Archive for July, 2018

postheadericon Roundup featuring Jr.NFR qualifier

9-year-old Brazos Heck is interviewed during the 2017 Jr.NFR in Las Vegas.(COURTESY PHOTO)a

9-year-old Brazos Heck is interviewed during the 2017 Jr.NFR in Las Vegas.(COURTESY PHOTO)a

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The greatest cowboys and cowgirls in a given season battle throughout the year to compete in Las Vegas in December.

What has worked for decades for professional rodeo has been passed down to the next few generations of ropers, bulldoggers, barrel racers, bull riders and bronc riders with the development of the Jr.NFR, which takes place in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo has always been a huge stopping point for NFR qualifiers, and this year it will be a qualifying stop for those hoping to compete at the Jr.NFR. The event takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, at Roundup Arena.

“This will be a direct qualifier to the Central Region Finals that take place in September in Liberal (Kan.),” said Jeff Louderback, a livestock producer and event organizer from Liberal. “From there, the top kids will go to the Jr.NFR.”

There will be four age groups for the competitors: 8-under, 9-11, 12-14 and novice, which is for youth ages 15-18. For the event at Roundup Arena, the competition will feature youth in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding. Louderback will be providing the bucking stock, which includes animals of various sizes to be matched with each age division.

“I love these kids events,” said Joel Redman, vice president of the Roundup Rodeo committee. “I feel good seeing how excited these kids get and their determination to compete.”

That’s exactly why Louderback got involved in producing events nearly eight years ago.

“I used to ride broncs, and we enjoy working with kids,” he said. “This will be our third year being associated with the Jr.NFR.”

That’s because the championship in Las Vegas was created in 2016. While the Dodge City event will focus on youngsters riding bucking horses, the Jr.NFR will feature all other rodeo events.

“We’re going to have kids coming to Dodge City from all over the nation to try to qualify for the Jr.NFR,” Louderback said. “This is really a cool way for us to look at tomorrow’s champions.

“To say you get to see them now and could very well see them at the NFR one of these days is pretty special.”

postheadericon Wisehart winning wise in pink

Craig Wisehart of Kersey, Colo., not only took the bareback riding lead at the Gunnison Cattlemen's Days PRCA Rodeo, but also he earned $1,500 for wearing pink and having the high-point ride in bareback riding. With the help of sponsors, a local donation and $250 per event from Wrangler, the committee was able to give out $7,500 Thursday night. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

Craig Wisehart of Kersey, Colo., not only took the bareback riding lead at the Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, but also he earned $1,500 for wearing pink and having the high-point ride in bareback riding. With the help of sponsors, a local donation and $250 per event from Wrangler, the committee was able to give out $7,500 Thursday night. (PHOTO BY ROBBY FREEMAN)

GUNNISON, Colo. – When Craig Wisehart left his Texas home, he left a few things, including his pink shirt.

That was a bit unhandy Thursday night during the Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance of Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, which offered a $1,500 bonus to the highest scores and fastest times in each event.

“My buddy, Tyler Ferguson, told me there was a pretty good bonus for wearing a pink tonight,” said Wisehart, who lives in Stephenville, Texas, but still calls Kersey, Colo., home. “I told him, ‘I was silly and left all my pink shirts in Texas.’ He told me there was a Tough Enough to Wear Pink booth on the other side of the arena and to get one.

“I ran over there, and they fit me with one, and here we are.”

He then put on a magical 85-point ride on Smith, Harper & Margan’s Kicking Feathers to take the lead in bareback riding and earning the $1,500 – $250 from Wrangler, $250 from a local sponsor and $1,000 from a local donor who is part of the Cattlemen’s Days TETWP program.

“I knew it was a colt, but we can call a bunch of people who know what it is or have been on that horse,” said Wisehart, the assistant rodeo coach at Tarleton State University. “A good buddy of mine, Jake Brown, knows horses like nobody’s business. When Jake says he’s a hopper, I take it.”

A “hopper” is considered a horse that makes a straight motion as it jumps and kicks with few moves in between.

“When I showed up here tonight, everybody told me I was going to love it,” he said. “It was reassuring.”

Because of his coaching schedule, Wisehart focuses on the rodeos he knows and likes. He’s qualified eight times for the RAM Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, where he has won the average twice and won the outright circuit title once. Part of that is familiarity, but another is having a strong rodeo legacy at a lot of rodeos in the region made up of stops in Colorado and Wyoming.

“It’s just the atmosphere,” he said. “The rodeo heritage, and the guys in Colorado and Wyoming are true rodeo cowboys. I was born and raised here in Colorado, so I’ve seen all these kinds of rodeos all my life.

“I love this rodeo. The hospitality and the committee is great, and the stock is amazing. Just driving in, you see the black cows out in the pasture and know this is cowboy country.”

The pink program also paid off for barrel racer Chris Gibson of Windsor, Colo. She posted an 18.03-second run to earn the $1,500, then donated $300 back to the Cattlemen’s Days TETWP committee.

“That’s one thing I love about this rodeo, and I’ve wanted to do that,” she said. “After I came here the first time, I knew I didn’t want to miss this rodeo again because of their pink campaign.”

