postheadericon A day of remembrance

I’m not sure why, but today hit me hard.

It’s been 18 years since my mom died. Maybe it was my aunt’s post about missing her sissy. Maybe it was the comments that revealed a certain specialness about my mom.

Nonetheless, there have been a wide range of tears shed over the last 12 or so hours. Most are happy, recalling the best parts of our lives together. But there were recollections of her cancer, the day the doctors told us it was terminal and that she had but a few weeks to live.

My mom and me in 1979, taken at a photo booth at Six Flags over Texas.

There was that Mother’s Day weekend of 2000, the last time I saw my mother alive. The overnight drive from Oklahoma City to western Kansas to spend what I was expecting were a few short hours with her. Seems the dying body is resilient, though, and she responded. She got better and better every hour, from the weak, “Hello,” upon my arrival to the stern and motherly, “You need to go back to Oklahoma; you have a new job, and you need to take care of that,” when it was time for me to leave.

Truth was, Mom couldn’t go in front of her boys. It was her way of protecting my brother and me, I guess, so I honored her wishes. A few days later, we all returned together to that same home as a community mourned and my family laid her to rest.

Mom was the third child of nine, the oldest sister, and they were raised on the family farm in Kearny County, Kansas. That was part of her life until her death, and she was awfully proud of her roots and her family. She still would be, if you ask me, and I understand why.

She was my biggest cheerleader and the one who could keep me in line with just a look. The one time I remember getting swatted, I jumped out of the way, and she hit her hand on the wall; I swore she broke her finger, and I still feel guilty about it today – some 45 years later.

My mom impacted many lives in her time on this Earth, and I’m so thankful to still see it some 18 years after she left it. I’m thankful for so many things, and maybe these tears have been the perfect reminder for me.

postheadericon Stampede drawing top cowboys

Four-time world champion Sage Kimzey will be one of the hundreds of contestants who will compete this weekend at the Will Rogers Stampede, the four-time PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year in Claremore, Okla. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

Four-time world champion Sage Kimzey will be one of the hundreds of contestants who will compete this weekend at the Will Rogers Stampede, the four-time PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year in Claremore, Okla. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – The word about the Will Rogers Stampede is spreading across ProRodeo.

This year’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena, and it will feature more than 550 entrants for the competition. That says something about Claremore’s rodeo.

“We’re just continuing to grow, and I think that’s a great thing for this community,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “At the close of books, we had 631 entries, which is astonishing to me. Based on the most recent ProRodeo Sports News, there are 17 cowboys listed in the all-around standings, and 12 of them are entered for Claremore.”

The event has become a must-see for fans and a place on the schedule for the biggest names in rodeo: 23-time world champion Trevor Brazile, four-time champs Rocky Patterson and Tuf Cooper, two-time titlist Tim O’Connell are just a few of the men scheduled to compete.

“This is really my hometown rodeo, and it’s one of the best in the nation,” said Brodie Poppino, a Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Big Cabin, Okla. “That committee treats the contestants good. They want to win Rodeo of the Year, and there’s a reason they do.”

The Stampede has been recognized as PRCA’s Small Rodeo of the Year for each of the past four seasons, and that distinction was voted on by the cowboys themselves. It’s a regular home to many of the sport’s greatest stars.

In fact, there are more than 60 contestants that have qualified for the national finals, and a dozen of those have claimed world championships. In all, they account for more than 50 gold buckles. All will be testing their talents in Claremore over the Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s good for our schedules to be able to work a good rodeo in like Claremore,” said Sage Kimzey, the reigning four-time world champion bull rider from Strong City, Okla. “It’s a good, central location, and you know the stock’s going to be great.”

That’s because the rodeo teams with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the leading livestock producers in the game. But there’s much more that goes into making the Will Rogers Stampede a success every year.

“They appreciate us being there, but we’re the ones who should be appreciating them,” Kimzey said. “They’re hard-working, and they are happy to put on a great event. They’re a fun group of people to be around.”

That’s been paying off. The number of entries has more than doubled the last nine years, so that says quite a bit about what’s happening in Rogers County.

“One of the things we’re doing is featuring our steer ropers with the Clem McSpadden Tub-Handle Classic,” Petty said of the event, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24. “Clem meant so much to this area, and on the 10th anniversary of his death, we thought this would be a great time to introduce it.”

It is the only rodeo in Oklahoma to feature steer roping, which makes it special to the cowboys who compete in that specialized event.

“You have to hand it to David Petty and that committee for featuring our event,” Poppino said. “Other than the Signature Series Steer Roping, Claremore is the only rodeo that we go to all year that features it, so that’s pretty special. It’s going to have a great purse. When you mix that with a great arena and a great setup, it’s going to be outstanding.”

That’s just what everybody has come to expect with Claremore’s rodeo.

postheadericon Transport pickup is an inspiration

The Cattlemen's Days committee has been utilizing its RAM 1500 pickup not only as a transport vehicle for breast cancer patients in the Gunnison valley but also as a way to inspire other rodeo committees to do as much as they can to help cancer patients in their area.

The Cattlemen’s Days committee has been utilizing its RAM 1500 pickup not only as a transport vehicle for breast cancer patients in the Gunnison valley but also as a way to inspire other rodeo committees to do as much as they can to help cancer patients in their area.

