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Twisted Rodeo

Diaz finds the right Medicine

Twisted Rodeo - 4 hours 26 min ago

DODGE CITY, Kan. – It’s safe to say that the Frontier Rodeo Co. bronc Medicine Woman likes Roundup Arena.

The great bay mare, a two-time Saddle Bronc Riding Horse of the Year, has helped cowboys to Dodge City Roundup Rodeo records each of the past two seasons. After helping Wade Sundell to a 92 a season ago, Medicine Woman matched moves with Isaac Diaz for 93 points on Sunday night.

Isaac Diaz

Isaac Diaz

That propelled Diaz – a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Desdemona, Texas – to his first Roundup title and the prestigious trophy belt that was awarded to the champions.

“It means the world to win this rodeo, because I’ve come real close two other times,” said Diaz, who scored 87 points on the same horse to share the victory earlier this year in Corpus Christi, Texas. “Just to be able to draw a horse like that twice in a year is amazing; it’s strictly God. I’ve been praying for my draws all year long, and this is the best I’ve ever drawn. It’s all Him.”

Cowboys are matched with their animals by a random draw, and things have been going the right way for the Florida-born bronc rider.

“When you draw good, it forces you to ride better,” he said. “I guess my focus is better than it has been I the past. I hope this is the start of how it’s going to be from here on out.”

He finished in a four-way tie for fourth place in the first round, then won the short go-round and the two-ride aggregate. In all, he pocketed $4,684. Not only was it a Roundup Arena record, it also was a personal best for Diaz.

“I felt like I rode her better this time than I did earlier this year,” he said. “I felt like she bucked harder today. She was definitely better today than she was at Corpus, and she was all I wanted then.”

Diaz is ninth in the world standings, but his run in southwest Kansas should move him up the money list. That’s important.

“Making the NFR is important, and it’s just as important this year as it is any other year,” Diaz said. “It’s a way we make our living. When we get there, that’s where we make our profit. All that other stuff helps, but that’s where everything comes to play.

“I feel like I’m riding better than I ever have. I feel more confident. My focus is in a different place right now, and I’m excited about that.”

Diaz was one of nine champions crowned Sunday night. Others were bareback Matt Bright, steer wrestler Stockton Graves, team ropers David Key and Martin Lucero, barrel racer Tillar Murray, bull rider Aaron Pass and tie-down roper Caleb Smidt, who has had a lot of success in Dodge City.

“I love this rodeo,” said Smidt, a 2013 NFR qualifier. “I’ve been here three times, and I made the short round three times. I won the all-around two years ago. I won Nampa (Idaho) and Sheridan (Wyo.), but by far, this is my favorite one.”

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 29-Aug. 2
All Around Cowboy:
J.D. Yates, $1,648 in steer roping and team roping.

Bareback riding: 1. Brian Bain, 86 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Hypnotic, $2,777; 2. Jake Brown, 85, $2,129; 3. Matt Bright and Richmond Champion, 83, $1,296 each; 5. Bill Tutor, 82, $647; 6. R.C. Landingham, 81, $463; 7. (tie) Kash Wilson and Marvin Alderman Jr., 80, $324 each. Final round: 1. Seth Harwick, 84 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Sun Glow, $1,650; 2. Matt Bright, 81, $1,250; 3. Bill Tutor, 80, $900; 4. Tanner Aus, 79, $600; 5. Frank Morton, 68, $350; 6. Brian Bain, 67, $250. Average: 1. Matt Bright, 164 points on two rides, $2,777; 2. (tie) Seth Hardwick and Bill Tutor, 162, $1,851 each; 4. Tanner Aus, 157, $1,018; 5. Brian Bain, 157, $648; 6. Frank Morton, 144, $463; 7. Jake Brown, 85 points on one ride, $370; 8. Richmond Champion, 83, $278.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Colt Stearns, 3.4 seconds, $2,865; 2. Ryan Swayze, 3.8, $2,491; 3. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Ricky Riley, 3.9, $1,931 each; 5. Clayton Hass, 4.0, $1,370; 6. Kyle Irwin, 4.1, $996; 7. (tie) Logan Rudd and Ryan Bothum, 4.3, $436 each. Second round: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds, $2,865; 2. Jason Lahr, 3.5, $2,491; 3. (tie) Levi Rudd, Tyler Waguespack and Wade Sumpter, 3.6, $1,744 each; 6. (tie) Matt Reeves and Josh Clark, 3.8, $810 each; 8. (tie) Aaron Vosler and Jacob Shofner, 3.9, $125 each. Final round: 1. Stockton Graves, 3.3 seconds, $1,407; 2. Bray Armes, 3.7, $1,164; 3. J.D. Struxness, 4.0, $922; 4. (tie) Seth Brockman and Cooper Shofner, 4.2, $558 each; 6. Tyler Waguespack, 4.7, $243. Average: 1. Stockton Graves, 12.0 seconds on three runs, $4,297; 2. Tyler Waguespack, 12.9, $3,737; 3. J.D. Struxness, 13.0, $3,176; 4. Cooper Shofner, 13.1, $2,616; 5. Bray Armes, 13.2, $2,055; 6. Seth Brockman, 13.5, $1,495; 7. Kyle Irwin, 21.7, $934; 8. Colt Stearns, 7.9, $374.

Team roping: First round: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds, $2,297 each; 2. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 4.7, $1,997; 3. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9, $1,698; 4. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.1, $1,398; 5. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2, $1,098; 6. Monty Wood/Boogie Ray, 5.3, $799; 7. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.5, $499; 8. David Key/Martin Lucero, 5.6, $200. Second round: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds, $2,297; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1, $1,997; 3. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.3, $1,698; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 5.4, $$1,398; 5. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 5.5, $1,098; 6. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 5.8, $799; 7. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.9, $499l 8. (tie) David Key/Martin Lucero and Zac Small/Tyler Worley, 6.0, $100 each. Final round: 1.David Key/Martin Lucero, 4.9 seconds, $1,130; 2. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, $5.9, $848; 3. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 6.2, $565; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 6.3, $283. Average: 1. David Key/Martin Lucero, 16.5 seconds on three runs, $3,556; 2. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 17.0, $2,996; 3. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 17.4, $2,546; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 17.0, $2,097; 5. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 19.3, $1,648; 6. Miles Baker/Austin Rogers, 20.9, $1,198; 7. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 21.9, $749; 8. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 11.0 on two runs, $300.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Steven Dent, 82 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pine Cone, $2,477; 2. Rusty Wright and Allen Boore, 81, $1,651 each; 2. (tie) Jesse James Kirby, Isaac Diaz, Cody Wright and Chad Ferley, 80, $557 each; 8. Will Smith, 79, $248. Final round: 1. Isaac Diaz, 93 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, $1,650; 2. Chad Ferley, 87, $1,250; 3. Rusty Wright, 86, $900; 4. Steven Dent, 84, $600; 5. Will Smith, 81, $350; 6. Allen Boore, 80, $250. Average: 1. Isaac Diaz, 173 points on two rides, $2,477; 2. (tie) Chad Ferley and Rusty Wright, 167, $1,651 each; 4. Steven Dent, 166, $908; 5. Allen Boore, 161, $578; 6. Will Smith, 160, $413; 7. Taos Muncy, 156, $330; 8. Tyrel Larsen, 154, $248.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Stran Smith, 8.2 seconds, $2,737; 2. (tie) J.D. Kibbe and Cody Quaney, 8.6, $2,201 each; 4. Caleb Smidt, 8.8, $1,666; 5. (tie) Landyn Duncan and Blair Burk, 8.9, $1,130 each; 7. (tie) Monty Lewis and Justin Maass, 9.0, $416 each. Second round: 1. (tie) Cody Ohl and Caddo Lewallen, 7.7 seconds, $2,558 each; 3. (tie) Tyson Durfey and L.D. Meier, 8.0, $1,844; 5. Cole Bailey, 8.1, $1,309; 6. Adam Gray, 8.4, $952; 7. Tyler Milligan, 8.5, $595; 8. (tie) Trent Creager, Dennis Luetge and Stran Smith, 8.6, $79 each. Final round: 1. Sterling Smith, 8.0 seconds, $1,305; 2. Caleb Smidt, 9.2, $1,080; 3. (tie) Justin Maass and Ace Slone, 9.6, $743 each; 5. Stran Smith, 10.5, $405; 6. Timber Moore, 11.5, $225. Average: 1. Caleb Smidt, 27.0 seconds on three runs, $4,105; 2. Stran Smith, 27.3, $3,569; 3. Ace Slone, 28.1, $3,034; 4. Justin Maass, 28.3, $2,499; 5. Sterling Smith, 29.2, $1,963; 6. Timber Moore, 30.3, $1,428; 7. Blair Burk, 32.1, $892; 8. GlenJackson Glasper, 39.8, $357.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.09 seconds, $2,420; 2. Jackie Ganter, 17.10, $2,074; 3. Sidney Forrest, 17.15, $1,729; 4. Abby Searcy, 17.20, $1,498; 5. Megan Swint, 17.21, $1,152; 6. Shelley Morgan, 17.22, $922; 7. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.23, $691; 8. Tillar Murray, 17.26, $461; 9. (tie) Meghan Johnson, Mary Burger and Laura Lambert, 17.28, $192 each. Second round: 1. Tillar Murray, 17.02 seconds, $2,420; 2. (tie) Sarah Rose McDonald and Carley Richardson, 17.06, $1,902 each; 4. Laura Kennedy, 17.07, $1,498; 5. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.11, $1,152; 6. Bailee Snow, 17.15, $922; 7. Stevi Hillman, 17.16, $691; 8. Calyssa Thomas, 17.17, $461; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.18, $346; 10. Megan Swint, 17.21, $230. Final round: 1. Tillar Murray, 17.06 seconds, $1,793; 2. Kim Couch, 17.15, $1,345; 3. Jackie Ganter, 17.17, $896; 4. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.19, $448. Average: 1. Tillar Murray, 51.34 seconds on three runs, $3,630; 2. Kelley Schnaufer, 51.39, $3,112; 3. Jackie Ganter, 51.68, $2,563; 4. Sarah Rose McDonald, 51.76, $2,247; 5. Kim Couch, 51.77, $1,728; 6. Meghan Johnson, 51.81, $1,383; 7. Carley Richardson, 51.86, $1,037; 8. Paige Willis, 51.98, $691; 9. Abby Searcy, 52.09, $519; 10. Mary Burger, 52.13, $346.

