2019 Association Officers
Mike Torvinen - President
Mike has been actively involved with Reno Rodeo since 2006. Mike, always quick to lend a hand, has served nine different committees including Finance, Executive, and the Legacy/Strategic Planning Committees. He has chaired the Team Sorting, By-Laws, and Policy Review Committees, and most recently served as Treasurer before being elected as second vice president in 2016.
Mike, and his wife, Pat, have been married for 37 years and have two daughters, Katie and Kristen, who are both very active in the Reno Rodeo. Katie graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan and Notre Dame University. She works at an architecture firm in Florida and is the first person in her organization to get time off for “rodeo season.” Kristen also graduated from Hillsdale College and is happy to be back in Northern Nevada so she can be involved with the rodeo year-round. Kristen is currently pursuing her teaching degree.
Mike is honored to have been chosen to serve as president of the Reno Rodeo Association in 2019, our 100-year celebration. “The excitement to celebrate 100 years of Reno Rodeo is already at full strength in the Reno Rodeo Association. We are excited to bring you another great rodeo in June 2019.”
Craig Downie - Second Vice President
When not volunteering with the Reno Rodeo, Craig stays busy with Golden Express, an office furniture installation company he opened in 1995 here in Reno.
Rodeo is a family affair as sons, Zach, Spenser, Scott and daughter-in-law Bree are all volunteers with Reno Rodeo. “The rodeo is something we all do together, and I hope that it will be passed on from one generation to the next.” He and his significant other Jamie should have no trouble ensuring that happens as they together have eight children, and nine grandchildren.
Josh Iveson - Second Vice President
Josh Iveson has been a part of the Reno Rodeo Association for 27 years. As a high school student, Josh attended his first Reno Rodeo when he and some friends were able to score some box seats for a performance in 1989. Once he had personally witnessed the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West, he decided he had to be a part of it. He served as a wrangler from 1991 to 1994 and became a member in 1995.
Born and raised in Reno, Josh is a third generation Nevadan, who graduated from Reno High School in 1989. After graduation, Josh went on to study at the University of Nevada, Reno, but eventually rejoined his father in the construction business. He also did a two-year stint as a production manager with Alamo Car Rental, before expressing an interest in law enforcement to friend and mentor, Joe Martin. Martin suggested he apply to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, where he has now served as a deputy for the past 22 years.
Josh has been able to utilize the knowledge he has gained as a deputy sheriff into his long-term role as the chairman of the Security Committee, a job he has held since 1998, until recently being elected as second vice president. Josh has also served on the Cattle Drive, Parade, and Executive Committees. Additionally, he has served as a director of the association for almost 20 years. In his years as a member, Josh has received multiple awards of merit, including three knives, a money clip, and the merit buckle that he obtained in 2001. In 2018, Bill Summy presented him with the coveted Silver Spurs, as well as the Chairman of the Year honors.
Josh always puts family first. He and his wife, Jennifer, have been married 24 years and have two children, Jake who is 20, and Julia who is 18, who have both been a part of the Reno Rodeo environment since they were very young.
Debbie Sprague - Secretary
Debbie has been with the Reno Rodeo Association since 1994, serving in multiple capacities. She has worked on over a half-dozen different committees and chaired the Buckles and Jewelry Committee from 2001 to 2015. She was elected a Reno Rodeo Director in 2008 and has served on the Executive Committee since 2012. In 2015, Debbie became the first, and only to-date, female officer when she was elected as secretary the first time she campaigned for the position. In recognition of her many contributions, she won the Award of Merit Buckle in 2013.
Debbie has three grown children and is very proud of her extended family; oldest son Roy Batts, Jr. (married to Pauline), daughter Wendi Guasch (married to Jeremy), and youngest son, Aaron Batts. She also has three grandchildren, Brittani Lynn, Jerron Joey Kody, and Rilee Erin; along with great granddaughter, Arya Ashley Marie Putnam.
Debbie claims that the past few years have been some of her most memorable times with the Reno Rodeo. “I’m busier than ever as secretary, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m proud to be an officer of this great organization; I’m a tiny part of the big picture.”
She considers the opportunity to serve as the secretary as “priceless.” “I have been blessed with hundreds of friends during the last 24 years, both here in Reno and on the rodeo road. I’m just striving to be a better person every day! As my son Roy Jr. used to say to me on the phone when serving with the U.S. Navy, ‘Carry on Smartly!’”
Dr. Greg “Lightning” Williams - Treasurer
Lightning has been actively involved with the Reno Rodeo for 37 years. He worked as a wrangler for only one year before being accepted as a member of the association in 1982. Over the years, he has supported over a dozen different committees including Specialty Sales, Finance, and the Executive Committees, and served as Chairman for Specialty Sales for four years. He was elected as a director in 1984 and has served as the treasurer of the organization for the last two years.
Over the years, Williams has provided the Reno Rodeo with several great proposals. The rodeo state license plate, which equally supports the Reno Rodeo Foundation and Nevada High School Rodeo, was Greg’s idea and has become an enormous success. As chairman of the Specialty Sales Committee in 2009, he believed the association “could benefit by having an additional, simpler, understated logo.” He proposed three different options and the Executive Committee landed on the “Reverse R” logo that is used today. For his efforts, Greg has won several notable awards including the Award of Merit Buckle in 1991, the Silver Spurs in 1997, and an Exceptional Service Buckle in 2009. Simply put, Williams is never satisfied with the status quo and is always looking for ways to make the Reno Rodeo better.
Williams has one son, Cody, who is 31 years old and a member of the Reno Rodeo. Cody and his wife, Dr. Heather Hutchens Williams have one son, Henry Kent who will celebrate his second birthday in October.