Archive for October, 2018

postheadericon Final-night fireworks ignite titles

DUNCAN, Okla. – Bryson Seachrist had never won the year-end championship in the Prairie Circuit, though he’s a multiple-time qualifier to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

That changed Saturday night in a somewhat unlikely fashion. Seachrist had failed to place in the top four in either of the first two go-rounds, including a no-time on Friday night, so he needed big things to happen if he was going to win the tie-down roping title at the Stephens County Arena.

Bryson Seachrist

Bryson Sechrist

“The first one kicked me, or I would have been fast enough to place, and my second one ran, kicked and ended up getting up,” said Seachrist, 26, of Apache, Okla. “I knew I had to win the round tonight, and I drew a good calf to make it work.”

He did. Riding Superman, an 8-year-old sorrel gelding, he roped and tied his calf Saturday night in 8.0 seconds to win the third go-round. He pocketed $1,851 for that, then watched the cowboy that likely to surpass him for the year-end title, Paul David Tierney, settle for a no-time. That was just the edge Seachrist needed.

“I’m glad I did well, but I hate that his calf got up, because he sure would have gotten me,” Seachrist said. “I still had to do what I did.”

This circuit title will go with his two finals’ average titles, so he will return to the National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place next March in Kissimmee, Fla.

“Winning the year-end has been my goal for a long time,” he said. “This has always been a tough circuit in calf roping. They dang sure make you rope tougher. They’ve had several NFR qualifiers here and lots of others that could make the NFR any day.”

Trevor Kastner

Trevor Kastner

Heading into the three rounds of the circuit finals, bull rider Trevor Kastner was $5,910 behind the standings leader, Garrett Tribble of Bristow, Okla. Kastner bucked off on Night 1, so he had some serious ground to make up in the final two nights if he were to catch Tribble, who was unable to compete because of injury.

Kastner won both rounds and finished second in the average race to rookie bull rider Brett Custer of Elk City, Okla., earning $6,632

“My last two bulls were pretty nice, and I was able to be enough to win the rounds both nights,” said Kastner, a National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Ardmore, Okla., who returns to Las Vegas for the fourth time in his career. “Any title feels great, but to win a Prairie Circuit title is awesome.

“It’s never fun to win by default because Garrett couldn’t ride, but I had to stay on my last two bulls to have a chance at it, and it ended up working out.”

Riley Duvall

Riley Duvall

Another tight race in steer wrestling came down to the last run. Riley Duvall of Checotah, Okla., threw his steer in 4.8 seconds, while Blake Mindemann of Blanchard, Okla., failed to score a time. The No. 2 man in the standings, Tyler Pearson of Louisville, Miss., stopped the clock in 4.6 seconds, finishing fourth in the final round.

But Duvall held the advantage in the average, made up of the cumulative time on three runs. He was able to hold off Pearson, the reigning world champion, to win the average title and the year-end crown.

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 18-20
Duncan, Okla.
Year-end all-around champion:
Paul David Tierney.

Bareback riding: First round: 1. Will Martin, 83 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Jason’s Pride, $1,832; 2. Jared Keylon, 81.5, $1,374; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 80, $916; 5. (tie) Garrett Shadbolt and Steven Dent, 77, $229 each. Second round: 1. Jared Keylon, 84.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Big League, $1,832; 2. Steven Dent, 82.5, $1,374; 3. (tie) Mike Fred and Mark Kreder, 79, $687 each. Third round: 1. Jared Keylon, 85 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Satin Sheets, $1,832; 2. Mark Kreder, 81, $1,374; 3. Justin Pollmiller, 80.5, $916; 4. Will Martin, 78.5, $458. Average: 1. Jared Keylon, 251 points on three rides, $2,748; 2. Will Martin, 239.5, $2,061; 3. Steven Dent, 237.5, $1,374; 4. Mark Kreder, 228.5, $687. Year-end champion: Steven Dent.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Blake Mindemann, 3.8 seconds, $1,851; 2. Stockton Graves, 4.4, $1,388; 3. Riley Duvall, 4.7, $925; 4. Jule Hazen, 5.3, $463. Second round: 1. (tie) Riley Duvall and Hunter Crawford, 4.3 seconds, $1,619 each; 3. Jule Hazen, 4.4, $925; 4. Kyle Eike, 4.7, $463. Third round: 1. J.D. Struxness, 3.9 seconds, $1,851; 2. Bridger Anderson, 4.0, $1,388; 3. Stockton Graves, 4.4, $925; 4. Tyler Pearson, $462. Average: 1. Riley Duvall, $2,776; 2. Cody Devers, 15.6, $2,082; 3. Tyler Pearson, $1,388; 4. J.D. Struxness, 16.6, $694. Year-end champion: Riley Duvall.