Cattlemen’s Days
Gunnison, Colo.
July 12-14
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Craig Wisehart, 85 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s Kicking Feathers; 2. Tyler Ferguson, 77; 3. Bryton John Buyert, 70; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: 1. Riley Krassin, 15.6 seconds; 2. Miguel Garcia, 14.4; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 5.2 seconds; 2. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.8; 3. Garrett Tonozzi/Joe Mattern, 7.1; 4. Robert Reed/TW Wilson, 11.2; 5. Garett Chick/J.W. Borrego, 15.2; 6. Corey Whinnery/Robert Murphy, 15.6.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Trayson Antonick, 78 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Deep Water; 2. Parker Kempfer, 75.5; 3. Dean Wadsworth, 73.5; 4. Dalton Davis, 73; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: No qualified runs.

Barrel racing: 1. Chris Gibson, 18.03 seconds; 2. Emily Dudley, 18.33; 3. Amy Smith, 18.98; 4. Trixie Carlstrom, 19.45; 5. Amanda Devencenty, 27.96; 6. Shali Lord, 44.83.

Bull riding: 1. Eli Vastbinder, 73 points on Smith, Harper & Morgan’s bull 410; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Pete Carr team finds comfort in Eagle

John Gwatney is one of many team members from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo who has worked the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo for many years, so he understands what makes the Eagle rodeo so special.

John Gwatney is one of many team members from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo who has worked the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo for many years, so he understands what makes the Eagle rodeo so special.

EAGLE, Colo. – There’s so much beauty that surrounds this town of just 6,700, the Eagle County’s seat and home of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo.

That just adds to the flavor of this Rocky Mountain community and the reason hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the picturesque location. It’s also an attractive piece of the puzzle for the talented team from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.

“There’s no other rodeo setting like Eagle, tucked among the mountains with the Eagle River right behind it,” said Clay Heger, a bullfighter who has been in the middle of the action for several years at the rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 25-Saturday, July 28, at Johnette Phillips Arena on the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

“That time of year makes everyone and every animal feel great waking up on a cool 60 or 70 degrees in the middle of the summer is amazing.”

Heger is just one of a couple dozen Carr staff that will make the trip from the firm’s east Texas ranch. The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo has been a big stop for the team for the last decade.

“We’ve been on the rodeo trail all year, and we’ve been to some beautiful places,” said John Gwatney, the livestock superintendent for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “We just got done with Big Spring (Texas) and Pecos (Texas), which are two fantastic rodeos, but there’s a lot of heat.

“To go from there to the beautiful setting of the mountains and a crowd that is so captive and responsive is amazing and makes Eagle a wonderful rodeo.”

How wonderful? All four performances are typically sold out, and the crowd of several thousand fans is usually loud and boisterous, making for a great experience for all involved.

In fact, the members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association think so much of the Eagle event that they nominated it for Medium Rodeo of the Year in 2017. It was the first time it has received an honor – with the nomination, Eagle was recognized as one of the top 20 rodeos in North America, and the PRCA has more than 650 annually.

“We have a lot of great history in Eagle,” said Pete Carr, president and CEO of the livestock firm, which has five straight nominations for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year. “The horses and bulls love it up there, and the mountain climate adds to that. There are usually a lot of high scores and great rides in Eagle because of that.”

In fact, Carr bucking horse Grass Dancer was part of a world record-tying 94-point ride when she matched moves with bareback rider Ryan Gray in 2009. There have been numerous other high-scoring rides inside the arena that sits just beneath the mountains.

“I think one of the keys to making the rides so memorable is the crowd,” Gwatney said. “The energy of the crowd electrifies the whole place. The night that record ride was made, there was lightning in the background, and the crowd was just as into it as if there wasn’t weather around us. That’s the electricity that place brings.”

And that atmosphere is why the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo is one of the best in the game.

postheadericon Wade, McKnight set Rooftop standard

ESTES PARK, Colo. – It’s been a week of record-breaking performances at the 2018 Rooftop Rodeo, and that theme played through the final performance Tuesday night.

Team ropers Tyler Wade of Terrell, Texas, and Tyler McKnight of Wells, Texas, stopped the clock in 4.0 seconds to win the Rooftop Rodeo title, $4,440 and a pair of spurs each. That beat the record of 4.1 that was shared by three other teams, and the last time it was shared was in 2016 by Clint Summers and Dustin Egusquiza.

Tyler McKnight

Tyler McKnight

“Before we roped, he had done a little research on the steer, and they told us it loped, went dead straight and that he was really good,” said McKnight, the heeler. “I tried not to overhaze him, that way we were in the middle of the arena and could come tight faster, and he did an awesome job and made it easy.”

The header starts a team roping run by roping the horns, while the heeler runs along side the steer to keep it straight, which is called hazing. Putting too much emphasis on hazing the steer would force the animal left, thereby making it more difficult to stop the clock by taking the slack out of the ropes and having both horses facing one another.

It turned out to be not only the fastest run of the rodeo but the fastest run ever inside Granny May Arena at the Estes Park Fairgrounds.

“We’ve roped for several years together on and off, whenever we could,” Wade said of the partnership.

The tandem live just a couple of hours away from another, so they’ve competed together much of their lives. They seem to make it work well. But they had some motivation to close out their Cowboy Christmas, a series of lucrative rodeos that are around the Fourth of July holiday – Rooftop Rodeo is the final event of this year’s Cowboy Christmas.

