Archive for August, 2017

postheadericon The race for Duncan is on

A big part of Ryan Jarrett's Prairie Circuit tie-down roping lead came with his performance at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo in May. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

A big part of Ryan Jarrett’s Prairie Circuit tie-down roping lead came with his performance at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo in May. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

DUNCAN, Okla. – With less than a month remaining in the Prairie Circuit season, the races for the 2017 regional championships are coming down to the wire.

The most heated contests may be for those cowboys and cowgirls on the bubble to qualify for the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19-Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

Ryan Jarrett

Ryan Jarrett

You see, it’s an honor for the best regional contestants to make their way to Duncan every fall. It offers a chance at big bucks and the biggest prizes of all – the year-end title in each discipline or the average championship at the regional finale, which is awarded to the contestants who have the best three-round cumulative score or cumulative time.

Those two individuals not only claim coveted championships, but they then advance on to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place next spring in Kissimmee, Fla. That’s important in that any contestant in the Prairie Circuit field has a chance to win the average title.

One of the toughest events in the race to Duncan is tie-down roping, where Comanche, Okla., cowboy Ryan Jarrett has a solid lead for the championship. Still, there are six cowboys who are battling for that 12th position in the championship, all separated by less than $1,700.

As of this week, Lane Jeffrey of Wilburton, Okla., is 11th with $4,349. He is followed by Billy Hamilton, Perry Dietz, Blake Eliason, Cody Shelley and Shade Etbauer – all are within range of claiming those bottom two spots for the circuit finale.

J.D. Struxness

J.D. Struxness

The chase for the steer wrestling year-end title will come down to how well the top performers do during the regional finals. J.D. Struxness leads the standings with just shy of $14,000, but the No. 5 man, Cole Edge, is just $3,000 behind. In essence, a cowboy on a roll could make up about $8,000 in just three days in Duncan.

But there are more than nine cowboys just trying to squeeze their way into qualifying for the circuit finals. Richard Coats sits 10th in the bulldogging standings with $7,781, while Jeff Miller is 19th and less than $3,000 behind.

Other leaders heading into the final few weeks of the 2017 campaign are bareback rider Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb.; header Coleman Proctor of Pryor, Okla; heeler Reagan Ward of Edmond, Okla.; saddle bronc rider Hardy Braden of Welch, Okla.; bull rider Kyle Ziegler of Atwood, Kan.; steer roper Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla.; and barrel racer Tracy Nowlin of Nowata, Okla.

postheadericon Smidt ready to return to Bellville

BELLVILLE, Texas – This town of about 4,300 people understands rodeo, and there are plenty of credentials to prove it.

Just two years ago, then-26-year-old Caleb Smidt proved it by bringing home the tie-down roping world championship to Bellville, becoming just the second hometown person to stake claim to the most prestigious title in the sport. He joins barrel racer Kelly Kaminski, who won two gold buckles in 2004 and ’05.

Caleb Smidt

Caleb Smidt

After traveling the rodeo circuit hard over the last few months, Smidt is ready to return home for the Austin County Fair and Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12-Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Austin County Fairgrounds in Bellville.

“I grew up in Yorktown,” he said of the community 122 miles southeast of Bellville. “My wife was born and raised in Bellville, and we’ve lived there ever since we’ve been married.”

Caleb and Brenna Smidt married almost four years ago, so Austin County is now home to the talented roper. With a month left in the 2017 season, Caleb Smidt sits No. 2 in the all-around and the tie-down roping world standings.

He is a virtual lock for his fourth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification. He earned his first trip to ProRodeo’s grand finale in 2013, where he finished 10th in tie-down roping. After an injury sidelined Smidt in 2014, he returned to the NFR to claim gold by placing in eight of 10 go-rounds and winning the all-important average championship.

He left Las Vegas with more than $242,000 in 2015 earnings, then returned this past December. He pocketed more than $107,000 over 10 nights and finished sixth in the world standings.

Now he looks to kickstart his 2018 season in Bellville, one of the first events of the new campaign – the rodeo season runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30 each year, so the sport actually begins its new year before it crowns its world champions.

“Bellville is a great rodeo, and a lot of people come and watch it,” Smidt said. “There are a lot of rodeo fans in Bellville. The fair has concerts every night, and it’s a great atmosphere for rodeo. It’s always good when actual rodeo fans show up and know what’s going on.”

The Austin County Fair and Rodeo has been somewhat of a hidden gem, he said. There is plenty of action and plenty to do, and it’s at a perfect time of year for those cowboys and cowgirls that want to begin the new season in a big way.

There are several other rodeos going on the same week, and the contestants can take advantage of close proximity to the All American Finals in Waco, Texas, that time of year.

“I don’t know if we’ll be as big of a rodeo as some towns, but hopefully people will know what we have to offer and where we’re at,” Smidt said.

He knows as well as anyone. Locals have had his back since his first NFR qualification four years ago, and they know they have something special in the 28-year-old roper.

