Li’l Rough Riders Association: A Three-Month Transformation

The Li'l Rough Riders Association promotes mutual support, friendship, and sportsmanship of the highest degree.

The Li’l Rough Riders Association promotes mutual support, friendship, and sportsmanship of the highest degree.

Submitted by Eileen Phillips, August 1, 2014

How many of us have realized our dreams? How many of us would like to turn back the clock so that we’d have just one shot at trying something that we now feel we are too old to attempt?

When the Tulsa RV Ranch Arena Manager Jim Stevens first decided he wanted to create and produce Muttin Bustin’ and Calf Riding events for kids ages 3-10, he knew that he wanted it to be unique. Big. Like no other. He knew he wanted to create an opportunity for kids with dreams of becoming a cowboy or cowgirl in the rodeo arena to fulfill them. With the help of Big Horn Rodeo’s Casie Nolen, I dove into the task of putting Jim’s concept on paper. He wanted the name to mean something. He wanted the kids to feel like they are a part of something big – as in grown up; not as in “Captain Kangaroo” type of event. Thus the name Li’l Rough Riders Association, or LRRA was born. Jim was passionate; he wanted this to be all about the kids. He wanted the 2014 LRRA season to culminate in a big way, with the World Series of Muttin Bustin’ and Calf Riding; including scholarships, prize money, and awards.

Jim had a vision for kids; one that would help to transform them into people with grit and determination through the Li'l Rough Riders Association.

Jim had a vision for kids; one that would help to transform them into people with grit and determination through the Li’l Rough Riders Association.

Jim Stevens had a vision; one where the arena is lit up and the kids each get introduced like little stars.

Jim Stevens had a vision; one where the arena is lit up and the kids each get introduced like little stars.

That was back in April of 2014. By May 16, the Tulsa RV Ranch hosted, and the LRRA produced, the very first Li’l Rough Riders Association event. That night, there was a lot of excited kids back behind the chutes. Nerves were also high, and there were a lot of young toddlers who didn’t want to cross that big arena all by themselves when introduced at the beginning of the show. You see, Jim Stevens had a vision: one where the letters “LRRA” were lit up in the middle of the arena; where the kids each were introduced separately and highlighted like little stars; patterning the LRRA Production after any Professional Bull Rider (PBR) event.  Jim wanted these kids to feel that their dreams of someday riding professionally could actually be achieved; and if they decided in the end not to pursue that route, at least they would be able to look back and say that they tried it.

A picture of True Grit and Determination.

A picture of True Grit and Determination.

Now skip forward to the July 25 LRRA Qualifier event. Casie Nolen and myself were high atop the arena, looking down on 35 bright, young kids. We started the introductions. And to my delight, I saw a whole different group. These little people were NOTHING like the toddlers on May 16. They ran out into the big, empty arena without the assistance of their parents, waving to the crowd. They smiled, they cheered for the next, and the next kid. They posed for their pictures – as a close-knit group. I had witnessed a three-month transformation. These kids were ready for their chance to compete. Each rode his or her sheep or calves; some getting bucked off, some catapulting into the soft dirt. Back on May 16, these kids required a parent to hold their little hands and to kiss their cheeks. But on July 25, I watched in amazement as each Li’l Rough Rider rode, bucked off, picked themselves up, brushed off their pants, and strolled back with pride; all on their own to the Out Gate.

A qualified ride in the Muttin Bustin' is 6 seconds. The event is for kids ages 3-6.

A qualified ride in the Muttin Bustin’ is 6 seconds. The event is for kids ages 3-6.

The Li'l Rough Rider Calf Riders are in two age groups: Division 1, ages 7-8 and Division 2, ages 9-10. A qualified ride is 6 seconds.

The Li’l Rough Rider Calf Riders are in two age groups: Division 1, ages 7-8 and Division 2, ages 9-10. A qualified ride is 6 seconds.

It’s a tough world out there, and we all know it. I myself am the parent of two grown kids, and I made a concerted effort to not coddle them too much when they were young. I certainly didn’t want them to get hurt; but on the other hand, I didn’t want to raise kids who knew nothing of true determination and dedication. Therefore, I did allow my children to compete, at a very young age in the rodeo arena.   I can honestly say that both my kids are tough, gritty, and have a knowledge of what real dedication is. We, my husband and myself, were able to provide access for them to that life because we were both descendants of generational rodeo athletes.  However, there are a lot of kids out there without that connection, or opportunity, and that was the void that Jim Stevens has wanted to fill with the Li’l Rough Riders Association.

9 year-old Corey Dodge and 10 year-old Kaleb Robison protect their own.

9 year-old Corey Dodge and 10 year-old Kaleb Robison protect their own.

The LRRA is unique in other ways too. Each performance is highlighted with two clowns, Cory Dodge, age 9, and Kaleb Robison, age 10. Don’t let their age deceive you; for they have both grown up in the rodeo arena and are experienced Li’l Rough Rider Protectors.  At the end of each LRRA Qualifier hosted at the Tulsa RV Ranch, they get to present the buckles to the winners of the Muttin Bustin’ and both Calf Riding Divisions.