Tyler Wade

Tyler Wade

“We needed that run and that paycheck,” Wade said. “I flew out of St. Paul (Ore.) five days ago and made him drive the rig all the way here so I could see my 2-week-old baby. He got his 2-month-old kid here tonight, so that may have been our good-luck charm.

“I hadn’t swung a rope in five days, so I was a little nervous on where my rope was going to fit.”

While Weston Cash Wade didn’t make the trip to the mountains, Curtis Jay McKnight did, and both cowboys were happy to have it. Both have been regulars at Rooftop Rodeo for years.

“I love it over here,” Wade said. “The mountains are awesome. There are a lot of committees that don’t take care of their contestants quite as good as I think they should, but they do here. We appreciate every bit of it.”

Ari-Anna Flynn

Ari-Anna Flynn

Wade and McKnight were joined as record-breakers in Estes Park by steer wrestler Will Lummus, who tied the arena record of 3.2 seconds Friday night, and barrel racer Ari-Anna Flynn, who set a new standard of 17.04 seconds Tuesday. She was one of six cowgirls who bested the previous record of 17.36, set last year.

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Brody Cress of Hillsdale, Wyo., won the saddle bronc riding with an 87.5-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Bath Bubbles, pocketing $7,057. With that, he pushed his season earnings to $88,754 and moved to No. 2 in the world standings.

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Bareback riding:
1. J.C. Hester Jr., 86.5 points on Cervi Championship’s Dream Machine, $6,021; 2. Steven Peebles, 86, $4,615; 3. (tie) Jake Brown and Kaycee Feild, 85, $2,810 each; 5. (tie) Lane McGehee and Bill Tutor, 83, $1,204 each; 7. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Mason Clements, 82, $702 each.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds, $1,363; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8, $1,128; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, $893; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3, $541 each; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4, $118 each. Second round: 1. Will Lummus, 3.2 seconds, $1,363; 2. Hunter Cure, 3.7, $1,128; 3. Cole McNamee, 4.0, $893; Blake Mindemann, 4.5, $658; 5. Laine Herl, 4.6, $423; 6. (tie) Heath Thompson and Riley Krassin, 4.9, $118 each. Average: 1. Will Lummus, 7.0 seconds on two runs, $2,045; 2. Laine Herl, 8.8, $1,692; 3. Hunter Cure, 9.1, $1,340; 4. Sam Williams, 10.0, $987; 5. Tom Littell, 10.6, $635; 6. Blake Mindemann, 11.6, $353.

Team roping: 1. Tyler Wade/Tyler McKnight, 4.0 seconds, $4,440; 2. Quisto Lopez/Joel Galvin Jr., 4.3, $3,973; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.4, $3,506; 4. Billy Bob Brown/Hunter Koch, 4.5, $3,038; 5. (tie) Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton and Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 4.6, $2,337 each; 7. (tie) Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert and Aaron Tsinigine/Trey Yates, 4.7, $1,402; 9. Rhen Richard/Quinn Kesler, 5.1; 10. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.2, $234.

Saddle bronc riding 1. Brody Cress, 87.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Bath Bubbles, $7,057; 2. Wyatt Hageman, 86, $5,410; 2. Tyrel Larsen, 84.5, $3,999; 4. (tie) Hardy Braden and Sterling Crawley, 83, $2,117 each; 6. (tie) Troy Crowser and Chase Brooks, 82.5, $1,059; 7. (tie) Jacobs Crawley and Clayton Brum, 82, $353.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds, $1,176; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4, $973; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2, $771; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6, $568; 5. Joey Dickens, 10.7, $365; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9, $203. Second round: 1. Bryson Sechrist, 8.8 seconds, $1,176; 2. Brice Ingo, 9.0, $973; 3. Caleb Smidt, 9.1, $771; 4. Sterling Smith, 9.6, $568; 5. Trell Etbauer, 9.7, $265; 6. (tie) Anthony Jordan and Seth Cooke, 10.2, $101 each. Average: 1. Caleb Smidt, 20.0 seconds on two runs, $1,764; 2. Bryson Sechrist, 20.4, $1,460; 3. Anthony Jordan, 20.8, $1,156; 4. Jesse Clark, 21.2, $852; 5. Sterling Smith, 21.4, $547; 5. Joey Dickens, 22.1, $304.

Barrel racing: 1. Ari-Anna Flynn, 17.04 seconds, $4,028; 2. Brittney Barnett, 17.20, $3,231; 3. Sydni Blanchard, 17.21, $2,625; 4. Kathy Grimes, 17.26, $2,019; 5. Tracy Nowlin, 17.31, $1,615; 6. Shali Lord, 17.33, $1,211; 7. (tie) Sabrina Ketcham, Tillar Murray and Lacinda Rose, 17.39, $909 each; 10. Laura Lambert, 17.41, $707; 11. Leia Bluemer and Dolli Lauteret, 17.43, $555; 13. Shelby Janssen, 17.44, $404; 14. (tie) Heidi Tillard and Kelley Carrington, 17.47, $252.