GUNNISON, Colo. – “Tuffy” has been a godsend for many breast cancer patients in the Gunnison valley.

The RAM 1500 pickup was purchased a couple years ago by Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink to serve as transportation for those families that receive treatment outside Gunnison County. In addition to that, the vehicle is serving a larger role in professional rodeo.

“We hope that this truck and this committee will inspire other committees around the world to do things to help those that are battling cancer,” said Andy Stewart, the voice of Cattlemen’s Days rodeo, which takes place July 12-14 in Gunnison.

Just two weeks ago, members of the Cattlemen’s Days committee showcased “Tuffy” at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, where Stewart was announcing the event that has been inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

“We go to other rodeos from time to time to just show the committees what their Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaigns could do,” said Karla Rundell, who attended the rodeo in the Oklahoma Panhandle with committee president Kevin Coblentz. “Of course, we are very proud of what we’ve done with our pink campaign, but this is more of a way to inspire others to do as much as they can.”

The pickup will return to the Elizabeth (Colo.) Stampede in a few weeks and has also been on display in Greeley, Colo., during the Fourth of July rodeo there.

The Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign has raised more than $2 million in its 13 years of existence. That money is used to provide all the needed services for breast cancer detection and cancer care in Gunnison.

“With this truck, we are reaching beyond the hospital, doing more than buying a piece of equipment,” Rundell said. “We are getting straight to the breast cancer patients.”

That’s imperative. Some patients still have to travel for specific services throughout Colorado. Having a reliable vehicle helps make those ventures more stress free.

“One thing that is valuable to breast cancer patients in their area is transportation,” Stewart said. “Denver is 200 miles from the rural community, a farming and ranching community, and those that have to go to Denver for treatment may not have any transportation or maybe it’s not reliable or maybe the entire family uses one vehicle.

“The Tough Enough to Wear Pink committee does that free of charge, transporting folks back and forth to Denver or Montrose. This truck is there to relieve some of the stress and help make things a little easier for patients.”

Battling breast cancer is a true fight for patients and their families, and Gunnison’s pink campaign is doing all it can for them.

postheadericon Carr team an asset for Stampede

Isaac Diaz rides Pete Carr's Gold Coast during a recent Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Carr team has been one of the guiding forces behind the four straight Small Rodeo of the Year awards for the Will Rogers Stampede. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

Isaac Diaz rides Pete Carr’s Gold Coast during a recent Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Carr team has been one of the guiding forces behind the four straight Small Rodeo of the Year awards for the Will Rogers Stampede. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – It’s no coincidence that the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo began winning awards soon after teaming with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.

The Dallas-based firm began producing the annual Memorial Day weekend rodeo in 2013, and Claremore’s rodeo earned the first of four straight Small Rodeo of the Year honors a year later. That formula will be on display again for this year’s event, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena.

“When we brought Pete and his crew on board, we felt like it was the right move for us, our rodeo and the community,” said David Petty, the longtime chairman of the committee that organizes the Stampede. “Five years later, we know it was the right call.”

The Carr firm has been recognized as one of the very best in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the premier sanctioning body in the sport. Carr has been nominated five times as PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year.

Moreover, the firm was named the Stock Contractor of the Year in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, which sanctions barrel racing in ProRodeo.

“We are in a time frame of rodeo where money and livestock bring the top guys to town, and that’s what Pete Carr and his staff brings to Claremore,” said Scott Grover, who has been the voice of the Will Rogers Stampede for 13 years. “If you don’t have one of the top stock contractors in the country, sometimes the top guys will pass you up.

“Having Pete Carr has jumped up the firepower of our group of contestants and makes it a more exciting rodeo to be part of and to watch.”

But it’s more than having great animals, and Carr has a bunch of them. Five times, Carr horses have been named the PRCA’s Bareback of the Year: Real Deal, Big Tex, Deuces Night and Dirty Jacket, the latter of which won the title in 2014 and 2015 – before he won that honor, he helped NFR qualifier Bill Tutor win Claremore’s rodeo.

But the real gem of what Carr brings to northeast Oklahoma lies in the small things that help make each performance better. The staff of rodeo professionals works hard behind the scenes to keep every show as entertaining as possible.

“Pete and his guys are known for having one of the best rodeo productions in the sport,” Petty said. “They work closely with our committee to help ensure our fans are getting the best two hours of rodeo they can get.

“It’s a testament to knowing what fans want when they come to a performance. To see that crew work for three performances in Claremore is a testament to what they bring to rodeo and what fans will enjoy.”

Every move made is making the Will Rogers Stampede better than ever.

postheadericon Ward wins Kennewick

Justin Ward jumped to his first Bullfighters Only championship this past weekend by claiming the title at the Tri-Cities Invitational in Kennewick, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Justin Ward jumped to his first Bullfighters Only championship this past weekend by claiming the title at the Tri-Cities Invitational in Kennewick, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Rookie scores 91 points to upend BFO’s greatest stars

KENNEWICK, Wash. – It didn’t take long for Justin Ward to find his comfort zone in freestyle bullfighting.

Just two months ago, he was part of the Bullfighters Only Development Camp in San Bernardino, Calif., learning the tricks of the trade. On Saturday night, he put together two winning bouts to upend a handful of veterans and win the BFO Tri-Cities Invitational in Kennewick.