Bull riding: 1. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Spanish Moss, $2,787; 2. Aaron Pass, 88, $2,137; 3. (tie) Rocky McDonald and John Young, 86, $1,301 each; 5. Trevor Kastner, 85, $650; 6. Tanner Bothwell, 84, $465; 7. (tie) Hondo Flores and Dalton Votaw, 83, $325 each. Final round: 1. Aaron Pass, 88 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Sandi’s Dream, $2,700; 2. Rocky McDonald, 86, $2,300; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Aaron Pass, 176 points on two rides, $2,787; 2. Rocky McDonald, 172, $2,137; 3. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on one ride, $1,580; 4. John Young, 86, $1,022; 5. Trevor Kastner, $650; 6. Tanner Bothwell, 84, $465; 7. Hondo Flores, 83, $372; 8. Zeb Lanham, 82, $279.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Crossett rodeo a big event for Carr

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 08/02/2015 - 2:32pm

CROSSETT, Ark. – The Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo is one of the hottest Pro Rodeo’s in the country, and it has nothing to do with the temperature.

Sure, southern Arkansas has its fair share of steamy nights, but the first full week of August will showcase on a different type of heat during the annual rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5-Saturday, Aug. 8, at Cap Gates Arena in Crossett.

Crossett-LOGO“I think we’ve been doing a good job of trying to make our rodeo better,” said Bill Stephens, a longtime member of the volunteer committee that organizes the rodeo. “We’ve been trying to add more money each year.

“Of course, with Pete Carr, you can’t do any better as far as stock in my book. Having that kind of stock helps us in getting the top-name cowboys.”

In fact, the Crossett committee has been recognized as one of the best rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for events its size. That says quite a bit about the locals that work so hard to make the rodeo successful.

“There are three things that stand out to me on why that rodeo’s so great,” said Scott Grover, now in his seventh year calling the action. “There is a very hard-working committee that’s not afraid to change and that always wants to do something every year to make the rodeo better, whether it’s hiring the best acts or adding more money. They take this rodeo very seriously and the nomination very seriously.

“The committee is striving to win the rodeo of the year title, and having Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo is a big reason to that. Pete Carr is one of the premier stock contractors in the PRCA, and he always brings great stock. The third thing is that they care about hospitality, which is very important. The churches get involved and feed everyone at least twice a day.”

Carr has been honored as one of the top five stock contractors in the PRCA each of the past two years. He also has had more animals selected to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo over that same stretch; 27 Carr animals have been chosen to perform at ProRodeo’s grand finale in each the 2013-14 seasons, a record for bucking horses and bulls from one contractor.

“He just has a professional crew to go along with the top stock,” said Stephens, who in 2014 was named the John Justin Committeeperson of the Year. “Everybody from his crew that’s been to our rodeo takes a lot of pride in what they do. To me, he has one of the best crews at rodeo you can go to.”

Carr, too, takes great pride in being part of such a top-flight event.

“Crossett is an outstanding rodeo, and we are excited to be part of it,” Carr said. “The fact that the rodeo has been nominated shows how much work they put into it.”

A core group of 15 works year-round to make sure the rodeo is a true showcase for fans.

“There is a lot of tradition for our rodeo in our community,” Stephens said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

It shows.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Stearns has his Wit and his way

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 11:56pm

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Colt Stearns makes no bones about how he acquired his steer wrestling horse.

“I got married to get it,” he said of Wit, a 17-year-old bay gelding. “My wife had him in high school as a roping horse, and I liked him. I started dating her, and I got married to get the horse.”

His wife certainly knows as well as anyone what a good animal he is. On Saturday, Stearns rode Wit to take the steer wrestling leading heading into Sunday’s championship round.

DodgeCityRoundupThe Freedom, Okla., cowboy won the opening go-round during the morning session with a 3.4-second run, pocketing $2,865. He followed that up with a solid run Saturday night for a two-run cumulative time of 7.9 seconds, a three-tenths-of-a-second lead over Tyler Waguespack and Clayton Hass.

“He’s outstanding in the field,” Stearns said, noting that the horse can be a handful just before the run begins. “I can get by with him. When I nod my head for my steer, he’s doing his job.”

The main function of a bulldogging horse is to leave the chute with perfect timing, allowing the steer the appropriate head start while giving the cowboy and opportunity to be fast. It helps that most animals have great speed. Witt has been the guiding force behind Stearns’ two qualifications to the Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo (2012-13).

“This is our top circuit rodeo,” he said. “I’ve had success here in the past, so it’s always been really good to me.”

That’s important to the Nebraska-born cowboy, who focuses on competing in the Prairie Circuit, a group of rodeos and contestants primarily from Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

“I’m a long ways from winning the circuit,” Stearns said. “I missed it last year by $600. It would be great to come back and get a good check again (Sunday) and maybe win it. It’d give me a boost back in the standings. I’m just trying to get at least that 12th spot in the standings so I can make the circuit finals.”

Jesse James Kirby

Jesse James Kirby

The circuit standings has always been a priority for saddle bronc rider Jesse James Kirby of Dodge City. He is a three-time year-end champion and won the circuit finals last October. This year, though, he’s making a serious run at his first qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Any money won at Roundup Rodeo helps both causes. Kirby has won about $24,000 so far this season and sits 26th in the world standings. Of that, $7,000 has come within the Prairie Circuit; he leads the region.

On Saturday night, he matched moves with Harry Vold Rodeo’s Erica Kane for 80 points. He finished in a four-way tie for fourth place in the first round, but he’s just two points away from leader Steven Dent heading into Sunday’s finale.

“Tonight meant a lot to do really well in front of everybody,” said Kirby, who added $557 to his season total. “This is my best year of my career. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to (four-time NFR qualifier) Bob Griswold. He was a great traveling partner and a great mentor. He showed me how to stay positive all the time.”

It shows. Now Kirby has the opportunity to show off in front of his hometown crowd for the second night in a row.

“It’s very tough to win this rodeo, especially in your hometown,” Kirby said. “All your support is here.”

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 29-Aug. 2
Includes short-round qualifiers
Bareback riding:
1. Brian Bain, 86 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Hypnotic, $2,777; 2. Jake Brown, 85, $2,129; 3. Matt Bright and Richmond Champion, 83, $1,296 each; 5. Bill Tutor, 82, $647; 6. R.C. Landingham, 81, $463; 7. (tie) Kash Wilson and Marvin Alderman Jr., 80, $324 each; 9. (tie) Tanner Aus and Seth Hardwick, 78; 11. (tie) Colt Kitaif and Frank Morton, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Colt Stearns, 3.4 seconds, $2,865; 2. Ryan Swayze, 3.8, $2,491; 3. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Ricky Riley, 3.9, $1,931 each; 5. Clayton Hass, 4.0, $1,370; 6. Kyle Irwin, 4.1, $996; 7. (tie) Logan Rudd and Ryan Bothum, 4.3, $436 each. Second round leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds, $2,865; 2. Jason Lahr, 3.5, $2,491; 3. (tie) Levi Rudd, Tyler Waguespack and Wade Sumpter, 3.6, $1,744 each; 6. (tie) Matt Reeves and Josh Clark, 3.8, $810 each; 8. (tie) Aaron Vosler and Jacob Shofner, 3.9, $125 each. Average leaders: 1. Colt Stearns, 7.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Tyler Waguespack and Clayton Hass, 8.2; 4. Rowdy Parrott, 8.3; 5. Kyle Irwin, 8.4; 6. Stockton Graves, 8.7; 7. Ryan Swayze, 8.8; 8. Copper Shofner, 8.9; 9. J.D. Struxness, 9.0; 10. Orrin Fontenot, 9.2; 11. Seth Brockman, 9.3; 12. Bray Armes, 9.5.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds, $2,297 each; 2. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 4.7, $1,997; 3. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9, $1,698; 4. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.1, $1,398; 5. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2, $1,098; 6. Monty Wood/Boogie Ray, 5.3, $799; 7. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.5, $499; 8. David Key/Martin Lucero, 5.6, $200. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds, $2,297; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1, $1,997; 3. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.3, $1,698; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 5.4, $$1,398; 5. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 5.5, $1,098; 6. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 5.8, $799; 7. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.9, $499l 8. (tie) David Key/Martin Lucero and Zac Small/Tyler Worley, 6.0, $100 each. Average leaders: 1. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 10.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 11.0; 3. (tie) Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes and Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 11.5; 5. David Key/Martin Lucero, 11.6; 6. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 11.7; 7. (tie) Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper and Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 11.8; 9. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 12.6; 10. Troy Boone/Dawson McMaster, 12.9; 11. (tie) Nick Becker/Toby Mentzer and Miles Baker/Austin Rogers, 13.9.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Steven Dent, 82 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pine Cone, $2,477; 2. Rusty Wright and Allen Boore, 81, $1,651 each; 2. (tie) Jesse James Kirby, Isaac Diaz, Cody Wright and Chad Ferley, 80, $557 each; 8. Will Smith, 79, $248; 9. Tyrel Larsen, 78; 10. (tie) Taos Muncy, Andy Clarys and Nick Laduke, 77.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 8.2 seconds, $2,737; 2. (tie) J.D. Kibbe and Cody Quaney, 8.6, $2,201 each; 4. Caleb Smidt, 8.8, $1,666; 5. (tie) Landyn Duncan and Blair Burk, 8.9, $1,130 each; 7. (tie) Monty Lewis and Justin Maass, 9.0, $416 each. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Cody Ohl and Caddo Lewallen, 7.7 seconds, $2,558 each; 3. (tie) Tyson Durfey and L.D. Meier, 8.0, $1,844; 5. Cole Bailey, 8.1, $1,309; 6. Adam Gray, 8.4, $952; 7. Tyler Milligan, 8.5, $595; 8. (tie) Trent Creager, Dennis Luetge and Stran Smith, 8.6, $79 each. Average leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 16.8 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. Kibbe, 17.5; 3. Caleb Smidt, 17.8; 4. Ace Sloan, 18.5; 5. Blair Burk, 18.6; 6. Justin Maass, 18.7; 7. Timber Moore, 18.8; 8. GlennJackson Glasper, 19.6; 9. Landyn Duncan, 19.9; 10. Trent Creager, 20.3; 11. Tanner Stec, 20.7; 12. Sterling Smith, 21.2.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.09 seconds, $2,420; 2. Jackie Ganter, 17.10, $2,074; 3. Sidney Forrest, 17.15, $1,729; 4. Abby Searcy, 17.20, $1,498; 5. Megan Swint, 17.21, $1,152; 6. Shelley Morgan, 17.22, $922; 7. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.23, $691; 8. Tillar Murray, 17.26, $461; 9. (tie) Meghan Johnson, Mary Burger and Laura Lambert, 17.28, $192 each. Second round leaders: 1. Tillar Murray, 17.02 seconds, $2,420; 2. (tie) Sarah Rose McDonald and Carley Richardson, 17.06, $1,902 each; 4. Laura Kennedy, 17.07, $1,498; 5. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.11, $1,152; 6. Bailee Snow, 17.15, $922; 7. Stevi Hillman, 17.16, $691; 8. Calyssa Thomas, 17.17, $461; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.18, $346; 10. Megan Swint, 17.21, $230. Average leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 34.20 seconds on two runs; 2. Tillar Murray, 34.28; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 34.29; 4. (tie) Abby Searcy and Megan Swint, 34.42; 6. Jackie Ganter, 34.51; 7. Meghan Johnson, 34.52; 8. Carley Richardson, 34.53; 9. Mary Burger, 34.57; 10. Stevi Hillman, 34.61; 11. Kim Couch, 34.62; 12. Paige Willis, 34.65.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Spanish Moss, $2,787; 2. Aaron Pass, 88, $2,137; 3. (tie) Rocky McDonald and John Young, 86, $1,301 each; 5. Trevor Kastner, 85, $650; 6. Tanner Bothwell, 84, $465; 7. (tie) Hondo Flores and Dalton Votaw, 83, $325 each; 8. Zeb Lanham, 82; 10. (tie) Trenton Montero and Caleb Sanderson, 81. (Because of ties, only 11 bull riders qualified for the final round.)