Bull riding: 1. Callum Miller, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Living After Midnight, and Scottie Knapp, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Monte Walsh, 89 points, $3,487 each; 3. (tie) Clayton Savage and Logan Hunter, 88, $1,842 each; 5. Kyle Gardner, 85, $921; 6. Reid Barker, 84.5, $658; 7. Tim Bingham, 84, $526; 8. Riker Carter, 83.5, $395.

postheadericon History stands tall with Eagle fair

A crowd packs into the stands at Johnette Phillips Arena at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo has a grand history, now eight decades in the making.

A crowd packs into the stands at Johnette Phillips Arena at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo has a grand history, now eight decades in the making.

EAGLE, Colo. – There’s so much beauty that surrounds this town of just 6,700, the Eagle County’s seat and home of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo.

That just adds to the flavor of this Rocky Mountain community and the reason hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the picturesque location. It’s also an attractive piece of the puzzle for the talented team from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.

“There’s no other rodeo setting like Eagle, tucked among the mountains with the Eagle River right behind it,” said Clay Heger, a bullfighter who has been in the middle of the action for several years at the rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 25-Saturday, July 28, at Johnette Phillips Arena on the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

“That time of year makes everyone and every animal feel great waking up on a cool 60 or 70 degrees in the middle of the summer is amazing.”

Heger is just one of a couple dozen Carr staff that will make the trip from the firm’s east Texas ranch. The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo has been a big stop for the team for the last decade.

“We’ve been on the rodeo trail all year, and we’ve been to some beautiful places,” said John Gwatney, the livestock superintendent for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “We just got done with Big Spring (Texas) and Pecos (Texas), which are two fantastic rodeos, but there’s a lot of heat.

“To go from there to the beautiful setting of the mountains and a crowd that is so captive and responsive is amazing and makes Eagle a wonderful rodeo.”

How wonderful? All four performances are typically sold out, and the crowd of several thousand fans is usually loud and boisterous, making for a great experience for all involved.

In fact, the members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association think so much of the Eagle event that they nominated it for Medium Rodeo of the Year in 2017. It was the first time it has received an honor – with the nomination, Eagle was recognized as one of the top 20 rodeos in North America, and the PRCA has more than 650 annually.

“We have a lot of great history in Eagle,” said Pete Carr, president and CEO of the livestock firm, which has five straight nominations for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year. “The horses and bulls love it up there, and the mountain climate adds to that. There are usually a lot of high scores and great rides in Eagle because of that.”

In fact, Carr bucking horse Grass Dancer was part of a world record-tying 94-point ride when she matched moves with bareback rider Ryan Gray in 2009. There have been numerous other high-scoring rides inside the arena that sits just beneath the mountains.

“I think one of the keys to making the rides so memorable is the crowd,” Gwatney said. “The energy of the crowd electrifies the whole place. The night that record ride was made, there was lightning in the background, and the crowd was just as into it as if there wasn’t weather around us. That’s the electricity that place brings.”

And that atmosphere is why the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo is one of the best in the game.

postheadericon Blanchard speeds to Rooftop lead

Sydni Blanchard and her horse, Heart, round the second barrel en route to their arena-record 17.21-second run Monday night at Rooftop Rodeo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

Sydni Blanchard and her horse, Heart, round the second barrel en route to their arena-record 17.21-second run Monday night at Rooftop Rodeo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

ESTES PARK, Colo. – On the first barrel racing run Monday night, Shali Lord set a new Rooftop Rodeo record with a 17.33 seconds.

Just moments later, Sydni Blanchard set a newer one in 17.21. Now she owns the lead heading into the final night of the annual rodeo at Granny May Arena on the Estes Park Fairgrounds.

“My horse decided to beat it,” Blanchard said of the record. “This is big for both of us since it’s in both our circuit. Just the breeding and horsepower that we have (in the region) has far surpassed what it’s been in the past.”

That’s a strong indicator to the talented horses that reside in the Mountain States Circuit, made up of rodeos and contestants primarily in Colorado and Wyoming. With Blanchard being from Pueblo, Colo., and Lord from Lamar, Colo., Rooftop Rodeo is a big stop for both. In between, though, Kathy Grimes of Medical Lake, Wash., moved into second place with a 17.26 eight runs later.

“I haven’t had the best year,” said Blanchard, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “This mare was out at the beginning of this year, and my other horse broke his leg at Houston. I came back for the Fourth of July, and my saddle tree broke, slid under her and had a terrible wreck in Livingston (Mont.). This is my first rodeo back.”

It looks like luck is changing for Blanchard and her mount, Famous Heartbreaker, an 8-year-old mare she calls Heart.

“She tries no matter what,” she said. “She is really gritty. I don’t think she cares who her jockey is, but she’s going out there and try to win first.”

Now she holds the lead at the reigning Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Medium Rodeo of the Year.

“The footing this year is absolutely phenomenal,” Blanchard said. “My horse broke his leg at Houston this year because of that ground, so I appreciate when the committees come together for us and make it the best possible ground.”

