Archive for July, 2017

postheadericon Snell grapples the Eagle lead

Brian Snell of Wheatland, Wyo., manhandles his steer en route to a 5.0-second run on Wednesday night to take the early lead at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Brian Snell of Wheatland, Wyo., manhandles his steer en route to a 5.0-second run on Wednesday night to take the early lead at the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

EAGLE, Colo. – For three months a year, Brian Snell focuses on his steer wrestling career.

“I’ve had a pretty slow start to my summer,” said Snell, who runs a construction company in Cheyenne, Wyo., and competes in the sport he loves through those few weeks primarily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Having a slow summer run really puts a damper on things in his rodeo world. That’s why his 5.0-second run Wednesday night to kick start the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo was the perfect way to turn things around.

“It’s good to do well,” he said. “I’ve probably been here 10 or 12 times over the years. I love hinging out down on the river, and there’s a lot of stuff to do. The committee here puts on a pretty good function.

“It’s just a nice place to come, and hopefully you can do good when you get here.”

His time leads the first go-round, and 10 cowboys will finish out the opening round on Thursday night. He’ll have to wait until the second performance is complete to see how he will finish. Then he returns Saturday night to run his second-round steer.

“I’ve won a few small checks out of here,” Snell said. “I certainly hope to be able to get a good check. We’ll have to see how the rest of the weekend goes.”

It’s important for him to do well, especially at these rodeos that are within the Mountain States Circuit, which includes events and contestants primarily in Colorado and Wyoming. He wants to finish the circuit season among the top 12 and qualify for the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, which is scheduled for this fall in Great Falls, Wyo.

“That is a good opportunity to go to the RAM National Circuit Finals in Kissimmee, Fla.,” he said. “If you go down there – even though you’re running at some of the best guys in the country – you’re only running against 23 other guys for about $30,000.

“It’s the right kind of deal to get to.”

It all starts in Eagle.

Eagle County Fair and Rodeo
Eagle, Colo.
July 19-22
Bareback riding:
1. Jake Brown, 86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Bright Lights; 2. Devan Reilly, 82.5; 3. Trenten Montero 81.5; 4. Zach Hibler, 79.5; 5. Tony Barrington, 75.5; 6. Jamie Howlett, 75; 7. BoDell Jessen, 72.5; 8. Braxten Nielsen, 72.

Steer wrestling: 1. Brian Snell, 5.0 seconds; 2. Cutter DeHart, 5.2; 3. Logan McDonald, 5.3; 4. Eric Logan; no other qualified times.

Tie-down roping: 1. Kyle Dickens, 8.7 seconds; 2. Wyatt Uptain, 12.3; 3. Britt Bath, 13.8; 4. Carter Davis, 14.0; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Wyatt Casper, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Deuces Wild, and Bradley Harter, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Sweet Maria, 83.5 points; 3. Dawson Jandreau, 81; 4. Curtis Garton, 78.5; 5. Joe Harper, 77.5; 6. (tie) Mason Mardesich and Josh Davisonn, 75; 8. Leon Fountain, 73,

Team roping: 1. Eric Martin/Cody Howa, 7.1 seconds; 2. Travis Bounds/Jesse Sheffield, 7.3; 3. Jay Tittel/Richard Durham, 7.5; 4. Cole Cooper/Ryon Tittel, 11.2; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing: 1. Dani Durham, 17.81 seconds; 2. Abby Phillips, 17.85; 3. Madeline Dickens, 17.89; 4. Marley Hammer, 18.52; 5. Kim Schulze, 22.29; 6. Ronnie Will, 22.68; 7. Raedene Ashley, 23.32; no other qualified times

Bull riding: 1. Nic Lica, 81.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Grey Goose; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Hard work on display in Lovington

The livestock shows at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo are a vital part of the annual expo.

The livestock shows at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo are a vital part of the annual expo.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Every day offers a new set of lessons.

In southeastern New Mexico, the lessons come in the form of hard-working opportunities. The challenges are great and the rewards, oftentimes, can be small.

