postheadericon Braden closes finale with big win

DUNCAN, Okla. – Hardy Braden had a fairly comfortable lead in the regional saddle bronc riding standings coming into the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Colt Gordon took Braden out of his comfort zone by winning the first two go-rounds and closing the gap. But Braden put the finishing touches to a terrific campaign on Saturday night at the Stephens County Arena. He matched moves with New Frontier Rodeo’s Toy Box for 84.5 points to win the third go-round.

When Gordon bucked off a ride later, that secured Braden’s second year-end championship and third circuit finals average title.

Hardy Braden

Hardy Braden

“Colt made it a scary race,” said Braden, 28, of Welch, Okla. “I knew he had a good one tonight, and I knew this race was going to be tight. It’s fun and it sure gets your motor running. A guy wants to do his best, but when you have that kind of pressure, you either deal with it or you don’t.

“I like to deal with pressure.”

Braden won $6,531 in Duncan and pushed his 2017 circuit earnings to $25,603.

“My whole goal was to try to make the circuit finals, and things over the summer went great,” he said. “We came in good. I drew one horse this weekend that wasn’t the most desirable, but I tried to make the best of it. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s just going to boost me right into the NFR.”

For the first time in his eight-year career, he has earned the right to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s world championship that takes place Dec. 7-16 in Las Vegas. For now, though, he’s going to celebrate the circuit title and placing his name alongside some of the greatest bronc riders in the sport’s history.

“Back when my dad was riding at the circuit finals, you had a bunch of guys that were going to the NFR regularly,” said Braden, whose father, Butch, was a circuit finals’ qualifier before he became a pickup man. “I think it seemed like it slacked off there for a little while, but we’re starting to see it coming back. Plus we’ve got some young guys that are coming up that will be at the NFR before too long.”

Stockton Graves

Stockton Graves

Steer wrestler Stockton Graves is no stranger to the NFR. He’s been there seven times. For now, though, he focuses on competing in the circuit. On Saturday night, he earned his sixth year-end title and seventh average championship. He won the round with a 4.2-second run. That’s not too bad for a 38-year-old cowboy.

“I don’t feel like a kid anymore,” said Graves of Alva, Okla. “I am just glad to be able to bulldog with these guys. I’m blessed to come in and have a good circuit finals. Duncan’s been great to me.”

Yes, it has. He has won four straight year-end titles, and the last four average championships came inside the Stephens County Arena. It’s like a home away from home.

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 19-21
Duncan, Okla.
Bareback riding: First round:
1. Garrett Shadbolt, 79.5 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Super Soaker, $1,802; 2. Jared Keylon, 79, $1,351; 3. (tie) Blaine Kaufman and Justin Pollmiller, 78, $676 each. Second round: 1. Steven Dent, 84.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s High Motion, $1,802; 2. Garrett Shadbolt, 78.5, $1,351; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 76.5, $901; 4. Nate McFadden, 75, $450. Third round: 1. Steven Dent, 83.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Nutrena’s Pebbles, $1,802; 2. Blaine Kaufman, 80, $1,351; 3. (tie) Jared Keylon and Caine Riddle, 79.5, $676 each. Average: 1. Steven Dent, 237 points on three rides, $2,702; 2. Garrett Shadbolt, 235, $2,027; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 234.5, $1,351; 4. Jared Keylon, 231.5, $676. Year-end champion: Steven Dent.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Stockton Graves, 3.9 seconds, $1,802; 2. Jacob Edler, 4.5, $1,351; 3. J.D. Struxness, 4.8, $901; 4. Trell Etbuer, 5.1, $490. Second round: 1. Tanner Bruner, 4.0 seconds, $1,802; 2. Cole Edge, 4.3, $1,351; 3. Jule Hazen, 4.6, $901; 4. Blake Mindemann, 4.8, $450. Third round: 1. Stockton Graves, 4.2 seconds, $1,802; 2. Blake Mindemann, 5.0, $1,351; 3. Jule Hazen, 5.1, $901; 4. Trever Nelson, 5.5, $450. Average: 1. Stockton Graves, 13.6 seconds on three runs, $2,702; 2. Blake Mindemann, 16.0, $2,027; 3. Brady McFarren, 16.1, $1,351; 4. Jule Hazen, 16.2, $676. Year-end champion: Stockton Graves.