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Leaders through fifth performance
Bareback riding:
1. J.C. Hester Jr., 86.5 points on Cervi Championship’s Dream Machine; 2. Steven Peebles, 86; 3. (tie) Jake Brown and Kaycee Feild, 85; 5. Lane McGehee, 83; 6. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Mason Clements, 82; 8. Paden Hurst, 81.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds, $1,363; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8, $1,128; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, $893; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3, $541 each; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4, $118 each. Second round: 1. Will Lummus, 3.2 seconds; 2. Hunter Cure, 3.7; 3. Cole McNamee, 4.0 seconds; Blake Mindemann, 4.5; 5. Laine Herl, 4.6; 6. Heath Thompson, 4.9. Average: 1. Will Lummus, 7.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Laine Herl, 8.8; 3. Hunter Cure, 9.1; 4. Sam Williams, 10.0; 5. Tom Littell, 10.6; 6. Blake Mindemann, 11.6.

Team roping: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.4 seconds; 2. (tie) Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton and Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 4.6; 2. Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert, 4.7; 3. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.2; 4. Jake Cooper/Logan Medlin, 5.3; 5. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 5.5; 6. (tie) Rhett Anderson/Coleby Payne and Robert Reed/T.W. Wilson, 5.7.

Saddle bronc riding 1. Wyatt Hageman, 86 points on Cervi Brothers’ Hell’s Fire Hostage; 2. Tyrel Larsen, 84.5; 3. (tie) Hardy Braden and Sterling Crawley, 83; 5. (tie) Troy Crowser and Chase Brooks, 82.5; 7. (tie) Jacobs Crawley and Clayton Brum, 82.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds, $1,176; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4, $973; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2, $771; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6, $568; 5. Joey Dickens, 10.7, $365; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9, $203. Second round: 1. Bryson Sechrist, 8.8 seconds; 2. Brice Ingo, 9.0; 3. Sterling Smith, 9.6; 4. (tie) Anthony Jordan and Seth Cooke, 10.2; 6. Cimarron Boardman, 10.9. Average: 1. Bryson Sechrist, 20.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Anthony Jordan, 20.8; 3. Jesse Clark, 21.2; 4. Sterling Smith, 21.4; 5. Joey Dickens, 22.1; 6. Cimarron Boardman, 22.3.

Barrel racing: 1. Sydni Blanchard, 17.21 seconds; 2. Kathy Grimes, 17.26; 3. Shali Lord, 17.33; 4. Lacinda Rose, 17.39; 5. Leia Bluemer, 17.43; 6. (tie) Heidi Tillard and Kelley Carrington, 17.47; 8. Sammi Bessert, 17.49; 9. (tie) Jaime Merrill and Kristi Steffes, 17.53.

Bull riding: 1. Callum Miller, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Living After Midnight, and Scottie Knapp, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Monte Walsh, 89 points each; 3. Clayton Savage, 88; 4. Kyle Gardner, 85; 5. Reid Barker, 84.5; 6. Tim Bingham, 84; 7. Jimy Marten, 82.5; 8. Moody McCoy, 77.

postheadericon Pink crusade supports cancer patients

Volunteers man the Tough Enough to Wear Pink booth to help raise money for the Circle of Hope during the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. (WEBSITE PHOTO)

Volunteers man the Tough Enough to Wear Pink booth to help raise money for the Circle of Hope during the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. (WEBSITE PHOTO)

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign has raised more than $200,000.

That’s saying something, but there’s so much more. All of that money raised has gone to Circle of Hope, a self-help non-profit group for all types of cancer patients and their caregivers. The group hopes to just keep adding to it during this year’s event.

“We typically raise about $20,000 a year for the Circle of Hope,” said Mary Trotter, who has been associated with TETWP since its founding. “The fact that it stays in southwest Kansas is why it stays as it is. What we do is pass the hats for the first four nights of the rodeo and have a pink booth at the rodeo.

“Passing the hat seems to have been the most successful for us. Of course, we really have a big push on the Saturday night of the rodeo, which is our pink night.”

Roundup Rodeo is set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1-Sunday, Aug. 5, at Roundup Arena. That means there are ample opportunities for the TETWP to raise more money for the regional charity, which has been assisting patients and caregivers through their cancer journey since 1993. The support group encourages hope, strength and positive attitude.

“Cancer is just plain scary,” said Trotter, the wife of the longtime president of Roundup, Dr. R.C. Trotter. “You never know what’s lurking in your body.”

The national Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign was created by breast cancer survivor Bonnie Wheatley, the mother of team roper Wade Wheatley, along with Karl Stressman, who was with Wrangler at the time and went on to be commissioner of the PRCA. The plan was to allow rodeo and the Western community to rally against breast cancer.

Hundreds of rodeos across the country take part in the campaign, and not all are focused on breast cancer. That is the case with the Dodge City group. In 2016, the local TETWP campaign raised $27,000 and was among the top 15 in the country. It remains one of the biggest fundraisers in the country each year.

“We have a lot of the same sponsors that we did when we started,” Trotter said. “I think this is important because it shows that Roundup is giving back to the community and not just entertaining the fans that come to the rodeo.”

postheadericon Hester goes from famine to feast

J.C. Hester rides Cervi Championship Rodeo's Dream Machine for 86.5 points Sunday to take the lead at the Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park, Colo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

J.C. Hester rides Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Dream Machine for 86.5 points Sunday to take the lead at the Rooftop Rodeo in Estes Park, Colo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

ESTES PARK, Colo. – When J.C. Hester left Park Rapids, Minn., on Saturday for Estes Park, he reached into his pocket to count his cash.

