Grateful rodeo rider aims to pay back fund that helped him

When a nagging and painful back injury kept him out of the rodeo arena last year, professional bareback rider Tilden Hooper faced a difficult decision: Get his herniated disks fused or face a long and uncertain stint of rehabilitation.

At 23, the cowboy from Carthage, Texas, wasn’t ready to trade in a bucking horse for a rocking chair. So he embarked on an arduous daily stretching, traction and workout routine that resulted in full recovery and an even stronger back.

Hooper is competing in the 53rd annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 10-day event started Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

He didn’t make the journey back to the NFR by himself. He had help from doctors and physical therapists and a boost from the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, which provides assistance to injured cowboys and their families.

The fund helps families make mortgage payments and keep the lights on while riders are sidelined. Unlike most other professional athletes, rodeo cowboys don’t get paid to sit on the bench or mend on the disabled list.

When you get injured, he says, you “end up draining your whole dang savings, and there’s no way to get ahead.”

Hooper is not only grateful, but he and his fellow Crown Royal-sponsored teammates also hope to give back more than thanks in the coming week. For every 90-point ride they score, Crown Royal will donate $2,000 to the Justin crisis fund.

With that back injury behind him, Hooper plans to help Crown Royal make at least a couple contributions.

“I feel like I’m in better shape now than at any time in my life,” Hooper says.

HO, HO, HO: The Great Santa Run to benefit Opportunity Village is set for Saturday morning at Town Square. The run starts at 10 a.m., and you can find out more information about this hilariously fun and worthwhile event at
Opportunity Village is dedicated to assisting adults with mental challenges in the community and is among the valley’s oldest charities.

FREE LUNCH: The New York Times has quantified what struggling Southern Nevada families have known for months — that school meal programs are being tested in this rough economy.

Last year alone, a Times analysis found, use of free and reduced-price school meal programs increased 17 percent from 18 million to 21 million.

With its high unemployment, Nevada is one of the states to see a sharp rise in need.

TITUS-KIHUEN: If early political polls counted for much, canaries would be circling Ruben Kihuen’s head right now. The judges’ scorecard would read: “Titus by KO in the first round.”

As it is, the match pitting Kihuen against veteran political pugilist Dina Titus figures to go the distance. (I have now exhausted my daily allotment of boxing references.)

Titus released an internal poll that has generated a heap of mainstream media play that shows her beating Kihuen 77 percent to 11 percent. The Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District is still a few months away, but the poll is a reminder Titus enjoys big name recognition with diehard Democrats.

It’s also a sign Kihuen has work to do. Jabs Kihuen campaign manager Dan Chavez: “The race is in June, not in a few weeks. Polls seven months out from Election Day are irrelevant; just ask Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.”

True, but Titus on Thursday added to her good-news week by releasing endorsements from several longtime Democrats.

Does political momentum count for something?

ON THE BOULEVARD: Attention, happy-hour wiseguys: The Mob Bar opens in early December at 201 N. 3rd St., not far from a certain organized crime-themed museum project. … The El Cortez, the Comeback Kid of downtown, has started a gift drive to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities. True to its value-driven nature, the casino is offering $10 in free play for gift donations of $5 or more. The toy drive runs through Dec. 16.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at

Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like