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Medicine Woman, the Greatest Saddle Bronc of all time, 

has been cloned

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

By Kendra Santos 

Revolutionary rodeo history was made today. While most Americans were lounging in their La-Z-Boys trying to recover from hangovers and post-Thanksgiving-feast food comas, Dr. Gregg VeneKlasen of Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Texas just took another giant leap into one of the coolest chapters of our rodeo record books. Today’s the day the 2022 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Veterinarian of the Year cloned the late and legendary Medicine Woman of Frontier Rodeo Company fame. 

Medicine Woman was a four-time PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year and two-time Saddle Bronc Horse of the NFR. She died unexpectedly at 18 in the Frontier Rodeo Company home pastures of Freedom Oklahoma on December 9, 2021, during the run of the 2021 NFR. 

VeneKlasen got the call at about 5 a.m. while working in Vegas. He swiftly sent Butch Stewart, who’s the dad of Frontier’s Rodeo Manager Heath Stewart, to take one of the notorious bay mare’s ears before she was buried. Though they had always intended to clone her one day, she hadn’t yet been gene banked. 

The ear of #302 Medicine Woman—The Queen of Frontier Rodeo Company, who retired at the 2020 NFR after bucking at Rodeo’s Super Bowl 12 times and had her first colt on May 9, 2021, which just happened to be Mother’s Day—was sent to ViaGen, where the cells used in today’s miracle of modern veterinary medicine were grown.  

One of the countless fun facts about Medicine Woman was that she actually made her NFR debut in bareback riding in 2009. She then made 11 straight trips in the saddle bronc riding from 2010-2020 before heading home to run the ranch as the matriarch Nelson credits with putting Frontier Rodeo on the map. 

There’s no telling how many 90-point rides Medicine Woman played a part in. I do know she and Wade Sundell made 90.75-point magic together to win The American in 2015. And that they struck again in Round 5 at the 2018 NFR for 92 big ones to close the deal on his gold buckle. 

Medicine Woman will go down in rodeo history as one of the all-time greats and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame with the Class of 2022 last summer. Most had no idea what the words Nelson signed off that acceptance speech with really meant when he said, “Hopefully, in about three years, you’ll get to see more Medicine Women on the truck.”

Stewart knew, and so did VeneKlasen. 

“Medicine Woman was born in 2003, and genetics going back about 20 years like that are a big advantage,” Gregg said. “She was sound, she was sweet, and she loved to buck. Medicine Woman had it all, and Jerry wants to buck these clones.  “All the clones we’ve had in rodeo so far were used for reproductive purposes—for their semen. Jerry wants to buck these clones, and no one’s ever done that before.”

Breaking new ground and just saying no to the old status quo are Nelson’s calling cards.  Like VeneKlasen says, “Everything Jerry’s ever done is outside the envelope. We’re a match like that. Jerry has big plans, and it’s fun and exciting to be a part of them. Today’s the day we cloned Medicine Woman. Fingers crossed, these first Medicine Woman clones will be on the ground by next year’s NFR.”


Jerry Nelson, Dr. Gregg VeneKlasen, and Heath Stewart

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