postheadericon Freshman dominates CNFR to claim title

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in the August issue of Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA. It is republished here with the approval of the WPRA.

The reality of Cool Rowdy was that nobody wanted him.

Not the Engessers, who owned him, and not anyone else for that matter. The family from Spearfish, S.D., tried to sell the sorrel gelding at least 10 times, and they never got a nibble.

“Once he got old enough to start riding him, none of us could ride him because he was so rough,” said Taylor Engesser, 19, the oldest of three children to Shorty and Punky Engesser. “We lost some horses a few years ago, and we really didn’t have anything left, so we just started working with Rowdy.

“We quickly learned that if you rode him right, he worked great.”

Taylor Engesser

Taylor Engesser

He works very well, and the young cowgirl learned first-hand in mid-June during a magnificent run through the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. She placed in three go-rounds, two of which she won, and claimed the ever-elusive barrel racing national championship aboard the 19-year-old, out of Cool Deep Margie by Mr Haggard.

A freshman at Gillette (Wyo.) College, Taylor Engesser posted a four-round cumulative time of 55.78 seconds. She just missed out on placing in the opening round with her slowest time of the week, a 14.34, then put together winning times of 13.83 in the second round, 14.03 in the third and 13.58 in the short go-round – she won the second and fourth rounds and placed in the top five in the third round.

“It’s a huge blessing to have made it that far, especially as a freshman coming in there,” she said. “I had nothing to lose.

“I was really nervous about running him indoors, but he actually ended up getting better and better with each run. I don’t know if he really liked indoors or the ground or what, but he ended up being more free, and he ran really well.”

So what changed from those early years? The family began riding him more aggressively, and it’s been a gold mine. Younger sister Rickie, 17, and younger brother Jace, 15, have found success on the gelding.

“We just figured out we had to go, and ever since he’s been great,” Taylor Engesser said. “You’ve got to make sure you ride him right every single time, ride him hard and go at him, then hope it all works out.

“He runs hard all the time. He’s got the biggest heart of any animal. He tries hard in everything he does. He’s an amazing all-around horse, and he can do just about anything.”

So can Engesser, who earned the right to compete at the college finals by finishing second in the Central Rocky Mountain Region’s all-around race. She ran barrels and competed in breakaway roping at Casper after helping the Gillette women to the regional women’s title – she placed sixth in the circuit in barrel racing and fourth in breakaway.

She also competes in goat tying – and rides Rowdy in that competition – but didn’t do so in Casper. She’s taken her rodeo lead from her father, Shorty, who owns Newcastle Motors in Newcastle, Wyo.

“We all got it started by my dad,” Engesser said. “My mom hasn’t done much with rodeo, but throughout the years, she’s definitely learned a lot more about rodeo.

“Dad’s the one who’s down there in the action with us. He roped when he was younger. Ever since I was born, he had me on a horse.”

The love affair continued to grow as she did. Now she’s hoping to parlay that passion with a run a ProRodeo. Through July 1, she had earned $878 on her WPRA permit, so she needed just a little more luck to come her way to secure her card.

“I actually want to get my permit filled so I can get my card and go to Rapid (City) and Denver,” Engesser said. “Realistically, Rowdy is 19, and I don’t know how many more years he has in him.

“I want to wait to rodeo really hard until I have my degree. But I understand that Rowdy is probably going to be done by then. I want to go while I can and hopefully qualify for the Badlands Circuit Finals and maybe the (Ram) National Circuit Finals on him. I know he can compete, and I’d like to ride him there before he gets too old.”

Those are some lofty goals, but she has the support system to make it happen. In addition to her family, she leans on Gillette rodeo coach Will LaDuke and another Gillette man, Jerry Means, who owns the property where Engesser keeps her horses and also assists her throughout the school year.

“I chose Gillette, because it’s a great rodeo program,” she said. “Will is a great coach, and he’s always there if you need him. He’s always taking care of me. I’m glad I went there to be with him.

“Jerry has been amazing for me. He has helped me so much. I’ll call him and ask him for help, and when I get there, he’ll have the claves for me. He’s another one who will help me when I ask. He’s the one reason I like to rodeo so much, because he was always there and is so great.”

Whatever it is, greatness is inspired. Taylor Engesser is proof.

postheadericon Veterinarian making the cut in barrels

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in the August issue of Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA. It is re-published here with the WPRA’s approval.

Like a lot of circuit cowgirls, Fonda Galbreath has a full-time job, leaving her little time to compete in ProRodeo.

That means traveling shorter distances in order to compete, which is just fine for Galbreath. She can focus on her primary task, which is pretty important. You see, she also is a veterinarian at Oakes (N.D.) Vet Service, where her husband, Collin, is also a vet.

Dr. Fonda Galbreath

Dr. Fonda Galbreath

“I work during the week, and then have fun on the weekends,” she said. “I pretty much stay within the same three-state area in the Dakotas and Minnesota. I also have clients in the area, so I generally work when I’m on the road as well.”

Her work paid off during the WPRA Tour event in Hamel, Minn., from July 10-13, where she and her mount, Frosted Cookies, rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 15.49 seconds, beating runner-up Jaime Newcomer by nearly a quarter of a second.

That’s not too shabby for a lady who began competing in barrel racing just four years ago and is running this season on her WPRA permit. Obviously, though, she’s no newcomer to being a horsewoman.

“My family started Strait Rail Ranch in Minnesota when I was in junior high,” said Galbreath, a 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “I got into cutting horses and rode cutting horses through high school. My senior year I was in the top 10 in the senior youth in the NCHA.”

She received her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University, where she met her husband. She continued to ride some while focusing on her studies. Once she graduated from vet school, she began going to cutting competitions with a 4-year-old, Macs Spunkie Mate.

“But she wasn’t taking to cutting,” Galbreath said.

So she turned to NFR qualifier Jane Melby, who was living in Minnesota at the time. With Melby’s tutelage, Spunkie took to the barrel pattern, and Galbreath’s weekends changed.

“I entered my first barrel race in May 2010,” she said. “I ran that mare through last summer. In August, she fractured a bone in her right hind ankle, and that’s when I made the decision to buy Frosted Cookies.”

It looks to be a solid purchase. Lola is a 7-year-old sorrel mare by Cookie Dash out of PC Laughing Sundust, and she’s the reason Galbreath is stepping into the WPRA.

“This is my first year in rodeo,” she said. “I bought my WPRA permit Oct. 1 and have entered around 10 rodeos or so. I started out with jackpots, because that’s the level that Spunkie was able to compete at. Knowing the capabilities that Lola has, I decided I wanted to try to compete at the next level.

“I really enjoy the adrenaline of the crowd and the announcer, and the situation of rodeo music vs. being at a jackpot.”

And so does Lola. Her time in Hamel was proof.

“That was my first WPRA victory,” Galbreath said. “I feel just so blessed and thankful and overwhelmed that it actually happened. I know my horse is capable and know that I’m capable, but sometimes you have those doubts that you can really do it. It’s exciting that we haven’t entered that many rodeos and already have had this success.”

The future seems quite bright for Galbreath and Lola, an athletic mare with a sensitive nature.

