The makings of Rodeo Judge (as told by Scott Mendes)

Large Blog Image“This card game was invented by a group of cowboys trying to pass the time in the winter of 1991. We were in Denver waiting to compete in bull riding at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. A bunch of us were sitting around a hotel room playing cards, reading the ProRodeo Sports News, and basically just trying to keep warm. I was busy reading as I was convinced that by diligently studying the sports news, I would become closer to my dreams and goals of becoming a Word Champion Bull Rider.

As I sat watching my rodeo buddies playing cards, it struck me that the room was divided. One half of us were reading and letting our imaginations carry us outside of those hotel walls, to places back in time where our fathers and grandfathers had previously laid out history and traditions; to places like Calgary, Cheyenne, and Pendleton. The other half of our group were busy playing card games that all young cowboys are initiated with in the rookie years of their careers. I was introduced to these card games during my own rookie year. Little did I know then that these same games had been around for quite awhile and I was not the first to ever fall victim to them in the financial sense! It did seem to ease the pain a little to find out later that I was not the only one!

As the night wore on and I sat there in thought about the division of our group, I began to have a vision of a card game that would bring us all together. It dawned on me that the only reason that any of us were there was that we were all professional rodeo cowboys and that we all had a deep love for the sport which had brought us together in friendship. Factor number one was our common interest, rodeo. The second factor I considered was how to integrate our everyday lifestyle of rodeo into a card game. The third considering factor involved a visual inventory of our potential game pieces, a deck of cards that someone had attained from a recent Delta flight. And so it started…

I noticed time and time again, the same card games were always being played, “Pitch” which is comparable to Spades and Stook. Players play 21 against the dealer (with a few cowboy rules thrown in) were two of the favorites. From time to time, there would also be a cut of the deck for a double or nothing wager. Oftentimes, this would take the place of a wrestling match that would have most definitely had us thrown out into the snow!

It seemed impossible to do anything with the game of Pitch, so we decided to put our heads together and concentrate on Stook. With the vision now coming to life, we had a foundation. Up to this point, the rules were relatively simple with the biggest problem being how to design a rodeo card game that could be patterned after a 21 game format. I am convinced that if you don’t give up, put forth all the effort required, and apply your faith, all can be attained with the help from heaven above. I am not sure why, but the good Lord has blessed me with a very inventive mind, so I was determined to stick with it all the while knowing that He would reveal the way.

At that point, our group seemed to gradually shrink in size until the only two remaining were myself and my best friend. We were busily racking our brains when I stopped to take a quick look at the Sports News to see what rodeos were going to close the next day. I accidentally opened to a story that seemed to jump off the page at me. I let out a big hoot and holler and said, “I found our missing link!”. I held up the article and the headline read “Wrangler Judging System – Ready For The New Year”. I said to my friend, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” His big smile confirmed that we were on the same track. A final link that all the cowboys had in common had been overlooked. We were all judged by Wrangler officials and the Wrangler judging system everyday. It just so happens that the only difference between the 21 game format and the Wrangler judging system, is the total points not exceeding 25.

The Wrangler judging system consists of two judges with one on the left side of the arena and the other on the right. Each judge is allowed to score between 1 and 25 points for the rider and between 1 an 25 points for the animal, with his score not exceeding 50 points. Once the scores of both judges are combined, the final score would be no more than a 100 point ride, which is considered to be a perfect ride. Incidentally, a 100 point bull ride was unheard of until the historic night in 1992 at Central Point, Oregon where I found myself winning third place with a 94 point bull ride. Wade Leslie rode Wolfman, of the John Growney Rodeo Company for the first 100 point bull ride in rodeo history.”

Fast forward twenty three years later to February 2014. Scott contacts Doug Moses of about an electronic version of his card game. They meet and discussed the game details. Eleven months later the game was in beta on Android.

If you want to learn more about Scott Mendes, follow this link to his personal page

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