“It was probably one of the greatest accomplishments of my life so far,” said Ward, 22, of Richardton, N.D. “It means I can compete with the best, and hopefully I can eventually win a world title.”

Ward was one of five rookies who were part of the Tri-Cities Invitational, and he escaped the rookie round with an 86.5-point fight to advance to the Hooey Championship Round.

“That was a tough long round,” he said. “Competing against those guys and getting the top score in the long round was amazing.”

Once in the Hooey Championship Round, Ward posted a 91-point fight. It was more than enough to claim the Kennewick title. Ward outscored Beau Schueth, Kris Furr, Weston Rutkowski and Dusty Tuckness. Schueth, who has several victories under his belt, finished second in Washington with an 89.5-point fight. Furr, the No. 3 man in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, finished third at 89, while Rutkowski, the two-time reigning BFO world champion, placed fourth with an 88.

“I just had a good bull, probably the best one,” Ward said. “It was a really tough short round. I’d say I was pretty confident freestyling before the weekend, but after going 91 points, I feel like I can definitely do it pretty good now.”

Not bad, especially for a young man just two months into his bullfighting career. He’s been working as a protection bullfighter for four years, and two mentors suggested he give freestyle bullfighting a shot.

“After going to the Development Camp, I realized it was fun, so I decided to stick with it,” said Ward, who grew up roping and qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in steer wrestling before transitioning over to bullfighting. “Being part of the BFO is amazing, because it’s the greatest bullfighters in the world. All I’ve wanted to do was be a professional bullfighter, and now I get to do it.”

RESULTS
Round 1: Beau Schueth, 85 points.
Round 2: Weston Rutkowski, 88 points.
Round 3: Dusty Tuckness, 81 points.
Round 4: Kris Furr, 86.5 points.
Round 5: Justin Ward, 86.5 points.
Hooey Championship Round: 1. Justin Ward, 91 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 89.5; 3. Kris Furr, 89; 4. Weston Rutkowski, 88; 5. Dusty Tuckness, 86.

postheadericon Co-op setting rodeo up for more success

A new entrance is one of many changes going on at Stampede Park in Claremore, Okla., as the community prepares for the annual Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo. (COURTESY PHOTO)

A new entrance is one of many changes going on at Stampede Park in Claremore, Okla., as the community prepares for the annual Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo has long been a regional affair, and now the Claremore community is even more involved in the exposition.

Over the past few months, the Rodeo Arena Interlocal Cooperative was established to help care for the grounds that showcase the rodeo, which will celebrate its 72nd year over Memorial Day weekend. The rodeo is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena at the newly established Stampede Park.

“We’re pretty proud of the rodeo we’ve got, and the Arena Co-op is doing things to help the rodeo with its grounds and facilities to help make this a great attraction for the people that attend our rodeo,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo, which has been named the Small Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association each of the past four years.

“For the last seven decades, our rodeo has been supported by sponsors and fans, and we just haven’t had the funds necessary to care for our grounds. The Arena Co-op will take care of that now, and that opens the door for the rodeo committee to focus on the rodeo, the sponsors, the contestants and the fans.”

After being donated by the Will Rogers Round-Up Club, the grounds are now owned by the cooperative, which is a legal entity and a partnership between the city of Claremore and the Rogers County Commission.

The Arena Co-op consists of five individuals: Petty; Dan Delozier, District 1 Rogers County commissioner; Louie Gardner, owner of Utility Cable Co./Mid-Town Rental; Tanya Andrews, executive director of the Claremore Convention and Tourism Bureau; and Jim Thomas, Claremore’s city manager.

Together they are governed by the co-op’s bylaws and have worked with the Round-Up Club to set goals for facilities needs. So far, a new parking lot, new fencing and an updated entrance have been completed.

“I think it’s phenomenal to get another group together and make some changes that have needed to be made,” said Scott Grover, the voice of the Stampede who will be calling the action for the 14th consecutive year. “This is going to help make Claremore’s rodeo a destination not only for people from Oklahoma but for people to come from all around the country to see this rodeo and how great it is.

“I think getting the Arena Co-op involved will just make it bigger and better.”

That’s exactly what the co-op members have wanted since the entity was established. With an already-recognized and awarded rodeo in town, it only stands to get stronger.

“Having more community involvement gives Claremore more ownership of their event,” Grover said. “This is an event that’s been around many years. With a new look like this, it gives more people a chance to be involved, those that have never thought about being involved with the rodeo. It surely could be exciting.”

postheadericon BFO rookies take charge

Chance Moorman, a 17-year-old bullfighter from San Antonio, will be competing this coming weekend in Kennewick, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Chance Moorman, a 17-year-old bullfighter from San Antonio, will be competing this coming weekend in Kennewick, Wash. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Teens, newcomers to test their skills against veterans in Kennewick

KENNEWICK, Wash. – It’s hard to call Chance Moorman a professional bullfighter for a couple of reasons: He still hasn’t graduated high school, so it’s difficult to be a professional anything yet; he just started fighting bulls two months ago.

Nevertheless, he is one of two 17-year-olds in the mix of battle for the Bullfighters Only Tri-Cities Invitational, set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Kennewick.