“She has the speed and the ability to turn very tight around her barrels, so the combination makes her a likely candidate for being competitive at a higher level,” Galbreath said. “What drew me to the horse is when I watched Molly Otto in May of last year. She clocked very well, and she didn’t look like she was going that fast. She reminded me a lot of Macs Spunkie Mate.

“She’s extremely broke and really light in her face. She’s easy to ride from the standpoint that she’s very broke and she’s pretty bendy. She moves off your legs pretty easy, but she does get scared pretty easy. She’s very standoffish, but she loves her job, and she always wants to work for you.”

What’s next? She’ll remain on her permit until Oct. 1, then purchase her WPRA card and see where the rodeo road takes her.

“I’m sitting second in the WPRA Derby standings, so my plan is to finish out Lola’s Derby year and go to the WPRA Finals in Waco (Texas) in the Derby Class,” she said. “I’ll primarily rodeo next season.

“My plan is to go down south on and off during the winter when it’s the slow season for my veterinary work and make a decision from there whether I could justify going or come home and work.”

Whichever is the case, Galbreath certainly is enjoying her run in 2014. She was one of six recent winners on the WPRA Tour, joining Carlee Pierce, who won in Santa Fe, N.M.; Robin Herring, Pecos, Texas; Kassidy Dennison, Window Rock, Ariz.; Megan Swift, Ringgold, Ga.; and Cheyenne Shipps, Clear Lake, S.D.

For Shipps, the victory as a mix of great opportunity and better timing for her and VS Easy Dash Home, a 14-year-old sorrel gelding she calls Homie.

“I had been doing well and had won the Springfield (Mo.) ProRodeo in the spring, but I’d just been placing lately,” said Shipps, 23, of Dadeville, Mo. “I knew my horse was working really well, and I knew Clear Lake was his type of pen.

“It’s just an exciting rodeo and lots of energy. My horse runs so much better with bigger crowds. He likes it a lot. I knew I had beaten some really tough girls to win that rodeo, so that meant a lot to me, too.”

As of mid-July, Shipps was the No. 4 cowgirl in the WPRA rookie race. She purchased her permit in November, then filled it at the WPRA finals. As soon as the championship concluded, she purchased her card for this season.

“It means everything to me to be able to compete at this level,” she said. “It’s been my dream to be a professional cowgirl. I made my education my first priority, and I have my master’s degree. This is my first opportunity to ProRodeo.

“It’s been my dream, but I always thought I needed to get a good education to support this expensive hobby of mine.”

Shipps was raised on a ranch near Dadeville, about 35 miles northwest of Springfield. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Springfield at Missouri State University. She helps her family on their cow-calf operation.

“I’ve ridden horses as long as I can remember and always rode horses on the ranch,” Shipps said. “My dad was a steer roper who also team roped some. When I went with him, I always watched the barrel racing. I like to go fast, so I just kind of picked up barrel racing from there.”

She began competing at age 6 and has progressed through the ranks. Now that she has something special in Homie, she knows this is an opportunity to make a run in ProRodeo.

“He’s ornery,” she said of the gelding. “He’s a lot of fun, but he tries his heart out every time. He’s a true rodeo horse. He loves the crowds. He loves the excitement and the energy. He handles all kinds of ground.

“I love the atmosphere of rodeoing. It makes a good combination. He makes it fun to rodeo. Sometimes it’s easy to get down, be he somehow brightens the day and knows when I need a pick-me-up. I think we just have a good bond.”

That bond seems to be working now. She hopes it translates into brighter things ahead, from winning the rookie title to eventually competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

It’s what dreams are made of.

postheadericon Champs crowned in Lovington

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Trevor Brazile owns 19 world championships and a countless number of individual rodeo titles.

J.R. Vezain doesn’t own any gold buckles just yet, but he’s got all the talent, drive and, now, the ride equipment to make a move for that elusive title.

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

During Saturday’s final night of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, both cowboys shined brightly inside Jake McClure Arena. Brazile – owner of 11 all-around, one heading, three tie-down roping and four steer roping world titles – won the steer roping title in Lovington, downing all three steers in 44.3 seconds to claim the title and $4,672.

Vezain, the 2011 bareback riding rookie of the year and a two-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, scored 89 points on the rodeo’s final night, matching moves with Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web, a horse that’s led cowboys to the top spot in several go-rounds at the NFR.

“I got on her one other time in the short round in San Antonio my rookie year, and I was 85,” said Vezain, 22, of Cowley, Wyo. “I switched the style of my rigging today, and that felt way better than the first time I got on her. She was outstanding today and felt really good.”

So did the victory in Lovington, which was worth $5,450. He needs every penny, too. Only the top 15 money-earners in ProRodeo’s regular season earn the right to compete at the NFR, and Vezain began the night 15th in the world standings with $37,726. He still has more than a month and a half remaining in the regular season to make his move.

J.R. Vezain

J.R. Vezain

“My whole career I’ve never been in a dry spell,” he said. “This year something’s been going on. I wasn’t winning. I was drawing good and still getting low scores. I was fighting some equipment and kind of fighting my head. My (travel) group has been really supportive and just positive. I switched the style of riggings and started spurring again, and that’s just been awesome.

“I’m having fun again. I can hardly wipe the smile off my face again. It’s outstanding to be winning again.”

Winning is key in any competition, but rodeo is a different animal altogether. Not only does it help pay bills, but each dollar equals a championship point. The contestants in each event at the conclusion of the NFR will be crowned world champions.

“Not winning makes it tough,” Vezain said. “You’re putting on 80,000 to 90,000 miles a year. This isn’t the greatest way to become a millionaire either. When you’re not winning, it’s hard to keep paying your bills and have all the things going on in your head. You’ve just got to remember to stay positive, stay to the basics and keep having fun no matter what.”

That philosophy worked in Lovington.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
All-around champion:
Tuf Cooper, $7,421 in steer roping and tie-down roping.