“I’ve had a lot of support when I left for the NFR,” he said. “A lot of fans expect a lot from me, so I try to do the best I can to put Bellville on the map.”

postheadericon Furr scores a hat trick

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Kris Furr isn’t content being one of the best competitors in Bullfighters Only.

He wants to win the world championship. Based on his performance this August, he’s going to be a contender by the time the season wraps up. In less than a month, the Hamptonville, N.C., man has won three event titles – most recently he won BFO-Kennewick, which was part of the Benton County Fair and Rodeo this past week.

Kris Furr

Kris Furr

“I’ve been working my way into the top five, one event at a time,” said Furr, who sits fifth in the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings.

He earned the championship with an 85-point bout against WAR Fighting Bulls’ Two Timer, a quick and aggressive bull that stayed right on Furr’s heels throughout the 60-second bout.

“He caught me there at the end and gave me one heck of a hooking, but that was fun, too,” he said. “It could’ve been better and could’ve been prettier, but I knew it was going to be tough in Kennewick. I’d seen the videos from last year, and I knew the arena was going to be tiny.

“I also knew they were bringing some young, hot and fresh bulls. It’s more difficult when you’ve got bulls that hot in a smaller arena, because it’s hard to get separation. I thought it made it more fun even though it was harder.”

As Two Timer came sprinting out of the chute, Furr threw a solid fake, but the animal turned back quickly. Furr made a few rounds with the bull, then had a step-through in tight quarters. More fakes, rounds and back fakes followed, then the bull got the better of the North Carolinian at the end of the fight.

“The thing about those small arenas is that as soon as you call for him, he’s on you the whole time,” he said. “It gives the bull more of an advantage. It’s definitely a little different. The fight went by so fast, because he was on me from the word go.”

That’s the way all three fights went Friday night. Furr and his fellow bullfighters – Dayton Spiel and Alex McWilliams – all took a hooking.

“The bulls WAR brought were all hot, all on you,” Furr said. “That’s exactly what you want, and that’s what makes the bullfights so much fun for everyone.”

RESULTS
1. Kris Furr, 85 points
2. Dayton Spiel, 78
3. Alex McWilliams, 77

postheadericon Guymon queen serving the state

GUYMON, Okla. – For just the third time in its history, a Miss Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo has earned the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma title.

Taylor Spears, a 20-year-old agriculture communications junior at Oklahoma State University, will begin her reign in January, just days before her 21st birthday. In all the hoopla, this is another chapter in the storybook life of a rodeo queen.

Miss Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo Taylor Spears was crowned 2018 Miss Rodeo Oklahoma earlier this year and will represent her home state throughout the next season. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Miss Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo Taylor Spears was crowned 2018 Miss Rodeo Oklahoma earlier this year and will represent her home state throughout the next season. (COURTESY PHOTO)

“My sister was a rodeo queen before me,” Spears said. “By default, I wanted to do everything my sister did. When she got older, she got involved in a lot of other things in school. I decided that while all those other things were fun, they weren’t for me. I just kept going on. I’ve been going to queen pageants since I was 7 or 8 years old.”

She’s been successful at it, too. She first served as Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Sweetheart, advanced to Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Teen and then became Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Princess.

She’s climbed the next rung up the ladder and will hold the highest title in the Sooner State through 2018; with that, she became the first person to have owned all four titles in Oklahoma. That December – which is still 15 months away – she will hope to continue living out her dream as Miss Rodeo America.

“It’s been a fun, growing dream,” Spears said. “It’s very surreal to me to be Miss Rodeo Oklahoma. I never imagined when I entered this summer that I would win. It’s very humbling, but it’s also very exciting for me at the same time.”

She is from Cleveland, Okla., a town of more than 3,000 on the Arkansas River just northeast of Tulsa. It’s 300 miles from her home to Guymon, which hosts the annual Pioneer Days Rodeo each May. That’s quite a drive to be part of a ProRodeo Hall of Fame event, but it was important for Spears.

“Guymon has been a pageant that’s been on my radar for years,” she said. “I went twice before, in 2010 as Teen and 2013 as Princess. The pageant coordinator, Becky Robinson, and Jada Breeden (executive director of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce) were very accommodating, and I got to meet Becky’s mom.

“I was part of the family, but more importantly, you knew their queen was going to be supported. That’s something I cherish most.”

It will come in quite handy as she spends her 2018 touring the state, primarily, and the country while sharing her love for the game she represents.

“I’ll be traveling outside of Oklahoma to some of the bigger rodeos in the PRCA,” said Spears, who joins Sherri Lynn Stewart and Stacey Schneeber as previous Miss Pioneer Days Rodeo winners who were selected as Miss Rodeo Oklahoma. “Being able to live the drams I’ve only imagined, I’m excited to experience everything and put my own personal twist on it.

“What I want to do when I’m done with the pageants changes depending on the day. Ultimately, I want to be a news reporter, starting with local news stations with the end goal being a national news reporter.”

Taylor Spears is off to a running start, and she’s excited about the next year – or two – of the experiences her life will bring her.

postheadericon Fair ready to kick off 9 days of fun

The carnival is just one of many attractions at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, which begins in about a month.