There wasn’t much there. The Fourth of July run had been rough on the bareback rider, and his bank account was dwindling. He needed to catch a break, and that came Sunday night on a red-and-white paint horse named Dream Machine during the fourth performance of Rooftop Rodeo.

“It had been a long Cowboy Christmas,” said Hester of Queen City, Mo. “I was getting pretty tight on cash. I barely made it out here, but I was 86.5 points, so it was dang sure worth every penny.”

The Cervi Championship Rodeo bucking horse made the 15-hour one-way trip worthwhile for the Missouri cowboy, who took the bareback riding lead in Estes Park. He had never seen the horse before, but he talked to a few others who had matched moves with the animal to get the inside track.

“I knew she was a really nice horse,” he said. “She was definitely worth getting on.”

It was a far cry from the last time Hester competed at Rooftop Rodeo six years ago. That time, he suffered a broken arm and sat out of competition for about three years. Now he’s back at it and is chasing his rodeo dreams. That’s not bad for the Mississippi-raised cowboy who once dreamed of riding bulls.

“We had cows growing up, but rodeo wasn’t part of my family,” Hester said. “I went to Missouri Valley College. I started riding bulls, and here I am riding bareback horses. Ken Mason is a great coach. It’s a great college, and they breed bucking horse riders over there.”

So, what forced him away from bulls and to bucking horses?

“I was winning more money in bareback riding at the time, and I decided I was going to hang my bull rope up. I ended up showing a lot more talent in bareback riding.”

He proved that in Estes Park. Like every cowboy that makes his way up and down the rodeo trail, Hester has dreams of winning the world championship and competing against the greatest in the game at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“Just making a living is my goal this year,” he said. “Rodeo is how I make my money. I dang sure need to be winning, and if going to the finals works out for me at the end of the year, then we’ll be blessed and happy to be there.”

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Leaders through fourth performance
Bareback riding:
1. J.C. Hester Jr., 86.5 points on Cervi Championship’s Dream Machine; 2. (tie) Jake Brown and Kaycee Feild, 85; 4. Lane McGehee, 83; 5. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Mason Clements, 82; 7. Paden Hurst, 81; 8. Hunter Brasfield, 80.5.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds, $1,363; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8, $1,128; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, $893; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3, $541 each; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4, $118 each. Second round: 1. Will Lummus, 3.2 seconds; 2. Hunter Cure, 3.7; 3. Cole McNamee, 4.0 seconds; Blake Mindemann, 4.5; 5. Laine Herl, 4.6; 6. Heath Thompson, 4.9. Average: 1. Will Lummus, 7.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Laine Herl, 8.8; 3. Hunter Cure, 9.1; 4. Sam Williams, 10.0; 5. Tom Littell, 10.6; 6. Blake Mindemann, 11.6.

Team roping: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.4 seconds; 2. (tie) Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton and Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 4.6; 2. Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert, 4.7; 3. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.2; 4. Jake Cooper/Logan Medlin, 5.3; 5. (tie) Rhett Anderson/Coleby Payne and Robert Reed/T.W. Wilson, 5.7.

Saddle bronc riding 1. Wyatt Hageman, 86 points on Cervi Brothers’ Hell’s Fire Hostage; 2. (tie) Hardy Braden and Sterling Crawley, 83; 4. (tie) Troy Crowser and Chase Brooks, 82.5; 6. Jacobs Crawley, 82; 7. Colt Gordon, 81.5; 8. Jake Watson, 81.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds, $1,176; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4, $973; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2, $771; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6, $568; 5. Joey Dickens, 10.7, $365; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9, $203. Second round: 1. Bryson Sechrist, 8.8 seconds; 2. Sterling Smith, 9.6; 3. Anthony Jordan, 10.2; 4. Cimarron Boardman, 10.9; 5. Joey Dickens, 11.4; 6. Tyson Aldredge, 17.7. Average: 1. Bryson Sechrist, 20.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Anthony Jordan, 20.8; 3. Sterling Smith, 21.4; 4. Joey Dickens, 22.1; Cimarron Boardman, 22.3; 6. Trevor Thiel, 37.7.

Barrel racing: 1. Lacinda Rose, 17.39 seconds; 2. Leia Bluemer, 17.43; 3. (tie) Heidi Tillard and Kelley Carrington, 17.47; 5. Sammi Bessert, 17.49; 6. Jaime Merrill, 17.53; 7. Kaylee Burnett, 17.63; 7. (tie) Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi and Jamie Wilson, 17.65; 9. Christine Laughlin and Amanda Harris, 17.70.

Bull riding: 1. Callum Miller, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Living After Midnight, and Scottie Knapp, on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Monte Walsh, 89 points each; 3. Clayton Savage, 88; 4. Kyle Gardner, 85; 5. Reid Barker, 84.5; 6. Jimy Marten, 82.5; 7. Moody McCoy, 77; 8. Colten Fritzian, 75.5.

postheadericon Aguilera, Norman move into a tie

ESTES PARK, Colo. – Each night at Rooftop Rodeo, a community member hands the winners of every event a fresh $100 bill.

The fastest times and highest scores in each event for each of the six performances are rewarded with a little token to show the appreciation the town has for the cowboys and cowgirls that make their way to Estes Park every July.