Bareback riding: 1. J.R. Vezain, 89 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web, $5,450; 2. Bill Tutor, 88, $4,178; 2. 3. Will Lowe, 86, $3,088; 4. Bobby Mote, 85, $1,998; 5. Steven Dent, 82, $1,272; 6. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Jared Green, 81, $817; 8. Luke Creasy, 80, $545.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Wyatt Smith, 3.6 seconds, $1,874; 2. (tie) Ty Erickson and Justin Simon, 3.9, $1,507 each; 4. Casey Martin, 4.0, $1,141; 5. (tie) Gary Gilbert, Denard Butler and Bray Armes, 4.3, $652 each; 8. Brandon Bates, 4.4, $163. Second round: 1. (tie) Riley Duvall and Tom Lewis, 3.8 seconds, $1,752 each; 3. (tie) Bray Armes and Cooper Shofner, 3.9, $1,263 each; 5. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Joe Buffington, 4.0, $774 each; 7. (tie) Ty Erickson, Casey Martin and Sean Santucci, 4.2, $190. Average: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs, $1,873; 2. (tie) Casey Martin and Bray Armes, 8.2, $1,507 each; 4. Cooper Shofner, 8.7, $1,141; 5. Justin Simon, 9.1, $896; 6. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Josh Peek, 9.4, $430 each; 7. Jule Hazen, 10.6, $163.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. (tie) Tuf Cooper and Scott Kormos, 7.8 seconds, $2,279 each; 3. (tie) Marty Yates and Jesse Clark, 8.0, $1,643 each; 5. Cody Ohl, 8.2, $1,166; 6. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4, $689 each; 8. (tie) Michael Otero and Adam Gray, 8.5, $106 each. Second round: 1. Robert Mathis Jr., 8.1 seconds, $2,438; 2. J.D. Kibbe, 8.2, $2,120; 3. (tie) Tyson Durfey, Tuf Cooper and Clif Cooper, 8.4, $1,484 each; 6. (tie) Jesse Clark and Jerrad Hofstetter, 8.5, $689 each; 8. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7, $212. Average: 1. Tuf Cooper, 16.2 seconds on two runs, $3,658; 2. Jesse Clark, 16.5 seconds, $3,181; 3. Cody Ohl, 17.0, $2,704; 4. Clif Cooper, 17.1, $2,226; 5. (tie) Adam Gray and J.D. Kibbe, 17.3, $1,511 each; 7. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5, $557.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody DeMoss, 86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Bully Dog, $4,653; 2. Heith DeMoss, 84, $3,568; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 83, $2,637; 4. Cody Wright, Taos Muncy and Bradley Harter, 82, $1,189 each; 7. Cody Taton, 81, $620; 8. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Rusty Wright, Louie Brunson and Hardy Braden, 80, $116 each.

Steer roping: First round: 1. J.P. Wickett, 13.1 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 13.3, $1,625; 3. Rod Hartness, 13.5, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.7, $1,138; 5. Will Gasperson, 14.0, $894; 6. Trey Wallace, 14.1, $650; 7. Roger Branch, 14.5, $406; 8. (tie) Shay Good and Casey Sisk, 14.7, $81 each. Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 11.3 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 12.0, $1,625; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 13.0, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.5, $1,138; 5. Jarrett Blessing, 13.6, $894; 6. Walter Priestly, 13.8, $650; 7. Ty Herd, 13.9, $406; 8. Jason Evans, 14.2, $163. Third round: 1. Rod Hartness, 10.7 seconds, $1,869; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3, $1,503 each; 4. Brodie Poppino, 11.5, $1,138; 5. Scott Snedecor, 12.0, $894; 6. J.P. Wickett, 12.1, $650; 7. Mike Outhier, 12.2, $406; 8. Jess Tierney, 12.5, $163. Average: 1. Trevor Brazile, 44.3 seconds on three runs, $2,803; 2. Chet Herren, 44.3, $2,438; 3. Brodie Poppino, 46.4, $2,072; 4. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9, $1,706; 5. Joe Wells, 52.6, $1,341; 6. Ralph Williams, 53.0, $975; 7. Rod Hartness, 24.2 seconds on two runs, $609; 7. J.P. Wickett, 25.2, $273.

Team roping: First round: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds, $2,026; 2. (tie) Erich Rogers/Cory Petska and Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce, 4.8, $1,630 each; 4. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueiro, 4.9, $1,233; 5. Riley Minor, 5.0, $969; 6. (tie) Chase Massengill/Tyler Getzeiller and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2, $573 each; 8. (tie) Nick Rawlings/Kyle Crick and Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.3, $88 each. Second round: 1. Colby Lovell/Martin Lucero, 4.7 seconds, $2,026; 2. (tie) Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce and Manny Egusquiza Jr./Brad Culpepper, 4.9, $1,630 each; 4. Chase Massengill/Tyler Getzwiller, 5.1, $1,233; 5. Spencer Mitchell/Russell Cardoza, 5.2, $969; 6. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3, $705; 7. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 5.6; 7. (tie) Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.7, $88. Average: 1. Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce, 9.7 seconds on two runs, $3,039; 2. Chase Massengill/Tyler Getzwiller, $2,643; 3. David Key/Kory Koontz, 10.9, $2,246; 4. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 11.7, $1,850; 5. Travis Tryan/Dugan Kelly, 12.7; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, $1,057; 7. (tie) Erich Rogers/Cory Petska and Manny Egusquiza Jr./Brad Culpepper, $462.

Barrel racing: 1. Rebecca Hughes, 17.24 seconds, $3,975; 2. Callie Gray and Kaley Bass, 17.47, $2,882 each; 4. Callie DuPerier, 17.53, $1,987; 5. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.54, $1,589; 6. Christine Laughlin, 17.58, $1,192; 7. Shelley Morgan, 17.59, $994; 8. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.63, $894; 9. Shelby Perez, 17.69, $795; 10. Shy-Ann Jarrett, 17.73, $696; 11. Meghan Johnson, 17.80, $596; 12. (tie) Natalie Bland and Cheyenne Shipps, 17.83, $447 each; 14. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.87, $298; 14. Christy Loflin, 17.94, $199.

Bull riding: 1. J.W. Harris, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat, $5,076; 2. (tie) Josh Koschel and Cody Teel, 90, $3,384 each; 4. Dalton Votaw, 88, $1,861; 5. (tie) Brett Stall and Caleb Sanderson, 87, $1,015; 6. (tie) Seth Glause, Brennon Eldred and Aaron Pass, 86, $395 each.

postheadericon Tutor takes lead on Dirty Jacket

Bill Tutor, upper right, gets help from bronc rider Joe Lufkin as Tutor sets his rigging on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's great horse Dirty Jacket. In their fourth meeting, they matched moves for 88 points and own the lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo with one performance remaining Saturday night.

Bill Tutor, upper right, gets help from bronc rider Joe Lufkin as Tutor sets his rigging on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s great horse Dirty Jacket. In their fourth meeting, they matched moves for 88 points and own the lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo with one performance remaining Saturday night.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Dirty Jacket is a special bucking horse, and nobody in ProRodeo knows that better than bareback rider Bill Tutor.

“If you do your job right, he’s taking you to the pay window every time if not winning it,” said Tutor, a second-year pro from Huntsville, Texas. “I finished second in Eagle (Colo.) two years ago, and every other time I got on him, I won it.”

On Friday night, Tutor rode the 10-year-old bay gelding for 88 points to take the lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo with just one performance remaining Saturday night. It marked the fourth time in Tutor’s short career that he’s ridden the athletic equine – in 2013, the Texan won rodeos in Claremore, Okla., and Stephenville, Texas, on the horse.

Bill Tutor

Bill Tutor

Each of the past two years, Dirty Jacket has been recognized as one of the top three bareback horses in voting by Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association contestants.

“He’s great to ride,” said Tutor, the 20th ranked cowboy in the world standings.

Oftentimes the toughest part of the match-up is securing the horse through the random draw. Tutor has a little more luck than most at that, though; few cowboys have been on the horse’s back as many times.

“It’s an awesome feeling when you draw him, because he’s absolutely the one you want to draw,” he said. “But you get worked up about it, and your heart’s pounding all week. I don’t want to mess up a horse that great.”

Friday’s ride seemed a little more comfortable for the southeast Texas cowboy.