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Roundup broadcast set for Wrangler Network

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 11:13am

The Saturday and Sunday performances of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo have become a must-see event for folks in southwest Kansas.

DodgeCityRoundupIt’s incredible seeing the men, women and children that align the fence in the standing-room-only section on Saturday night as we close out the final preliminary go-round of this year’s championship. Vendors are busy as people make their ways to view a major stop on the ProRodeo tour.

For those that can’t make it to witness this magical experience, there is an outlet. The Wrangler Network will broadcast both performances online. It’s a great way to keep up with the action. Tonight you can follow and see who will return for tomorrow’s championship round. On Sunday, you’ll get to see who wins this prestigious rodeo and the coveted Roundup buckle made by Montana Silversmiths.

The Wrangler Network has helped increase interest in our sport. It’s become a valuable tool for fans and contestants alike.

Still, there’s nothing like experiencing Roundup Rodeo in person. It’s truly a marvelous show. But if you can’t make it to this community of about 30,000, then take in the Wrangler Network’s broadcast. It’ll be worth it.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Cowboys to return to Lea County

Twisted Rodeo - Sat, 08/01/2015 - 10:27am

LOVINGTON, N.M. – There’s nothing in the world better than coming home.

That’s especially true for the Tate Branch Auto Group “Riding for the Brand” team of cowboys that make their living on the ProRodeo trail. For those that call southeastern New Mexico home, next week’s stop at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo is vital.

Jake Cooper

Jake Cooper

“For us, it’s seeing family and a bunch of friends and having a couple days off,” said Jake Cooper, the sixth-ranked header in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings from Monument. “More importantly, it’s getting some good home cooking. It’s been a long four weeks out here rodeoing.”

He is one of seven top cowboys who are part of the “Riding for the Brand” team, joining his twin brother, heeler Jim Ross Cooper; tie-down ropers Clint Cooper, Clif Cooper and their father, legend Roy Cooper; steer roper Marty Jones; and two-time saddle bronc riding world champion Taos Muncy. All are scheduled to be part of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

For Jim, Jake, Clint and Jones, the rodeo in Lovington is about coming home. Clint Cooper grew up in Lovington and still loves the opportunity to return to his stomping grounds. The other three still claim their Lea County residences.

Marty Jones

Marty Jones

“For me, it’s just getting to go home every night after the rodeo,” said Jones, a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Hobbs. “That’s enjoyable. I love the Jake McClure Arena and always have.

“I’ve roped a lot of them in there. Maybe it’ll be good for me.”

It’s definitely been good for Clint Cooper, a five-time NFR qualifier. He’s won the tie-down roping twice and seen great success in Lovington, but that’s not the most important part of the week for him.

“It’s home, and that rodeo means going home and seeing all my family and friends and my grandma,” he said. “There’s so much family there that it’s important for me.”

He also knows the importance of tending to business. He sits 35th in the world standings, 20 spots away from that magical top 15 he needs in order to return to Las Vegas in December.

Clint Cooper

Clint Cooper

“It’s probably been one of the slowest years of my career so far,” Clint Cooper said. “I’ve got 40 rodeos left, so I’m going to still go to every one of them and see what happens.”

Though not so far down the list, Jim Cooper sits 22nd in the heeling standings and needs to have a solid final two months of the season if he is going to return to ProRodeo’s grand championship for the sixth time.

“My year started off slow, but things can snowball on you good and bad,” he said. “Right there in June, it got pretty good and snowballed the right way. You just do what you can do and see what happens.”

He’d like for the snowball to continue in Lea County.

“All these rodeos are important, but a guy has to look at the standpoint of one at a time,” Jim Cooper said. “But if anyone tells you that your hometown rodeo – that’s as good as Lovington – isn’t further up there on the list, then they’re crazy.

Jim Ross Cooper

Jim Ross Cooper

“When you’re that close to home and have that many people there that support you, you like to do well.”

Many of those supporters are involved with the Tate Branch Auto Group, which also is the presenting sponsor of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

“Tate’s just a great guy,” Jim Cooper said. “He’s done wonderful at business, and he’s passed a few of those blessings to a few of us rodeo cowboys. Anytime you can have a person in your corner that can help you out in as many different ways as Mr. Tate – and just being a friend is important – you know you have something pretty special.

“We’re looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Tate and really appreciate all parts of it.”

That’s a sentiment shared by all the other “Riding for the Brand” cowboys.

“I appreciate Tate so much,” Jones said. “To have the opportunity to drive a pickup like that and him take care of us like that, it’s a very special deal.”

“Tate and I met in 2010,” Clint Cooper said. “He not only has been a great family friend, but how he’s helped me get up and down the road transportation-wise is amazing. Just what he’s done for our sport of rodeo is amazing. I’ve noticed a bunch of other junior rodeos and high school rodeos and others that he’s associated with, so it shows he supports rodeo.”

That support is paying off for the cowboys.

“It’s been a good season so far,” Jake Cooper said. “Part of us doing well is knowing your rig is reliable. We’ve gotten to all the rodeos safely and been able to compete. Financially, it’s a load off your mind, but so is having a reliable vehicle.”

Reliability is important in all aspects of life. For rodeo cowboys, having a reliable horse and relying on one’s own abilities helps pay the way and guide them to championships. It’s all part of the package for the Tate Branch Auto Group team.

——

The “Riding for the Brand” cowboys will be at the second annual Tate Branch Auto Group All RAM No Bull sale throughout the week in Lovington at the old Gibson building on the Hobbs Highway. They will be available for pictures and autographs, and will be interviewed on the 94.9 Country Giant morning radio show. The Country Giant will be doing its morning show Tuesday through Friday on site and the cowboys will be there for the show throughout the week to meet and greet their fans. 

Tate Branch-logo

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Skelton recovering with fast times

Twisted Rodeo - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:26pm

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Nick Sartain and Rich Skelton had a solid winter and were enjoying a nice spring.

As of the second week of May, they were both fifth in their respective team roping world standings, having earned $26,000. Things changed in a hurry.

Rich Skelton

Rich Skelton

Skelton, an eight-time world champion, suffered serious injuries May 15 when he was on the wrong end of a chain-reaction wreck near his Llano, Texas, home. A pickup pulling a livestock trailer slammed into a passenger vehicle, which crashed into the eight-time world champion’s tractor. Skelton and the driver of the passenger vehicle were airlifted to an Austin, Texas, hospital.

He returned to rodeo action in late June. On Friday night, he and Sartain stopped the clock in 5.3 seconds during the third performance of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Combined with their 5.5-second first-round run, they lead the two-run aggregate heading into the final two days of Kansas’ richest rodeo.

“When I got hurt, I’d only been to 12 rodeos,” said Skelton, who, with Sartain, has pocketed more than $16,000 in a few weeks to move back up into the top 20 in the world standings. “We get to go to 75, so we’re playing catch-up.”

Nick Sartain

Nick Sartain

They’re doing it quite well in western Kansas. They are placing in both go-rounds with one day remaining in the preliminary rounds and will return for Sunday’s championship round. Skelton has claimed the coveted Roundup buckle two other times with world champion ropers Tee Woolman and Speed Williams; he’d like to add a third with Sartain.

“It’s been a good partnership,” Skelton said of heeling behind Sartain, the 2009 heading world champ. “We’ve struggled the past couple of weeks.

“Everything’s good, but we’re hoping this will get us kick-started and get us rolling.”