“To be part of Bullfighters Only is one of my greatest accomplishments,” said Moorman of San Antonio. “I’ve always dreamed of being a professional athlete. I started fighting bulls, and I realized I was pretty good at it. I’ve followed bullfighting, and I’ve wanted to make it into this league. I finally got the opportunity to do it.”

His father, Cody, was a bullfighter, so Moorman knows about the game. As a youngster, he rode steers but quit when he realized it wasn’t his calling. Still, he found his athletic outlet in the traditional sports of baseball, football and basketball.

“My dad saw my ability and asked if I was interested in doing it,” he said. “I’ve been practicing on my pitbull in the backyard, then I went to the Development Camps in Houston and San Bernardino.”

He proved his ability during those March camps. A week ago, he was a last-minute replacement at the BFO’s Fiesta de Toros in Woodward, Okla., where he posted an 86-point bout, the highest marking of the weekend. He advanced to the Hooey Championship Round, which was enough to earn a spot to test his talents again in Kennewick.

“To go in there with Toby (Inman) and Weston (Rutkowski) and all those guys and put up the biggest score is amazing,” Moorman said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Second-generation bullfighter Miles Barry will compete in front of his hometown crowd on Saturday night in Kennewick. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Second-generation bullfighter Miles Barry will compete in front of his hometown crowd on Saturday night in Kennewick. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

He will be one of 17 men competing in Kennewick, five of whom are rookies like Moorman. The field will also include local bullfighter Miles Barry, the 17-year-old son of longtime professional bullfighter Rowdy Barry.

“Probably the first animal I ever stepped around was a full-grown bucking bull when I was 13,” Barry said. “When I first got to the age where I understood bullfighting, it just made sense. My dad’s biggest help to me was the mental game.

“I have dreamed about being part of this since Bullfighters Only first came around. Now that I have a chance, I am very thankful, especially to compete against the best guys in the world at such a young age.”

The event will feature five preliminary rounds of competition. There will be four, 3-man rounds, with the winner of each advancing to the Hooey Championship Round. The fifth round will feature five rookies who will also battle for their opportunity to advance to the final round.

This will be a showcase of truth athleticism, with many of the world’s greatest bullfighters testing their skills against the agile, aggressive and speedy Spanish fighting bulls. Each bout will be 40 to 60 seconds of high intensity, with danger lurking at every turn.

Toby Inman is leading the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, but has been forced to bow out of the competition with a lower body injury. Reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski, is starting to close the gap after collecting his first win of the season last weekend in Woodward.

But there are a host of other bright stars, including Dusty Tuckness, a proven freestyle champion who has been recognized nine straight years as the PRCA’s Bullfighter of the Year. He won both stand-alone event that he entered last year, in Lewiston, Idaho, and Decatur, Texas.

“The stand-alone bullfights like we’ll have in Kennewick are really starting to shine,” said Tuckness, one of the BFO’s pioneers. “I think that’s the direction that we want to take this, where we have stand-alone bullfights across the states featuring the top competitors that fight for big money. We put on a great production and show behind it.

“The production just keeps getting better. We have a small but very dedicated crew, and everybody’s jumping in to make this wagon go forward. I think that’s what’s been behind the big success we’ve seen.”

Besides the phenomenal growth of the BFO, the sport of freestyle bullfighting is at an all-time high. That’s because of the groundwork laid three years ago by the bullfighters themselves. But it is only getting better, thanks in large part to the outstanding athletes that are moving up the ranks.

“The young group that’s getting developed now shows that we have some of the most talented guys out there, and that’s making everything better in freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “The financial growth in the freestyle bullfighting world is awesome. It’s cool that it has lit a fire back in the freestyle world.

“Guys that nobody ever got to look at before are now getting their opportunities to shine.”

And that means stops like the Tri-Cities Invitational become more lucrative, making them more attractive to the top athletes in the game. Instead of fighting for hundreds of dollars at a time, the BFO is paying winners thousands of dollars on a given night. The champion in Kennewick will walk away with at least $10,000.

“My life has involved bullfighting since I was old enough to know what it was,” Tuckness said. “It’s a blessing. Now guys can make a successful living fighting bulls.”

That’s what makes Bullfighters Only the premier producer of freestyle bullfighting, and it’s why the best in the game are part of it.

BULLFIGHTERS
Justin Josey
Tate Rhoads
Beau Schueth
Ely Sharkey
Weston Rutkowski
Zach Call
Colt Oder
Connor Rowley
Dusty Tuckness
Chris Furr
Caden Harper
Alex McWilliams
Seth Wilson
Justin Ward
Chance Moorman
Tucker MacWilliam
Miles Barry

postheadericon Riemer finds comfort in Guymon

GUYMON, Okla. – Reese Riemer isn’t afraid to admit that he suffers from a bit of claustrophobia.

That’s why the tie-down roper likes big, open spaces, like Henry C. Hitch Arena in Guymon. It’s home to Pioneer Days Rodeo, and Riemer finally captured the title.

“I remember growing up, we’d come and watch slack, and all the guys I looked up to were roping here,” said Reimer, 27, of Stinnett, Texas, which is just 77 miles south of Guymon. I couldn’t wait to rope here. To get it knocked out of the bucket list is pretty good.”