The carnival is just one of many attractions at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, which begins in about a month.

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The Waller County Fair Board has one thing on its mind when it comes to planning this year’s festivities: Give back to the community.

“This is the biggest fundraiser for the youth and scholarship program in Waller County,” said Dustin Standley, the fair board’s president. “We gave away over $75,000 in scholarships last year.”

This year’s Waller County Fair and Rodeo is set for Friday, Sept. 29-Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead. It’s a true regional showcase that attracts thousands of fair-goers each year, and there’s good reason for it.

While there are the traditional livestock shows, games, carnival rides and rodeo-related activities, the fair and rodeo boasts of some of the greatest entertainment opportunities available in southeast Texas. That includes top-rated musical acts:

  • Jason Cassidy, Shenandoah and Wade Bowen on Saturday, Sept. 30
  • Rick Trevino on Thursday, Oct. 5
  • Kevin Robinson and The Voice’s 2016winner Sundance Head on Friday, Oct. 6
  • Glen Templeton and Josh Ward on Saturday, Oct. 7.

“It’s really exciting to have this kind of musical lineup for our fair and rodeo,” Standley said. “It’s what helps draw people to experience all the other things we have going on, but I think once they get here they’ll see we have a lot to offer them.”

Adult admission is just $10, with children 6-12 and seniors admitted for $5. That stands as a huge value for the price, especially considering all the activities and fun that awaits each person as they arrive through the gate.

There are also season passes that can help pass along the savings to those who plan to attend multiple days – $25 per person in advance and just $30 at the gate.

“We want to keep prices reasonable so everybody can come enjoy the fun, the food and the concerts,” Standley said. “We are very proud to be part of the fair board and put on this type of entertainment for our community and those visiting our community.

“All the hard work and dedication we put into this is to provide the scholarships. The youth are our future, and the youth is going to be the backbone of who we’re going to be when we’re older, so we are investing in that.”

postheadericon Furr is on fire

HERMISTON, Ore. – Kris Furr made the most of a week of Bullfighters Only competition.

After winning the championship at BFO-Sidney, Iowa, the North Carolina man followed it in a dominating fashion, claiming the BFO-Hermiston championship through the two-day competition last week. He’s now No. 5 in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings.

“It feels great to win both those events,” Furr said. “The one thing I wanted to do was be consistent. I don’t want to be just the middle of the pack. I want people to know I’m a competitor and that I’m there to win.”

He did just that at the event held in association with the Farm-City ProRodeo. Furr won both go-rounds to walk away with the overall championship. In all, he walked away with $3,500 in Hermiston, which shot him up the standings.

He won the first round with an 84-point fight against WAR Fighting Bulls’ War Party, then maneuvered around WAR’s Wolverine for 85 points to earn the second-round victory.

“I’ve been dying to get in front of WAR’s bulls,” Furr said. “I’ve seen a bunch of videos of those bulls, and they just look fun to get around. I was glad I got a shot and came out on top.”

In his few days off between Sidney and Hermiston, Furr found some time to work on his game.

“I met (fellow bullfighter) Dayton Spiel in South Dakota, and we went to the gym while we were there,” he said. “I figured out what I was messing up on jumping those bulls in Sidney, and I fixed that.”

It paid off.

“My first bull was one bullfighters would love to have every day,” Furr said. “I had to drag all the points out of my second bull that I could, but it worked out for me.

The goal is winning the BFO world championship, and while No. 1 man Weston Rutkowski has a big lead in the Pendleton Whisky World Standings, at least Furr has a shot.

That’s all he can hope for as a first-year bullfighter in the BFO.

HERMISTON RESULTS
First round: 1. Kris Furr, 84 points on WAR Fighting Bulls’ War Party; 2. Justin Josey, 74; 3. Dayton Spiel, 74.
Second round: 1. Kris Furr, 85 points on WAR Fighting Bulls’ Wolverine; 2. Dayton Spiel, 78; 3. Justin Josey, 74.
Average: 1. Kris Furr, 169 points on two fights; 2. Dayton Spiel, 152; 3. Justin Josey, 150.

postheadericon Larsen scores 90 for the win

Orin Larsen rides Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo's Scarlets Web for 90 points Saturday night to win bareback riding at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Orin Larsen rides Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlets Web for 90 points Saturday night to win bareback riding at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Bareback rider Orin Larsen has played on ProRodeo’s grandest stage each of the past two years.

He’s hoping to return to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the third straight time, but he’s got some ground in the final month and a half in the regular season. Heading into this week’s Lea County Fair and Rodeo, he sits 18th in the world standings with $53,414.

Only the top 15 contestants in each event advance to Las Vegas in December.

“Any win like this, big or small, is huge for me at this point,” said Larsen, who rode Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlets Web for 90 points to win the title and $5,351. “That’s just a great horse that I’ve wanted to get on for a long time.

“It was pretty cool to get on her here.”

That’s because Lovington’s rodeo is a big-money event, featuring a purse of more than $200,000.

“This is one of the best $10,000-added rodeos all year,” he said, referring to the amount of money the rodeo committee puts into the pot that’s mixed with contestants’ fees to make the overall purse. “It’s definitely one we want to go to, especially during a busy week like this.”