For Lightning Aguilera and Brady Norman, that money marked the end of a long drought on the rodeo trail. They had the fastest team roping run on Saturday night, so they each had a sly smile as they walked their horses out of the arena holding matching $100 bills.

“This money is great,” said Norman of Springer, Okla. “It’s been a long two weeks. We haven’t had much luck, so this $100 will go a long ways.”

So will the tandem’s 4.6-second run, which puts them in a tie for first place with world champions Jake Barnes and Rich Skelton, who posted the same time during Thursday’s competition.

“I was trying to be as fast as I could without messing up,” said Aguilera of Athens, Texas. “That steer came to the left, and it worked out really good.”

Yes, it did. If they are able to hold their position through the final three performances of Rooftop Rodeo, each man could walk away from this spectacular mountain community with nearly $4,000. That would go a long ways toward healing their road weariness.

“They ran that steer in Cody (Wyo.) earlier in the week,” Norman said. “He was supposed to be a little stronger, but there were a few that were supposed to run that were really good today. Maybe that rain we got before the rodeo cooled them off just right for us.”

This marks the first year that the duo has teamed together, and it’s working out fairly well.

“It’s been great,” Aguilera said. “Brady is really easy to get along with and ropes extremely good.”

Now they have a chance to own at a share of the Rooftop Rodeo title.

“Estes Park is one of the coolest places we get to come to rodeo,” Norman said. “You really can’t beat it.”

His partner agreed.

“This is my third year coming to Estes Park, and it’s always awesome,” Aguilera said. “We don’t make another run until Wednesday in Casper (Wyo.), so we have a little time that we can hang out and enjoy Estes Park. The hospitality around here is great, so you can see why it’s been Rodeo of the Year.”

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Leaders through second performance
Bareback riding:
1. (tie) Jake Brown, on Cervi Rodeo’s Fire’s Easy, and Kaycee Feild, on Cervie Championship’s Commander, 85 points each; 2. Lane McGehee, 83; 3. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Mason Clements, 82; 5. Paden Hurst, 871; 6. Kelly Timberman, 78.5; 7. Jamie Howlett, 78; 8. (tie) Tilmon Moore and Levi Nicholson, 75.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds, $1,363; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8, $1,128; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, $893; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3, $541 each; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4, $118 each. Second round: 1. Will Lummus, 3.2 seconds; 2. Hunter Cure, 3.7; 3. Cole McNamee, 4.0 seconds; Blake Mindemann, 4.5; 5. Laine Herl, 4.6; 6. Heath Thompson, 4.9. Average: 1. Will Lummus, 7.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Laine Herl, 8.8; 3. Hunter Cure, 9.1; 4. Sam Williams, 10.0; 5. Tom Littell, 10.6; 6. Blake Mindemann, 11.6.

Team roping: 1. (tie) Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton and Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 4.6 seconds; 2. Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert, 4.7; 3. Kelsey Parchman/Dustin Davis, 5.2; 4. Jake Cooper/Logan Medlin, 5.3; 5. (tie) Rhett Anderson/Coleby Payne and Robert Reed/T.W. Wilson, 5.7.

Saddle bronc riding 1. Wyatt Hageman, 86 points on Cervi Brothers’ Hell’s Fire Hostage; 2. (tie) Hardy Braden and Sterling Crawley, 83; 4. Troy Crowser, 82.5; 5. Jacobs Crawley, 82; 6. Colt Gordon, 81.5; 7. Tanner Lockhart, 77.5; 8. Spencer Wright, 77.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds, $1,176; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4, $973; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2, $771; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6, $568; 5. Joey Dickens, 10.78, $365; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9, $203. Second round: 1. Sterling Smith, 9.6 seconds; 2. Tyson Aldredge, 17.7; 3. Blane Cox, 18.2; 4. Trevor Thiel, 19.3; 5. Blair Burk, 19.7; 6. Joe James, 20.1. Average: 1. Sterling Smith, 21.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Trevor Thiel, 37.7; 3. Blair Burk, 41.8; 4. Reno Gonzales, 8.4; 5. Jesse Clark, 9.4; 6. Scott Kormos, 10.2.

Barrel racing: 1. Leia Bluemer, 17.43 seconds; 2. (tie) Heidi Tillard and Kelley Carrington, 17.47; 4. Sammi Bessert, 17.49; 5. Jaime Merrill, 17.53; 6. Kaylee Burnett, 17,63; 7. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 17.65; 8. Andrea Busby, 17.77; 9. Rachel Pozzi, 17.82; 10. Joy McDaniel, 17.93.

Bull riding: 1. Callum Miller, 89 points on 4L and Diamond S Ranch’s Living After Midnight; 2. Kyle Gardner, 85; 3. Reid Barker, 84.5; 4. Jimy Marten, 82.5; 5. Moody McCoy, 77; 6. Colten Fritzian, 75.5; 7. Toby Collins, 72; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Lummus’ 3.2 ties Rooftop record

Will Lummus wrestles his steer in an  arena record-tying 3.2 seconds on Friday night to take the bulldogging lead at Rooftop Rodeo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

Will Lummus wrestles his steer in an arena record-tying 3.2 seconds on Friday night to take the bulldogging lead at Rooftop Rodeo. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

ESTES PARK, Colo. – Sometimes it pays to know the competition. That’s why championship teams scout their opponents, and it’s why rodeo cowboys pay attention to the animals they’ve drawn.