Reese Riemer

Reese Riemer

He won the second round and finished fourth in the third round after roping his calf Sunday in 10.6 seconds. His three-run cumulative time of 30.2 seconds was three seconds faster than the runner-up, Tom Pharr of Resaca, Ga. In all, Riemer earned $5,422.

“I came in here with the lead, but I wanted to be aggressive,” Riemer said. I didn’t want to sit back on my pockets and let it get away. I’ve been there before and tried to safety up, and it cost me. I wanted to go at it like I was coming from behind. I seem to rope better that way and have better luck.

“Once she took off and tried to outrun me, I just knew I needed to catch her and get her tied down.”

He is a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier who was the 2012 tie-down roping rookie of the year. Now he’ll have the Pioneer Days Rodeo trophy belt to carry with him as he tries for another trip to ProRodeo’s grand finale in Las Vegas.

“If I want to make it back to the NFR, I just need to rope aggressive,” he said. “The first two months of the year were real slow. Always around April when we go outside, it starts picking up for me. I get indoors, and it takes me out of my comfort zone. You get me outside in a big arena, and that’s my element, and I’m a little more comfortable.”

It showed Sunday.

Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo
April 30-May 6
Results through the first performance

All-around champion: Paul David Tierney, $2,683 in team roping and tie-down roping

Bareback riding: 1. Bill Tutor, 87.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, $2,369; 2. Jake Brown, 87, $1,186; 3. Tilden Hooper, 86, $1,342; 4. Jordan Pelton, 84.5, $869; 5. Zach Hibler, 83.5, $553; 6. Ty Breuer, 82.5, $395; 7. Justin Miller 80.5, $316; 8. Luke Creasy, 80, $237.