Team roping: First round: 1. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison, 5.9 seconds, $1,802 each; 2. (tie) Casey Hicks/Braden Harmon and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 6.4, $1,126 each; 4. Blake Hughes/Brady Norman, 6.5, $450. Second round: 1. Brett Christensen/Dawson McMaster, 4.7 seconds, $1,802 each; 2. Dylan Gordon/Hunter Koch, 5.4, $1,351; 3. Zac Small/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.6, $901; 4. (tie) Blake Hughes/Brady Norman and Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, $225 each. Third round: 1. Brett Christensen/Dawson McMaster, 5.1 seconds, $1,802; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison, 5.7, $1,351; 3. Jesse Stipes/Jake Smith, 5.8, $901; 4. Zac Small/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.9, $450. Average: 1. Jesse Stipes/Jake Smith, 18.4 seconds on three runs, $2,702; 2. Casey Hicks/Braden Harmon, 19.6, $2,027; 3. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 20.2, $1,351; 4. Zac Small/Buddy Hawkins II, 21.9, $676. Year-end champions: Andrew Ward and Reagan Ward

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Colt Gordon, 83 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Birthday Suit, $1,802; 2. Hardy Braden, 82.5, $1,351; 3. Jake Finlay, 79, $901; 4. Preston Kafka, 78, $450. Second round: 1. Colt Gordon, 79.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Pop a Top, $1,802; 2. Shade Etbauer, 78, $1,351; 3. (tie) Dalton Davis and Hardy Braden, 77.5, $676 each. Third round: 1. Hardy Braden, 84.5 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Toy Box, $1,802; 2. Tyrel Larsen 84, $1,351; 3. Dalton Davis, 80, $901; 4. Jake Finlay, 79, $450. Average: 1. Hardy Braden, 244.5 points on three rides, $2,702; 2. Tyrel Larsen, 234.5, $2,026; 3. Dalton Davis, 232.5, $1,351; 4. Preston Kafka, 219, $676. Year-end champion: Hardy Braden.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. (tie) Tyler Milligan, Cody Quaney and Ryan Jarrett, 8.1 seconds, $1,351 each; 4. Trent Creager, 8.2, $450. Second round: 1. L.D. Meier, 8.2 seconds, $1,802; 2. Tyler Milligan, 8.5, $1,351; 3. Cody Quaney, 8.8, $901; 4. (tie) Bryson Sechrist and Jerome Schneeberger, 9.7, $225. Third round: 1. Trent Creager, 8.3 seconds, $1,802; 2. Jerome Schneeberger, 8.6, $1,351; 3. L.D. Meier, 8.9, $901; 4. Cody Quaney, 9.4, $450. Average: 1. Cody Quaney, 26.3 seconds on three runs, $2,702; 2. Tyler Milligan, 26.5, $2,027; 3. L.D. Meier, 26.9, $1,351; 4. Bryson Sechrist, 28.5, $676. Year-end champion: Ryan Jarrett.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Michelle Darling, 16.03 seconds, $1,824; 2. Tracy Nowlin, 16.04, $1,368; 3. Carley Richardson, 16.07, $912; 4. Cayla Small, 16.09, $456. Second round: 1. Carley Richardson, 15.66 seconds, $1,824; 2. Dona Kay Rule, 15.84, $1,368; 3. Korrina Lynn Hughes, 16.03, $912; 4. Tamara Reinhardt, 18.06, $456. Third round: 1. Carley Richardson, 15.94 seconds, $1,824; 2. Cayla Small, 15.89, $1,368; 3. Tamara Reinhardt, 16.03, $912; 4. Cierra Chapman, 16.15, $456. Average: 1. Carley Richardson, 47.67 seconds on three runs, $2,736; 2. Tamara Reinhardt, 48.54, $2,052; 3. Cierra Chapman, 48.85, $1,368; 4. Ivy Hurst, 50.07, $684. Year-end champion: Tracy Nowlin.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Garrett Wickett, 86 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Make My Day, $1,952; 2. Trevor Kastner, 82.5, $1,501; 3. Guthrie Murray, 73, $1,051; no other qualified rides. Second round: 1. Jeston Mead, 85 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s 4K, $2,477; 2. Guthrie Murray, 73.5, $2,027; no other qualified rides. Third round: 1. Trevor Kastner, 82.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Poppy, $2,477; 2. Guthrie Murray, 76, $2,027; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Guthrie Murray, 222.5 points on three rides, $2,702; 2. Trevor Kastner, 165 points on two rides, $2,027; 3. Garrett Wickett, 86 points on one ride, $1,351; 4. Jetson Mead, 85, $676. Year-end champion: Trevor Kastner.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Dee Kyler Jr., 12.9 seconds, $1,692; 2. Mike Chase, 13.1, $1,269; 3. Kelton McMillen, 13.3, $846; 4. Shorty Garten, 14.0, $423. Second round: 1. Brodie Poppino, 11.7 seconds, $1,692; 2. (tie) Mike Chase and Trenton Johnson, 12.1, $1,057; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.7, $423. Third round: 1. Ralph Williams, 10.5 seconds, $1,692; 2. Kelton McMillen, 11.7, $1,269; 3. Dee Kyler Jr., 12.5, $846; 4. Shorty Garten, 13.3, $423. Average: 1. Dee Kyler Jr., 38.2 seconds on three runs, $2,538; 2. Shorty Garten, 40.7, $1,903; 3. Kelton McMillen, 25.0 seconds on two runs, $1,269; 4. Mike Chase, 25.2, $634. Year-end champion: Chet Herren.

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