Just two months remain in ProRodeo’s regular season. Only the top 15 contestants in each event qualify for the year-end championship, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which takes place each December in Las Vegas. Doing well in Dodge City will be a great momentum boost. He’d love to return to the Nevada desert for the 22nd time in his storied career.

“I’m pretty fortunate to rope with Nick,” said Skelton, who won all of his gold buckles roping with Williams from 1997-2004. “When I was roping with Speedy, Nick used to come down and practice with us. He knows how I like steers handled, and he’s worked at handling steers like Speed.

“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to rope together.”

It’s working in Dodge City.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 29-Aug. 2
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Matt Bright, 83 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Showdown; 2. Kash Wilson, 80; 3. (tie) Tanner Aus and Seth Hardwick, 78; 5. (tie) Colt Kitaif and Frank Morton, 76; 7. Clint Cannon, 75; 8. Kyle Charley, 74; 9. (tie) Clayton Jon Biglow, Trenton Montero and Will Lowe, 71 each; 12. Casey Breuer, 66.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ryan Swayze, 3.8; 2. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Ricky Riley, 3.9 seconds; 4. Kyle Irwin, 4.1; 5. (tie) Logan Rudd and Ryan Bothum, 4.3; 7. (tie) Orrin Fontenot, Jule Hazen, Stockton Graves, Cody Pratt and Stewart Gullager, 4.4. Second round leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds; 2. Jason Lahr, 3.5; 3. (tie) Levi Rudd, Tyler Waguespack and Wade Suptmer, 3.6; 6. (tie) Matt Reeves and Josh Clark, 3.8; 8. (tie) Matt Uttermark and J.D. Struxness, 4.0. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Rowdy Parrott, 8.3; 3. Kyle Irwin, 8.4; 4. Stockton Graves, 8.7; 5. Ryan Swayze, 8.8; 6. J.D. Struxness, 9.0; 7. Orrin Fontenot, 9.2; 8. Seth Brockman, 9.3; 9. Bray Armes, 9.5; 10. Ryan Bothum, 9.8; 11. Clay Mindemann, 9.9; Wade Sumpter, 10.1.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds; 2. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 4.7; 3. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9; 4. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 5. Monty Wood/Boogie Ray, 5.3; 6. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.5; 7. David Key/Martin Lucero, 5.6; 8. Dylan Gordon/Gage Williams, 5.9. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1; 3. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.3; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 5.4; 5. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 5.8; 6. David Key/Martin Lucero, 6.0; 7. (tie) J.D. Yates/Trey Yates and Nick Becker/Toby Mentzer, 6.3. Average leaders: 1. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 10.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 11.5; 3. David Key/Martin Lucero, 11.6; 4. Doyle Hoskins/Wyatt Cox, 11.7; 5. (tie) Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper and Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 11.8; 7. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 12.6; 8. Troy Boone/Dawson McMaster, 12.9; 8. Nick Becker/Toby Mentzer, 13.9; 10. Jered Hunter/Trew Cates, 15.1; 11. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 15.5; 12. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 15.5.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Rusty Wright, 81 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Jerry’s Delight; 2. (tie) Isaac Diaz, Cody Wright and Chad Ferley, 80; 5. Will Smith, 79; 6. Tyrel Larsen, 78; 7. Taos Muncy, 77; 8. (tie) Spencer Wright and Dalton Davis, 76; 10. (tie) Doug Aldridge, Taygen Schuelke and Dawson Jandreau, 75.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 8.2 seconds; 2. Caleb Smidt, 8.8; 3. (tie) Blair Burk and Landyn Duncan, 8.9; 5. (tie) Justin Maass and Monty Lewis, 9.0; 7. Tanner Stec and Rhett Ridling, 9.3. Second round leaders: 1. Cody Ohl, 7.7 seconds; 2. Tyson Durfey, 8.0; 3. 3. Cole Bailey, 8.1; 4. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 seconds; 5. (tie) Trent Creager, Dennis Luetge and Stran Smith, 8.6; 8. Caleb Smidt, 9.0. Average leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 16.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Caleb Smidt, 17.8; 3. Blair Burk, 18.6; 4. Justin Maass, 18.7; 5. Timber Moore, 18.8; 6. GlennJackson Glasper, 19.6; 7. Landyn Duncan, 19.9; 8. Trent Creager, 20.3; 9. Tanner Stec, 20.7; 10. Quay Howard, 21.3; 11. Jesse Clark, 21.5; 12. Dennis Luetge, 24.1.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.09 seconds; 2. Jackie Ganter, 17.10; 3. Abby Searcy, 17.20; 4. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.23; 5. Tillar Murray, 17.26; 6. (tie) Laura Lambert, Mary Burger and Meghan Johnson, 17.28, 17.28; 9. Christine Laughlin, 17.34; 10. Catherine Asmussen, 17.35. Second round leaders: 1. Tillar Murray, 17.02 seconds; 2. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.06; 3. Carley Richardson, 17.06; 4. Laura Kennedy, 17.07; 5. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.11; 6. Bailee Snow, 17.15; 7. Stevi Hillman, 17.16; 8. Calyssa Thomas, 17.17; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.18; 10. Abby Searcy, 17.22. Average leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 34.20 seconds on two runs; 2. Tillar Murray, 34.28; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 34.29; 4. Abby Searcy, 34.42; 5. Jackie Ganter, 34.51; 6. Meghan Johnson, 34.52; 7. Carley Richaardson, 34.53; 8. Mary Burger, 34.57; 9. Stevi Hillman, 34.61; 10. Kim Couch, 34.62; 11. Victoria Williams, 34.67; 12. Ivy Hurtst, 34.73.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Spanish Moss; 2. Aaron Pass, 88; 3. Rocky McDonald, 86; 4. Trevor Kastner, 85; 5. Tanner Bothwell, 84; 6. Hondo Flores, 83; 8. Zeb Lanham, 82; 8. (tie) Trenton Montero and Caleb Sanderson, 81; 10. Cole Echols, 80; 11. Sage Kimzey, 77; 12. Joe Frost, 76.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Bright shines in Dodge City

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 11:38pm

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Matt Bright might just be on the hot streak of his career.

Bright, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Fort Worth, Texas, continued his positive momentum Thursday night by riding Frontier Rodeo’s Showdown for 83 points to take the bareback riding lead at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Matt Bright

Matt Bright

“I’ve been pretty injury plagued the last couple years, and I’m finally feeling healthy,” said Bright, who earned more than $12,000 last week and moved to 28th in the world standings. “It’s amazing what being in good shape and being healthy can do for a guy’s riding. It’s dang sure improved mine a lot, and things have been rolling really well here lately.”

He was one of 19 NFR qualifiers in Thursday’s second performance of Roundup. Injuries have sidelined him enough the last two seasons, the Tennessee-born cowboy has been unable to return to Las Vegas for ProRodeo’s grand finale. He’s battling his way toward the magical top 15 in the world standings by the end of the regular season to secure his fourth trip to the Nevada desert in December.

He knew he had a shot on the Frontier horse.

“Dodge City is one of these rodeos where the horse is going to tell the difference,” said Bright, who finished second at both Cheyenne, Wyo., and Eagle, Colo., last week. “Everybody here are great bareback riders. This is a (Wrangler Million Dollar) Tour rodeo, so you’re going to get the cream of the crop, and I knew (NFR qualifier) Austin Foss had some success on that horse earlier this year.”

In roughstock events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding – half the score on the 100-point scale is based on the animal; the rest is based on how well the cowboy rides.

“He had a great trip, and I managed to keep up with him,” he said of Showdown.

Though he has missed a number of big-money rodeos this year because of injury, Bright knows there are plenty of opportunities ahead of him with just two months left in the 2015 campaign.

“I know everybody goes on and on about July being the month, but after Cheyenne, you get a lot of guys who are broke and a lot of guys who are injured,” he said. “With as many big rodeos that go on in the late summer and early fall and with a few guys that are out for whatever reason, it seems like it gets slightly easier to get checks.

“If a guy’s healthy and feeling good like I have here lately, I think this is a good time to take advantage of it. I’m not beat up from going up and down the road. I’ve got a fresh jump, and I think it’s showing. I’ve been drawing real good horses, and I’ve been able to take advantage of it.”

First he needs to finish among the top 12 through the four preliminary performances in Dodge City in order to qualify for Sunday’s championship round. By leading with two nights left in the preliminary round, he sits in prime position to chase the coveted Roundup title.