For those involved in agriculture, the Lea County Fair and Rodeo rewards hard work. It shows in every exhibit and in every smile on a young person’s face. It’s especially vibrant during the livestock shows that take place throughout the nine-day exposition, set for Friday, Aug. 4-Saturday, Aug. 12, at the fairgrounds in Lovington.

The fair will feature hundreds of children showing more than animals; they also will be putting on display their hard work, passion and independence.

“I believe the livestock shows are what the fair’s all about,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board.

Children work all year with their animals, from acquiring it to raising it to grooming it and preparing it for the trip to town in August. For many on the family farm or ranch, it’s just another extension of the lives they lead. For youth that live in town, preparing animals for the shows might be the perfect way to understand what generations have done before them.

Oftentimes, the boys and girls that are part of the livestock shows are just the next generation of family members that have done it. There’s a special bond that occurs.

Possibly the most celebrated aspect of the shows is the Junior Livestock Auction, where sponsors and donors bid to purchase the animals. It’s the children’s reward for the labor and time they’ve put in to raising their animals.

“I think we’re going to see a good representation from sponsors and buyers at the sale,” Helton said. “The sale is a big thing about the fair. Yes, we’ve had the concerts and the carnival and all the other activities. But without the kids showing animals, do you really even have a fair?”

That theory is why the Lea County Fair and Rodeo’s livestock shows continue to be a vital part of the annual expo.

“I think we all know that fairs were actually started for the kids and showcasing the kids’ hard work throughout the year,” Helton said. “We can’t lose sight of that.

“The goal of every fair should be the kids.”

postheadericon X Bulls bringing the best to town

LOVINGTON, N.M. – The danger and excitement that is the Xtreme Bull Tour is the perfect way to kick-start the Western action at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Three-time world champion Sage Kimzey is expected to be one of the 30 bull riders competing at Lea County Xtreme Bulls, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Jake McClure Arena.

Three-time world champion Sage Kimzey is expected to be one of the 30 bull riders competing at Lea County Xtreme Bulls, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Jake McClure Arena.

Lea County Xtreme Bulls kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Jake McClure Arena with the top cowboys on tour being part of the action.

“It’s a big deal here,” said Trey Kerby, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We have a lot of people talking about it and getting ready for it.

The Lovington stop is part of the tour’s premier series, which offers the largest purses in the game. That means the top 30 bull riders in the world standings are expected to be part of the field.

“Sometimes that’s all people talk about,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board. “There are some people that want to see just the Xtreme Bulls.

“I couldn’t imagine our fair and rodeo without Xtreme Bulls.”

This marks the sixth year for Xtreme Bulls in Lea County. Over the years, several qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo have earned big bucks in Lovington, including Brennon Eldred, the 2016 reserve world champion who won Lea County Xtreme Bulls two seasons ago from Purcell, Okla.

“It’s one of the greatest bull ridings of the year,” he said. “Everybody looks forward to it, and everybody comes here ready to ride.”

Last August, now-20-year-old Colten Jesse claimed the title, pulling in nearly $12,000 in the process. Big money like that is an attractive feature to the top cowboys in the game.

“We want the cowboys to come, so we want to have a good purse,” Kerby said. “Xtreme Bulls pulls the crowd in. When they can go out there and enjoy bull riding all night long, they really enjoy it, especially if there’s some good rides and some high scores.”

That’s become commonplace in Lovington. In 2014, Tim Bingham of Honeyville, Utah, was 89.5 on his first-round bull, then scored 91 points in the final round to claim the championship. A year later, Eldred was 90 and 88.5, while Jesse had the same scores in reverse order in 2016.

A big part of that involves the bull power that is associated with the event. Pete Carr Pro Rodeo is the primary livestock producer for the fair and rodeo, and Carr typically enlists four other stock contractors to provide their best bulls for Xtreme Bulls.

That’s also an attractive feature for the cowboys who make their livings on the backs of the bucking bovine beasts.

“You know when you get to Lovington, you’re going to get on some great bulls,” said Bingham, who sits seventh in the bull riding world standings. “The bulls are half the equation, so that’s a big part of it for us.”

postheadericon TETWP surpasses $300,000 mark

Dean Dillon visits with the crowd during the Cattlemen's Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction. The event raised more than $300,000 for the grassroots organization, which uses the funds locally.

