No Days Off for the Morehead Family with Their Iowa Rodeo Business
David Morehead, the owner of Three Hills Rodeo, Inc., and his family has been keeping rodeo alive for more than three decades. The Morehead family does not consider rodeo as merely a business. To them, “America’s original sport” is a lifelong passion that they are determined to keep alive.
In 1984, the Moreheads had a hand in bringing Three Hills Rodeo’s World’s Toughest Bulls and Broncs Tour” to eastern Iowa. Moreover, the family is a stock contractor for other rodeo businesses: Jackson County Pro Rodeo and Edgewood Pro Rodeo Days.
The Pursuance of Passion in Business
Because of his love of livestock and a passion for roping, David Morehead opened an amateur endeavor in 1979. Over three decades later, Three Hills Ranch is home to more than five hundred heads of bucking horses and bulls as well as roping steers and calf pairs in a 1,500-acre land just outside of Bernard, Iowa.
Today, two generations of the Moreheads work side by side to man the business situated in spacious green pastures. With a 10- to 12-man operation, Three Hills Ranch produces events, which they make sure are Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)-sanctioned.
The events that the rodeo company markets across the country include bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing.
Admittedly, getting professional recognition is not a piece of cake. Marla Morehead, the wife of David, serves as the company secretary, event promoter, and music arranger. She says it’s difficult to get the professional recognition, given that their company is from Iowa rather than from Colorado or Wyoming or Montana.
Still, with a passion for their business, the rodeo company won the PRCA’s Remuda Award in 2015. PRCA gives the prestigious award to contractors who are consistent in providing the best pen of rodeo horses. What makes the award all the more special is that Three Hills Rodeo is its first awardee from the east of the Missouri River.
Business as a Family Affair
Rodeo is not just a business to the Moreheads. It is a passion shared by the entire family. David Morehead admits that working with his son Jake and getting his grandchildren involved in the business are “the joy of my life.”
Courtney, Jake’s wife who serves as the rodeo’s secretary and timer, affirms that the rodeo business is very much a part of the family’s life. You don’t ever walk away from it. You live it. There’s no days off. […] You rodeo together, you play together, and you work together,” she stated.
On the other hand, Marla shares that family, business, and rodeo are an interconnected lifestyle and occupation that promotes family-friendly entertainment, athleticism, and award-winning livestock.
David says the events they produce appeal to the Iowa market because they are a great family show. “All people can relate to animals […] and everybody would play cowboys when they were little. That allure is universal. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, your lifestyle or culture… some of whom may have never seen a rodeo before, but are drawn to that allure of the Old West,” he remarks.