Back: Tulsa RV Arena Manager Jim Stevens; Front (LtoR): Kaleb Robison, Li’l Rough Rider Protector; Craig Horsley, Muttin Bustin’ Champion; and Mikas Conard, Calf Riding, Division 1 Champion.


Another element unique to the LRRA is that on October 17 & 18, the LRRA Semi-Finals and World Series Championships will be held in conjunction with the 2014 World Senior Professional Bull Riders Finals. Again, Jim Stevens had a vision: one in which the older and experienced competitors would be there to support and encourage the youngest in the world of rodeo. What an opportunity for these kids to grow and develop a sense of respect for their elders!

Respect is also key to the LRRA; as the kids play an intricate role in the display of our nation’s flag during LRRA performances and the National Anthem and opening prayer are always part of LRRA Opening Ceremonies.

Li'l Rough Rider Protector, Corey Dodge, carries our Nation's flag horseback during LRRA Opening Ceremonies.

Li’l Rough Rider Protector, Corey Dodge, carries our Nation’s flag horseback during LRRA Opening Ceremonies.

LRRA Qualifier Judge Nick Nolen shows the Li'l Rough Riders proper flag respect during LRRA Opening Ceremonies.

LRRA Qualifier Judge Nick Nolen shows the Li’l Rough Riders proper flag respect during LRRA Opening Ceremonies.

The Li’l Rough Riders Association requires a lot of dedication from not only these kids; but also from their parents, the production staff, etc. “Hats Off” to the Nolen family (Nick and Casie Nolen), who have dedicated themselves to producing each and every event for pennies, especially to Corey Dodge and Kaleb Robison who run their hearts out, protecting the Li’l Rough Riders; also to Teresa Grist of T Grist Photography for catching all of the special moments in these kids’ lives; and a big “Hats Off” to these kids who have dedicated themselves to this journey, transforming into mature young men and women!

The rest of the 2014 LRRA season includes events on August 15 at the Tulsa RV Arena; August 15 & 16 in Bristow, OK; September 12 at the Tulsa RV Arena; September 12 & 13 in Atoka; September 26 at the Tulsa RV Arena; September 27 at the Big Horn Series Finals at the Tulsa RV Arena; and in conjunction with the World Senior Pro Bull Riding Finals on October 17 & 18 at the Tulsa  RV Arena. Go to: for association information or click on: “Official” LRRA Video on You Tube to view the LRRA Three-Month Transformation!


Submitted by: Dee McQuarrie, Tulsa RV Ranch, July 1, 2014


Tulsa RV Ranch

Tulsa RV Ranch

Dee relates how her family made childhood memories of camping back in her home state of Maine to how the Tulsa RV Ranch is full of memory-making opportunities for your “crew”!

Camping. That word brings back so many memories from when I was a kid. There we were out in the north woods of Maine with tents, sleeping bags, Coleman stoves and lanterns. The campfire was always lit because you never knew when you were going to need it. We always camped on a lake so we had a place to fish, canoe, and bathe.

We always knew where the nearest fast moving stream was so we had fresh water. We got water from the stream and boiled it to do dishes and we cooked over a campfire.

The food we ate was cooked with love over an open flame. Hot dogs cooked on sticks cut from trees, s’mores made daily. Have you ever had campfire toast? Try it; it’s amazing (recipe below). I remember cooking our morning eggs; using a cast iron skillet on a grate set over the campfire, and we were good to go.

The Coleman stove was usually only used for boiling water and corn on the cob; oh and water for that beautiful cup of morning coffee. Everything else was geared towards the fire. We even had huge cast iron skillets so we could make big meals to feed the whole crew.

Our crew consisted of 8-10 adults and 10-12cousins of varying ages, including our Grandfather (a doctor) and my invalid grandmother (who we carried to wherever she wanted to sit).  Sometimes we drove on paved roads as far as we could and dirt roads the rest of the way and sometimes we back-packed in carrying all our gear.

We were out there for the long weekend or a week. We roughed it. No electricity or running water and a hair blower was unheard of. We played kick the can, went canoeing or hiking or had a mud fight with the sludge from the bottom of the lake. No cell phones (we didn’t have them back then), no computers (we didn’t have those either), just us and nature.  And those nights around the campfire telling ghost stories and listening to the loons calling to each other on the lake.

It was always a team effort and if someone forgot something, another member of the group had what we needed. We sometimes had to make a trip to the store in town (10 or more miles away) for ice or an emergency item but mostly we packed for weeks everything we could possibly need.

Dee camping in the wilds of Maine as a kid.

Dee in the wilds of Maine as a kid.

Now, camping has different meaning for me, and certainly means much less effort; as presently I work at Tulsa RV Ranch (or “The Ranch”), located on US Hwy 75, just 20 miles south of Tulsa, OK. The Ranch features 100 full-service, pull-through hook-ups; a bath house with both men and women’s showers; a General Store; a laundry facility; and fitness room.

