Originally Published: June 26, 2012 11 p.m.
For those spectators at this year's Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo who may not be completely enamored with watching professional cowboys wrestle steers, ride broncs or rope calves, don't fret.
Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at the other forms of entertainment that the rodeo offers - including its crowd-pleasing specialty acts.
During the 2012 rodeo's eight live performances that begin Thursday and run through next Wednesday, July 4, at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Drive, audiences will be treated to the motorcycling acrobatics of Troy "The Wild Child" Lerwill, the precision horse riding of Quadrille de Mujeres, and the elegant beauty of the Diamond Z English Shire Horses.
What follows is a breakdown for each of these three specialty acts that will be performing at the 125th annual Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo.
Troy Lerwill - An opening act at the National Finals Rodeo in 2001, 2003 and 2005, as well as a barrel man at the prestigious competition in Las Vegas from 2006-08, Lerwill's main stunt is jumping over a Dodge pickup and a Bloomer trailer on his motorized dirt bike.
Known as "The Wild Child" during performances, Lerwill began his rodeo career as a bullfighter in 1994. Prior to joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) three years later, in 1997, he made folks laugh as a barrel man.
While a barrel man, the now 45-year-old Lerwill of Payson, Utah, developed a comedic, high-flying motorcycle routine by transferring some of his experiences as a professional motocross racer into the rodeo arena.
Lerwill, who also enjoys mountain biking, alpine climbing and camping, has been performing stunts on his motorbike ever since. He was named PRCA Comedy Act of the Year in 2002 and 2003 and again from 2005-08.
Quadrille de Mujeres - Led by horsewoman Judy Blair, Quadrille de Mujeres became a PRCA member in 1997.
The Casa Grande-based contingent consists of a drill team of 13 women in colorful, sequined outfits that perform speed and precision maneuvers for three minutes on matching quarter horses.
Through the years, Quadrille de Mujeres has also taken its act to California Rodeo Salinas, Parada del Sol in Scottsdale, and La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson.
The group has also appeared at the Dodge Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo, the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix, among other high-profile events.
Diamond Z English Shire Horses - Shire hitch driver/trainer Chris Hone and farrier Ron Hone bring these rare draft-breed horses to share with the captive audiences at the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, where Chris will drive them around the arena strapped to a heavy non-motorized hitch wagon.
The Shire horse, originally from England, is one of the oldest of the draft breeds, and traces its bloodlines to the Belgians, Horses of Flanders and Friesians in Europe. Shires were not introduced to the United States until the mid-18th century.
These horses weigh anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000-plus pounds each, complete with coat colors of black, bay or gray. They usually have blaze faces with white markings on their lower legs and feet, and abundant hair, called feathers, below their knees and hocks.
Ree and Renn Zaphiropoulos of the Diamond Z English Shire Horse Ranch west of Cedar City, Utah, own the act's horses. At present, Chris Hone works with 15 of the horses at the Zaphiropoulos' ranch.
Most of the information in this article was obtained from an advance copy of the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo's 2012 program as well as the PRCA.
For more information about the PRCA's specialty acts, log on to prorodeo.com.