postheadericon Armes speeds to lead in Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Drake Armes celebrated his fourth birthday last December in Las Vegas. He’d like to do the same for No. 5.

You see, his daddy is Bray Armes of Ponder, Texas, who wrestled steers at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time. In order to return, he needs to finish the regular season among the top 15 bulldoggers on the money list when the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association season concludes in September. He’s No. 14 right now with $33,824, but he stands a good chance of moving up.

Bray Armes

Bray Armes

On Wednesday night during the opening performance of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, Armes grappled his steer to the ground in 3.2 seconds to take an overwhelming lead in the second round; combined with his 4.6 in the first round Wednesday morning, he has a four-tenths of a second lead in the average with a cumulative time of 7.8 seconds.

“I just lucked out and drew two really good steers and was fortunate enough to use them,” said Armes, who was raised on a farm near Gruver, Texas, just 155 miles southwest of Dodge City. “I’m very blessed, and I just thank the Lord for getting me here and letting me be safe and being able to do what I love to do.

“This morning, the guy that had that steer broke the barrier (not allowing the steer a long enough head start) and missed the steer right there in front of the chute. I knew if I started good, he’d be waiting on me right there. I didn’t know it was going to happen that fast, but it worked out good.”

Drake Armes is one of his dad’s traveling partners this week, so he got to see first-hand the fastest run of the rodeo so far. Rodeo cowboys spend their seasons on the road and, oftentimes, away from home for weeks, even months at a time. There are 32 PRCA rodeos taking place this week alone, including three others in Kansas – Hill City, Phillipsburg and Abilene.

“It means everything to have him with me,” Armes said, noting his wife, Neelley, and daughter, Breely, returned home to north Texas after spending a little time on the rodeo trail last week. “Last year when I got into a rut and couldn’t win anything, I picked him up, and it just took off.

“Hopefully it just keeps rolling this year.”

The main thing about Wednesday’s performances is that he’s a virtual lock to return to Dodge City for the championship round Sunday evening – the top 12 contestants by virtue of the best cumulative time (in steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and barrel racing) or best scores (in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding) qualify for the short go-round.

For now, though, Armes will take a moment to enjoy runs before hitting the trail again.

“The toughest thing about rodeo is being gone from my family, so any time we get to spend together is great,” he said.

Now he needs to parlay a solid performance in Dodge City into a return trip to the NFR so he and his family can get a little more quality time in the City of Lights.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 31-Aug. 4
Bareback riding:
1. R.C. Landingham, 82 points on Frontier Rodeo’s War Cry; 2. Tim O’Connell, 81; 3. Seth Hardwick, 80; 4. (tie) Caleb Bennett and Brian Bain, 77; 6. (tie) J.R. Vezain and Casey Colletti, 75.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Casey Martin, 4.2 seconds; 2. Ty Willick, 4.5; 3. Bray Armes, 4.6; 4. Jacob Shofner, 5.0; 5. Cooper Shofner, 5.3; 6. Kyle Broce, 5.8; 7. Dakota Eldridge, 5.9; 8. Ben Shofner, 6.0. Second round leaders: 1. Bray Armes, 3.2 seconds; 2. Casey Martin, 4.0; 3. Ben Shofner, 4.1; 4. Dru Melvin, 4.2; 5. Blake Knowles, 4.9; 6. Cody Pratt, 5.1;7. Cody Kroul, 5.5; 8. Joe Buffington, 5.6. Average leaders: 1. Bray Armes, 7.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Casey Martin, 8.2; 3. Ben Shofner, 10.1; 4. Cody Pratt, 11.1; 5. Cody Kroul, 11.7; 6. Joe Buffington, 12.0; 7. Sean Mulligan, 13.0; 8. Ty Willick, 18.0.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 5.7 seconds; no other qualified times. Second round leaders: 1. Matt Sherwood/Tommy Zuniga, 4.6 seconds; 2. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.9; 3. Trent Barrett/Jake Pelton, 21.1. Average: 1. Matt Sherwood/Tommy Zuniga, 4.6 seconds on one run; 2. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.9; 3. Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 5.7; 4. Trent Barrett/Jake Pelton, 21.1; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Tyler Corrington, on Frontier Rodeo’s Bear Paw, and Bradley Harter, on Frontier Rodeo’s Strike Fire, 83 points; 3. Cort Scheer, 79; 4. Ryan Bestol, 76; 5. Nick Laduke, 74; 6. Jordan Furnish, 66; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Ben Madsen, 9.4 seconds; 2. Blake Deckard, 11.0; 3. Colby Dorsey, 14.1; 4. Tylen Layton, 15.9; 5. Fred Whitfield, 18.8; 6. Luke Madsen, 21.6; no other qualified times. Second round leaders: 1. Fred Whitfield, 8.1 seconds; 2. Paul David Tierney, 8.4; 3. Blake Deckard, 9.6; 4. Ben Madsen, 11.7; 5. Tylen Layten, 13.1; 6. Brandon Barber, 13.9; Houston Hutto, 20.6. Average leaders: 1. Blake Deckard, 20.6 on two runs; 2. Ben Madsen, 21.1; 3. Fred Whitfield, 26.9; 4. Tylen Laton, 29.0; 5. Paul David Tierney, 8.4 on one run; 6. Brandon Barber, 13.9; 7. Colby Dorsey, 14.1; 8. Houston Hutto, 20.6.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Kelly Waide, 17.34 seconds; 2. (tie) Morgan Figueroa and Carol Chesher, 17.35; 4. Shannon Witcher, 17.45; 5. Lizzy Ehr, 17.48; 6. Ryann Pedone, 17.57; 7. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.60; 8. Katharine Wall, 17.79; 9. Cynthia Wolf, 17.87; 10. (tie) Andrea Wolf and Sandy McElreath, 17.96. Second round leaders: 1. Lizzy Her, 17.06 seconds; 2. (tie) Carol Chesher and Emily Miller, 17.24; 4. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.34; 5. Kelly Waide, 17.35; 6. Sandy McElreath, 17.38; 7. Benette Little, 17.47; 8. Stacey Bailey, 17.63; 9. Kirby Harter, 17.69; 10. Ryann Pedone, 17.77. Average leaders: 1. Lizzy Her, 34.54 on two runs; 2. Carol Chesher, 34.59; 3. Kelly Waide, 34.69; 4. Gretchen Benbenek, 34.94; 5. (tie) Ryann Pedone and Sandy McElreath, 35.34; 7. Shannon Witcher, 35.49; 8. Kirby Harter, 35.82; 9. Andrea Wolf, 36.18; 10. Morgan Figueroa, 39.90.

Bull riding: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Big Day; 2. Joe Frost, 82; no other qualified rides.

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