Dean Dillon visits with the crowd during the Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink Songwriter Concert and Auction. The event raised more than $300,000 for the grassroots organization, which uses the funds locally.

GUNNISON, Colo. – The grassroots effort that is Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign continues to flourish in the Gunnison valley.

This year’s songwriter concert and auction, which took place Tuesday, July 11, raised more than $300,000, helping maintain the Gunnison’s status as the largest Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign in ProRodeo.

“That night was certainly a blessing for us,” Executive Director Heidi Sherratt Bogart said. “We have some very giving people in the Gunnison valley, and they came through for us. It’s because of them we are able to do so much for breast cancer patients in this area.”

Every dollar raised is then utilized within Gunnison County. TETWP just purchased a 3D tomosynthesis machine, which is a higher-level mammogram for those who need better imaging technology due to breast density. It is being installed at Gunnison Valley Hospital this week.

The machine costs $360,000, but the benefits can go a long way. Digital tomosynthesis of the breast is different from a standard mammogram in the way a CT scan of the chest is different than a standard X-ray.

There were about a dozen auction items, and the few hundred people in attendance gave liberally. The biggest-selling item was an off-the-cuff addition from songwriter Dean Dillon, who serves on the TETWP board.

He and two other songwriters – his daughter, Song, and Liz Rose – offered to write a song for the winning bidder. When the bids reached $33,000, Dillon asked the two combatants if they’d both agree to bidding $34,000, he would do two songs. Both agreed. Then a third, anonymous bidder, met that. So the talented musicians will write three songs for the three winners, but the real winner was the Gunnison TETWP campaign, which made $102,000 on that item.

“This is Dean Dillon’s legacy and his vision to be the No. 1 small town breast cancer hospital in the country,” Sherratt Bogart said. “He is passionate about it, which does help get people to open their hearts.”

In the process, this year’s songwriter concert and auction raised more than $300,000, and Gunnison valley breast cancer patients will reap the rewards.

postheadericon Inman wins Fortuna with a 90

FORTUNA, Calif – When Toby Inman started his final bullfight Friday night, he made a statement with a backflip over Costa Fighting Bulls’ Little Foot. 

The Illinois bullfighter cleared Little Foot but landed on his knees. He picked things up in the championship round, matching moves with the feisty Spanish fighting bull for 90 points to win Bullfighters Only-Fortuna. 

Toby Inman

Toby Inman

“What a good feeling,” he said. “It’s weird not walking around gimpy after a bullfight.” 

He won his opening round, scoring 82 points, to join two other bullfighters in the short go-round: Zach Call of Mullen, Neb., and Beau Schueth of O’Neill, Neb.

“I was happy to get in the short-go because I didn’t know if my bullfight was enough to get me there,” said Inman, who bested the other two contenders: Schueth scored 86.5 points to finish as the runner-up, while Zach Call placed third. 

Tanner Zarnetski of Texarkana, Texas, earned a bonus for the best trick of the competition, and that had the veteran Inman thinking about what he wanted to do in the final round. 

“Tanner pulled off an incredible reverse knee fake, and my brain was telling me to either top that or go for the win,” Inman said. “I wanted both. But I just went for the win and had a good time.

“I had an honest Spanish fighting bull and used it to my benefit.”

Little Foot has gained a reputation for being a solid bull. He helped Evan Allard to the victory in Pendleton, Ore., and guided Cody Webster to the championship in Caldwell, Idaho; both events were during the BFO’s inaugural tour in 2016. 

“I made some rounds and some nice step-throughs,” Inman said of his bout. “He clipped me once, but it wasn’t enough to be a deduction. He just kept coming, then I gave him a break and jumped him. About that time, the (40-second) buzzer went.” 

At any time after 40 seconds, bullfighters can end the fight, and that’s just what Inman did. 

“It was so jam up that I didn’t want to quit, but that little voice in my head said it was good enough,” he said. “I decided to take it. 

 

RESULTS

Round 1: 1. Zach Call, 78 points; 2. Tanner Zarnetski, 72; 3. Garrett Wilkinson, 72.