This is a busy time of year for ProRodeo’s biggest stars. This week alone, there are 30 ProRodeos that have taken place. The money and the horse were reason enough for the Manitoba cowboy to make the trip to southeastern New Mexico.

“I just know she was a big, fat, awesome, fun horse,” Larsen said of Scarlets Web, with which he was matched via random draw. “When I got here, everyone thought I was cheating because I’d drawn her so that was a good thing.”

He’s actually feeling strong and healthy, which is important when competing on bucking animals of that caliber. In fact, a nagging rib injury didn’t affect his ride Saturday night.

“It actually felt really good,” he said. “It started in Calgary (Alberta) a few weeks ago. I had to take two weeks of the busiest part of the summer off, so that really hurt me. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully go to Vegas.

“It’s a good thing my fiancé is a nurse, because she’s been taking care of me.”

That’s just one of his goals. He is also in the running for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, so he’d like a shot at the championship in his home country while also chasing his dreams of winning a world championship.

“It’s easy to make the finals when you draw good ride good and are consistently doing well,” Larsen said. “I’ve been missing one or two of those throughout the year. It’s going to be tough to make it, but we’re just going to have to rodeo hard and make the finals up there, too.”

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 9-12
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Orin Larsen, 90 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlets Web, $5,351; 2. J.R. Vezain, 87, $4,103; 3. Will Lowe, 84, $3,032; 4. Anthony Thomas, 83.5, $1,962; 5. (tie) Seth Hardwick and Tilden Hooper, 83, $1,070; 7. Evan Jayne, 82, $713; 8. Jake Brown, 81.5, $535.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Cody Cabral, 3.5 seconds, $1,637; 2. K.C. Jones, 3.7, $1,423; 3. Matt Reeves, 3.8, $1,210; 4. Casey Martin, $996; 5. (tie) Billy Bugenig, Wyatt Lindsay and Clayton Tuchscherer, 4.1, $569 each; 8. Jule Hazen, Tristan Martin and Jacob Edler, 4.2, $47 each. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Jule Hazen and Kyle Irwin, 3.8 seconds, $1,530; 3. Tanner Brunner, 3.9, $1,210; 4. (tie) Mike McGinn, Chance Howard, Ryan Swayze, Tanner Robinson, Tyler Pearson and Trevor Duhon, 4.0, $474 each. Average leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 7.9 seconds on two runs, $2,456; 2. (tie) Cody Cabral and Jule Hazen, 8.0, $1,975 each; 4. (tie) Chance Howard and Kyle Irwin, 8.3, $1,335; 6. Tristan Martin, 8.4, $854; 7. (tie) Wyatt Lindsay and Jacob Edler, 8.5, $374 each.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Shank Edwards and Chase Williams, 8.4 seconds, $2,092 each; 3. Cory Solomon, 8.7, $1,654; 4. Tuf Cooper, 9.0, $1,362; 5. Cade Swor, 9.2, $1,070; 6. Ryan Jarrett, 9.3, $778; 7. (tie) Clay McCuistion and Ty Baker, 9.4, $341 each. Second round leaders: 1. Marty Yates, 7.2 seconds, $2,238; 2. Caleb Smidt, 7.5, $1,946; 3. (tie) Timber Moore and Cory Solomon, 7.6, $1,508; 5. Justin Smith, 8.1, $1,070; 5. Marcos Costa, 8.8, $778; 7. (tie) Ryan Jarrett and Bubba Flores, 8.8, $341. Average leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 16.3 seconds on two runs, $3,357; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 18.1, $2,920; 3. (tie) Caleb Smidt and Marty Yates, 18.2, $2,262 each; 5. Shank Edwards, 18.4, $1,605; 6. Kody Mahaffey, 19.2, $1,168; 7. (tie) J.D. McCuistion and Ty Baker, 19.5, $511 each.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Heith DeMoss, 84.5 points on Big Rafter Rodeo’s Who Knows, $4,597; 2. Isaac Diaz, 83.5, $3,524; 3. Hardy Braden, 82.5, $2,605; 4. (tie) Dean Wadsworth and Sterling Crawley, 82, $1,379 each; 6. Dylan Henson and Brody Cress, 81.5, $689 each; 8. (tie) Kobyn Williams and Leon Fountain, 81.5, $230 each.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Bryce Davis, 9.1 seconds, $1,920; 2. (tie) Brian Garr and Jason Evans, 10.8, $1,424 each; 4. Roger Branch, $927; 5. Rocky Patterson, 11.2, $596; 6. Leo Campbell, 11.3, $331. Second round leaders: 1. Shay Good, 9.6 seconds, $1,920; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2, $1,589; 3. (tie) Cody Lee, Tuf Cooper, Chet Herren and Mike Chase, 10.5, $778 each. Third round leaders: 1. J.P Wickett, 8.9 seconds, $1,920; 2. Marty Jones, 9.3, $1,589; 3. Trevor Brazile, 9.4, $1,258; 4. Cash Myers, 9.7, $927; 5. Kim Ziegelgruber, 10.1, $596; 6. Rocky Patterson, 10.4, $331. Average leaders: 1. Rocky Patterson, 33.2 seconds on three runs, $2,881; 2. Chet Herren, 33.3, $2,384; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 33.7, $1,887; 4. Trevor Brazile, 34.9, $1,391; 5. Brian Garr, 35.3, $894; 6. Mike Chase, 35.8, $497.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Shay Carroll/Nano Garza and Tanner Baldwin/Cody Pearson, 5.2 seconds, $1,849 each; 3. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.3, $1,326; 4. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.5, $977; 5. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 5.7, $628; 6. (tie) Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith and Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.8, $174 each. Second round leaders: 1. Mike Orman/Will Woodfin, 4.7 seconds, $2,023 each; 2. (tie) Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn, Travis Whitlow/Tyler Getzwiller and Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.9, $1,326 each; 5. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.2, $628; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3, $349. Average leaders: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 10.0 seconds on two runs, $3,035 each; 2. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Tanner Baldwin/Cody Pearson, 10.8, $2,250; 4. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 11.1, $1,465; 5. Jake Barnes/Tyler Worley, 11.6, $942; 6. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 12.1, $523.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Taci Bettis, 17.28 seconds, $3,949; 2. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.31, $3,159; 3. Katelyn Scott, 17.39, $2,567; 4. Kelly Bruner, 17.44, $1,975; 5. Jane Fambro, 17.52, $1,580; 6. Tammy Fischer, 17.54, $1,185; 7. Morgan Breaux, 17.55, $987; 8. (tie) Jana Bean and Jill Tanner, 17.56, $839 each; 10. Cindy Smith, 17.66, $691; 11. Davie King, 17.70, $592; 12. Nalynn Cline, 17.71, $494; 13. Stefanie Logan, 17.73, $395; 14. Sydni Blanchard, 17.77, $296; 15. Delani Wood, 17.80, $197.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Koby Radley, 87 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Half Nutz, $5,034; 2. Brennon Eldred, 86, $3,876; 3. Elliott Jacoby, 85, $2,994; 4. Ramon Curley, 84.5, $1,891; 5. Scottie Knapp, 84, $1,229; 6. Trevor Kastner, 83, $898; 7. Tim Bingham, 72, $733; no qualified rides.