“I think he was a little easier to ride this time, but I think it’s because I kept my chin down,” Tutor said, referring to one of the basics needed in riding bucking bronc. “I’m just feeling better than I was back then. He still felt electric, but by riding better it made him feel better to me.”

It all adds up to his best season so far. Tutor has earned more than $33,000 in 2014 and will collect more out of Lea County in his first time to compete in Lovington. He’s in position move among the top 15 in the world standings and earn his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s year-end championship that will take place in December in Las Vegas.

“This summer hasn’t been as great as I wanted, and I’ve made mistakes here and there,” he said. “I hope to finish out strong. I think I have some of the quirks figured out. I’m excited for the next two months.”

He also would like another shot at the great Dirty Jacket. So do all the other bareback riders in ProRodeo.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Bill Tutor, 88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket; 2. Bobby Mote, 85; 3. Steven Dent, 82; 4. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Jared Green, 81; 6. Luke Creasy, 80; 7. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle, Tim O’Connell and Richmond Champion, 79.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. Casey Martin, 4.0; 3. (tie) Gary Gilbert, Denard Butler and Bray Armes, 4.3; 7. (tie) Tanner Milan, Josh Peek and Monty Eakin, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. Riley Duvall, 3.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Bray Armes and Cooper Shofner, 3.9; 4. Rowdy Parrott, 4.0; 5. (tie) Ty Erickson and Casey Martin, 4.2; 7. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 8. Tommy Cook, 4.5. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Casey Martin and Bray Armes, 8.2; 4. Cooper Shofner, 8.7; 5. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Josh Peek, 9.4; 7. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 8. Timmy Sparing, 11.1.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Tuf Cooper and Scott Kormos, 7.8 seconds; 3. Marty Yates, 8.0; 4. Cody Ohl, 8.2; 5. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4; 7. (tie) Michael Otero and Adam Gray, 8.5. Second round leaders: 1. J.D. Kibbe, 8.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyson Durfey, Tuf Cooper and Clif Cooper, 8.4; 5. Jerrad Hofstetter, 8.5; 6. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 7. (tie) Spence Barney, Adam Gray and Cody Ohl, 8.8. Average leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 16.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Cody Ohl, 17.0; 3. Clif Cooper, 17.1; 4. (tie) Adam Gray and J.D. Kibbe, 17.3; 6. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5; 8. Marcos Costa, 18.2.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody DeMoss, 86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Bully Dog; 2. Heith DeMoss, 84; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 83; 4. Cody Wright and Bradley Harter, 82; 6. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Rusty Wright, Louie Brunson and Hardy Braden, 80.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. Rod Hartness, 10.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 4. Brodie Poppino, 11.5; 5. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 6. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 7. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 8. Jess Tierney, 12.5. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Brodie Poppino, 46.4; 3. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 4. Joe Wells, 52.6; 5. Ralph Williams, 53; 6. Rod Hartness, 24.2 seconds on two runs; 7. J.P. Wickett, 25.2; 8. Bryce Davis, 25.3.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Erich Rogers/Cory Petska and Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce, 4.8; 4. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueiro, 4.9; 5. Riley Minor, 5.0; 6. (tie) Chase Massengill/Tyler Getzeiller and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2; 8. Nick Rawlings/Kyle Crick, 5.3. Second round leaders: 1. Colby Lovell/Martin Lucero, 4.7 seconds; 2. Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce, 4.9; 3. Spencer Mitchell/Russell Cardoza, 5.2; 4. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 5. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 5.6; 6. (tie) Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.7; 8. Shank Edwards/K.C. Curtis, 6.0. Average: 1. Chase Wiley/Ace Pearce, 9.7 seconds on two runs; 2. David Key/Kory Koontz, 10.9; 3. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 11.7; 4. Travis Tryan/Dugan Kelly, 12.7; 5. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8; 6. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 17.0; 7. Shank Edwards, 17.0; 8. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 20.1.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Rebecca Hughes, 17.24 seconds; 2. Callie Gray, 17.47; 3. Callie DuPerier, 17.53; 4. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.54; 5. Christine Laughlin, 17.58; 6. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.63; 7. Shelby Perez, 17.69; 8. Shy-Ann Jarrett, 17.73; 9. Natalie Bland, 17.83; 10. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.87; 11. Christy Loflin, 17.94; 12. Jessica Frost, 18.00; 13. Carmen Larson, 18.19; 14. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 15. (tie) Lacinda Rose and Ivy Hurst, 18.23.

Bull riding: 1. J.W. Harris, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat; 2. Josh Koschel, 90; 3. Daltan Votaw, 88; 4. (tie) Brett Stall and Caleb Sanderson, 87; 6. Seth Glause, 86; 7. (tie) Dylan Vick and Garrett Smith, 83.

postheadericon Champ races into circuit lead

DUNCAN, Okla. – The rodeo trail can be rugged. Cowboys, cowgirls and their equine partners spend hours, even days, driving cross country chasing their gold-buckle dreams.

It’s a tough life, but one most wouldn’t trade for the world. They’re competitors, and the rodeo road leads to championships. Across the Plains, many seek the coveted title of being a regional champion, which only comes through a qualification to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-18 at the Stephens County Fair and Expo Center in Duncan.

Gretchen Benbenek

Gretchen Benbenek

But the rodeo trail offers a few landmines along the way. Combatants get weary, and so do their athletic partners. Such is the case of Gretchen Benbenek’s speedy mount, Shot of Firewater, a 10-year-old bay gelding she calls Maverick.

“He was getting really sore,” Benbenek said after a run through July that saw limited winning. “I went up to Canada in June; I was making good runs, but I was running in the mud. It would dry out later, and the other girls were getting the faster times.

“Then my horse got sore. I won a little bit in Calgary (Alberta), but I think my horse was just too sore to work right.”

The struggles continued through mid-July. Once she and Maverick arrived in Cheyenne, Wyo., for Frontier Days Rodeo, she enlisted the assistance of equine therapist Troy Brandenburg.

“He uses acupressure for the most part,” she said. “I use a lot of chiropractic; I think you need to do the chiropractic plus the muscle work plus the vet. He was sore in his back. Once I got Troy to work on him, he’s been a different horse.”

The proof came the very next week during an all-important Prairie Circuit run across Kansas. From July 28-Aug. 3, she and Maverick raced in Sidney, Iowa, and at Kansas rodeos in Abilene, Phillipsburg, Hill City and Dodge City. In all, she pocketed about $7,400. It pushed her from fourth in the circuit standings to the No. 1 spot. Now she owns a lead of more than $4,000 over the runner-up, traveling partner Ivy Hurst.

“The last two weeks have been pretty big for me,” Benbenek said. “I get to catch up on some bills and, more importantly, catch up in the standings. I had actually won money at every rodeo I went to since Cheyenne. My horse has been really consistent the last three weeks and getting me the money everywhere.”

That’s vital in the Montana-born cowgirl who was educated in Oklahoma and now lives in north Texas. She is the defending Prairie Circuit champion barrel racer, who utilized a solid 2013 run in the region to a perfect finish and the national title at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“I was behind, and I didn’t think I was going to make a move yet,” she said. “I also didn’t think I was going to jump like that. I went into the circuit finals in Duncan last year winning it for the year-end, and I’d sure like to do that again.”