Round 2: 1. Toby Inman, 82 points; 2. (tie) Dayton Spiel and Ely Sharkey, 74.

Round 3: 1. (tie) Beau Schueth and Alex McWilliams, 80.5 points (Schueth advanced on tie-breaker); 3. Schell Apple, 73.

Championship Round: 1. Toby Inman, 90 points; 2. Beau Schueth, 86.5; 3. Zach Call, 78.

postheadericon Partners help make Roundup tick

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is a community event that reaches a region.

The proof comes from the six nights of action, including five nights of traditional rodeo set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2-Sunday, Aug. 6, at Roundup Arena. But on top of that, there A Whole Lotta Bull, which takes place at the same time Tuesday, Aug. 1.

“There is no way this happens without our incredible partners,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, president of the committee that produces the annual event. “We have some amazing sponsors who are always behind us.

“We are one of the biggest rodeos in the country with regards to the purse, and that goes back to our community being so supportive.”

Roundup Rodeo is a world-class competition, but there’s much more than the incredible payout to the cowboys and cowgirls. It is an all-encompassing entertainment package that is part of Dodge City Days.

“Roundup has been a Dodge City Days tradition for many years,” Trotter said. “We feel like we’re a good event to wrap up this community celebration.”

That also means having support from Ford County and the city of Dodge City.

“Because of our relationship with the county and the city, we’ve been able to do some things with our facility,” said Joel Redman, vice president of Roundup. “Because of grants we’ve received, we’ve built premium seating, replaced a building that needed it and upgraded our livestock pens.

“It’s nice to see both the city and county involved in our rodeo and trying to make it the best it can be. I think that says a lot about the support we receive.”

It also says a great deal about the type of event Roundup Rodeo is. In addition to having hundreds of the top contestants in the game in town for several days in early August, the rodeo brings in spectators from all over the region.

That not only means a great deal for the rodeo but for other businesses in town. There is a certain buzz generated during rodeo week.

“I have been absolutely amazed at the reception I get from literally everyone in this community,” said Elaine Gall, Roundup’s office manager. “I believe Dodge City business people understand the value of the Dodge City Days festival in general and Roundup in particular.”

That’s what having a community event is all about, and nobody understands that more than the various entities in Dodge City.

postheadericon Cowboys cash in on Saturday

Tristan Mize rides Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Chism Trail for 82.5 points to finish second in bull riding at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo.

GUNNISON, Colo. – There were some big stakes and big possibilities for cowboys and cowgirls competing this week at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo.

Colorado cowboys Cole Dorenkamp of Lamar and Bret Tonozzi of Fruita took advantage during the final performance of this year’s championship, stopping the clock in 5.1 seconds to tie for the team roping victory in Gunnison – Ty Blasingame and Tanner Luttrell scored the same time Friday night.

“I’ve had some luck a few times,” said Tonozzi, a veteran of the game. “I had a chance last year and messed up. This is the first year I’ve roped with Cole, and we’ve had a good time.”

It shows. The soft-spoken cowboys let their arena work do the talking. They also have some talented horses. In fact, Tonozzi said his favorite thing about roping with his partner is Dorenkamp’s black gelding.

“That’s a really good horse,” Tonozzi said.

Said Dorenkamp, “He’s older, probably 18 or 19. I’ve had him three years, and he’s really quick-footed. You’ve just got to score good and rope them, and he gets out to the steer and faces good.”

In team roping, once the steer is roped, the header must turn his mount so that the two horses are facing one another before the clock stops.

“Roping with Bret is awesome,” he said. “All I’ve got to do is turn them.”

Each man earned $2,041, all of which helps them in their goals toward qualifying for the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“We’re not traveling that hard, staying in the circuit,” Tonozzi said. “We’d like to do good in the circuit and see where that takes us. It could change a lot for next year.”

Bull rider Elliot Jacoby has a different mind-set. The Fredericksburg, Texas, cowboy wants to return to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for a third time, his first since 2014. He sits 24th in the world standings with nearly $35,000, but he needs to be among the top 15 on the money list at the conclusion of the regular season if he expects to be in Las Vegas in December.