Will Lummus knew the steer on which he competed Friday night at Rooftop Rodeo was good. Sam Williams won the first round with a 3.6-second run, and another cowboy was fast that same steer on Thursday night.

But nobody’s been faster this week in Estes Park than Lummus, who grappled the animal to the ground in 3.2 seconds to take the second-round and aggregate leads at Rooftop Rodeo. He even tied an arena record, matching the same time set by John Lowry in 1976 and Chad Hagan in 2002.

“That was the fastest steer I’ve ever thrown,” said Lummus of West Point, Miss. “I was 3.3 in Jackson, Miss., last year, so this was cool. Last year here, I was 4.5 on both steers and didn’t win anything. I like Estes Park. It’s an awesome place to be. They have always had good steers, and just the environment …

“I’m from Mississippi, and we don’t have mountains. Everywhere you go around here, the scenery is beautiful. There’s great cattle, a great committee; this is a great place to have a rodeo with great fans. It’s a wonderful place to be.”

He also got some big-time assistance from his traveling partner, K.C. Jones, a nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Decatur, Texas. Jones served as the hazer, while Lummus rode Jones’ horse, Tebow.

“That horse is 21 years old and doesn’t look like it,” Lummus said. “That’s actually the first steer I’ve run on him this y ear. We felt like this setup fit Tebow better, and it worked out great.

“Great horse, great hazer and a great hazing horse, Ava. It all came together well.

Jake Brown

Jake Brown

It also came together for bareback rider Jake Brown, a three-time NFR qualifier from Cleveland, Texas. The reigning Rooftop Rodeo champion, has earned more than $67,500 so far this season and sits fourth in the world standings. He’s ever so close to clinching his fourth straight trip to Las Vegas in December, home of ProRodeo’s grand finale.

“This rodeo’s huge,” Brown said after his 85-point ride on Cervi Rodeo’s Fire’s Easy, which moved him into the lead. “I got the win last year, and I was blessed. I won over $6,000. That’s a big chuck over what it takes to get to the NFR. If I get the win here this year, I think I’d be pretty comfortable and think I’d almost made the NFR before the end of July.”

Only the top 15 advance to the season grand championship, the sport’s richest rodeo. It’s a big deal to be playing for the biggest money when December arrives. Having success in Estes Park has been a big part of why he’s played on rodeo’s biggest stages.

“It’s just awesome here,” he said of Estes Park, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains in every direction. “It’s great added money, great horses and beautiful weather. The hospitality is awesome.

“This has been a good rodeo to me, and that’s why I keep coming back here from year to year.”

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Leaders through second performance
Bareback riding:
1. Jake Brown, 85 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Fire’s Easy; 2. Lane McGehee, 83; 3. Kelly Timberman, 78.5; 4. (tie) Tilmon Moore and Levi Nicholson, 75; 6. Zach Hibler, 74; 7. Bryton John Byert, 71; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds, $1,363; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8, $1,128; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, $893; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3, $541 each; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4, $118 each. Second round: 1. Will Lummus, 3.2 seconds; 2. Cole McNamee, 4.0 seconds; 3. Laine Herl, 4.6; 4. Heath Thompson, 4.9; 5. Joe Buffington, 6.1; 6. Tom Littell, 6.3. Average: 1. Will Lummus, 7.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Laine Herl, 8.8; 3. Sam Williams, 10.0; 4. Tom Littell, 10.6; 5. Logan McDonald, 15.3; 6. Darrel Petry, 26.0.

Team roping: 1. Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton, 4.6 seconds; 2. Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert, 4.7; 3. Rhett Anderson/Coleby Payne, 5.7; 4. Stratton Lopez/Krece Harris, 5.8; 5. Cole Cooper/J.C. Flake, 5.9; 6. Cyle Denison/Lane Siggins.

Saddle bronc riding 1. Hardy Braden, 83 points on Cervi Brothers’ Silence of the Lambs; 2. Colt Gordon, 81.5; 3. Tanner Lockhart, 77.5; 4. Spencer Wright, 77; 5. Dawson Hay, 71; 6. Toby Collins, 70; 7. Ryder Wright, 69; 8. (tie) Parker Kempfer and Shanse Darling, 67.

Tie-down roping: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6; 5. Joey Dickens, 10.78; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9; 7. Cimarron Boardman, 11.4; 8. Bryson Sechrist, 11.6.

Barrel racing: 1. Heidi Tillard, 17.47 seconds; 2. Jaime Merrill, 17.53; 3. Andrea Busby, 17.77; 4. Rachel Pozzi, 17.82; 5. Amanda Devencenty, 18.05; 6. (tie) Callie Colten and Paige Wiseman, 18.15; 8. Amy Smith, 18.19; 9. Lauren Guntle, 18.56; 10. Lindy James, 18.63.

Bull riding: 1. Kyle Gardner, 85 points on Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Birthday Suit; 2. Reid Barker, 84.5; 3. Jimy Marten, 82.5; 4. Moody McCoy, 77; 5. Colten Fritzian, 75.5; 6. Toby Collins, 72; no other qualified rides.

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