He just needs that hot streak to continue just a few more days to get it.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 29-Aug. 2
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Matt Bright, 83 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Showdown; 2. Kash Wilson, 80; 3. Tanner Aus, 78; 4. Colt Kitaif, 76; 5. Clint Cannon, 75; 6. Kyle Charley, 74; 7. (tie) Clayton Jon Biglow, Trenton Montero and Will Lowe, 71 each; 10. Casey Breuer, 66; 11. Wyatt Clar, 59; 12. A.J. Colletti, 58.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Ricky Riley, 3.9 seconds; 3. Kyle Irwin, 4.1; 4. (tie) Logan Rudd and Ryan Bothum, 4.3; 4. (tie) Orrin Fontenot, Jule Hazen, Stockton Graves and Cody Pratt, 4.4. Second round leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds; 2. (tie) Levi Rudd and Tyler Waguespack, 3.6; 4. (tie) Matt Reeves and Josh Clark, 3.8; 6. (tie) Matt Uttermark and J.D. Struxness, 4.0; 8. Cody Devers, 4.1. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Rowdy Parrott, 8.3; 3. Kyle Irwin, 8.4; 4. Stockton Graves, 8.7; 5. J.D. Struxness, 9.0; 6. Orrin Fontenot, 9.2; 7. Ryan Bothum, 9.8; 8. Tanner Brunner, 10.5; 9. Tooter Silver, 10.6; 10. Logan Rudd, 10.9; 11. Kyle Broce, 11.6; 12. Levi Rudd, 11.9.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds; 2. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 4.7; 3. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9; 4. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 5. Monty Wood/Boogie Ray, 5.3; 6. (tie) Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper and Cris Francis/Cade Passig, 6.2 each; 8. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3; 6. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 6.4. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1; 3. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3; 4. Nick Becker/Toby Mentzer, 6.3; 5. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 6.9; 6. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 7.4; 7. Jered Hunter/Trew Cates, 8.3; 8. JoJo LeMond/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 10.0. Average leaders: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 11.5 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper and Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 11.8; 4. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 12.6; 5. Jered Hunter/Trew Cates, 15.1; 7. Colt Fisher/Corey Hendrick, 15.5; 8. Jake Cooper/Tyler McKnight, 17.1; 9. Caleb Bullock/Shade Etbauerm 25.2; 10. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 on one run; 11. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 12. Monty Wood/Boogie Ray, 5.3.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Rusty Wright, 81 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Jerry’s Delight; 2. (tie) Isaac Diaz and Cody Wright; 4. Tyrel Larsen, 78; 5. Taos Muncy, 77; 6. (tie) Spencer Wright and Dalton Davis, 76; 8. (tie) Doug Aldridge, Taygen Schuelke and Dawson Jandreau, 75; 11. (tie) Zeke Thurston, Brady Nicholes and Sam Spreadborough, 74.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 8.2 seconds; 2. Justin Maas, 9.0; 3. Tanner Stec, 9.3; 4. Caleb Bullock, 9.4; 5. (tie) Jordan Ketscher and Ross Tucker, 9.5; 7. Clint Cooper, 9.6; 8. GlennJackson Glasper. Second round leaders: 1. Tyson Durfey, 8.0; 2. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 seconds; 3. (tie) Trent Creager, Dennis Luetge and Stran Smith, 8.6; 6. Jarrod Branch, 9.5; 7. (tie) Glenn Jackson Glasper and Jesse Clark, 9.6. Average leaders: 1. Stran Smith, 16.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Justin Maass, 18.7; 3. GlennJackson Glasper, 19.6; 4. Trent Creager, 20.3; 5. Tanner Stec, 20.7; 6. Quay Howard, 21.3; 7. Jesse Clark, 21.5; 8. Dennis Luetge, 24.1; 9. Chase Williams, 29.8; 10. Shade Etbauer, 31.3; 11. Jarrod Branch, 33.1; 12. Bryson Seachrist, 36.8.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.09 seconds; 2. Jackie Ganter, 17.10; 3. Abby Searcy, 17.20; 4. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.23; 5. Tillar Murray, 17.26; 6. Laura Lambert, 17.28; 7. Christine Laughlin, 17.34; 8. Victoria Williams, 17.40; 9. Sabrina Ketcham, 17.41; 10. Stevi Hillman, 17.45. Second round leaders: 1. Tillar Murray, 17.02 seconds; 2. Sarah Rose McDonald, 17.06; 3. Laura Kennedy, 17.07; 4. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.11; 5. Bailee Snow, 17.15; 6. Stevi Hillman, 17.16; 7. Christy Loflin, 17.18; 8. Abby Searcy, 17.22; 9. Victoria Williams, 17.27; 10. Carol Chesher, 17.32. Average leaders: 1. Kelley Schnaufer, 34.20 seconds on two runs; 2. Tillar Murray, 34.28; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 34.29; 4. Abby Searcy, 34.42; 5. Jackie Ganter, 34.51; 6. Stevi Hillman, 34.61; 7. Victoria Williams, 34.67; 8. Laura Kennedy, 34.78; 9. Carol Chesher, 34.80; 10. Gretchen Benbenek, 34.83; 11. Sabrina Ketcham, 34.84; 12. Bailee Snow, 34.88.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Spanish Moss; 2. Aaron Pass, 88; 3. Tanner Bothwell, 84; 4. Mana Kaia, 82; 5. (tie) Trenton Montero and Caleb Sanderson, 81; 7. Sage Kimzey, 77; 8. Joe Frost, 76; 9. Guthrie Murray, 73; 10. Cody Wade Huitt, 54; no other qualified rides.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Logo change was too drastic

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:49pm
Ted Harbin TwisTED Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTED Rodeo

There is a pretty big stink north of the border.

old-CPRA-logoApparently, a number of rodeo folks are a bit miffed at the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s newest logo design. It’s quite a change from the longstanding logo, and it has been met with sharp criticism.

The previous logo was outdated and needed an overhaul. The image looks straight out of the Old West, as if it were developed on printing presses that have long since been discarded.

The new logo is slick and unique … a little too much for the tradition-rich CPRA. In fact, it’s a complete direction change from what has been a signature symbol for the association. Sure, some will say, it’s attractive and bold.

new-CPRA-logoBut it is short-sided and actually alienates the organization from its roots. Just click HERE to read what CPRA Gold Card Mac McKie member and my good friend, Ted Stovin, have to say on the subject.

There was room for something spectacular to create that included all the design aspects needed for change. There is middle ground, and that’s where the CPRA board should’ve gone.

There was no need to erase 70 years of tradition with one swipe of a pen and a few block letters. The CPRA membership deserved better.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Rusty rides Wright to the lead

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:47am

DODGE CITY, Kan. – No matter how good an athlete is, the foundation for every move is in the fundamentals.

It’s working well for Rusty Wright, a 19-year-old saddle bronc rider and son of two-time world champion Cody Wright. On Wednesday night, the Utah cowboy rode Harry Vold Rodeo’s Jerry’s Delight for 81 points to take the early lead at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Rusty Wright

Rusty Wright

“I couldn’t ask for better this year,” said Rusty Wright, the No. 3-ranked bronc rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings. “I’ve been drawing good and making good rides, and the judges are liking it. It’s working out. I just plan to keep riding the best I can; nothing fancy, just stick to the basics.”

That’s proven to be quite successful for the Wright clan of Milford, Utah. Not only is Cody Wright a two-time titlist, but two of his brothers (Rusty’s uncles) are also world champs: Jesse Wright won the gold buckle in 2012, and Spencer Wright added the family’s fourth crown last season.

Cody Wright

Cody Wright

“My dad’s been preaching the basics to us, not just in bronc riding but any sport we were doing through elementary school or high school; just stick to the basics,” said Rusty Wright, who is one point better than Cody Wright and Isaac Diaz at Roundup Rodeo. “It carries over to bronc riding. He’s been telling us that so long that it’s easy to remember: Stay back, lift on your rein and set your feet. That’s pretty much all you need to do.”

The young gun has done it better than most this season. He has pocketed $71,000, and two months remain in ProRodeo’s regular season. He’s well on his way to his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where the chances are good he’ll be joined by familiar faces.

Only the top 15 cowboys in the world standings earn a shot at the biggest pay in the game, and there are plenty of Wrights within range of returning to Las Vegas in December: Spencer is sixth, Jake is 10th, Jesse is 17th and Cody is 25th. Rusty travels the rodeo trail with Cody, Spencer and Brady Nicholes.

“A big part of rodeoing is being around good bronc riders and winners, like my dad and Spencer,” Rusty Wright said. “I think I’m traveling with a couple of winners. It helps me out a lot, not only in bronc riding but with my attitude in life.

“It’s a huge impact, and it’s made things a lot easier for me.”

He seems to be making it pretty easy for himself. He’ll turn 20 on Nov. 10, so a trip to the Nevada in December to chase the world champion’s gold buckle might be the perfect birthday gift.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 29-Aug. 2
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kash Wilson, 80 points on JK Rodeo’s Brother; 2. Tanner Aus, 78; 3. Clint Cannon, 75; 4. (tie) Clayton Jon Biglow and Trenton Montero, 71 each; 6. Casey Breuer, 66.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Rowdy Parrott, 3.9 seconds; 2. Kyle Irwin, 4.1; 3. Logan Rudd, 4.3; 4. Orrin Fontenot, 4.4; 5. Tyler Waguespack, 4.5; 6. Royce Johnson, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds; 2. (tie) Levi Rudd and Tyler Waguespack, 3.6; 4. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 5. Kyle Irwin, 4.3; 6. (tie) Jacob Talley, 4.4. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Rowdy Parrott, 8.3; 3. Kyle Irwin, 8.4; 4. Orrin Fontenot, 9.2; 5. Tooter Silver, 10.6; 6. Logan Rudd, 10.9; 7. Levi Rudd, 11.9; 8. Jacob Talley, 18.5.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds; 2. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9; 3. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 4. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 6.2; 5. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3; 6. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 6.4. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds; 2. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 5.1; 3. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3; 4. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 6.9; 5. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 7.4; 6. Jake Cooper/Tyler McKnight, 10.2. Average leaders: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 11.5 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper and Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 11.8 seconds each; 4. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 12.6; 5. Jake Cooper/Tyler McKnight, 17.1; 6. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 on one run; 7. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 8. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 6.2.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Rusty Wright, 81 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Jerry’s Delight; 2. (tie) Isaac Diaz and Cody Wright; 4. Tyrel Larsen, 78; 5. Taos Muncy, 77; 6. Spencer Wright, 76; 7. Doug Aldridge, 75; 8. (tie) Zeke Thurston/Brady Nicholes, 74.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Jordan Ketscher, 9.5 seconds; 2. Clint Cooper, 9.6; 3. GlennJackson Glasper, 10.0; 4. Dillon Holder, 10.7; 5. Quay Howard, 11.3; 6. William Whayne Jr., 11.6. Second round leaders: 1. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 seconds; 2. Trent Creager, 8.6; 3. Jarrod Branch, 9.5; 4. Glenn Jackson Glasper, 9.6; 5. Quay Howard, 10.0; 6. Tylen Layton, 10.6; 7. Bryson Sechrist, 18.2; 8. Pryce Harris, 21.0. Average leaders: 1. GlennJackson Glasper, 19.6 seconds on two runs; 2. Trent Creager, 20.3; 3. Quay Howard, 21.3; 4. Jarrod Branch, 33.1; 5. Bryson Seachrist, 36.8; 6. Garrett King, 47.3; 7. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 on one one; 8. Jordan Ketscher, 9.5.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Abby Searcy, 17.20 seconds; 2. Christine Laughlin, 17.34; 3. Carol Chesher, 17.48; 4. Lauren Magdeburg, 17.54; 5. Layna Kight, 17.60; 6. (tie) Laura Kennedy and Hanna Forbes, 17.71 each. Second round leaders: 1. Laura Kennedy, 17.07; 2. Bailee Snow, 17.15; 3. Christy Loflin, 17.18; 4. Abby Searcy, 17.22; 5. Carol Chesher, 17.32; 6. (tie) Kaela Haddon and Hanna Forbes, 17.34; 8. Darla Corff, 17.43; 9. Sara Bynum, 17.45; 10. Cheyenne Raney, 17.50. Average leaders: 1. Abby Searcy, 34.42 seconds on two runs; 2. Laura Kennedy, 34.78; 3. Carol Chesher, 34.80; 4. Bailee Snow, 34.88; 5. Christy Loflin, 34.92; 6. Hanna Forbes, 35.05; 7. Layna Kight, 35.15; 8. Lauren Magdeburg, 35.27; 9. Sara Bynum, 35.48; 10. Sandy McElreath, 35.62; 11. Kaela Haddon, 35.73; 12. Brooke Sebo, 36.05.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Scottie Knapp, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Spanish Moss; 2. Aaron Pass, 88; 3. (tie) Trenton Montero and Caleb Sanderson, 81; 5. Guthrie Murray, 73; 6. Cody Wade Huitt, 54.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