His 89.5-point ride on a bull that has not been named yet might be the thing that helps him make that direction.

“I didn’t know very much about that bull,” said Jacoby, who earned $4,309 in Gunnison. “They said he was supposed to be good, and he turned out to be good. After that ride, my confidence shot up pretty good. Before that, it was kind of slow and pretty rough on me, but hopefully this will turn things around.

“You can definitely catch up and make the NFR. There are a lot of rodeos left. You can make a lot of money at those and jump up really quick.” 

Cattlemen’s Days
Gunnison, Colo.
July 13-15
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kash Wilson, 86 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Big Show, $1,784; 2. Shane O’Connell, 84.5, $1,351; 3. Evan Jayne, 81, $973; 4. Rio Lee, 80.5, $649; 5. Tanner Phipps, 78.5, $378; 6. Evan Miller, 78, $270.

Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Jarret New and Tom Lewis, 4.2 seconds, $1,794 each; 3. John Franzen, 4.3, $1,286; 4. Marcus Theriot, 4.6, $948; 5. Tristan Martin, 4.7, $609; 6. (tie) Cody Pratt and Tanner Jackson, 4.9, $169 each.

Team roping: 1. (tie) Ty Blasingame/Tanner Luttrell and Cole Dorenkamp/Bret Tonozzi, 5.1 seconds, $2,041 each; 3. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.4, $1,614; 4. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 5.5, $1,329; 5. (tie) Cole Wheeler/Coy Brittian and Clayton Van Aken, 5.8, $902 each; 7. (tie) Tyler Schnaufer/Trevor Schnaufer and Nick Pullara/Shawn Darnall, 5.9, $332 each.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Roper Kiesner, 86 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Justin’s Sock Dancer, $1,819; 2. Bradley Harter, 84, $1,394; 3. Charlie Kogaines, 82.5, $1,031; 4. Nat Stratton, 81.5, $667; 5. Shade Etbauer, 79.5, $424; 6. Alex Wright, 79, $303; 6. (tie) Brody Cress, Brady Nicholes and Doug Aldridge, 78, $141 each.

Tie-down roping: 1. Seth Cooke, 8.9 seconds, $1,643; 2. Tim Pharr, 9.2, $1,429; 3. (tie) Stuart Hoar, Ty Baker and Ike Fontenot, 9.6, $1,000 each; 6. Levi Walter, 9.8, $572; 7. Joe Colletti, 10.7, $357; 8. Blaine Konkel, 12.7, $143.

Barrel racing: 1. (tie) Nicole Waggoner and Ari-Anna Flynn, 17.64 seconds, $1,525 each; 3. Tammy Fischer, 17.73, $1,173; 4. Chris Gibson, 17.88, $1,017; 5. Dani Durham, 17.94, $782; 6. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.90, $626; 7. Katelyn Scott, 18.07, $469; 8. Madison Thomas, 18.11, $313; 9. Joy McDaniel, 18.15, $235; 10. Ivy Conrado, 18.18, $156.

Bull riding: 1. Elliot Jacoby, 89.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s 9A, $4,309; 2. Tristan Mize, 82.5, $3,341; 3. (tie) Cole Melancon and Nate Perry, 82, $2,097 each; 5. Chase Dougherty, 78.5, $1,129; 6. Jacob Smith, 75, $853.

postheadericon Kiesner enjoys return to Gunnison

GUNNISON, Colo. – It’s been several years, but Roper Kiesner has been to Cattlemen’s Days before.

As a teenager, he and his brother, Rider, were part of a specialty act that performed in Gunnison. Trick roping, trick riding, whip tricks were all part of the Kiesner family’s show, and the young boys were a big hit for rodeo fans.

On Friday night during the second performance of this year’s Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, Roper Kiesner returned to Fred Field Western Center for the first time since … as a saddle bronc rider. He proved his talent in that aspect of the sport, riding Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Justin’s Sock Dancer for 86 points to take the lead.

