January 26, 2004 – Riley Harvie, a 23-year old college student who was down on his luck, turned things around when he emerged as the Pro Fantasy Rodeo winner and picked up a $20,000 check for his championship team that he picked for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last December. Profantasy Rodeo, as rodeo’s newest form of excitement, gave rodeo fans a chance be a part of the rodeo finals action as participants picked favored teams much like fantasy football.
Harvie, a native of Priddis, Alberta, Canada, is a junior attending college in Lubbock, Texas, he is studying dentistry and animal science on a rodeo scholarship. A saddle bronc rider who competes at the professional level when not at college rodeos, was the 2003 Rookie of the Year in Canada, but ended up a disappointing third in the PRCA Rookie standings this year. Feeling that luck just wasn’t with him when he was injured while rodeoing toward the end of summer and when his truck broke down while trying to get to college this fall, he reflected that his luck had definitely turned around when he learned of his Pro Fantasy Rodeo winnings. Choosing four Pro Fantasy Rodeo teams, two with some college friends, Harvie learned it was one of his teams that won him the money and attributed his success to his lucky pick of Clay Tryan and Michael Jones in the team roping that brought in the most money. His strategy was to invest most of the $500,000 salary cap on the WNFR qualifiers he thought would win the most, then to spread the remainder of the money out over other competitors. Enthusiastic about the manner in which Profantasy Rodeo helps market rodeo, Harvie said he learned about it only three days before the WNFR began from a friend from Washington who gave him a flyer and told him he needed to “enter up.” “It definitely made the finals much more exciting to watch,” exclaimed Harvie. “I paid attention to all of the events including the timed events, not just my end of the arena, the rough stock.” “And I even watched the barrel race,” he said, “no hard feelings—it’s just not something I usually tune into.”
Harvie reported he plans to use the money to enter rodeos, stating that he was so excited the morning after the WNFR ended when he found out he won, he couldn’t concentrate on the final exams he was taking. Harvie’s parents ranch near Priddis, which is 20 miles southwest of Calgary and also run cattle in Alaska.