Golf tourney to be held in lieu of bull riding event

by Cristin Parker

Gonna have to trade your boots and chaps and cowboy hats for your golf spikes, plaid knickers and polo shirts to help raise funds for local FFA and 4H scholarships this year.

This year’s annual Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding event -- traditionally held in September in Jacksonville -- has been postponed due to the Coronavirus, but event organizers are putting together the inaugural Nicky Wheeler Spurs & Spikes Golf Tournament to take up the slack.

“This is our newest addition that will take place every year alongside of the bull riding for years to come,” Haley Beasley posted on social media. “We have had an exciting number of teams sign up already and we are still accepting new teams!”

The tourney starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Pine Springs Golf Course in Tyler. Entry fee is $100 per person or $400 per team and includes lunch. Anyone interested in participating or providing, can call Beasley, (903) 747-7199.

First place teams will win ruby-studded trophy belt Buckles, provided by Cavender’s. Trophy buckles will also be awarded for the longest drive and closest to the pin.

All proceeds will fund scholarships to local FFA students all over East Texas. The Nicky Wheeler Memorial awarded two $750 scholarships to Rusk FFA member Drew Morton and Lookout 4H member Emmy Walley during the 2019-20 school year.

The 2020 bull riding event was officially called on July 30.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have decided to cancel the 2020 Nicky Wheeler Memorial Bull Riding,” Beasley posted to Facebook. “With so much uncertainty at this time as to what type of event would be allowed by state and local officials in the fall, we feel the best path forward is to cancel this year.

“With the continued support of our wonderful sponsors, volunteers and fans we are determined to be back bigger and better than ever in 2021!”

The annual bull riding event, formerly known as the Bull Bash Revolution, was renamed in 2018 to help support the Nicky Wheeler Memorial and pay tribute to Nicky Wheeler, “an industry great, former champion bull riders and stock contractor who passed away in April 2018,” the event’s website states. “Nicky devoted his life to helping kids in the FFA and 4H chapters statewide.”

The Wheeler family owns Fresh Country Fundraising, a statewide fundraising company that supports 4H and FFA chapters nationwide.