postheadericon Lewis chasing dreams and NFR

DODGE CITY, Kan. – It’s been six years since Tom Lewis has played on ProRodeo’s grandest stage, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He’s trying to make his second trip in 2017. As of Wednesday night, he was 33rd in the steer wrestling world standings with $32,731, but he’s only $17,000 away from that magical No. 15 spot. What’s better yet is that he still has two months to make up that kind of ground and earn another qualification to Las Vegas.

Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis

On Wednesday’s opening night of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, Lewis wrestled his steer to the ground in 3.8 seconds to lead the second go-round. What’s more is that his 4.1-second post Wednesday morning also sits No. 1, as does his two-run cumulative time of 7.09 seconds.

“Right now, we’re just chasing points,” he said, noting that dollars equal points in ProRodeo, and only the top 15 on the money list at the end of the regular season advance to the NFR. “I’ve only been here once, and I made the short round and won some money.”

He’s virtually locked into Sunday’s championship with his aggregate time. What’s more important to the Lehi, Utah, cowboy is his opportunity to make nearly $10,000 in this southwest Kansas community.

“I’m on the bubble for making the NFR, but at this time of year, I guess I’m just a fourth-quarter guy,” he said. “I don’t like to be, but at this point, I have to go at them.”

How does he do that? He travels across the country taking advantage of any bulldogging paycheck he can find, and he rides a trusty stead named Maverick, a 12-year-old sorrel that Lewis has raised and trained.

“Maverick is working good,” he said of the stout gelding that he owns with his parents, Stan and Peggy. “He backs in the box and is so strong. He’s the most willing horse I’ve ever made, and he loves to win.”

It showed Wednesday. Now Lewis and his traveling partners, Levi Rudd and Jarrett New, will head west to a couple of other rodeos before returning to Dodge City for Sunday’s short round.

“It’s really good here,” Lewis said. “There’s a great rodeo in Great Falls, Mont., that we usually go to, and we decided to come down here and chase this one. The hospitality is good, and the committee is good. We appreciate them. It’s nice driving this far, exposing ourselves and making it pay off.”

Obviously squeaking into the top 15 at season’s end is critical. The biggest pay in the game is in Las Vegas every December,

“I finished 16th a couple of years ago, and it broke my heart,” he said. “But I have realized that at my age, if I make the finals or not, I’m doing what I love, and I get to take Maverick with me. That’s pretty special.”

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
Aug. 2-6
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Tim O’Connell, 86.5 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Angel Face; 2. Shane O’Connell, 85.5; 3. Luke Creasy, 77; 4. Logan Corbett, 75; 5. Cody Kiser, 72; 6. Casey Colletti, 71; 7. Trenten Montero, 68; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Tom Lewis, 4.1 seconds; 2. Levi Rudd, 4.3; 3. Stockton Graves, 4.8; 4. Tristan Martin, 5.8; 5. J.D. Struxness, 6.2; 6. (tie) Jarek VanPatten and Cody Doescher, 6.4. Second round leaders: 1. Tom Lewis, 3.8 seconds; 2. Aaron Vosler, 4.4; 3. Tristan Martin, 4.5; 45. (tie) Blake Mindemann, Cody Doescher and J.D. Struxness, 4.6; 7. Cody Pratt, 4.9; 8. (tie) Jake Johnson, 5.3. Average leaders: 1. Tom Lewis, 7.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Levi Rudd, 9.7; 3. Tristan Martin, 10.3; 4. J.D. Struxness, 10.8; 5. Cody Doescher, 11.0; 6. Jerek VanPetten, 11.7; 7. Shawn Musil, 17.0; 8. Aaron Vosler, 21.2.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher, 5.1 seconds; 2. Hayes Smith/Justin Davis, 5.6; 3. Brett Stuart/Wesley Moss, 6.1; 4. Brenten Hall/Casey Stipes, 6.7; 5. (tie) Bryce Crites/Tanner Braden and Britt Ellerman/J.D. Yates, 7.4. Second round leaders: 1. Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher, 6.7 seconds; 2. Britt Ellerman/J.D. Yates, 11.1; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Marcus Theriot/Cody Doescher, 11.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Britt Ellerman/J.D. Yates, 18.5; 3. Hayes Smith/Justin Davis, 5.6 seconds on one run; 4. Brett Stuart/Wesley Moss, 6.1; 5. Brenten Hall/Casey Stipes, 6.7; 7. Brice Crites/Tanner Brade, 7.4; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Shade Etbauer, 83.5 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Bear; 2. Wade Sundell, 81; 3. Jace Lane, 77.5; 4. Colt Gordon, 74.5; 5. (tie) Jake Finlay and Jake Watson, 74; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Riley Pruitt, 8.0 seconds; 2. Scott Kormos, 9.1; 3. Trent Creager, 10.5; 4. J.D. McCuistion, 11.8; 5. Michael Otero, 12.8; 6. Chris McCuistion, 13.4. Second round leaders: 1. Kelsey Garrison, 8.2 seconds; 2. Chase Williams, 9.9; 3. Reno Gonzales 10.5; 4. J.D. McCuistion, 10.7; 5. Lane Jeffrey, 11.1; 6. Trent Creager, 11.9; 7. Riley Pruitt, 12.5; 8. Braden Buckley, 13.9. Average leaders: 1. Riley Pruitt, 20.5 seconds on two runs; 2. Trent Creager, 22.4; 3. J.D. McCuistion, 22.5; 4. Kelsey Garrison, 23.2; 5. Michael Otero, 29.4; 6. Russell Schilling, 47.3; 7. Scott Kormos, 9.1 seconds on one run; 8. Chase Williams, 11.9.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 17.35 seconds; 2. Elizabeth Broussard, 17.50; 3. Amy Wilson, 17.79; 4. Monica McClung, 17.89; 5. Jenna Beaver, 17.96; 6. Marsha Nelson, 17.97. Second round leaders: 1. Michelle Darling, 17.16 seconds; 2. Deb Cox, 17.49; 3. Dona Kay Rule, 17.52; 4. Amy Wilson, 17.58; 5. Peyton Glenn, 17.60; 6. Lynn K. Brown, 17.69; 7. Monica McClung, 17.69; 8. Keyla Polizello, 17.88; 9. Alishea Broussard, 17.98; 10. Marsha Nelson, 18.11. Average leaders: 1. Dona Kay Riule, 34.87; 2. Amy Wilson, 35.37; 3. Monica McClung, 35.60; 4. (tie) Keyla Polizello and Marsha Neilson, 36.08; 6. Alishea Broussard, 36.12; 7. Lynn Brown, 38.24; 8. Michelle Darling, 39.42; 9. Deb Cox, 40.29; 10. Peyton Glenn, 40.57; 11. Jordan Moore, 41.06; 12. Jenna Beaver, 41.40.

Bull riding leaders: 1. (tie) Ednei Caminhas, on Frontier Rodeo’s Flat Broke, and Joseph McConnel, on Frontier Rodeo’s Blackhawk, 84.5 points; 3. Clayton Sellars, 82; 4. Chris Bechthold, 81.5; 5. Logan Hunter, 80.5; 6. Lon Danley, 78; 7. Fulton Rutland, 77.5; 8. Colten Jesse, 64.

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