Roper Kiesner

Roper Kiesner

“She’s dang sure a bucker,” he said of the horse that has bucked several times at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand championship that takes place each December in Las Vegas. “She’s super strong, and I felt bucked off every jump. I was happy to be there at the end of 8 seconds.

“Taking the lead at any rodeo is awesome, and 86 makes it even better. This is my highest marked ride ever.”

He has fond memories of Gunnison from his time working several years ago, and now he has something to recall as he travels the rodeo trail making a living on the backs of bucking beasts.

“I remember this rodeo being awesome,” said Kiesner, 23 of Ripley, Okla. “I really liked this rodeo, being up here fishing and stuff, and the crowd was always great. This is my first time as a saddle bronc riding, and I’m really liking it again.

“It would be cool to win a Gunnison buckle after performing at it and riding at it.”

Header Ty Blasingame understands what it means to do well at Cattlemen’s Days. The Ramah, Colo., cowboy has found success several times over his career.

“When I made the finals (in 2010), it turned around here,” he said after posting a rodeo-best 5.3-second run Friday with his heeling partner, Tanner Luttrell. “The committee is awesome. They keep making it better and better; that’s hard to find a committee that is interested in making their rodeo better.”

He and Luttrell will have to wait until Saturday’s final performance to see if their score will hold out for the top spot.

“It was a good run, and we had a good steer,” Blasingame said. “My partner did a good job heeling him, but he’s been heeling awesome. He hasn’t hardly missed all summer long.”

It all helps build the confidence in a team, and that’s how they find success. After all, Gunnison has been the turning point for Blasingame before.

Cattlemen’s Days
Gunnison, Colo.
July 13-15
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kash Wilson, 86 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Big Show; 2. Rio Lee, 80.5; 3. Tanner Phipps, 78.5; 4. Evan Miller, 78; 5. Mike Fred, 76.5; 6. (tie) Jared Keylon and Zach Hibler, 74; 8. (tie) Brian Brown and Tate Schwagler, 71.

Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Jarret New and Tom Lewis, 4.2 seconds; 3. John Franzen, 4.3; 4. Marcus Theriot, 4.6; 5. Tristan Martin, 4.7; 6. Cody Pratt, 4.9.

Team roping: 1. Ty Blasingame/Tanner Luttrell, 5.1 seconds; 2. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 5.5; 3. Cole Wheeler/Coy Brittian, 5.8; 4. (tie) Tyler Schnaufer/Trevor Schnaufer and Nick Pullara/Shawn Darnall, 5.9; 6. Corey Whinnery/Jesse Jolly, 6.8; 7. Bubba Buckaloo/Trey Yates, 10.0; 8. Shay Carroll/Nano Garza, 10.4.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Roper Kiesner, 86 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Justin’s Sock Dancer; 2. Charlie Kogaines, 82.5; 23. Nat Stratton, 81.5; 4. Shade Etbauer, 79.5; 5. Alex Wright, 79; 6. (tie) Brody Cress, Brady Nicholes and Doug Aldridge, 78.

Tie-down roping: 1. Seth Cooke, 8.9 seconds; 2. Tim Pharr, 9.2; 3. (tie) Stuart Hoar, Ty Baker and Ike Fontenot, 9.6; 6. Joe Colletti, 10.7; 7. Wyatt Imus, 14.4; 8. Tyler Prcin, 20.2.

Barrel racing: 1. (tie) Nicole Waggoner and Ari-Anna Flynn, 17.64 seconds; 3. Tammy Fischer, 17.73; 4. Chris Gibson, 17.88; 5. Dani Durham, 17.94; 6. Kelley Schnaufer, 17.90; 7. Katelyn Scott, 18.07; 8. Joy McDaniel, 18.15; 9. Ivy Conrado, 18.18; 10. (tie) Melanie Roman and Heather Ratterree, 18.29.

Bull riding: 1. Cole Melancon, on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Bad Black, and Nate Perry, on United Rodeo’s Sports Page, 82 points; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Bouts in the Redwoods

Toby Inman will be one of nine men competing at the Bullfighters Only-Fortuna today. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Toby Inman will be one of nine men competing at the Bullfighters Only-Fortuna today. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Bullfighters Only taking its game to the northern California town of Fortuna

FORTUNA, Calif – If quad racing wasn’t an extreme enough event for fans in this northern California community, Friday’s event is about to be intensified.