postheadericon Inman crowned Sikeston champ

Toby Inman does a back flip over his first-round bull in his victory at BFO-Sikeston. (AVID VISUAL IMAGERY PHOTO)

Toby Inman does a back flip over his first-round bull in his victory at BFO-Sikeston. (AVID VISUAL IMAGERY PHOTO)

SIKESTON, Mo. – Toby Inman has his sights set on the biggest prize in freestyle bullfighting, the Bullfighters Only world championship.

“I’m nipping at Weston’s heels,” Inman said, referring to the BFO Pendleton Whisky World Standings leader and reigning BFO world champ, Weston Rutkowski. “I think he can feel me breathing down his neck.”

Toby Inman

Toby Inman

The two talented bullfighters matched their skills Thursday and Friday during BFO-Sikeston in conjunction with the Sikeston Jaycees Bootheel Rodeo, and Inman claimed the championship belt. The Davis Junction, Ill., man won the opening round with an 86.5-point bout, then followed it Friday with a solid 83. His two-fight cumulative score of 169.5 points was enough to edge Rutkowski by half a point.

“I thought Weston stole it from me Friday night,” Inman said, referring to the Texan’s 90-point fight to win the second round. “Thankfully I was able to pull enough out.”

It marked his third victory in less than a month. More importantly, it pushed him into the No. 2 position in the standings. A key, he said, was being able to remain calm even when the bulls he battled in Sikeston got a little too close and got Inman on the ground.

“In bullfighting, you’re going to get run over, but you’ve got to pop right back up and get back in the fight,” he said. “I’m getting better with each fight, and I’m still having fun.”  

It’s easy to have fun when he’s winning, but there were other aspects of BFO-Sikeston that made for an overall amazing experience.

“The place was packed,” Inman said. “They were loud and excited, and that’s how you want every crowd. Whether I was getting hooked or Weston was making some nice rounds, they were extra loud.

“Because of the great committee and the fans, it was a great bullfight. Anytime you can have fans excited and want you there, it makes your job as a bullfighter that much more pleasant.”

SIKESTON RESULTS
First round: 1. Toby Inman, 86.5 points; 2. Tanner Zarnetski, 84.5; 3. Schell Apple, 83; 4. Beau Schueth, 80; 5. Toby Inman, 79.

Second round: 1. Toby Inman, 90 points; 2. (tie) Tanner Zarnetski and Beau Schueth, 84; 4. Toby Inman, 83; 5. Schell Apple, 0.
Average: 1. Toby Inman, 169.5 points on two fights; 2. Weston Rutkowski, 169; 3. Tanner Zarnetski, 168.5; 4. Beau Schueth, 164; 5. Schell Apple, 83 points on one fight.

postheadericon Bronc busters ride to the top

Sterling Crawley rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Miss Molly for 82 points Friday to sit in a tie for third place with his good friend and traveling partner, Dean Wadsworth. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Sterling Crawley rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Miss Molly for 82 points Friday to sit in a tie for third place with his good friend and traveling partner, Dean Wadsworth. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – To make a living riding bucking horses, it takes talent, passion and a lot of miles on the rodeo trail.