Team roping: First round: 1. Clay Tryan/Travis Graves, 7.1 seconds, $1,734; 2. Ty Blasingame/Levi Tyan, 7.7, $1,508; 3. Logan Olson/Matt Kasner, 7.8, $1,282; 4. Travis Bounds/Kyon Kreutzer, 8.0, $1,056; 5. Curry Kirchner/Chase Boekhaus, 8.3, $830; 6. Colby Lovell/Clint Summers, 8.4, $603; 7. (tie) Brett Stuart/Paden Bray and Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 8.5, $264. Second round: 1. Gavin Foster/Christian Dewbre, 6.4 seconds, $1,734; 2. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 6.6, $1,508; 3. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 6.8, $1,282; 4. Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 6.9, $1,056; 5. Billy Bob Brown/Hunter Koch, 7.0, $830; 6. Cory Clark/B.J. Dugger, 7.1, $603; 7. (tie) Jr. Dees/Matt Zancanella and Ryan Jarrett/Tad Sheets, 7.2, $264 each. Third round leaders: 1. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 5.8 seconds, $1,734; 2. Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher, 6.4, $1,508; 3. Tyler Wojciechowski/Tyler Ishman, 7.0, $1,282; 4. Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 7.1, $1,056; 5. Ryan Jarrett/Tadd Sheets, 7.6, $830; 6. Blake Hughes/Brandon Harmon, 7.8, $603; 7. Laramie Allen/Ross Ashford, 8.5, $377; 8. Garett Chick/J.W. Borrego, 8.6, $151. Aggregate: 1. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 24.1 seconds on three runs, $2,602; 2. Laramie Allen/Ross Ashford, $2,262; 3. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 38.3, $1,923; 4. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 29.9, $1,584; 5. Garett Chick/J.W. Borrego, 31.3, $1,244; 6. Tyler Wojciechowski/Tyler Ishman, 33.5, $905; 7. Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 33.9, $566; 8. (tie) Blake Deckard/Cody Heflin and Matt Sherwood/Walt Woodard, 35.0, $113 each.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Tanner Bruner, 3.4 seconds, $1,963; 2. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Hunter Cure, 3.8, $1,455 each; 4. (tie) Ty Erickson and Michael Bates Jr., 4.0, $778 each; 6. Denver Berry, 4.1, $338. Second round: 1. Matt Reeves, 3.5 seconds, $1,963; 2. Jace Melvin, 3.6, $1,624; 3. Shayde Tree Etherton, 3.7, $1,286; 4. Cameron Morman, 4.0, $948; 5. (tie) Hunter Cure, Chancey Larson. Tom Lewis and Trell Etbauer, 4.1, $237 each. Third round leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 3.5 seconds, $1,963; 2. Rowdy Parrott, 3.8, $1,624; 3. Jace Melvin, 4.0, $1,286; 4. (tie) Dru Melvin and Denver Berry, 4.2, $778 each; 6. (tie) Marcus Theriot Wyatt Jurney and Cody Pratt, 4.3, $113 each. Aggregate: 1. Hunter Cure, 12.3 seconds on three runs, $2,944; 2. Tanner Brunner, 13.6, $2,436; 3. Trell Etbauer, 13.7, $1,929; 4. Matt Reeves, 13.9, $1,421; 5. Jace Melvin, 14.1, $924; 6. Denver Berry, 14.2, $508.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jake Wright, 84.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s YoYo, $2,888; 2. Ross Griffin, 84, $2,214; Tyrell Smith, 83, $1,636; 4. Chase Brooks, 82.5, $1,059; 5. CoBurn Bradshaw, 81, $674; 4. Jesse Wright, 80.5, $481; 7. Cole Elshere, 79.5, $385; 8. (tie) Shorty Garrett, Tyler Corrington and Dawson Jandreau, 79, $96 each.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Caleb Smidt, 9.1 seconds, $1,744; 2. Cody Quaney, 9.5, $1,517; 3. Bryson Sechrist, 9.6, $1,289; 4. Paul David Tierney, 9.7, $1,062; 5. (tie) Will Howell and Travis Reimer, 10.0, $720 each; 7. Sterling Jameson, 10.1, $379; 8. (tie) Riley Pruitt and Bailey Thurston, 10.3, $76 each. Second round: 1. Reese Reimer, 8.7 seconds, $1,744; 2. Tuf Cooper, 8.9, $1,517; 3. Clayton Collmorgen, 9.1, $1,289; 4. (tie) Dakota Felton and Rhen Richard, 9.2, $948 each; 6. Luke Potter, 9.3, $607; 7. Cooper Martin, 9.6, $379; 8. Shane Smith, 9.7, $152. Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Jake Pratt and Caleb Smidt, 9.5 seconds, $1,630 each; 3. Luke Potter, 10.4, $1,289; 4. Reese Reimer, 10.6, $1,062; 5. Anthony Jordan, 10.7, $834; 6. Clint Cooper, 10.9, $607; 7. Timber Moore, 11.2, $379; 8. Stetson Vest, 11.5, $152. Aggregate: 1. Reese Riemer, 30.2 seconds on two runs, $2,616; 2. Tim Pharr, 33.4, $2,756; 3. Timber Moore, 35.1, $1,934; 4. Jerome Schneeberger, 35.3, $1,592; 5. Clint Cooper, 35.6, $1,251; 6. Jake Pratt, 35.9, $910; 7. Seth Cooke, 37.4, $569; 8. Kyle Dickens, 39.7, $227.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Kylie Weast, 17.32, $1,782; 2. Sidney Forrest, 17.63, $1,527; 3. Shali Lord, 17.70, $1,273; 4. Kelly Yates, 17.77, $1,273; 5. Cheryl Wallace, 17.78, $1,103; 6. (tie) Amanda Harris and Kynzie McNeill, 17.83, $594 each; 8. (tie) Katelyn Scott, Erin Williams and Jessica Routier, 17.84, $255 each. Second round: 1. Kynzie McNeijll, 17.39 seconds, $1,782; 2. Cierra Chapman, 17.46, $1,527; 3. (tie) Jana Bean, Sidney Forrest and Tracy Nowlin, 17.47, $1,075 each; 6. (tie) Jessica Routier, and Kylie Weast, 17.49, $594 each; 8. Kelly Yataes, 17.52, $339; 9. Kellie Collier, 17.55, $255; 10. Andrea Busby, 17.56, $170. Aggregate: 1. Kylie Weast, 34.81 seconds on two runs, $1,782; 2. Sidney Forrest, 35.10, $1,527; 3. Kynzie McNeill, 35.22, $1,273; 4. Kelly Yates, 35.29, $1,103; 5. Jessica Routier, 35.33, $849; 6. Tracy Nowlin, 35.37, $679; 7. Jana Bean, 35.39, $509; 8. (tie) Andrea Busby, Shali Lord and Katelyn Scott, 35.43, $255 each.
Steer roping: First round: 1. Tuf Cooper, 10.6 seconds, $1,990; 2. Brady Garten, 11.1, $1,647; 3. Ralph Williams, 11.2, $1,304; 4. Trenton Johnson, 11.5, $961; 5. Kenyon Burnes, 12.4, $618; 6. (tie) Scott Snedecor and Rocky Patterson, 12.5, $172 each. Second round: 1. Jarrett Blessing, 9.6 seconds, $1,990; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.4, $1,647; 3. Tuf Cooper, 10.7, $1,304; 4. K.W. Lauer, 11.1, $961; 5. (tie) Landon McClaugherty and Mike Chase, 11.4, $480 each. Third round: 1. Brady Garten, 9.8 seconds, $1,990; 2. Rocky Patterson, 10.4, $1,647; 3. K.W. Lauer, 10.6, $1,304; 4. (tie) Chet Herren and Brent Lewis, 10.9, $789 each; 6. Will Gasperson, 11.1, $343. Fourth round: 1. Chet Herren, 10.0, $1,990; 2. Jim Locke, 10.2, $1,647; 3. Jarrett Blessing, 10.5, $1,304; 4. Will Gasperson, 10.6, $961; 5. Shay Good, 10.7, $618; 6. Rocky Patterson, 10.8, $343. Average: 1. (tie) Rocky Patterson and Tony Reina, 49.6 seconds on four runs, $3,637 each; 3. Trenton Johnson, 50.5, $2,608; 4. Jim Locke, 51.6, $1,921; 5. Dee Kyler Jr., 54.6, $1,325; 6. Trey Wallace, 58.7, $686.