Regional titles depend on performing well in Duncan, which is another key reason why she’s excited to return.

“The last two years the circuit finals has been in Duncan, it’s gone really well,” Benbenek said. “The committee there is great, and they’re looking for ways to keep making the circuit finals better and provide a good home for us there. I’m excited to go back there. My horse seems to like that arena.”

The expo center is home to many rodeo and rodeo-like events throughout a calendar year, but none compares to the prestige and the caliber of competition that arrives in Stephens County for the circuit finals. The top regional contestants in the circuit standings must qualify to perform in Duncan, where they’ll battle for the titles and money that come with an event of this magnitude.

“This is why we rodeo,” Benbenek said.

postheadericon Cooper honors Tuffy with solid run

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper's grandfather, Dale "Tuffy" Cooper. Tuf Cooper's two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper’s grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper. Tuf Cooper’s two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – In his seven years in ProRodeo, Tuf Cooper has earned two tie-down roping world championship gold buckles and six qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He hasn’t, however, done very well at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

“I placed fourth in the first go-round last year, and that was the first check I ever won in Lovington,” said Cooper, who pocketed a little more than $1,500 last August.

Tuf Cooper

Tuf Cooper

He should add a lot to it. On Wednesday, Cooper posted two runs in a cumulative time of 16.2 seconds, leads the first go-round and the all-important average with just two days of competition remaining. More importantly, he put on quite a show inside Jake McClure Arena on a night when his late grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper, was honored.

“They just dedicated this to my grandfather,” he said, noting that Tuffy Cooper died last November at the age of 88. “I hope I end up winning it; if I do, it’s going to be a special one for me and my family.”

Cooper owns a lot of victories, but doing well in his family’s home county has always been a big deal. His father, legendary roper Roy Cooper, was raised in Lea County; Roy Cooper then passed along his experience and talent to his three sons, Tuf, Clif and Clint, a Lovington High School graduate.

But the foundation was laid in Monument, N.M., by Tuffy Cooper.

“My dad gave me all the opportunity to rope,” Tuf Cooper said. “Whenever I wanted to learn something and try to get better, I would call my grandpa and ask him what I could work on to get better. My dad taught me to rope, but my grandpa helped me get better.

“By just talking to him on the phone, he could teach me how to practice and to do the right things to improve. He helped develop me over the telephone.”

That’s quite a statement about his namesake, but it’s one he shares with countless other ropers. Those lessons came in quite handy Wednesday; he roped and tied his first round calf in the afternoon session in 7.8 seconds, then followed that with an 8.4-second run in the performance, which moved Cooper to a tie for second place in the second round.

“You want to win every time you nod your head, but whenever I have those special moments, it fuels my fire,” said Cooper, the No. 1 tie-down roper in the world standings with more than $106,000 in earnings so far this season. “Tonight was one of them.”

The fire has been ignited, and the Cooper clan has another reason to celebrate Wednesday.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Bobby Mote, 85 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s River Boat Annie; 2. Steven Dent, 82; 3. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Jared Green, 81; 5. Luke Creasy, 80; 6. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle and Tim O’Connell, 79.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Denard Butler, 4.3; 4. (tie) Tanner Milan and Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Cooper Shofner, 4.8; 7. (tie) Cole Edge and Jacob Shofner, 5.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 5.4; 7. Timmy Sparing, 6.7; 8. Cimarron Thompson, 14.0. Second round leaders: 1. Cooper Shofner, 3.9 seconds; 2. Ty Erickson, 4.2; 3. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 4. Tommy Cook, 4.5; 5. Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Kyle Irwin, 5.0; 7. Gary Gilbert, 5.1; 8. Jule Hazen, 5.2. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Cooper Shofner, 8.7; 3. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Josh Peek, 9.4; 5. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 6. Timmy Sparing, 11.1; 7. Cole Edge, 11.6; 8. Tommy Cook, 14.3.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4; 3. Trent Walls, 9.0; 4. (tie) J.D. Kibbe, Marcos Costa, Matthew Love and Tyson Durfey, 9.1; 8. (tie) Clint Cooper and Stran Smith, 9.2. Second round leaders: 1. J.D. Kibbe, 8.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyson Durfey and Tuf Cooper, 8.4; 4. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 5. Spence Barney, 8.8; 6. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Marcos Costa, 9.1; Quay Howard, 9.3. Average leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 16.2 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. Kibbe, 17.3; 3. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5; 5. Marcos Costa, 18.2; 6. JohnPete Etcheverry, 18.3; 7. Trent Walls, 18.8; 8. Cody Owens, 19.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 83 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Cody Wright, 82; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Rusty Wright, Louie Brunson and Hardy Braden, 80; 7. (tie) Sterling Crawley, Kaleb Asay and Wade Sundell, 78.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. Rod Hartness, 10.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 4. Brodie Poppino, 11.5; 5. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 6. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 7. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 8. Jess Tierney, 12.5. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Brodie Poppino, 46.4; 3. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 4. Ralph Williams, 53; 5. Rod Hartness, 24.2 seconds on two runs; 6. J.P. Wickett, 25.2; 7. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 8. Chance Kelton, 26.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueiro, 4.9; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.8; 4. Riley Minor, 5.0; 4. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 6.0; 5. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 6.5; 6. Jesy Austin/Corey Hendrick, 7.3; 7. Lee Kiehne/Brian Sullivan, 8.4; 8. Jake Brown/Jay Logan, 9.0. Second round leaders: 1. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 2. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 5.6; 3. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 5.7; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 9.8; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 9.9; 6. (tie) Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager and Seth Hall/Russ Sullivan, 10.3, 8. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 11.0. Average: 1. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 11.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8; 3. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 17.0; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 20.1; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 22.0; 6. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds on one run; 7. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira, 4.9; 8. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 5.0.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Rebecca Hughes, 17.24 seconds; 2. Callie Gray, 17.47; 3. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.54; 4. Christine Laughlin, 17.58; 5. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.63; 6. Shelby Perez, 17.69; 7. Natalie Bland, 17.83; 8. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.87; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.94; 10. Jessica Frost, 18.00; 11. Carmen Larson, 18.19; 12. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 13. (tie) Lacinda Rose and Ivy Hurst, 18.23; 15. Nikkie Miller-Gosney, 18.26.

Bull riding: 1. J.W. Harris, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat; 2. (tie) Brett Stall and Caleb Sanderson, 87; 4. Seth Glause, 86; 5. (tie) Dylan Vick and Garrett Smith, 83; 7. (tie) Corey Granger and Jarrod Craig, 79.

postheadericon Bulldogger wrestles Lovington lead

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Quite simply, steer wrestler Ty Erickson is having the best season of his young professional career.