Dean Wadsworth, Sterling Crawley and 2015 world champion saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley do it together and have for a number of years. While the Crawleys are brothers by blood, Wadsworth is just as much family.

On Friday night during the third performance of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, Sterling Crawley and Wadsworth moved into the top four in the saddle bronc riding standings with a pair of 82-point rides.

“That’s a good horse I had,” Sterling Crawley said of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Miss Molly, his mount on Friday. “I’m always excited to have her, because you feel like you always have a chance to win on her.

“I’ve had a rough start to the week, and that one makes everything feel a little bit better.”

Sterling Crawley won the Pecos, Texas, rodeo in June with an 85.5-point ride on the red roan mare and is in good position to catch another nice payday in Lovington. Wadsworth matched moves with Carr’s Deuces Wild, a veteran bucking horse that has been consistent for many years.

“That horse has been around since I’ve been going,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve actually been on him, but I’ve been wanting to get on him for a long time. He’s everything I’d hoped he’d be.”

After a few years away from Lea County, Wadsworth has returned to town the last two years, and he’s found it to his liking. He finished in a tie for third place a year ago; now he will have to wait through Saturday’s final performance to see where he and Sterling Crawley finish in 2017.

“This is a great rodeo,” Sterling Crawley said. “The bucking stock is outstanding. When you go to a Pete Carr rodeo, everybody’s got a chance to win.

“This is a good time of year, this rodeo has a lot of money and the crowd is always good. That’s hard to pass up.”

There aren’t many rodeos the trio passes up. After all, riding broncs is how they pay their bills. Picking up checks along the way important to the business. Jacobs Crawley leads the world standings and has much of the season, while Sterling Crawley is 10th; Wadsworth isn’t listed among the top 50 cowboys, but he’ll get there soon enough.

The key for him is being able to do something he loves with partners who make it even more enjoyable.

“Traveling with them is an absolute blast,” Wadsworth said. “I’ve traveled with several people, and I’ve never had as much fun in my life than I have while going with these two guys. Just the positivity in that van is incredible.”

Part of it is the general attitudes of all three cowboys, but they have a genuine friendship. When Jacobs Crawley won the gold buckle two seasons ago, there was plenty of excitement to go around. It was the culmination of all their dreams combined in a season of wonders.

“I don’t know how excited Jacobs was, but it was going to be tough competition to be as excited as I was,” Wadsworth said.

Now the trio will continue down the path the rodeo trail takes them. Jacobs Crawley is locked in for his seventh Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Sterling Crawley would like to cash in a little more if he returns to Las Vegas a fourth time. But he’s going in the right direction.

“The season has been great,” he said. “Things really turned around later in the season. Usually the winter is a good friend of mine. This year the summer has been good to me, so I’m just trying to keep the momentum going and keep my foot on the gas.”

