Wade Payne get ready to climb on the back of a bull at a PBR event in Woodward, Okla. A bullriding will take place on Friday as a fundraising event for Payne who was diagnosed with cancer this past spring. A recent examination found Payne to be cancer free, however, some treatments were not covered by Payne’s insurance company. Courtesy photo/Tammy Williams
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
To say the rodeo community is “tight knit” is an understatement that doesn’t quite do this unique group of people justice. Beaver, Okla., native Wade Payne, is a member of this family rooted deep in tradition and history.
When one of their own is in need, sometimes a simple “cowboy up” and a slap on the back just won’t do. This is when cowboys and cowgirls come together and do what they do best – put on a rodeo.
Payne, a 22-year-old college student, was diagnosed with cancer this past spring. When she realized what Payne was going through, Tammy Williams of Beaver knew a benefit bullriding was just the solution to the mountain of medical bills Payne was facing.
“Wade was diagnosed with cancer in March or April,” Williams said. “They did surgery, and they thought they got it all. He went back for a test, and there was a spot on his lung. So, he had to go through brutal chemo. He would have five days of chemo, off for the weekend, a shot on Monday (that the insurance didn’t pay for), two weeks off, five days of chemo, a shot and five days off all the way through August.
“He is done and went for his PET Scan last week and he is cancer free today,” she said with relief. “He has to be checked about every three weeks, his blood is checked – but today he is cancer free.”
When Williams approached Payne regarding the benefit bullriding, he was very apprehensive, she said.
“At first, he was against it,” she said. “Then I sat him down and said, ‘Look, we are going to do this whether you are on board or not.’ Everybody wanted to do something, but there wasn’t anything anybody could do but pray. So, putting on a bullriding was the only thing we knew how to do. So, I explained to him this is not charity.”
Williams has been organizing the event in such a way that anytime someone gives to the cause, that individual receives something of equal value, be it a T-shirt or an advertising package.
“We have not taken one donation,” Williams said. “We have sold advertising packages for the event, we sold T-shirts, sold tickets. Somebody would say, ‘I want to donate $20,’ and I would say, ‘No, but I will sell you a T-shirt.’
“That is how this has all came about,” she added. “The list of sponsors is huge. The only packages we really have available now are arena sponsors for $150. If you have a banner, fine, if not we will make you one. We have bullrider sponsors. What that is, is for $100, you sponsor a bullrider. If the bullrider you sponsor wins, you get a plaque with your name on it. We have 15 available. As for arena banners, as many as we need to put up, we will.”
Tickets to the event not only include the bullriding. For $8, those 13 and older can enjoy an evening of entertainment – children 12 and under will be admitted for free.
“We will have mutton busting, hopefully 40 bullriders and ‘money the hard way,’” Williams said. “Wacey Munsell is bringing a fighting bull, we will stick a $100 bill between his horns. There are about 10 guys already signed up to try to get that money from between that bull’s horns. I got a truckload of fireworks coming, Levi Clark is bringing those. Two bands will be performing, the Terry Allen Band and Joe Davis and Roughwalking.
“What started out as just something small, just to get together and let Wade know we are behind him turned into a huge event, which is cool,” Williams said. “Beaver has never seen anything like this before. It will really be a production.”
Williams has been handling the production side of the event, but the bullriding itself, she said, has been organized by Pete Hessman.
“Pete Hessman is gathering the bulls,” she said. “We are going to use about 10 different stock contractors. We are going to get their best three to five bulls. We will have a real nice set of bulls.
“It has all come together, it hasn’t just been me,” she added. “If it hadn’t been for Pete, we wouldn’t be having a bullriding. My side of it is the production side, getting everything together, gathering sponsors, pounding the pavement – getting the word out. Pete is actually handling the bullriding itself. He is gathering the bulls and making sure everything runs smooth. If it weren’t for him, this wouldn’t be happening.
Williams explained that with an entry fee of $150, $125 will go back into the pot – along with $2,000. Currently 30 bullriders are signed up, there is room for 10 more. After prize money is paid out and the event is paid for, all profits will go to Payne.
“All of the profit goes to Wade,” she said. “Everything at the gate, we have been selling advertising packages and T-shirts. We have sold 535 T-shirts. So, everything after expenses goes to him. Of course, we had printing, ticket printing and things like that. But, the stock contractors are bringing the bulls for free. All the money that we bring in, once the event is paid for, all goes to Wade – everything.
“We will also have a silent auction,” she continued. “Some of the stuff we will have is a pair of custom made boots from Bustemonte Boots in Amarillo. He is donating his base price of $450 to a pair of custom boots. We have a doe hunt for up to five people, rodeo memorabilia from Mrs. Jim Shoulders – we have lots and lots of PBR memorabilia. Cody Losteroh, the reigning PBR world champion, sent a shirt that he wore last year in Vegas when he won the world. There is so much stuff.”
Once Payne became accustomed to the idea of the benefit, the first thing he suggested was helping someone else by conducting an annual event.
“It is important to Wade that the community gets something out of it, too,” Williams said. “He has said that if we are successful, next year he wants to do this again for somebody else.”
Williams is glad to be helping someone like Payne. Throughout his entire illness, she said, he was nothing short of tough and dignified.
“It’s hard on him,” she said. “But he didn’t show it – he is a cowboy. It was tough, but he didn’t want people to see that – he didn’t let anyone see it.
“Wade is the guy that mothers want their sons to grow up to be – that’s Wade,” she said with a smile. “He is always there for everybody. If this were Joe Blow down the street, Wade would be the first one to say, ‘Let’s do something to help this guy.’”
For further information regarding the Wade Payne Benefit Bullriding, call Tammy Williams at (806) 339-4751. Gates will open for the event at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10 at the Beaver County Fairgrounds.
“We just want everybody to come out and have a good time,” Williams said. “This is good, cheap family entertainment. Everybody can just get together and have a good time – for a good reason.”