In June, Barrel Racing Magazine shared the news of key Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Board members tendering their resignations in light of Chief Operating Officer Darla Lindt’s termination on May 27, 2022. Many WPRA members were left questioning what caused the sudden and unexpected departures, as well as asking how the seemingly fragmented association would move forward.
Veteran freelance journalist Tanya Randall was contacted by several of the resigning WPRA Directors in hopes that she would be able to give voice to their concerns and bring light to the proverbial ‘straws that broke the camel’s back.’ Randall went to work, releasing Part 1 of their story on July 18, Part 2 on July 20 and Part 3 on July 22, in a series entitled Coming Clean.
“This was compiled, organized and presented in a manner to best get their voices heard. This is their story. I didn’t ask all the questions. That is for the membership to do,” wrote Randall in the article’s postscript.
Jolee Jordan, who served as Roping Director, was quoted in the article as becoming “beyond frustrated” with the stonewalling of projects by a small faction that the four say exists on the Board. She says she encountered resistance to work undertaken on behalf of the membership to add roping representation on the Board, as well as attempted coordination with the World Champion’s Rodeo Alliance to expand competitive opportunities for breakaway ropers.
Randall’s article posits frustration shared by former Great Lakes Director Becky Nix, Kim Thomas, who served the Prairie Circuit, and former WPRA President Kathi Myers who resigned as First Frontier Circuit Director.
“The dismissal of more representation for the ropers was one of the Boards most vexing offenses for the resigned members. They all noted that everyone that ran for election had increased representation for the ropers on their platforms, but when it came to adding more voting members to the Board, they declined.”
Beyond improving representation for ropers on the Board and matters relating to Lindt’s termination, the article explores how the four encountered resistance to holding a 2021 San Antonio barrel racing qualifier and the question of walk-up replacements, among other issues.
“After trying to work for her members and the Association as a whole, Nix noted: “They’re so about their personal agendas that they’re leaving the membership behind.”
Part 2, published July 20 and subtitled “Abiding By The Membership,” tracks the handling of a series of petitions and lawsuits that brings transparency into question.
“Members were donating money to that lawsuit,” said [Jymmy Kay] Cox. “Kappy (Allen) was donating her time. I was paying the rest. All the while the Board and WPRA attorneys were using membership money. They were fighting us with our own money!
“We had members signing petitions, sending emails and calling the Board. They were pretty much ignored.”
Part 3 titled “Questionable Practices” explains why the firing of Darla Lindt as COO was the last straw for the four resigning Board members.
When Lindt came on board she found many inconsistencies with procedures left by the former COO and issues of overreach of the BC. After visiting with the external auditor, who like her, had extensive work within the non-profit industry, she started documenting a list of concerns in hope of righting the wrongs, some of which left her and the Board in legal jeopardy.
In response to the President’s letter, which was emailed to WPRA members in response to the release of Randall’s three-part series, former Mountain States Circuit Director Chelle Wahlert penned a series of questions. Wahlert’s letter is posted HERE and provides reflective insights as well as urging members to engage with WPRA leadership.
When it comes to credibility let’s remember that 3 of the 4 that resigned were on the board that saved the WPRA in 06–07. Jolee (Jordan) and her mom ran the office from their home, I don’t think her dedication to the membership would be in question. Kim Thomas while director helped to create the PESI and the futurity program and Kathi Myers not only was a director but served as President of the association. Additionally they have resigned, what motivation would they have to make up stories?
Barrel Racing Magazine will continue to track developments and has reached out to the WPRA for comment.