There’s no better way to close out a solid season.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 9-12
Bareback riding leaders:
1. J.R. Vezain, 87 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River; 2. Anthony Thomas, 83.5; 3. Evan Jayne, 82; 4. (tie) Jordan Pelton and Richmond Champion, 81; 6. David Peebles, 80.5; 7. Grant Denny, 78; 8. (tie) Ty Breuer and Tanner Phipps, 75.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Cody Cabral, 3.5 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, 3.7; 3. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 4. (tie) Billy Bugenig and Wyatt Lindsay, 4.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 4.2; 7. (tie) Chance Howard and Blair Jones, 4.3. Second round leaders: 1. Jule Hazen, 3.8 seconds; 2. Tanner Brunner, 3.9; 3. (tie) Mike McGinn and Chance Howard, 4.0; 5. Matt Reeves, 4.1; 6. Jacob Shofner, 4.3; 7. (tie) Wyatt Lindsay and Stockton Graves, 4.4. Average leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 7.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Cody Cabral, 8.0; 3. Jule Hazen, 8.0; 4. Chance Howard, 8.3; 5. Wyatt Lindsay, 8.5; 6. Jacob Shofner, 8.7; 7. J.D. Struxness, 9.1; 8. Cody Moore, 9.2.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Shank Edwards and Chase Edwards, 8.4 seconds; 3. Cory Solomon, 8.7; 4. Tuf Cooper, 9.0; 5. Ryan Jarrett, 9.3; 6. Clay McCuistion, 9.4; 7. Catfish Brown, 9.5; 8. Tyler Milligan, 9.6. Second round leaders: 1. Caleb Smidt, 7.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Timber Moore and Cory Solomon, 7.6; 4. Justin Smith, 8.1; 5. Marcos Costa, 8.8; 6. (tie) Ryan Jarrett and Bubba Flores, 8.8; 8. J.D. McCuistion, 9.0. Average leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 16.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 18.1; 3. Caleb Smidt, 18.2; 4. Shank Edwards, 18.4; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 19.5; 6. Timber Moore, 19.6; 7. Tristan Mahoney, 19.7; 8. Chase Williams, 20.2.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Isaac Diaz, 83.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl; 2. Hardy Braden, 82.5; 3. (tie) Dean Wadsworth and Sterling Crawley, 82; 5. Dylan Henson, 81.5; 6. (tie) Brody Cress, Kobyn Williams and Leon Fountain, 81.5.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Bryce Davis, 9.1 seconds; 2. Brian Garr, 10.8; 3. Rocky Patterson, 11.2; 4. Leo Campbell, 11.3; 5. Vin Fisher Jr., 11.4; 6. Mike Chase, 11.5. Second round leaders: 1. Shay Good, 9.6 seconds; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2; 3. (tie) Cody Lee, Tuf Cooper, Chet Herren and Mike Chase, 10.5 seconds. Third round leaders: 1. J.P Wickett, 8.9 seconds; 2. Marty Jones, 9.3; 3. Trevor Brazile, 9.4; 4. Kim Ziegelgruber, 10.1; 5. Rocky Patteron, 10.4; 6. Billy Good, 10.5. Average leaders: 1. Rocky Patterson, 33.2 seconds on three runs; 2. Chet Herren, 33.3; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 33.7; 4. Trevor Brazile, 34.9; 5. Brian Garr, 35.3; 6. Mike Chase, 35.8.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.3 seconds; 2. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.5; 3. Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 5.7; 4. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 5.8; 5. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.8; 6. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 5.9. Second round leaders: 1. Mike Orman/Will Woodfin, 4.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn and Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.9; 4. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.2; 5. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3; 6. Caleb Smidt/Tyler McKnight, 5.4. Average leaders: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 10.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 10.8; 3. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 11.1; 4. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 12.1; 5. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.6; 6. B.J. Campbell/Lane Siggins, 12.9.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Taci Bettis, 17.28 seconds; 2. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.31; 3. Katelyn Scott, 17.39; 4. Kelly Bruner, 17.44; 5. Tammy Fischer, 17.54; 6. Morgan Breaux, 17.55; 7. Jana Bean, 17.56; 8. Cindy Smith, 17.66; 9. Davie King, 17.70; 10. Nalynn Cline, 17.71; 11. Sydni Blanchard, 17.77; 12. Delani Wood, 17.80; 13. (tie) Aimee Kay and Jasarra Baca, 17.83; 15. Tillar Murray, 17.84.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Koby Radley, 87 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Half Nutz; 2. Brennon Eldred, 86; 3. Elliott Jacoby, 85; 4. Scottie Knapp, 84; 5. Tim Bingham, 72; no qualified rides.

postheadericon Reeves riding high in Lea County

Matt Reeves wrestles his first-round steer in 3.8 seconds with the help of his hazer, Quinn Campbell. Reeves has a two-run cumulative time of 7.9 seconds and leads the lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Matt Reeves wrestles his first-round steer in 3.8 seconds with the help of his hazer, Quinn Campbell. Reeves has a two-run cumulative time of 7.9 seconds and leads the lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Matt Reeves knows as well as anyone how vital it is to compete at ProRodeo’s grand finale, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He’s been there six times. This past December, he arrived in Las Vegas No. 12 in the steer wrestling world standings with $62,402. Ten nights later, he added $164,141 after placing in seven of 10 go-rounds and finishing third in the all-important average race.

As the curtain fell on the 2016 season, Reeves was the No. 2 man. It was his best season yet and, by far, his greatest NFR. Now he hopes to return for the seventh time in his 14-year career, but he’s got some work to do. He sits 14th in the world standings with a little more than a month and a half left in the season.

“I should’ve been doing better,” said Reeves of Cross Plains, Texas. “This horse has been doing good. This is the first year he’s been the main horse.”

He was talking about Roy, a 9-year-old sorrel gelding, which guided him to the bulldogging lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo on Thursday. Reeves posted a 3.8-second first-round run in the morning, then followed that with a 4.1 during the second performance that evening. His 7.9 seconds on two runs is just a 10th better than the runner-up, Hawaiian Cody Cabral.

“I’ve done well here quite a few times,” Reeves said. “It means a lot to me right now. I only went to two rodeos last week and had some stuff to do at home. All that went well, so now we’re ready to go back at it.”

He also enlisted the help of Alabama steer wrestler Quinn Campbell to serve as Reeves’ hazer for a bit – the hazer’s main duty is to keep the steer going in a good line so the steer wrestler can make a good transition from his horse and set up a solid run.

“It’s been a good week,” Reeves said. “We’ve made three good runs. I haven’t had three good looks at three steers in a row, and now I’ve had the same look three times.

“We had a practice session Tuesday, and Quinn knocked some rust off me while he was knocking some rust off himself. The last two that day were right down the middle. I was having a lot of steers move off to the right and stop right out in front, but Quinn is a little more aggressive at the start and gives me the look I need.”

