Trick rider to be featured at Linn County rodeo
Trick rider Haley Proctor's act includes riding Roman style through the flames. She will be featured at the Linn County Rodeo on Aug. 11 and 12. (Submitted photo)
By John Teagarden, Linn County Fair Board
The Linn County Fair has a history of booking top specialty acts for their annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo.
The tradition continues with Haley Proctor, who brings her Roman riding and trick riding acts to Mound City, Aug. 11-12. Proctor has been nominated ‘Top 5 PRCA Dress Act of the Year” by PRCA on four occasions.
Proctor grew up in northeast Oklahoma near Collinsville and still makes her home in the area with husband Shane and 2 ½ year old daughter Coulee at Nowata, Okla., except when she is on the road to many of the major rodeos across the United States.
The 2023 rodeo season started for Haley in January at Rapid City, S.D. Then it was cross country to four rodeos in Florida, followed by two in Texas and one in Minnesota.
“My summer run started late May at Santa Maria, Calif., and continued to Glenwood and Newport, Wash. After Oakley, Utah, (the largest July Fourth week rodeo in the nation) it was on to Sheridan, Wyo., then to Wolf Point and Helena, Mont.
Proctor, 28, will appear at the Great Falls. Mont. rodeo Aug 2-5 and then make the 22-hour, 1,300 mile trip to Mound City for the Aug 11-12 performances.
“I’m scheduled at Gooding, Idaho, the following Wednesday, 1,350 miles west, so it’s going to be a lot of driving time in early August,” she said.
Haley’s late August and September schedule includes rodeos at Ellensburg, Wash., Tremonton and Mona, Utah, and the famed Pendleton Round Up at Pendleton, Ore.
The rodeo genes run several generations deep in Proctor’s family.
"My dad, Jay Paul Ganzel, was a professional bull rider and a race horse jockey in the 1990s and 2000s," she said. "On my mom Charlene’s side of the family, my grandfather Charley Brackett is a ‘top notch’ cowboy and horseman and still trains horses.”
“Mom’s brother, Shawn Brackett, was a professional trick and Roman rider who made four appearances at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Seeing Uncle Shawn doing acrobatic maneuvers on the back of a running horse hooked me at a very young age.”
“With Uncle Shawn’s mentorship and support from the rest my family (after they saw my interest was real), I made my first rodeo appearance at 5 years old, Roman riding on my ponies in Salt Lake City, Utah.”
Roman riding is a style where the rider is standing on the backs of two or more horses at once. It is thought to have developed during the time of the Roman Empire about 2,000 years ago.
Proctor performs "End of the Line" at a recent show. (Submitted photo)
Shawn Brackett,45, was a professional Roman rider and trick rider for parts of three decades, performing at rodeos and wild west shows from California to New York.
“When I retired from the arena in 2011, I was concerned that trick riding was a dying art. It’s a skill that is passed from generation to generation," Bracket said. "A rider must be both a top-level gymnast and a horseman. I learned from Rodeo Hall of Fame members Leon and Vicki Adams, Stuart, Okla.”
“Leon Adams was encouraged by Cowgirl Hall of Fame member Elaine Kramer, who performed with her six-horse Roman riding team in the 1950s era. My niece, Haley, was influenced by myself and others, including the legendary trick rider J.W. Stoker."
(The Adamses have appeared at Mound City twice in the past, and Stoker appeared at Mound City several times in the 1950s).
“Today, there are five or six Roman and trick riders out there, including Haley, who are at the top of their game, getting hired by rodeo committees, and performing to large, receptive crowds," Brackett said. "And equally important, they are conducting clinics for the next generation of riders.”
Haley (Ganzel) Proctor married Shane Proctor in October 2019. Daughter Coulee was born in 2021.
Shane Proctor’s rodeo "pedigree” is solid as well. The 2011 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider, he has qualified six times for the NFR in bull riding. He also has qualified for the Professional Bull Riders finals nine times.
Today at 38, Shane Proctor still competes at some of his favorite rodeos in both bull riding and saddle bronc riding, supports Haley with her acts on the road and trains young horses in addition to being Coulee’s dad.
“I’m looking forward to Mound City," said Haley Proctor in a phone interview recently. "Since Nowata is just two hours south, I should be able to go home for a couple of days before coming back to your rodeo Aug 11-12. And my mom and several family members are coming to the rodeo at Mound City.
“It takes a village to get to this point in my career and to maintain. I have a high school senior and trick riding student from Arkansas, Lily Ferguson, traveling with me this summer. Lily helps with daughter Coulee and the six horses that travel with us.”
Follow ‘Shane and Haley Proctor Fans’ on Facebook and Haley_trickrides on Instagram. And catch Haley in action at the Linn County Fair Rodeo, Mound City, at 8 p.m. on Aug 11 and 12. More information at linncountyfair.org and Linn County Fair and Rodeo on Facebook.