On Wednesday at Jake McClure Arena, Erickson put on a dominating showcase to take the lead in the first and second rounds and the two-run aggregate; he knocked down his first steer in 3.9 seconds during the afternoon competition, then followed that up with a 4.2 in the first performance of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Ty Erickson

Ty Erickson

“I drew real well,” said Erickson, 23, of Helena, Mont. “That first one I wasn’t expecting it, but he slowed up and stopped right in the front of the chute. I was lucky to catch him, so I hustled and went to scrambling and was lucky enough to get him tipped over in 3.9. I knew I had a good one tonight.

“I just wanted to be real smart, get a good start and make a good run on the ground tonight.”

He did, but that seems to have been the normal pattern for the 6-foot-6 Montana cowboy. So far this season, he has earned $40,133 wrestling bovines and sits 11th in the world standings. He credits his traveling partner, K.C. Jones, and Jones’ good horse, Tebow.

“That’s an awesome horse,” he said of the sorrel gelding. “I was fortunate enough to take him out to California this past spring, and I won Red Bluff on him.

“He stands so good in the corner (of the timed-event box). When you nod your head to start the run, you can drop your reins when you want to. He’s not moving when you nod; that’s why he’s so much better than the other horses out here because he scores so well.”

A week ago, Tebow helped Jones and another Helena cowboy, Timmy Sparing, to share a three-way tie for the championship in Dodge City, Kan. Two weeks ago, Jones earned his first Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days title on his talented mount.

When he’s not riding, Jones serves as a mentor and a hazer for the younger bulldoggers, making sure the steers are in good position when it’s time to finish off a run.

“You don’t have to worry about K.C., because you know he’s always going to be there,” said Erickson, the 2011 steer wrestling rookie of the year. “You know he’s going to be pulling for you and helping you out and giving you the best go you can.”

It’s working rather well. If things continue, Erickson will be making a run at the biggest ProRodeo in the world, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“My goal is to make the finals this year, and I have a good shot now,” he said. “Hopefully this will help out.”

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Luke Creasy, 80 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Lights; 2. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle and Tim O’Connell, 79; 5. (tie) Justin Pollmiller and Winn Ratliff, 77; 7. Kody Lamb, 75; 8. Yance Day, 73.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. Tanner Milan, 4.7; 3. Cooper Shofner, 4.8; 4. (tie) Cole edge and Jacob Shofner, 5.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 5.4; 7. Timmy Sparing, 6.7; 8. Cimarron Thompson, 14.0. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 4.2 seconds; 2. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 3. Jule Hazen, 5.2; 4. Cody Cassidy, 5.6; Tanner Milan, 4.0; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 3. Timmy Sparing, 11.1; 4. Tanner Milan, 18.7; 5. Cody Cassiedy, 12.3; 6. Cooper Shofner, 4.8 seconds on one run; 7. (tie) Jacob Shofner and Cole Edge, 5.1.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4 seconds; 3. Trent Walls, 9.0; 4. (tie) J.D. Kibbe, Marcos Costa and Tyson Durfey, 9.1; 7. (tie) Clint Cooper and Stran Smith, 9.2. Second round leaders: 1. Tyson Durfey, 8.4 seconds; 2. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 3. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Marcos Costa, 9.1; 5. Chris Demases, 9.7; 6. Sean O’Neil, 9.9; 7. Clint Cooper, 11.0; 8. Russell Schilling, 19.0; Average leaders: 1. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5 seconds on two runs; 3. Marcos Costa, 18.2; 4. JohnPete Etcheverry, 18.3; 5. Clint Cooper, 20.2; 6. Sean O’Neil, 21.3; 7. Stran Smith, 29.8; 8. Russell Schilling, 43.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 83 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Cody Wright, 82; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw and Rusty Wright, 80; 5. Sterling Crawley, 78; 6. Spencer Wright, 75; 7. Jeremy Ray Melancon, 74; 8. Dean Wadsworth, 73.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 3. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 5. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 6. Jess Tierney, 12.5; 7. Martin Poindexter, 12.6; 8. Dane Noyce, 13.2. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 3. Ralph Williams, 53; 4. J.P. Wickett, 25.2 seconds on two runs; 5. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 6. Chance Kelton, 26.6; 7. Trey Wallace, 29.2; 8. Trevor Brazile, 29.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.8; 3. Riley Minor, 5.0; 4. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 11.1; 5. Tom Richards/Monty Joe Petska, 11.6; 6. Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, 15.3. Second round leaders: 1. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 2. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 10.3; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 11.0; 4. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 14.4; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds on one run; 3. Riley Minor/Brady minor, 5.0; 5. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3; 5. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 10.3; 6. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 11.1; 7. Tom Richards/Monty Joe Petska, 11.6; 8. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 14.4.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Christine Laughlin, 17.58 seconds; 2. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 3. Kati Jundt, 18.53; 4. Morgann McDonald, 18.59; 5. Gayle Jones, 19.47; 6. Carley Richardson, 22.43; 7. Lisa Ogden, 23.30; 8. TiAda Gray, 24.24.

Bull riding: 1. Seth Glause, 86 points on Salt River Rodeo’s Fireball; 2. Dylan Vick, 83; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Bingham stays hot in Lovington

Tim Bingham rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Lineman for 91 points to win the short go-round at the Lea County Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday Night. (PHOTO BY COWBOY IMAGES)

Tim Bingham rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman for 91 points to win the short go-round at the Lea County Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday Night. (PHOTO BY COWBOY IMAGES)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Having momentum in any sport is vital to success, and Tim Bingham is in the middle of a hot streak.

On Tuesday night, Bingham dominated the Lea County Xtreme Bulls at Jake McClure Arena, winning both go-rounds and the coveted title. He also pocketed $11,577.

“When things are working out, it happens so fast,” said Bingham, 22, of Honeyville, Utah. “I’m not thinking; I just know to not let go and to never give up. It’s paying off lately. Within a week, I’ve won my first Division 2 Xtreme Bulls and my first Division 1 Xtreme Bulls.”

Bingham was just a week removed from his Division 2 victory in Dodge City, Kan., when he arrived in Lovington. It showed from his first ride, when he made moves to match every challenge he faced in Salt River Rodeo’s Lucky Dawg for 89.5 points to win the first round; he finished just a point ahead of Chris Roundy of Spanish Fork, Utah.

In the championship round, Bingham made major adjustments thrown at him by Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman for an event-best 91 points.

“Both of them rides were a handful,” said Bingham, who pushed his season earnings to nearly $70,000. “That last one (Lineman) had me down in the well really deep, and I didn’t have much hope of getting out. It felt like I was in there for good.”

The “well” is the inner portion of a bull’s spin, and the G-forces tend to pull cowboys off in a bad position. Bingham battled through it to stay atop the tough-to-ride bull.

“I just popped out,” he said. “It’s just mostly reaction. You know to look to the outside, but that’s about it. Other than that, you just have to let your body take over.”

It is working quite well, and the Utah cowboy is a virtual lock to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time – only the top 15 contestants in each event at the end of the regular season qualify for the year-end championship.

“I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life riding bulls,” Bingham said. “To know the NFR is coming and that it’s a goal that’s complete is amazing.”

So is the streak Bingham has been on over this season.

“Momentum is probably the biggest thing you can possibly have in bull riding,” he said. “You get hot this time of year and they’re all big rodeos, and you’re going to make bank.”