World champ Masters among early leaders

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 1:29pm
Chad Masters

Chad Masters

The timed events began Wednesday morning at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, and there are several elite athletes atop the leaderboard, including world champion header Chad Masters. He and partner Travis Graves posted a 4.4-second run to lead the first go-round.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Rowdy Parrott, 3.9 seconds; 2. Kyle Irwin, 4.1; 3. Logan Rudd, 4.3; 4. Orrin Fontenot, 4.4; 5. Tyler Waguespack, 4.5; 6. Royce Johnson, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds; 2. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 3. Dan Barner, 5.8; 4. Tyler Pearson, 6.5; 5. Shane Henderson, 8.3; 6. John Kloeckler, 13.3. Average leaders: 1. Kyle Whitaker, 3.3 seconds on one head; 2. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 3. Rowdy Parrott, 3.9; 4. Kyle Irwin, 4.1; 5. Logan Rudd, 4.3; 6. Orrin Fontenot, 4.4.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds; 2. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9; 3. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 4. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 6.2; 5. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3; 6. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 6.4. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 14.3; no other qualified runs. Average leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 4.4 seconds on one head; 2. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7; 3. Derrick Begay/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.9; 4. Travis Tryan/Jett Hillman, 5.2; 5. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 6.2; 6. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.3.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Jordan Ketscher, 9.5 seconds; 2. Clint Cooper, 9.6; 3. GlennJackson Glasper, 10.0; 4. Dillon Holder, 10.7; 5. Quay Howard, 11.3; 6. William Whayne Jr., 11.6. Second round leaders: 1. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 seconds; 2. Jarrod Branch, 9.5; 3. Tylen Layton, 10.6; 4. Pryce Harris, 21.0; 5. Garrett King, 24.8; no other qualified runs. Average leaders: 1. Jarrod Branch, 33.1 seconds on two head; 2. Garrett King, 47.3; 3. Tyler Milligan, 8.5 on one head; 4. Jordan Ketscher, 9.5; 5. Clint Cooper, 9.6; 6. GlennJackson Glasper, 10.0.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Abby Searcy, 17.20 seconds; 2. Christine Laughlin, 17.34; 3. Carol Chesher, 17.48; 4. Lauren Magdeburg, 17.54; 5. Layna Kight, 17.60; 6. (tie) Laura Kennedy and Hanna Forbes, 17.71 each. Second round leaders: 1. Kaela Haddon, 17.34 seconds; 2. Darla Corff, 17.43; 3. Sara Bynum, 17.45; 4. Cheyenne Raney, 17.50; 5. Lisa Thornton, 17.51; 6. Emily Holton, 17.53. Average leaders: 1. Lisa Thornton, 35.29 seconds on two head; 2. Sara Bynum, 35.48; 3. Sandy McElreath, 35.62; 4. Kaela Haddon, 35.73; 5. Brooke Sebo, 36.05; 6. Crystal Castleberry, 36.11.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Return to the top

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 12:03am

Two-time world champion Scott Snedecor of Fredricksburg, Texas, added another prestigious title to his resume Tuesday afternoon.

Snedecor, a 13-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Rodeo, roped and tied three calves in 26.8 seconds to win $4,862. It marked the second time in his career that the Texan has claimed the Dodge City Roundup steer roping championship.

Scott Snedecor

Scott Snedecor

“Just being Dodge City is important for us,” he said. “Part of the attraction of this rodeo is the buckle they give; that was one of the elite buckles that stick out when you see it on somebody.

“The committee here works so hard, and we all really appreciate Mike (Lehmke) for sponsoring steer roping. They really do take care of us.”

Snedecor split the opening-round victory with Troy Tillard of Douglas, Wyo.; both cowboys posted 11.2-second runs. Mike Chase of McAlester, Okla., won the second round with a 10.4-second run, while Neal Wood of Needville, Texas, scored a 10.2 – the fastest run of the day – to win the final round.

Snedecor first won the Roundup buckle in 2008, the same year he won his second world title – he also won the gold buckle in 2005. Heading into the week, he was fourth in the world standings with more than $42,000

“The year started out good; I’d won $15,000 before January,” he said, noting that the rodeo season runs from Oct. 1-Sept. 30 each year. “My horse tore up his flexor tendon in March, and I went through seven or eight horses trying to get one to work.”

But friends came through. In fact, Snedecor has borrowed a horse from fellow roper Shandon Stalls of McLean, Texas, the past two weeks, and it’s paid off. He has earned more than $20,000 in that span.

“This horse is 21 years old, and he’s pretty good,” Snedecor said. “He stays out of my way and lets me work. This event is probably more demanding of horsepower than any event. When you get off one, you’ve got to trust it. It takes a special horse. There aren’t many out there like that.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

O’Mara wins Dodge City Xtreme

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 11:44pm

DODGE CITY, Kan. – For the better part of the last three years, Jacob O’Mara has spent more time on the disabled list than any athlete would like.

It’s especially hard for rodeo cowboys, who have no guaranteed contracts. The only way they make money is to win it, and O’Mara has been at his Baton Rouge, La., home a lot more than he’s been on the rodeo trail.

Jacob O'Mara

Jacob O’Mara

“I’ve had a lot of down time and a lot of home time, but I wouldn’t take it back,” he said. “If God wouldn’t have put me through and allowed me to go through the things I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today spiritually and a lot of my personal live. I’m thankful for that.”

He has returned with a vengeance, winning Tuesday night’s Dodge City Roundup Xtreme Bulls title. He rode 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Lil Warrior for 86 points to win the championship to earn $4,963.

O’Mara won Roundup’s bull riding title in 2011 and parlayed that into a qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He finished the year fifth in the world standings, but that was followed by a series of injuries that have left him away from the game he loves for months at a time.

  • A torn wrist tendon that required two surgeries in 2012
  • A broken leg early in the 2013 season
  • A torn thumb ligament in August 2014.

“I feel good right now,” said O’Mara, who was ranked 33rd in the bull riding standings heading into this week. “I had to take a couple weeks off in June because I bruised my rotator cuff, but I came back strong. I had a decent Fourth (of July run); I placed in the middle of the pack but felt like I was riding good.”

As is the case with any sport, there are definite slumps that come along. He experienced a short one last week.

“It lit a fire in me to come back here,” he said. “Being familiar with this rodeo and having had success here, it’s a comfort zone. I’m glad to get that fire underneath me and want to let it roll from here.”

O’Mara was just a half point better than 2011 world champion Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Wash., who finished second. Dustin Bowen of Waller, Texas, placed third with an 83.5, while Dodge City-born bull rider Tyler Hessman of Beaver, Okla., finished in a three-way tie for fourth with Brett Stall of Detroit Lakes, Mich., and Caleb Sanderson of Hallettsville, Texas, with 83s

A little more than two months remain in the 2015 regular season, and cowboys must be in the top 15 in the world standings if they want to play for the biggest pay in the game at the NFR.

“We’ve got enough time left, but it’s crunch time,” O’Mara said. “If I’m going to make a shot for the NFR, I’ve got to keep the ball rolling.”

Dodge City Roundup Xtreme Bulls
Dodge City, Kan.
July 28
1. Jacob O’Mara, 86 points on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Lil Warrior, $4,963; 2. Shane Proctor, 85.5, $3,805; 3. Dustin Bowen, 83.5, $2,812; 4. (tie) Brett Stall, Caleb Sanderson and Tyler Hessman, 83, $1,268 each; 7. Reid Barker, 82, $662; 8. (tie) Guthrie Murray and Trevor Kastner, 81, $248 each.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Winnsboro is ready for rodeo week

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 5:35pm

WINNSBORO, La. – There is something special in this community that comes to town every summer.

It’s the Deep South PRCA Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Thursday, July 30-Saturday, Aug. 1, at Deep South Rodeo Arena in Winnsboro. It’s a busy week for local organizers, and it’s a big week for the staff of Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, which will produce event.

PeteCarrsClassicLogo“Pete brings some really good stock to our rodeo, and that’s really good for us,” said Skipper Stinson, a key member of the committee that produces the annual rodeo. “That helps make our rodeo better. The better the cowboys and the better the stock, the better the rodeo is going to be.”

Some of the top names in the game have found success in Winnsboro, including Louisiana cowboys who try to make their way back home to compete at the event even through the rigors of the rodeo schedule.

“When you go to Pete’s rodeos, you know you’re going to have a shot to win first,” said bareback rider Winn Ratliff of Leesville, La., a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who also added victories at Carr events in the Texas towns of Weatherford, Nacogdoches and Crosby. “You have to do your part and ride good, but if you do your job, you’re going to have the opportunity to win the rodeo.”

That’s often the case, no matter where the Carr animals perform.

