also includes other cowboys.

“The first year I made the finals, Kaycee told me to just keep positive,” he said of Kaycee Feild, a seven-time NFR qualifier and the reigning three-time world champion bareback rider from Spanish Fork, Utah. “I’ve just taken that with me every year. If something didn’t go right, I just let it go and started to focus on the next one.

“That’s what I’m going to do this year. I feel healthier and stronger than I’ve ever felt. I have a good workout routine to hopefully better me. I’m going to just go in there with goals and a winning mindset, because I really want to win that rodeo.”

Doing so would mean finishing with the best 10-ride aggregate score. Feild has done that each of the past three seasons, which is a key reason he won those world championship gold buckles. It’s a great lesson for Bennett, who could add a $48,732 bonus if he were to win the NFR average.

“Anything can happen either way in Las Vegas,” Bennett said. “I’ve watch guys go in and struggle. Last year Kaycee struggled the first two rounds, then all of the sudden, he just stepped up and went hotter than a firecracker.

“To me, that is the biggest lesson. Even if you have a few bad rounds, you can still come back and do well. The last few years I started stronger than I finished, and this year my goal is to finish stronger than I start.”

With that goal in place, Bennett has his eyes set on the top prize in the game: The gold buckle.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Dan Mullen, Dak Prescott Preview 2014 Egg Bowl

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:30
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen previewed the fourth-ranked Bulldogs' season-ending showdown at No. 18 Ole Miss at his weekly news conference on Monday.

Cops: Slain boy's air gun 'indistinguishable'

CNN - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:26
Cleveland police said officers fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice as the youth reached for an air pistol in his waist, "indistinguishable from a real firearm."
Categories: National News

Use this app to get the lowest prices on your holiday shopping

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 13:45
Read full story for latest details.

Luxury retailers are watching you

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 13:34
The store of the future knows what you were doing last night.

Gay killing game 'Ass Hunter' taken down by Google

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 13:14
Following a backlash, Google has removed a game from the Android store that advocated killing gay men for sport.

ISIS, Iraqi forces battle

CNN World - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:53
A fierce battle between ISIS militants and Iraqi military and tribal forces is raging close to the main government complex of Anbar province in the center of Ramadi, the capital city.
Categories: International News

Timber! Why the rich are buying trees

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:46
In the rarefied world of the wealthy, timber is the hot new commodity.

Mississippi State Athletics Launches #VirtualCowbell

Bulldog Beat - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:33
STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the first time ever, Mississippi State fans will have the opportunity to ring their cowbell virtually, MSU senior associate athletics director Scott Wetherbee announced Monday.

Durfey heading to his 7th NFR

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 12:13

LAS VEGAS – If seven is a lucky number, Tyson Durfey is counting his blessings.

Next week, Durfey will compete in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the seventh time. It’s just another major step in an already-amazing 11-year tie-down roping career, which includes three Canadian titles, a Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo championship and a $100,000 payday this past March for winning tie-down roping at RFD-TV’s The American.

Over his previous six trips to Las Vegas, the Missouri-born cowboy has had a mixed bag of results. He’s seen great success and struggled. Since his first qualification in 2007, Durfey has missed the finale just once; that was two seasons ago when he finished 18th in the world standings – only the top 15 cowboys at the end of the regular season make the trip to Las Vegas.

Tyson Durfey

Tyson Durfey

“My dad was a cowboy, my grandfather was a cowboy and my brothers were cowboys,” said Durfey, the youngest son of Roy Durfey, a man well known as an elite trainer of tie-down ropers and calf-roping horses. “All I wanted was to be a cowboy.”

He’s been that way since he was a young man growing up on his father’s place near Savannah, Mo. That’s where he was taught the lessons of being a true rodeo hand. It’s what’s carried him through his 31 years, both as a talented roper and as a man.

“One thing I still hold onto today is that when I give someone my word, that’s as good as anything I can give them and that I will stand by it,” he said.

That’s a vital point to being a cowboy, but so is competing at a high level.

At 23, Durfey became the first American-born contestant to win a Canadian Professional Rodeo Association title. That came in 2006. He followed that with two other Canadian titles, one in 2008, the last in 2011. Earlier that season, he won the national title for the first time.

“It felt good to win the national championship and the Canadian national championship” in the same year, he said.

He also has made adjustments to his life and his livelihood, which has made a significant difference in how he approaches the work of being a professional rodeo cowboy.

“When I was younger, I’d let that pressure get to me more,” said Durfey, who has sponsorship agreements with Next IT Corp., Zoetis Animal Health, Pro Vision Equine Digital Surveillance, Cinch, Corral Boots, Logan Coach Horse Trailers, Willbros Group Inc., Swift Transportation, HR Workplace Services, Priefert and Silver Lining Herbs. “As I’ve gotten older, I guess I’ve gotten more focused and more confident. Every win gives you a little bit more confidence. If you can take every win, you can just build your confidence over time.

“I rely on what my capabilities are. I know my strengths and my weaknesses, and I know what I’m capable of. If I’m able to stay focused, stay relaxed and rope, the winning takes care of itself.”

Each year on the rodeo trail means another level of experience he carries with him. These days, he also shares his life with his wife of one year, Australian-born country singer Shea Fisher. They live on a place near Weatherford, Texas, when she’s not singing and when he’s not on the rodeo trail.

During his first qualification to the NFR in 2007, he had a much different approach to the game than he does now. The adjustments have made a world of difference.