Bull riding: 1. Cole Melancon, 89 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Chigger, $3,384; 2. Denton Fugate, 87.5, $2,594; 3. (tie) Trey Benton III and Laramie Mosley, 86.5, $1,579; 5. Joe Frost, 86, $790; 6. Brett Custer, 84, $564; 7. Corey Atwell, 83, $451; 8. Tim Bingham, 81, $338.

postheadericon Champ returns to Victory Lane

Weston Rutkowski works his bull during Saturday night's Bullfighters Only Fiesta de Toros in Woodward, Okla. Rutkowski, the two-time reigning world champion, won his first title in the 2018 BFO season. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Weston Rutkowski works his bull during Saturday night’s Bullfighters Only Fiesta de Toros in Woodward, Okla. Rutkowski, the two-time reigning world champion, won his first title in the 2018 BFO season. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

WOODWARD, Okla. – After having early-season struggles, the champ is back.

Bullfighters Only’s two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski has returned to the winner’s circle, putting together two solid bullfights to win the Fiesta de Toros in Woodward. It was his first victory of the 2018 season.

“Yes, I needed it for the standings point of view, but I really needed it more for the pure fact I hadn’t drawn very well and needed it for my confidence,” said Rutkowski of Haskell, Texas. “In all honesty, I didn’t draw the bulls that are fun to fight at all, but it was what I needed.”

It was similar to two heavyweight prize fights, with the bullfighter and the bulls throwing haymaker after haymaker. It wasn’t a pretty dance like Rutkowski is known for, but a true slugfest through both fights. Sometimes, though, that’s what it takes to be the best in the game.

Rutkowski advanced through the long round with an 84.5-point score. The Hooey Championship Round featured five long-round winners, with three new faces to the game: Chase Blythe, Chance Moorman and Alex McWilliams. The only other veteran was Tanner Zarnetski, who finished in third place.

“That’s what we’ve created with the BFO,” Rutkowski said. “There are more kids coming up, and we’re creating opportunities for those kids who are coming up through the Development Camps. There’s a bunch of young talent, and they’re coming in showing their A game. It’s fun to watch.”

Now the top bullfighters in the game will advance to the next event, another stand-alone competition in Kennewick, Wash. With his earnings in northwest Oklahoma, Rutkowski moved into second place in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings. He will continue to chase the season leader, Toby Inman.

For now, though, he’s going to take a few moments to enjoy his first win in five months.

“When we pulled into town and up to the arena, I knew immediately why we were there,” Rutkowski said. “The community really did come support the BFO. It was neat to see. They’ve had their share of tragedy with the wildfires, but they still came out and supported us. That was just awesome.”

BULLFIGHTERS
Round 1 winner: Chase Blythe, 78.5 points
Round 2: Weston Rutkowski, 84.5
Round 3: Alex McWilliams, 84
Round 4: Chance Moorman, 86

Round 5: Tanner Zarnetski, 84.5
Hooey Championship Round: 1. Weston Rutkowski, 84 points; 2. Alex McWilliams, 78; 3. Tanner Zarnetski, 73; 4. (tie) Chase Blyth and Chance Moorman, no score.

postheadericon Tutor matches Dirty Jacket for lead

Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Dirty Jacket struts in front of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo fans in 2017. He's been successful inside Hitch Arena over the last 10 years, and he helped move Bill Tutor into the lead Saturday night after an 87.5-point ride. Carr production manager John Gwatney applauds the big bay gelding on its victory lap.

Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket struts in front of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo fans in 2017. He’s been successful inside Hitch Arena over the last 10 years, and he helped move Bill Tutor into the lead Saturday night after an 87.5-point ride. Carr production manager John Gwatney applauds the big bay gelding on its victory lap.

GUYMON, Okla. – The first time Bill Tutor strapped himself to Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, Tutor was 21 years old.

The powerful bay gelding was just 9. Since that day five years ago, Tutor has become one of the best bareback riders in the game, having qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time last year. Dirty Jacket has become one of the greatest bucking horses in the game today, a two-time world champion and still one of the cowboys’ favorite.

“That horse is outstanding,” said Tutor of Huntsville, Texas. “Every time you see him by your name (in the random draw), chills just run through your backbone.”

Tutor and Dirty Jacket matched moves Saturday night for 87.5 points to take the bareback riding lead at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo with one performance remaining. It marked the fourth time the two have been matched together, and Tutor has found great success: He won rodeos in Stephenville, Texas, and Claremore, Okla., in 2013 and finished second in Lovington, N.M., a year later.

Bill Tutor

Bill Tutor

“I was sure trying to stay cool, calm and collected, but it wasn’t working,” he said. “I could hardly get my glove on because the jitters came over me. That’s just the kind of horse he is. If you’re not that excited, something’s wrong with you. He felt outstanding tonight

“That’s what bareback riding is all about; it was fantastic.”

Dirty Jacket has been a staple inside Hitch Arena. The first time he bucked at a ProRodeo, it was in Guymon in 2008. Coloradoan Jared Schlegel rode the then-4-year-old bucking horse to the title with an 87-point ride.

A year later, Jared Smith won the bareback riding title on the bay’s back. For four consecutive years, Dirty Jacket was the prized mount for bareback riders in the territory once known as No Man’s Land. Will Lowe won a share of the title in 2010, and Matt Bright won it outright in ’11. All scores were 87 points.

Tutor’s ride was a half point better than them all.

“Whatever it takes to get the win,” he said. “I’ve come to Guymon many years, and I’ve never won it. It would be special to me to win this one.”

