postheadericon Ropers hope slump ends in Dodge

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Patrick Smith is not one to mince his words.

“I’m not one to whine or griper or complain, but it’s been a little while since we’ve just drawn some good ones in a row,” said Smith, a two-time world champion heeler from Lipan, Texas. “We’ve been on a bit of a slow streak, and I’m not going to blame it just on the draw.

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

“Our roping has been poor; we’ve been taking our turns screwing up. It’s like a friend of mine says, it’s just our turn in the barrel. Hopefully we’re crawling out of the barrel here.”

That’s the difference a single day makes in the life of a rodeo cowboy. Smith, who ropes with Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Ga., scored two round-placing runs Friday at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo and own the lead in the two-run aggregate with 10.7 seconds, half a second better than the tandem of Joshua and Jonathan Torrez.

Driggers and Smith sit tied for second place in the opening round after a 5.1-second run Friday morning, then returned in the evening for a 5.6 – that has them in seventh place in the second round. But they are a virtual lock to return Sunday for Roundup’s championship round, which features only the top 12 times and scores from the preliminary rounds.

“We had two really good steers,” said Smith, who just began his partnership with Driggers this season; Driggers is the reigning Roundup heading champion, winning the 2013 title with Travis Graves.

Kaleb Driggers

Kaleb Driggers

“Kaleb did an outstanding job on both steers. That steer tonight was really tough to head; he had really small horns and was a little bit low-headed, and Kaleb did a really great job turning both of them. I was able to get both of them caught. Hopefully this will turn it around for us.”

The tandem has earned $41,191 this season; Driggers is 15th in the heading world standings, and Smith is 12th in heeling. They want to remain among the top 15 in order to return to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. Smith is a 10-time NFR qualifier who won gold buckles in 2005 and 2010; Driggers has earned the right to compete in ProRodeo’s grand finale each of the past three seasons.

“This is huge for us,” Smith said. “This is the last third of the season. If we can finish this off with a good run Sunday, it will sure help our cause out a lot.

“This is a great rodeo. They add good money, and they’re very good to the contestants. It’s hard to beat the hospitality and the town. I love coming here. This year was particularly nice because it wasn’t 110 degrees. They kept the weather cool for us.”

Roundup has experienced unseasonably mild temperatures this week, but Driggers and Smith bean turning up the heat Friday night. They’ll await the outcome of the final day of preliminary rounds Saturday to see their position for Sunday’s final round.

By then, they hope to be on fire.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3
Bareback riding:
1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points; 3. Jared Smith, 83; 4. (tie) Orin Larsen and Steven Dent, 81; 6. Tim O’Connell, 80; 7. Tilden Hooper, 78; 8. Winn Ratliff, 77; 8. (tie) Kyle Brennecke and Joel Schlegel, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders:1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds; 2. Brandon Volker, 4.4; 3. Casey Martin, 4.5; 4. (tie) Richy Coats and Timmy Sparing, 4.6 each; 6. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and K.C. Jones, 5.1 each; 8. Shane Frey, 5.4. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, 4.0; 3. Tooter Silver, 4.1; 4. Gabe Burrows, 4.2; 5. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 6. Levi Rudd, 4.5; 7. (tie) Chance Howard and Tyler Waguespack, 4.8 each. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Bray Armes and Timmy Sparing, 9.0 seconds on two runs; 3. K.C. Jones, 9.1; 4. Tyler Waguespack, 9.9; 5. Casey Martin, 10.1; 6. Tait Kvistad, 11.1; 7. Denver Berry,12.9; 8. Brock White, 13.1.

Team roping: First round leaders:1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith and Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.1 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5; 6. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman, 5.6 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7. Second round leaders: 1. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 5.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill, Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2 each; 5. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.3; 6. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 5.5; 7. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.6; 8. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torrez, 5.7. Average leaders: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 10.7; 2. Joshua Torres/ Jonathan Torres, 11.2 seconds on two runs; 3. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 12.0; 4. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.5; 5. Cory Kidd/AdamPlyer, 14.2; 6. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 15.3; 7. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 16.5; 8. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 17.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Sterling Crawley, on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, and Heith DeMoss, on Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight, 87 points each; 3. Cody Wright, 85; 4. (tie) Jesse Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 83; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82; 8. (tie) Troy Crowser and Ty Thompson, 81.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders:1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds; 2. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8; 3. Cody Ohl, 12.0; 4. EJ Roberts, 13.0; 5. Thomas Merritt, 13.5; 6. Fred Whitfield, 13.8; 7. Perry Dietz, 14.1; 8. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Cade Swor, 14.9 each. Second round leaders: 1. L.D. Meier, 9.2 seconds; 2. Marcos Costa, 10.2; 3. Cody Ohl, 11.0; 4. Ryan Watkins, 11.8; 5. Adam Gray, 12.0; 6. Luke Tkach, 12.9; 7. Tyson Durfey, 13.3; 8. Sean O’Neil, 13.8. Average leaders: 1. Cody Ohl, 23.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Ryan Watkins, 26.7; 3. Adam Gray, 27.7; 4. Sean O’Neil, 30.4; 5. L.D. Meier, 30.9; 6. Thomas Merritt, 31.1; 7. Marcos Costa, 33.5; 8. Fred Whitfield, 35.4.

Barrel racing: First round leaders:1. Shada Brazile, 17.87 seconds; 2. Jessi Fish, 17.96; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.19; 4. Jane Melby, 18.37; 5. (tie) Gretchen Benbenek and Jaime Barrow, 18.42 each; 7. Shelley Morgan, 18.50; 8. Korrina Lynne Hughes, 18.51; 9. Jordan Taton, 18.56; 10. Carol Chesher, 18.57. Second round leaders: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.78 seconds; 2. Jordan Taton, 17.94; 3. Ivy Hurst, 17.97; 4. Kristie Riley, 18.23; 5. Jane Melby, 18.43; 6. Jessi Fish, 18.52; 7. Shelbie Parrish, 18.56; 8. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.61; 9. Lizzy Her, 18.64; 10. (tie) Alissa Burson and Katie Loughran, 18.71 each. Average leaders: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 36.20 seconds on two runs; 2. Jessi Fish, 36.48; 3. Jordan Taton, 36.50; 4. (tie) Sarah Rose McDonald and Jane Melby, 36.80; 6. Ivy Hurst, 36.93; 7. Kristie Riley, 37.25; 8. Katie Loughran, 37.38; 9. Lizzy Her, 37.58; 10. Korrina Lynn Hughes, 37.72; 6. Shelbie Parrish, 37.75; 7. Alissa Burson, 38.03; 8. Sandi Brandli, 38.14; 9. Angie Thompson, 38.33; 10. Peyton Mentzer, 38.50.

Bull riding: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Sweet Tater; 2. Tyler Smith, 84; 3. J.W. Harris, 83; 4. Sage Kimzey, 80; 5. (tie) Dillon Tyler, Lane Wilhelm and Dustin Bowen, 75; 8. Tag Elliott, 74.

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