It happened in Lovington.

Lea County Xtreme Bulls
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 5
First round:
1. Tim Bingham, 89.5 points on Salt River Rodeo’s Lucky Dog, $3,405; 2. Chris Roundy, 89, $2,611; 3. (tie) Cole Echols and Brennon Eldred, 87.5, $1,589 each; 5. J.W. Harrison, 85, $795; 6. (tie) Jordan Spears and Corey Navarre, 82, $511 each; 8. Ardie Maier, 81, $341. Final round: 1. Tim Bingham, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman, $2,497; 2. Cole Echols, 89, $1,892; 3. Joe Frost, 82, $1,589; 4. Brennon Eldred, 80, $908. Average: 1. Tim Bingham, 180.5 points on two rides, $5,675; 2. Cole Echols, 176.5, $4,351; 3. Brennon Eldred, 167.5, $3,216; 4. Joe Frost, 151, $2,081; 5. Chris Roundy, 89 points on one ride, $1,324; 6. J.W. Harris, 85, $945; 7. (tie) Corey Navarre and Jordan Spears, 82, $662 each.

postheadericon Herren leads average in Lovington

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

Steer roping: First round: 1. J.P. Wickett, 13.1 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 13.3, $1,625; 3. Rod Hartness, 13.5, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.7, $1,138; 5. Will Gasperson, 14.0, $894; 6. Trey Wallace, 14.1, $650; 7. Roger Branch, 14.5, $406; 8. (tie) Shay Good and Casey Sisk, 14.7, $81 each. Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 11.3 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 12.0, $1,625; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 13.0, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.5, $1,138; 5. Jarrett Blessing, 13.6, $894; 6. Walter Priestly, 13.8, $650; 7. Ty Herd, 13.9, $406; 8. Jason Evans, 14.2, $163. Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 3. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 5. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 6. Jess Tierney, 12.5; 7. Martin Poindexter, 12.6; 8. Dane Noyce, 13.2. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 3. Ralph Williams, 53; 4. J.P. Wickett, 25.2 seconds on two runs; 5. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 6. Chance Kelton, 26.6; 7. Trey Wallace, 29.2; 8. Trevor Brazile, 29.6.

postheadericon Sundell scores 92 to win Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Wade Sundell has ridden a lot of great bucking horses in his seven year saddle bronc riding career.

On Sunday night, the Iowa-born cowboy added another storied bronc to his victory list, dancing across the arena dirt with Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman for 92 points to win the championship round and the overall bronc riding title at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

“I’ve been waiting a long, long time to draw that horse,” Sundell said, noting the random draw that matches cowboy vs. animals. “I knew if I kept my chin down and kept pressure on my rein, it would be awesome. That was the buckingest horse I’ve been on.

“When I nodded my head until I got off, I felt like I was bucked off every jump.”

Despite Medicine Woman’s style, Sundell continued the classic spurring motion that has guided him to five-straight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and within millimeters of that elusive world championship. He finished eighth in his first trip to Las Vegas in 2009, and since has been a fixture among the top six.

He knew doing well in Dodge City could make a big difference in the final tally; in rodeo, dollars equal points, so every paycheck is vital. This marks the first time in Sundell’s career that he has found success inside Roundup Arena.

“I’ve done horrible in Dodge City,” said Sundell, who finished tied for seventh in the first round with an 81. “I was coming back to the short round tonight way in the back, so I had to let it all hang out and try to make something happen, and it worked.”

He finished with 173 points on two rides and earned $3,603 at the largest rodeo in Kansas.

“This rodeo has helped a lot of people make the finals and win the world,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do good at this rodeo, and I’ve done bad at it every year. This is awesome to win it now.”

K.C. Jones

K.C. Jones

Sundell was joined in the winner’s circle by bull rider J.W. Harris, a four-time world champion; barrel racer Christine Laughlin; steer roper Tyrel Taton; tie-down roper Cody Ohl, a six-time world champ; bareback rider Richie Champion; team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Patrick Smith; and a trio of steer wrestlers: K.C. Jones, Timmy Sparing and Bray Armes.

In fact, Jones’ horse, Tebow, guided both him and Sparing to the Roundup title.

“He worked awesome,” Jones said of the sorrel gelding. “Tim and I both got a buckle on him, so our plan worked out.”

Jones, who lives in Decatur, Texas, grew up less than three hours west of Dodge City in Las Animas, Colo.

“I remember coming here for the Dodge City Little Britches Rodeo, so we’ve spent a lot of time in this arena,” he said.

That time has paid off.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3

All-around: Landon McClaugherty, $1,050 won in steer roping and team roping.

Bareback riding: First round: 1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points, $2,320 each; 3. Richmond Champion, 84, $1,489; 4. Jared Smith, 83. $963; 5. (tie) Orin Larsen and Steven Dent, 81, $525 each; 7. (tie) Tim O’Connell and Tanner Phipps, 80, $306 each; 9.Tilden Hooper, 78; 10. (tie) Winn Ratliff and Taylor Price, 77. Final round: 1.Tilden Hooper, 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Show Stomper, $1,650; 2. (tie) Steven Dent and Richmond Champion, 82, $1,075 each; 4. Winn Ratliff, 81, $600; 5. (tie) Orin Larsen and Casey Breuer, 79, $300 each. Average: 1. Richmond Champion, 166 points on two rides, $2,627; 2. Tilden Hooper, 165, $2,014; 3. Casey Breuer, 164, $1,489; 4. Steven Dent, 163, $963; 5. Orin Larsen, 160, $613; 6. Winn Ratliff, 158, $438; 7. Tanner Phipps, 152, $350; 8. Jared Smith, 83 points on one ride, $263.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds, $2,611; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.3, $2,271; 3. Brandon Volker, 4.4, $1,930; 4. (tie) Casey Martin and Tom Duvall, 4.5, $1,419 each; 6. (tie) Jeff Miller, Timmy Sparing and Richy Coats, 4.6, $568 each. Second round: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds, $2,611; 2. K.C. Jones, 4.0, $2,271; 3. Tooter Silver, 4.1, $1,930; 4. Gabe Burrows, 4.2, $1,590; 5. Tie) Rowdy Parrott, Sean Santucci and Jeff Miller, $908, 4.3; 8. (tie) Timmy Sparing and Stewart Gulager, 4.4, $114. Final round: 1. Sean Stancucci, 3.8 seconds, $1,247; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.2, $1,032; 3. (tie) Cody Devers, Tommy Cook and Casey Martin, 4.3, $602 each; 6. K.C. Jones, 4.4, $215. Average: 1. (tie) K.C. Jones, Timmy Sparing and Bray Armes, 13.5 seconds on three runs, $3,406 each; 4. Sean Stancucci, 14.1, $2,384; 5. Casey Martin, 14.4, $1,873; 6. Tommy Cook, 15.0, $1,362; 7. Tom Lewis, 15.1, $852; 8. Tyler Waguespack, 16.3, $341.