He will have to hold his breath through Sunday’s final performance, but he’s a virtual lock for a nice payday in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

“When the announcer says that Dirty Jacket is one we lay in bed and dream about, he’s not lying,” said Tutor, 26, who owns just a half-point lead over his traveling partner, three-time NFR qualifier Jake Brown of Cleveland, Texas.

While he’s still young, Tutor has become an established veteran in the game. He’s been among the top 40 bareback riders in the game each of the past five seasons. Now he’s gaining more momentum and confidence as he continues to strive for that elusive gold buckle.

“The only think I’ve ever dreamed of was making the NFR, but it lit more of a fire in me,” he said. “I always say, ‘If I make the finals once, I’d die a happy man.’ Jake told me, ‘Just wait and see.’ He was right. There’s nothing more that I want to do than get back to the finals this year. You’ve got to work hard every week, but I’m glad to do it.”

He was fourth in the world standings heading into this weekend and has earned more than $45,000 so far this season. He knows it’ll take a lot more to make it back to Las Vegas in December, but he’s ready for it. Having success in Guymon is a big part of his path back to the Nevada desert.

“This big outdoor rodeo is so cool and such a neat setup,” Tutor said. “I knew he’d buck great. You always know when you come here that you’re going to get on something good. The crowd was great, it’s an awesome arena and there are great bucking horses. But that’s what it’s all about, great bucking horses.”

Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo
April 30-May 6
Results through the first performance

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Bill Tutor, 87.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket; 2. Jake Brown, 87; 3. Tilden Hooper, 86; 4. Zach Hibler, 83.5; 5. Justin Miller 80.5; 6. Luke Creasy, 80; 7. Leighton Berry, 75.5; 3. Will Martin, 75.

Team roping: Third round leaders: 1. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 5.8 seconds; 2. Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher, 6.4; 3. Tyler Wojciechowski/Tyler Ishman, 7.0; 4. Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 7.1; 5. Ryan Jarrett/Tadd Sheets, 7.6; 6. Jason Thorstenson/Levi Lord, 8.9; 7. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 9.0; 8. Blake Deckard/Cody Heflin, 10.1. Aggregate leaders: 1. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 24.1 seconds on three runs; 2. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 29.9; 3. Tyler Wojciechowski/Tyler Ishman, 33.5; 4. Blake Deckard/Cody Heflin, 35.0; 5. Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 41.4; 6. Ryan Jarrett/Tad Sheets, 14.8 seconds on two runs; 7. Chad Masters/Joseph Harrison, 16.7; 8. Laramie Allen/Rosh Ashford, 17.3.

Steer wrestling: Third round leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 3.5 seconds; 2. Rowdy Parrott, 3.8; 3. Jace Melvin, 4.09; 4. (tie) Dru Melvin and Denver Berry, 4.2; 6. (tie) Marcus Theriot Wyatt Jurney and Cody Pratt, 4.3. Aggregate leaders: 1. Hunter Cure, 12.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Matt Reeves, 13.9; 3. Jace Melvin, 14.1; 4. Denver Berry, 14.2; 5. Stockton Graves, 14.3; 6. (tie) Cody Pratt, Cody Devers and Gary Gilbert, 14.4.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Jake Wright, 84.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s YoYo; 2. Ross Griffin, 84; 3. CoBurn Bradshaw, 81; 4. Jesse Wright, 80.5; 5. Cole Elshere, 79.5; 6. (tie) Shorty Garrett, Tyler Corrington and Dawson Jandreau, 79.

Tie-down roping: Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Jake Pratt and Caleb Smidt, 9.5 seconds; 3. Anthony Jordan, 10.7; 4. Clint Cooper, 10.9; 5. Timber Moore, 11.2; 6. Stetson Vest, 11.5; 7. Dakota Felton, 12.0; 8. Seth Cooke, 12.2. Aggregate leaders: 1. Tim Pharr, 33.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Timber Moore, 35.1; 3. Clint Cooper, 35.6; 4. Jake Pratt, 35.9; 5. Seth Cooke, 37.4; 6. Kyle Dickens, 39.7; 7. Stetson Vest, 43.1; 8. (tie) Anthony Jordan and Monty Lewis, 44.5.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Cierra Chapman, 17.46 seconds; 2. (tie) Jana Bean, Sidney Forrest and Tracy Nowlin, 17.47; 5. Kylie Weast, 17.49; 6. Kelly Yataes, 17.52; 7. Kellie Collier, 17.55; 8. Andrea Busby, 17.56; 9. Dona Kay Rule, 17.58; 10. (tie) Ericka Nelson and Katelyn Scott, 17.59. Aggregate leaders: 1. Kylie Weast, 34.81 seconds on two runs; 2. Sidney Forrest, 35.10; 3. Kelly Yates, 35.29; 4. Tracy Nowlin, 35.37; 5. Jana Bean, 35.39; 6. (tie) Andrea Busby and Katelyn Scott, 35.43; 8. (tie) Cassidy Kruse and Tiany Schuster, 35.53; 10. Kellie Collier, 35.54.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Cole Melancon, 89 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Chigger; 2. Denton Fugate, 87.5; 3. (tie) Trey Benton III and Laramie Mosley, 86.5; 5. Joe Frost, 86; 6. Corey Atwell, 83; 7. Dillon Tyler, 79.5; no other qualified rides.

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