“Pete Carr is one of the premier stock contractors in the world,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a five-time NFR qualifier from Heflin, La. “Pete taking it another step further is amazing to me. It’s just going to make it better for everybody.”

DeMoss is the reigning champion at the Deep South Rodeo, so he knows as well as anyone. A year ago, he matched moves with Carr’s Night Train for 88 points to win the Winnsboro title.

“Pete has such an array of horse now that no matter where he goes, he will have it to where everybody has a chance to win money,” DeMoss said. “It’s a riding contest instead of a drawing contest, and that’s what Pete’s got in his mind to do. I’m behind him all the way.”

That bodes well for those who have plans to take in the annual rodeo.

“It is a very established rodeo that’s been around a long time,” said Andy Stewart, the rodeo’s announcer from nearby Collinston, La. “We saw a lot of great cowboys from that area over the years that come to that rodeo.”

The legacy is still growing.

“We get a lot of the circuit cowboys to come, and we get a lot of the great guys from our area,” said Stewart, who has been nominated six times as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association announcer of the year. “The thing that Pete Carr and his crew provides at this rodeo is professionalism and production.

“This is a very small arena and a very small community, but we bring in a great production and great animals. It’s a great, professional show.”

That’s just what fans want.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Rodeo a hot spot for top stars

Twisted Rodeo - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 3:56pm

LOVINGTON, N.M. – There are many reasons why the Lea County Fair and Rodeo is recognized as one of the biggest and best events in ProRodeo.

From hospitality to award-winning livestock to an amazing purse, the regional exposition is home to a highly touted event among the top professionals in the game. This year’s rodeo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5-Saturday, Aug. 8, at Jake McClure Arena on the Lea County Fairgrounds in Lovington.

Lea County Fair Logo“There are fans that don’t get to see rodeo outside Lovington, but we’re trying to put together a rodeo they’d want to see anywhere,” said Greg Massey, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We strive to put together a National Finals Rodeo experience for them right here at home. I think we’ve been able to do that.”

Indeed. Each of the past two seasons, the Lea County Fair and Rodeo has been a top-five finalist for the Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Annually the rodeo features the numerous world champions and regular NFR qualifiers all vying for a shot at the coveted championship.

Just look at the reigning Lovington champions as proof: 21-time world titlist Trevor Brazile earned the steer roping crown en route to his fifth steer roping gold buckle; four-time world champ J.W. Harris won the bull riding title; three-time year-end winner Tuf Cooper won the tie-down roping crown; 10-time NFR qualifier Cody DeMoss won saddle bronc riding; three-time finalist J.R. Vezain earned the bareback riding championship; and steer wrestler Ty Erickson added the title en route to his first NFR qualification.

“Pete Carr’s been around our rodeo long enough that people know his stock, and I think the contestants look at that a lot when they enter,” Massey said. “I think there’s a friendliness to the event with what we do for the contestants.

“We have the schedule and the format so they can compete here and still be able to make it to all those other big-money events that same week.”

Barrel racers and roughstock cowboys – those who ride bucking horses and bulls – all compete in one go-round, while other timed-event contestants compete in two rounds. Steer wrestlers, team ropers and tie-down ropers will compete in the first round during their given day, with the top performers returning to compete in the evening performances for the second round; the rest will run in Round 2 during the afternoon performance.

The format allows for the cream of the crop to play the game in front of some of the most knowledgeable fans in the game and others who are in Lovington to take in all the entertainment possible through the fair.

Many of the top contestants have ties to Lea County, including team ropers Jim Ross Cooper and Jake Cooper of Monument, both of whom are among the top cowboys in their given disciplines; tie-down roper Clint Cooper, a five-time NFR qualifier who grew up in Lovington; Marty Jones, a 16-time finalist, in both tie-down and steer roping, from Hobbs; and bareback rider Luke Creasy, an Alberta-born bareback rider who is trying to secure his first berth to the finals while living in Lovington.

“In talking to the cowboys during the NFR, the one thing I hear across the board is they like the atmosphere here in Lea County,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board. “They feel like we do everything we can to accommodate them. That’s got to be one common denominator for our rodeo.”

Hundreds of ProRodeo’s greatest stars make their way to Lea County every August for a lot of reasons. The fans reap the rewards.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Elite riders ready for Xtreme Bulls

Twisted Rodeo - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 11:40am
Sage Kimzey, the 2014 world champion bull rider, competes at a recent Lea County Xtreme Bulls. Kimzey utilized the Xtreme Bulls tour last season en route to becoming the first rookie in more than 50 years to win the bull riding gold buckle.

Sage Kimzey, the 2014 world champion bull rider, competes at a recent Lea County Xtreme Bulls. Kimzey utilized the Xtreme Bulls tour last season en route to becoming the first rookie in more than 50 years to win the bull riding gold buckle.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Rodeo is nothing new to the folks in Lea County; many know all the intricacies that go into each event.

The Lea County Fair and Rodeo features the very best bull riders in the world on one night during Lea County Xtreme Bulls, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Jake McClure Arena.

“It’s an extraordinary event,” said Greg Massey, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We’re going to have the top 40 bull riders all here competing. Rodeo fans will get to see their favorites, but it also draws a bit of a different crowd, people that enjoy thrill-seekers.

“Our Xtreme Bulls has grown every year. It’s been a big hit.”

Tim Bingham

Tim Bingham

The 2014 championship was a huge hit for Tim Bingham, a 23-year-old bull rider from Honeyville, Utah. He won both go-rounds – he scored 89.5 points to win the first round on Salt River Rodeo’s Lucky Dog, then followed with a 91 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman. It was the perfect finish for a solid week on the ProRodeo trail.

“That was my first Division I win,” he said of the elite level of Xtreme Bulls competition, which also features a Division II level. “Division I events throw out the big money.”

That’s true. By dominating the event in Lovington last August, Bingham pocketed $11,577. His big-time run began the week before by winning the Division II event in Dodge City, Kan. He also earned paydays in Abilene, Kan., and Sidney, Iowa, to earn more than $18,000 in eight days.

“By winning both rounds, I maxed out on what I could get in Lovington,” said Bingham, who parlayed that run and a few others into his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s premier championship that crowns world champions each December. “That win threw me up in the standings so high that I was ensured I was going to make the NFR. There was no stress needed.

“That threw me so far off the bubble, I knew I was going. At the time, it moved me into contention for the world title. I had a legitimate shot at winning the world title with that big boost.”

In rodeo, dollars not only pay bills, they also count as championship points. Contestants in each event that finish with the most money are crowned world champions. Bingham ended the 2014 campaign with $115,670, good enough for seventh place in the world standings. The Xtreme Bulls tour made a big difference in how the Utah cowboy finished the season.

“It’s very important, because they pay good and it’s just bull riding,” Bingham said. “In the money I won last year, $20,000 came in the Xtreme Bulls. It made a big difference to my standings and placing in the world.”

The tour also is important for fans who love a good show. The Lea County Xtreme Bulls features the top 40 bull riders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competing in one go-round. The cowboys with the top 12 scores advance to the championship round, and the overall winner is the cowboy with the best aggregate score on two rides.

“The fans who come to our Xtreme Bulls tell us how much they enjoy it, so it’s a valuable part of our fair and rodeo,” Massey said. “It is an awesome production to watch.”

Yes, it is.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Circuit champs ready for big week

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 3:21pm

DUNCAN, Okla. – Next week’s run of rodeos is a vital time in the schedule of the Prairie Circuit’s top players.

ProRodeo cowboys and cowgirls call it the “Kansas Run,” because of the weeklong series of events that take place primarily in the Sunflower State. It’s a great opportunity for the sport’s stars to earn big paydays while competing at events that are within close proximity to one another. That includes those battling for the regional honors.

Billie Saebens

Billie Saebens

The “Kansas Run” is a vital cog for those hoping to qualify for the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15-Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

The biggest event in the region is Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, which is part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour and offers the largest purse among all events in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Also in Kansas are events in Hill City, Phillipsburg and Abilene, and a couple of other communities that border the Prairie Circuit also count their events toward the standings.

Gretchen Benbenek

Gretchen Benbenek

How important is the run that concludes the first weekend in August? Each of the nine year-end champions utilized those earnings to claim their crowns last season, with heeler Billie Saebens and barrel racer Gretchen Benbenek pulling in the largest sums. Saebens, who competed with header Adam Rose last season, won the title in Sidney, Iowa, and finished third in the three-run average in Dodge City. He pocketed $6,575.

Benbenek cashed checks at four stops; she finished fourth in Dodge City and placed in Abilene, Phillipsburg and Sidney to add $6,000. It helped to propel the Montana-born cowgirl to her second straight regional crown.

Steer wrestler Stockton Graves won Hill City and earned nearly $1,000, while bareback rider Caine Riddle shared the victory in Phillipsburg and placed in Abilene and Sidney to collect $2,784. Header Andrew Ward, roping with his brother, Reagan, finished fourth in Phillipsburg, earning $2,108, while tie-down roper Jerome Schneeberger earned $2,176 in Hill City and Abilene.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

Chet Herren took advantage of the only event of the week that held steer roping in Dodge City, placing in the second round to add a little more than $1,000, while bull rider Bart Miller won the first round and finished second in the average inside Roundup Arena to pocket $4,591.

Saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell posted the highest marked ride of the 2014 season with a 92 during the championship round in Dodge City to win the two-ride average championship; he also added money in Phillipsburg to deposit $4,600.

The week is filled with promise and opportunity, and last year’s winners need to capitalize again if they hope to return to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo and have a chance to defend their titles.

It should be worth it for fans, too.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Champion scores 90 on Dirty Jacket

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:19am
Richmond Champion and Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Dirty Jacket match moves for the fifth-round victory at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals. The tandem matched Thursday night for the third time in less than a year and posted a 90-point ride Wednesday night in Eagle, Colo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Richmond Champion and Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket match moves for the fifth-round victory at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals. The tandem matched Thursday night for the third time in less than a year and posted a 90-point ride Wednesday night in Eagle, Colo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

EAGLE, Colo. – Richmond Champion knows what it’s like to be on the perfect joyride.