This year’s event will include nine of the greatest men from Bullfighters Only, a wild and Western way of showcasing true athleticism in the form of freestyle bullfighting. One man vs. one beast in a 60-second bout that features aggressive fighting bulls and men who maneuver around them while staying within inches of their pointy horns and stomping feet.

“We’re going to introduce the sport to a gnarly bunch of people,” BFO founder Aaron Ferguson said. “There is a track that’s probably 100 feet around, and they race and party all day. It’s going to be incredible.”

It also will feature amazing bullfighters.

“I’ve heard we’re going to be surrounded by Redwoods, and there’s a lot of money up for grabs,” said Beau Schueth, the No. 5 man in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings from O’Neill, Neb. “It’s a good time for the bullfight too, because we can work that event, then just stay in California until we have the bullfight in Salinas (Calif.).”

Toby Inman of Davis Junction, Ill., is returning to the ring for the first time in more than a month, and he’s ready to get back to work in the game he loves.

“I think I might have forgotten how to do it,” he said with a laugh. “I’m excited, because I have it in my mind that I’m going to win. Of course, if you don’t have that mindset, then I guess you probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

The event will feature nine bullfighters, competing in three rounds of three-man bouts. The top scorers in each round will advance to the championship round, and the high score there will claim the title.

Freestyle bullfighting is not new but the Bullfighters Only has created public demand for the sport. The events feature man vs. beast in a head-to-head battle inside an arena. The bullfighters utilize their tremendous athleticism to try to outwit and outmaneuver equally athletic bulls.

BFO-Fortuna is one of two events taking place this week, with BFO wrapping up last night in Colorado Springs. Schueth was crowned the champion on Thursday night and will look to keep his streak alive in Fortuna on Friday.

CONTESTANTS
Beau Schueth
Zach Call
Ely Sharkey
Tanner Zarnetski
Toby Inman
Schell Apple
Dayton Spiel
Alex McWilliams
Garrett Wilkenson

postheadericon Volunteers key to fair’s success

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Trey Kerby doesn’t remember the first time he attended the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

He was a kid, and he’s been around the exposition all his life.

“As a kid, I rode in the parade on my horse,” said Kerby, now in his first year as a Lea County Fair Board member and chairman of the board’s rodeo committee. “Back then we had a grand entry for the rodeo. All the people got to weave around and make the circle.

“It has been a part of our life’s story. Every year you go to the fair and rodeo, and I just wanted to be part of it.”

He began is tour as a volunteer on the rodeo committee four years ago. It quickly advanced when he was appointed to the fair board. When board chairman Corey Helton named him to lead the rodeo committee, Kerby did just what a cowboy is supposed to do: He took the reins and has been charging forward ever since.

His work, and that of all the volunteers, will be on display during this year’s rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9-Saturday, Aug. 12, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Tuesday, Aug. 8.

“I bring hard work to this committee,” he said. “I was raised to work hard for something you want to look good. I’m a rancher by trade. I deal with cowboys and horses. Rodeo is the fun stuff that you don’t normally do on your ranch.

“I also bring a young look to the fair and rodeo. I’m just 36 years old. We’ve been going 82 years and want to keep going. It’s come a long way since I was a kid. It’s quite a show now.”

That it is, with great concerts nearly every night and five nights of world-class cowboys and cowgirls in action. The Lea County Fair and Rodeo has become a regional expo. It takes a strong commitment from the Lea County Commission and a boatload of volunteers to make it happen.

“Volunteerism is real important,” Kerby said. “For us to put on a rodeo for 82 years, the fact that it’s all volunteer work says something to me. It’s not just the fair board. It’s all the committees and all those that aren’t even on committees that show up.

“We could not have this fair and rodeos without the volunteers we have. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. It takes two weeks, and they’re out there all day every day. It’s unbelievable the work that can be done through volunteers.”

Kerby knows that as well as anyone. It’s a pride thing, and he’s very proud of his hometown fair and rodeo.

Of course, he should be.

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