“I just wanted to win and beat them, but at the end of the day, it boils down to being the best person you can be and doing the best you can do every time,” Durfey said. “I was more focused on trying to win than I was at trying to be the best I could be at the rodeo.”

It’s working rather well.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

TSA discovers record number of guns in carry-ons

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:54
Here's a holiday travel tip for you: Don't try to board an airplane with a gun in your carry-on.

Giffords completes 11-mile bike ride

CNN - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:43
Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords completed an 11-mile cycling event Saturday, marking another milestone in her recovery from a 2011 mass shooting.
Categories: National News

Obama announces Hagel's resignation

CNN - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:29
President Obama announces Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's resignation.
Categories: National News

Wyclef Jean on Taylor Swift-Spotify spat

Business News - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:18
Wyclef Jean says he respects Taylor Swift's decision to pull her music from Spotify. But that doesn't mean he's ready to shun the popular streaming site himself.

See Soyuz rocket launch into space

CNN World - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:18
Three new crew members are headed on a six-month voyage aboard the International Space Station.
Categories: International News

Armes is ready for the NFR

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:02

PONDER, Texas – Bray Armes isn’t much of a gambler, but he loves Las Vegas.

He returns to the City of Lights next week with his third qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. This is a business trip for the steer wrestler from Ponder, and he takes care of business quite well in the Nevada desert.

In 2012-13, Armes has earned more than $288,500 grappling bovines – he pocketed $185,755 of that in Las Vegas over 20 December nights. Now he goes into ProRodeo’s premier event sixth in the world standings. He trails leader Trevor Knowles by $22,500, but that gap can be closed in a hurry at the NFR, where go-round winners earn $19,000 each night.

Bray Armes

Bray Armes

“My whole thought is that I’m going into the finals in the best position I’ve ever gone in,” said Armes, who grew up in the northern-most area of the Texas Panhandle near Gruver. “I’ve got just as good of a shot as anybody to go in there and win the gold buckle. I’m going to try to win as many rounds as I can and see where it falls in the end.”

Last December, he downed 10 steers in a cumulative time of 44.8 seconds to win the coveted NFR average championship – it is the second greatest accomplishment in the game, only to be outdone by the world championship.

To say he likes the set up at the Thomas & Mack Center would be a bit of an understatement.

“I like a fast start,” he said. “I’ve always seemed to do pretty good at quick starts, and it’s definitely as fast as anywhere we go. I’ve been blessed to ride good horses out there every year, and I’ve had great hazers.

“Everything’s been lined up good for me.”

It’s been worth the wait. Armes focused on competing sparingly early in his career, then stepped away from the game in 2009-11. When he returned in 2012, he did so with a goal of being one of the best in the game. He’s been one of the elite ever since. He finished the 2014 regular season with more than $69,000.

He won the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Kennewick, Wash., and also earned at least a share of the title at Jackson, Miss.; Lake Charles, La.; Armstrong, B.C.; and Dodge City, Kan.

“Dodge City is always one I’ve wanted to win, and I’ve had the opportunity to win it before,” said Armes, a four-time College National Finals Rodeo qualifier while attending Howard County Junior College in Big Spring, Texas, and Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. “That was pretty awesome to get the win at it.”

It was the perfect time of year. He had just enjoyed his family being on the rodeo trail for two weeks. As a rodeo cowboy who spends much of his time away from home, those few days with his wife, Neelley, daughter, Breely, and son, Drake, were priceless. In fact, Breely was still with him when he won the title in western Kansas.

“My family came out with me more than they ever have, and Breely stayed with me another week because she had never done that by herself before,” he said. “My family means the world to me. They take care of everything at home. A smile or anything, just to see them, it tends to bring you back. When you’re down, they can always pick you back up.

“All it takes is a little smile from them, and you seem to forget about everything else.”

In fact, that sentiment will bring some big changes for the Armeses in 2015.

“When I got home, I told them I wasn’t ready to quit, but I was willing to do that or they needed to make the decision to go with me all year,” he said. “I don’t want to miss the kids growing up. We’re all so close. They pretty much build me up all the time and keep me happy. The hardest part of what I do is being away from them, and I’m ready to be with them every day instead of away from them.”

That’s bound to make everything better for next year, but Armes has no other complaints about his 2014 season. He leaned on hazer Sean Mulligan, a four-time NFR qualifier from Coleman, Okla., and on his horse, Ote, a lightning quick palomino gelding.

He’ll do so in Las Vegas.

“They don’t make them any better than Sean Mulligan,” Armes said. “When I back in the box, I’ve got to worry about one thing, and that’s bulldogging. Ote’s going to work great every time, and Sean’s going to have the steers right there where I need them every time. Sean’s hard to beat because he has the steers picked up for you every time.

“I’m blessed to have Ote, because he gives me a chance to win every time. If I don’t win, it’s usually pilot error. He scores great and gives me everything he’s got ever time. There’s not a lot of them out there that do that.”

With that kind of team in his corner, Armes is coming out swinging when the 10-round NFR slugfest begins Dec. 4. He has high goals – “I want to wear them both, the average buckle and the gold buckle,” he said – and he has the right frame of mind to do it.

“Winning the gold buckle means everything to us; it’s why we do what we do,” he said. “It’s the highest point that we can get to in our careers. To be able to win the world title would be something special.”

It would be a dream come true.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Is Philae's comet mission really over?

CNN World - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:00
It flew for 10 years, crossed millions of miles of space, bounced over the surface of a comet and returned heaps of data ... and then quietly faded away.
Categories: International News

 

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