“The only bad thing is when you get the whistle, you don’t want to stop,” said Champion, a 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from The Woodlands, Texas.

He’s talking about matching moves with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket. On Wednesday night, the tandem met again during the first performance of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo; they danced across the Johnette Phillips Arena dirt for 90 points to take the early lead in bareback riding.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

It marked the third matchup in less than a year for Champion and Dirty Jacket, the 2014 Bareback Horse of the Year; Champion won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo last July after a 91-point ride on Dirty Jacket, then won the fifth go-round at the 2014 NFR on the 11-year-old bay gelding.

“It’s been a heck of a year so far,” said Champion, who is ranked 42nd in the world standings and needs a big push through the remaining weeks of the 2015 season if he’s going to return to Las Vegas for ProRodeo’s finale. “I was so excited. It was the first one I’ve drawn this year that I’ve jumped out of the van and went for a run.

“he horses buck up here in Eagle. The cool weather and the mountains make it awesome.”

It marked the fourth time this season that Dirty Jacket has been at least 90 points: He matched moves with Jessy Davis for 93 points at the San Angelo Cinch Shootout in February. Dirty Jacket posted 90 points in Weatherford, Texas in June, and two weeks later posted a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association best 92-point ride in Pecos, Texas.

“He looked awesome and felt outstanding,” Champion said of the horse. “He’s definitely one of a kind. I felt good. Regardless if that score holds up to win, it always feels good to be 90 and make a good ride.”

Through the struggles that have been Champion’s season, he continues to battle through the roller coaster that is ProRodeo. He said traveling with four-time world champion Kaycee Feild, NFR-qualifier Davis and Mason Clements has helped a ton, but there’s a lot more to bareback riding. On a 100-point scale, half the points are awarded to the cowboy, with the other coming from the horse.

Getting the right horse at the right time makes a big difference. The Texas cowboy hasn’t had as many opportunities this season as he did in 2014.

“Things have progressively been getting better now regarding my riding,” Champion said. “I’ve got a new riggin’ and a new pad, and I’m going out of my way to set myself up for success. My drawing good horses is picking up, too.

“Of course, having Dirty Jacket will help turn your whole world around. There’s literally not another horse like him.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Daily shows provide variety to fair

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 07/22/2015 - 11:07am
Conjurer Robert Smith will be one of the featured daily entertainers at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for Friday, July 31-Saturday, Aug. 8, in Lovington, N.M. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Conjurer Robert Smith will be one of the featured daily entertainers at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for Friday, July 31-Saturday, Aug. 8, in Lovington, N.M. (COURTESY PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – The versatility of daily entertainers is a big reason the Lea County Fair and Rodeo has been attractive spot for longtime attendees.

This year’s lineup is no different. From conjurer Robert Smith to The Great Bear Show, fairgoers will have the opportunity to experience a little bit of Hollywood magic and an inspiring tribute to some of the world’s most majestic animals during this year’s exposition, set for Friday, July 31-Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Lea County Fairgrounds in Lovington.

Lea County Fair Logo“I think the daily entertainers gives people a broader spectrum to our fair and rodeo,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board. “Everyone knows there’s going to be the concerts, the rodeo and the carnival, but this adds a variety to what’s out there.”

The Great Bear Show features cubs that were adopted through either state wildlife agencies or the United States Department of Agriculture, who contact show organizers to find the young bears a home.

The Great Bear Show staff takes the cubs in, trains them to be handled safely and try to find them good homes in licensed centers that have room.

“We also take them on the road to events to educate the public about bears in the wind and captivity,” stated information from the show’s website.

Smith’s conjurer persona was inspired by the coin-operated fortune-teller machines but features a new twist. Imagine the Tom Hanks movie “Big,” in which young Josh makes a wish to be big, which led to Hanks’ classic portrayal of a boy in a man’s body.

The entertainers are set up to be the perfect fit for families and other fair-goers who enjoy the overall fair experience that comes with the reasonable ticket prices – admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children daily.

“What we want with our daily entertainment is for people to have something new and different, and we’re definitely getting that this year,” Helton said. “I’m excited to see it myself and to hear what others have to say about these acts.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Roundup a key stop for rodeo’s best

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 07/21/2015 - 10:39am
Trevor Brazile, the most decorated cowboy in ProRodeo history with a record 21 world championships, typically competes in all of his disciplines at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. He owns world titles in tie-down roping, heading, steer roping and the all-around. He is one of numerous gold buckle winners that compete annually at Roundup Rodeo.

Trevor Brazile, the most decorated cowboy in ProRodeo history with a record 21 world championships, typically competes in all of his disciplines at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. He owns world titles in tie-down roping, heading, steer roping and the all-around. He is one of numerous gold buckle winners that compete annually at Roundup Rodeo.

DODGE CITY, Kan. – When most people think of Dodge City, they conjure up images of the Old West and Matt Dillon.

Rodeo folks look at the western Kansas community of nearly 28,000 as the home of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, an important roadway as an important path on the rodeo trail. This year’s event is set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 29-Sunday, Aug. 2, at Roundup Arena.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

“This rodeo has helped a lot of people make the finals and win the world,” said Wade Sundell, the reigning Roundup saddle bronc riding champion. “I’ve always wanted to do good at this rodeo.”

Until 2014, the Iowa-born cowboy had just about anything but success inside Roundup Arena.

“I’ve done bad at it every year,” said Sundell, a six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Coleman, Okla., who posted a 92-point ride in the championship round to win the two-ride aggregate and earn more than $4,000. “This is awesome to win it.”

Roundup is one of just 18 events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association that has a championship round. That says a lot considering there are more than 600 ProRodeo events in a given year.

Christine Laughlin

Christine Laughlin

Sundell was one of 12 contestants who won titles at the 2014 Roundup Rodeo. Barrel racer Christine Laughlin of Pueblo, Colo., had the biggest earnings of all, pocketing just shy of $8,000 by placing in all three go-rounds – she won the first round and final rounds and finished fifth in the second.

“I had my hopes high when I went back last year, because Sabrina (Ketcham) had won that year and barely beat me,” said Laughlin, who qualified for the NFR and finished the campaign 14th in the world standings. “That’s one of those big rodeos that you’re really excited with you win that buckle. It felt just as prestigious as any other because it was Dodge City. It’s a pretty neat deal.

“That committee tried really hard, because the conditions with all the rain and mud weren’t ideal. Hats off to the grounds crew; they did an awesome job.”

She was one 10 winners in 2014 to have qualified for the NFR. In fact, just steer roper Tyrel Taton and steer wrestler Timmy Sparing – who shared the title with Bray Armes and K.C. Jones – have not finished any season among the top 15 in the world standings.

Richmond Champion

Richmond Champion

Of the remaining reigning champions, only all-around winner Landon McClaugherty failed to qualify for either the NFR or the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping last season. All the rest of the cowboys were part of the elite field in Las Vegas this past December:

  • Bareback rider Richmond Champion parlayed his $5,191 in Dodge City with his first qualification. He finished third in the final world standings.
  • Steer wrestlers Armes, a three-time NFR qualifier and the 2013 average champion, and Jones, an eight-time NFR qualifier, found themselves solidly in the top 10 by the time they got to Las Vegas.
  • Team ropers Kaleb Driggers, a four-time qualifier, and Patrick Smith, an 11-time finalist and two-time world champion heeler, placed in five NFR go-rounds and finished among the top 10 in the final world standings. They won more than $6,600 in Ford County last August.
  • Tie-down roper Cody Ohl, a six-time world champ with 20 NFR appearances, earned $4,451 in Dodge City and finished the year ranked fourth in the world standings with nearly $150,000.
  • Bull rider J.W. Harris, a four-time champion nine-time NFR qualifier, was the only cowboy to ride two bulls. He won $5,462 and finished 2014 with nearly $110,000.

“Every year, we get the top cowboys and cowgirls in the game,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the Roundup committee. “We are always excited to have world champions win a Roundup buckle. We do everything we can to make sure they keep coming back to Dodge City.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Work on local fair is a labor of love

Twisted Rodeo - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 4:00pm

LOVINGTON, N.M. – It takes a small army to handle even the tiniest of details that come with producing a large event.

“We’re blessed that we have a strong core group of volunteers who donate their time and energy to our fair and rodeo and also have the county staff that makes a lot happen,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the board that organizes the annual Lea County Fair and Rodeo, set for Friday, July 31-Saturday, Aug. 8, in Lovington.

Lea County Fair LogoFrom set-up to take-down to everything in between, it takes a crew of dedicated people to make sure every aspect of the exposition is covered.

“We have a countless number of people who help us every year,” Helton said. “This fair wouldn’t be able to function without the volunteers. That’s how important they are to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.”

Most of the work is done behind the scenes, and the average fairgoer will never comprehend the amount of labor that goes into each activity. That’s done for a reason, and it’s been that way for all 80 years of the local fair.

“For the livestock shows, each animal species has its own superintendent,” Helton said. “Each one is in charge of that species of animal at the fair, so it’s very important.

“I can’t even estimate how many man-hours are involved, especially when you add in the year leading up to the fair. We often forget about all the hours of volunteer work before the fair even gets here, much less during fair week.”

In Lovington, though, it goes well beyond those who donate all that time and their own talents. There are Lea County staff members that also handle a good portion of the heavy lifting. The fair is underwritten by the Lea County Commission, so staff members take care of numerous aspects of getting everything ready.

“The reality for our fair and rodeo is that we have some great people who do outstanding work to make it all happen,” said Greg Massey, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We couldn’t do any of our work without Jim Kemp.”

Kemp works in the facilities department for the county. He oversees much of the work at Jake McClure Arena, among other aspects of his job. He also takes care of the arena dirt to make sure the ground conditions are in the best shape possible for the competition.

“Jim takes a lot of pride in our rodeo, and he has reason to,” Massey said. “He works tirelessly to make it as close to perfect as he can.”

That kind of community effort makes for an incredible experience for anyone attending the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
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