Team roping: First round:1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds, $2,577 each; 2. (tie) Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton and Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.1, $2,073 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4, $1,569; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5, $1,233; 6. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.6, $728 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7, $224. Second round: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 4.5 seconds, $2,577; 2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.9, $2,241; 3. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 5.0, $1,905; 4. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill, Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2 each, $1,233 each; 7. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.3, $560; 8. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.4, $244. Final round: 1. Charly Crawford/Shay Carrol, 6.2 seconds, $1,044; 2. Joel Bach/Allen Bach, 8.6, $864; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 6.7, $684; 4. (tie) Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy and Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 6.8, $414 each; 6. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 7.8, $90 each. Average: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 17.4 seconds on three runs, $3,866; 2. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 18.3, $3,361; 3. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 18.8, $2,857; 4. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 19.0, $2,353; 5. Joel Bach/Allen Bach, 20.1, $1,849; 6. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenslager, 23.5; 7. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 23.8, $840; 8. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 24.3, $336.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. (tie) Sterling Crawley, on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, and Heith DeMoss, on Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight, 87 points, $2,034 each; 3. Cody Wright, 85, $1,305; 4. (tie) Jesse Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 83, $691 each; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82, $345; 8. (tie) Troy Crowser, Wade Sundell and Ty Thompson, 81, $77; 11. (tie) Doug Aldridge and Steven Dent, 79. Final round: 1. Wade Sundell, 92 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, $1,650; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 89, $1,250; 3. (tie) Jesse Wright and Cody Wright, 87, $750 each; 5. Isaac Diaz, 85, $350; 6. Heith DeMoss, 84, $250. Average: 1. Wade Sundell, 173 points on two rides, $2,303; 2. (tie) Jacobs Crawley and Cody Wright, 172, $1,535; 4. Heith DeMoss, 171, $844; 5. Jesse Wright, 170, $537; 6. Sterling Crawley, 168, $384; 7. Isaac Diaz, 167, $307; 8. Ty Thompson, 159, $230.

Tie-down roping: First round:1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds, $2,300; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 11.3, $2,000; 3. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8, $1,700; 4. Cody Ohl, 12.0, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 12.7, $1,100; 6. EJ Roberts, 13.0, $800; 7. Reese Riemer, 13.4, $500; 8. (tie) Jake Pratt and Thomas Merritt, 13.5, $100 each. Second round: 1. Justin Macha, 9.0 seconds, $2,300; 2. (tie) L.D. Meier and Marshall Leonard, 9.2, $1,850 each; 4. Marcos Costa, 10.2, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 10.3, $1,100; 6. Trent Creager, 10.9, $800; 4. (tie) Cody Ohl and Sterling Smith, 11.0, $350. Final round: 1. Cody Ohl, 8.2 seconds, $1,001; 2. L.D. Meier, 8.5, $828; 3. Ryan Watkins, 9.3, $656; 4. Cory Solomon, 9.6, $483; 5. (tie) Reese Riemer and Ace Slone, 10.5, $242. Average: 1. Cody Ohl, 31.2 seconds on three runs, $3,450; 2. Ace Sloan, 33.5, $3,000; 3. Marshall Leonard, 34.4, $2,550; 4. Reese Riemer, 35.0, $2,100; 5. Ryan Watkins, 36.0, $1,650; 6. L.D. Meier, 39.4, $1,200; 7. Adam Gray, 41.6, $750; 8. Cory Solomon, 44.3, $300.

Barrel racing: First round:1. Christine Laughlin, 17.24 seconds, $2,117; 2. Mary Walker, 17.53, $1,815; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.57, $1,512; 4. Jeanne Anderson, 17.58, $1,311; 5. Kaley Bass, 17.68, $1,008; 6. Taylor Jacob, 17.72, $807; 7. Shada Brazile, 17.87, $605; 8. Lynette Landis, 17.88, $403; 9. Jean Winters, 17.92, $302; 10. Jessi Fish, 17.96, $202. Second round: 1. Carlee Pierce, 16.92 seconds, $2,117; 2. Kaley Bass, 17.14, $1,815; 3. Christy Loflin, 17.25, $1,512; 4. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.32, $1,311; 5. Christine Laughlin, 17.41, $1,008; 6. Shelby Frasier, 17.50, $807; 4. Lacinda Rose, 17.67, $605; 8. Jeanne Anderson, 17.76, $403; 9. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.78, $302; 10. (tie) Jessi Meadand Lynette Landis, 17.89, $101. Final round: 1. Christine Laughlin, 17.04 seconds, $1,568; 2. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.32, $1,176; 3. Kaley Bass, 17.36, $784; 4. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.42, $392. Average: 1. Christine Laughlin, 51.69 seconds on three runs, $3,176; 2. Kaley Bass, 52.18, $2,722; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 52.31, $2,268; 4. Gretchen Benbenek, 53.52, $1,966; 5. Jill Beaty, 54.01, $1,512; 6. Jessi Mead, $1,210; 7. Lacinda Rose, 54.22, $907; 8. Jeanne Anderson, 57.82, $605; 9. Shelby Frasier, 58.17, $454; 10. Lynette Landis, 58.59, $302.

Steer roping: First round: 1. (tie) Neal Wood and Travis Mills, 12.7 seconds, $1,705 each; 3. Tony Reina, 13.2, $1,222; 4. Roger Branch, 13.5, $901; 5. Jess Tierney, 13.8, $579; 6. Landon McClaugherty, 14.0, $322. Second round: 1. J.B. Whatley, 11.2 seconds, $1,866; 2. Tuf Cooper, 11.5, $1,544; 3. (tie) Tom Smith and Chet Herren, 12.0, $1,062; 5. Jason Evans, 12.1, $579; 6. Brodie Poppino, 12.2, $322. Third round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 10.3 seconds, $1,866; 2. (tie) J. Tom Fisher and Joe Wells, 12.0, $1,383 each; 4. Corey Ross, 12.2, $901; 5. Mike Chase, 12.3, $979; 6. Rocky Patterson, 12.4, $322. Average: 1. Tyrel Taton, 43.0 seconds on three runs, $2,799; 2. Brodie Poppino, 43.6, $2,316; 3. Jess Tierney, 45.3, $1,834; 4. C.A. Lauer, 46.1, $1,351; 5. Martin Poindexter, 46.3, $869; 6. Tom Smith, 49.4, $483.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Sweet Tater, $2,599; 2. Tyler Smith, 84, $1,992; 3. (tie) J.W. Harris and Jacob O’Mara, 83, $$1,213 each; 5. (tie) Clayton Foltyn, Wes Wahlert and Corey Navarre, 81, $462; 8. Sage Kimzey, 80, $260; 9. Josh Koschel, 76; 10. (tie) Dillon Tyler, Lane Wilhelm and Dustin Bowen, 75. Final round: 1. J.W. Harris, 89 points on Four L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Sandi’s Dream, $1,650; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. J.W. Harris, 172 points on two rides, $2,599; 2. Bart Miller, 85 points on one ride, $1,992; 3. Tyler Smith, 84, $1,473; 4. Jacob O’Mara, 83, $953; 5. (tie) Corey Navarre, Wes Wahlert and Clayton Foltyn, 81, $462 each; 8. Sage Kimzey, $260.