The Ranch does allow campfires (when a burn ban is not in effect) so bring all those s’mores fixin’s and weenies for roasting; as well as your Oklahoma Fishing License for fishing in the two ponds within hiking distance of the RV lots.

What’s really different about The Ranch, is that it has so many options for dining and entertainment for the whole family. The Event Center has anything and everything from horse shows, to rodeos, to arena cross competition.

And when the weekend begins on Thursday, relax and enjoy award-winning meals served at the Silverado Steak House and afterwards, drinks and live entertainment at The Saloon.  Also, there is fun for the whole family on The Ranch’s state-of-the-art ¼ mile Go Kart Track and 18-hole Putt-Putt course.

The Tulsa RV Ranch formally invites you and your “crew” to stop by and visit us. The Ranch is far enough from Tulsa to have that woodsy, country feel but within reach of all the amenities needed for a very comfortable stay!

For more information on the Tulsa RV Ranch, go to:

Tulsa RV Ranch Headquarters

Tulsa RV Ranch Headquarters

Clean, plenty of shade.

Clean, plenty of shade.

100 pull-through lots.

100 lots

Campfire Toast
1 Loaf of bread
Toppings of choice.

Toppings I really enjoyed:
• Cream Cheese
• Raspberry Jam
• Peanut Butter
• Butter

• First light fire using wood, not gas, not anything else, but wood, actual parts of trees!!! (it doesn’t taste the same otherwise.)
• Retrieve loaf of bread and other ingredients from supply tent.
• Also get toasting forks, (if you don’t have these immediately head to a hardware store and purchase same, or use sticks.)
• Place bread on toasting fork, or poke stick through bread (good luck if using the latter method)
• Place bread over fire and cook until slightly blackened.
• Turn slice over and do the same on the other side.
• Apply plenty of butter to now toasted bread and add toppings of choice.
• Delight in eating first slice whilst repeating steps for next slice.

Welcome to The Ranch: A Great Place To Create RV Camping Memories!

Harlan 1

Fred Harlan, Owner of Harlan Ford Motors

The Tulsa RV Ranch proudly presents Fred Harlan Ford, a Corporate Business Partner:
Fred Harlan Motors in Okmulgee, Oklahoma is a second-generation, family-owned business that has roots deeply planted in the community of Okmulgee. Originally, it began as a partnership between Mr. Jack Harlan and Mr. Glen Fidler; as a Lincoln-Mercury Dealership back in 1951. Twenty years later, when the opportunity arose in 1971, the dealership added Ford. Unfortunately, Glen passed away several years ago. But Jack, now 90 years young, still comes in to work daily and his son, Fred, now carries the torch that burns brightly in support of their hometown, family, and friends.


It’s obvious that the Harlan family takes customer relations to heart. Fred’s personal priority is for the Fred Harlan Motor Company to build a solid foundation for every relationship. Therefore, a person walks in as a customer; but leaves as a friend. As a reflection of his sense of friendship and service, Fred is also proud to serve as a Board Member and an officer of the Indian Nation Council, Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he currently serves the Okmulgee Area Development Corp (OADC) as a board member. The OADC cleaned up the old refinery property just north of Okmulgee, and as a result, the property has been “Brown Field” certified. Bottom line is a property that was once an environmental eye-sore is beautiful once again and is currently under development and ready to make Okmulgee a more vibrant, viable city.


Mr. Harlan has gone to great measures to ensure that the in-house shop at Fred Harlan Motors is competently staffed with Senior, Master Ford Technicians who are also Diesel Certified. They all have obtained the highest ranking certification that Ford offers. This translates to having a good selection of previously-owned, Ford Certified vehicles. These particular vehicles have been inspected and certified with an Extended 7-Year/100,000 Mile Limited Warranty.


The shop and show floor is conveniently located in downtown Okmulgee, just blocks off of US Hwy 75. What’s really nice about the location is the low-pressure atmosphere of Okmulgee; no hassle with heavy traffic, and plenty of room and time to look around and make a purchase of a vehicle, with the knowledge that the company you’re buying from cares that you have reliable transportation. Want to see what’s there before making the drive? Want to just take a quick, virtual look around or get a quote on something without making any commitments? Simply go to their web site: and fill out a contact/email form or call them: 918-756-2075.

HarlanTechs            Harlan3
The summer of 2014 means hot deals on the lot, with close-out sales on their current year models. This is in preparation for the arrival of the 2015 cars and trucks, so right now is the perfect time to be considering changing your mode of transportation!



The Tulsa RV Ranch Arena proudly displays the Fred Harlan Ford banner because we know that Fred Harlan Ford wants success for and care about their neighbors, and support local, family-oriented activities; therefore it’s a perfect fit for our arena!


Fred Harlan Ford – we salute you and your efforts to make your community a successful, beautiful place to live!

Fred Harlan Motors – Where You’re Not Just a Customer; But Considered A Friend‏‎