That kind of teamwork is important, and it’s the same type of comfort he has found in Roy. The gelding’s dam is a barrel racing horse, while his sire is Ote, which has been a solid bulldogging horse for a while. In fact, Reeves once owned Ote before selling the palomino stallion.

“The mare was why we bought him, but it’s a great cross for this kind of horse,” he said. “I hauled him around as a backup and rode him some last year. This is the fourth horse I’ve made that I’ve rodeoed on. He’s cool and fun.”

Now he’s hoping Roy carries him back to Las Vegas, and finishing well in Lovington will go a long way into securing his spot to be there.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 9-12
Bareback riding leaders:
1. J.R. Vezain, 87 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River; 2. Anthony Thomas, 83.5; 3. Evan Jayne, 82; 4. (tie) Jordan Pelton and Richmond Champion, 81; 6. David Peebles, 80.5; 7. Grant Denny, 78; 8. Kenny Haworth, 72.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Cody Cabral, 3.5 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, 3.7; 3. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 4. Billy Bugenig, 4.1; 5. Chance Howard, 4.3; 6. Jacob Shofner, 4.4; 7. (tie) Christian Pettigrew and Cody Moore, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Mike McGinn and Chance Howard, 4.0 seconds; 3. Matt Reeves, 4.1; 4. Jacob Shofner, 4.3; 5. (tie) Cody Cabral Cody Moore, 4.5; 7. Ryle Smith and Miguel Garcia, 4.8. Average leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 7.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Cody Cabral, 8.0; 3. Chance Howard, 8.3; 4. Jacob Shofner, 8.7; 5. Cody Moore, 9.2; Miguel Garcia, 9.7; 7. Blake Knowles, 10.5; 8. Ryle Smith.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Shank Edwards and Chase Edwards, 8.4 seconds; 3. Cory Solomon, 8.7; 4. Tuf Cooper, 9.0; 5. Ryan Jarrett, 9.3; 6. Catfish Brown, 9.5; 7. Tyler Milligan, 9.6; 8. Matt Kenney, 10.3s. Second round leaders: 1. Caleb Smidt, 7.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Timber Moore and Cory Solomon, 7.6; 4. Ryan Jarrett, 8.8; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 9.0; 6. Josh Peek, 9.6; 7. Cody Jordan, 9.9; 8. Shank Edwards, 10.0. Average leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 16.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 18.1; 3. Caleb Smidt, 18.2; 4. Shank Edwards, 18.4; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 19.5; 6. Timber Moore, 19.6; 7. Chase Williams, 20.2; 8. Tyler Milligan, 20.3.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Isaac Diaz, 83.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl; 2. Hardy Braden, 82.5; 3. Brody Cress, 81.5; 4. (tie) Will Smith and Jake Finlay, 80; 6. Cameron Messier, 78; 7. Corey LeFebre, 74; Telden McLain, 68.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Brian Garr, 10.8 seconds; 2. Leo Campbell, 11.3; 3. Trevor Brazile, 12.1; 4. Tuf Cooper, 12.4; 5. Kelton McMillen, 12.8; 6. Kenyon Burns, 13.8. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Cody Lee and Tuf Cooper, 10.5 seconds; 3. Brian Garr, 11.3; 4. Leo Campbell, 11.3; 5. Chance Kelton, 12.0; 6. Trevor Brazile, 13.4. Third round leaders: 1. Marty Jones, 9.3 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 9.4; 3. Billy Good, 10.5; 4. Kelton McMillen, 10.9; 5. Cody Lee, 11.2; 6. Brent Lewis, 11.3. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 34.9 seconds on three runs; 2. Brian Garr, 35.3; 3. Leo Campbell, 42.2; 4. Kelton McMillen, 44.6; 5. Cody Lee, 21.7; 6. Tuf Cooper, 22.9.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.5 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 5.8; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.8; 4. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 6.0; 5. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 6.4; 6. Charly Crawford/Joseph Harrison, 6.5. Second round leaders: 1. Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn, 4.9 seconds; 2. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3; 3. Caleb Smidt/Tyler McKnight, 5.4; 4. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.6; 5. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 6.2; 6. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 6.3. Average leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 11.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 12.1; 3. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.6; 4. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 13.5; 5. Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn, 4.9 seconds on one run; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Taci Bettis, 17.28 seconds; 2. Tammy Fischer, 17.54; 3. Jana Bean, 17.56; 4. Davie King, 17.70; 5. Nalynn Cline, 17.71; 6. Delani Wood, 17.80; 7. (tie) Aimee Kay and Jasarra Baca, 17.83; 9. Tillar Murray, 17.84; 10. Bridget Carr, 18.02; 11. Lori Todd, 18.62; 12. Allison Resor, 18.79; 13. Jamie Wilson, 22.50; 14. Holly Wright, 22.57; 15. Carley Richardson, 22.61.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Brennon Eldred, 86 points on Salt River Rodeo’s 419; 2. Elliott Jacoby, 85; 3. Scottie Knapp, 84; 4. Tim Bingham, 72; no qualified rides.

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