Team roping: First round: 1. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 4.6 seconds, $1,851; 2. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.2, $1,157; 4. Cole Markham/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.6, $463. Second round: Curry Kirchner/Jett Hillman, 5.0, $1,851; 2. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 5.1 $1,388; 3. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.5, $925; 4. Cale Markham/Buddy Hawkins, 6.0, $463. Third round: 1. Coleman Proctor/Joseph Harrison, 4.4 seconds, $1,851; 2. Nick Sartain/Austin Rogers, 4.5, $1,388; 3. Jesse Stipes/Jake Smith, 4.8, $925; 4. Curry Kirchner/Jett Hillman, 4.9, $462. Average: 1. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 16.2 seconds on three runs, $2,776; 2. Nick Sartain/Austin Rogers, 17.1, $2,082; 3. Cale Markham/Buddy Hawkins II, 21.2, $1,388; 4. Curry Kirchner/Jett Hillman, 9.9 seconds on two runs, $694. Year-end champions: Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Steven Dent, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Night Latch, $1,851; 2. Hardy Braden, 78.5, $1,388; 3. Roper Kiesner, 78, $925; 4. (tie) Clint Lindenfeld, Preston Kafka and Dalton Davis, 76, $154 each. Second round 1. Hardy Braden, 83.5 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Aces Wild, $1,851; 2. Dalton Davis, 79.5, $1,388; 3. Jake Finlay, 66, $925; 4. (tie) Colt Gordon and Tyrel Larsen, 75.5, $231 each. Third round: 1. Colt Gordon, 87 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Toy Box, $1,851; 2. Hardy Braden, 80, $1,388; 3. Steven Dent, 77.5, $925; 4. Jake Finlay, 76, $463. Average: 1. Hardy Braden, 242 points on three rides, $2,776; 2. (tie) Tyrel Larsen and Clint Lindenfeld, 222.5, $1,735 each; 4. Steven Dent, 220.5, $694. Year-end champion: Hardy Braden.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 8.0 seconds, $1,851; 2. Trent Creager, 8.5, $1,388; 3. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $925; 4. Luke Potter, 9.3, $463. Second round: 1. Cody Quaney, 7.7 seconds, $1,851; 2. Cole Bailey, 8.0, $1,388; 3. Paul David Tierney, 8.2, $925; 4. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $463. Third round: 1. Bryson Seachrist, 8.0 seconds, $1,851; 2. Cole Bailey, 8.2, $1,388; 3. (tie) Caddo Lewallen and Ryan Jarrett, 8.3, $694 each. Average: 1. Cody McCartney, 27.4 seconds on three runs, $2,776; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 27.7, $2,082; 3. Tyler Milligan, 28.0, $1,388; 4. Cole Bailey, 34.6, $694. Year-end champion: Bryson Seachrist.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.55 seconds, $1,851; 2. Kyle Weast, 15.61, $1,388; 3. Hollie Etbauer, 15.76, $925; 4. Emily Miller, 15.85, $463. Round 2: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.50 seconds, $1,851; 2. Hollie Etbauer, 15.54, $1,388; 3. Kylie Weast, 15.70, $925; 4. Tracy Nowlin, 15.73, $463. Third round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.30 seconds, $1,851; 2. Emily Miller, 15.41, $1,388; 3. Tracy Nowlin, 15.46, $925; 4. Kylie Weast, 15.54, $463. Average: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 46.35 seconds on three runs, $2,776; 2. Kylie Weast, 46.85, $2,082; 3. Emily Miller, 47.09, $1,388; 4. (tie) Randi Buchanan and Tracy Nowlin, 47.17, $347 each. Year-end champion: Kylie Weast.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Blake Deckard, 11.4 seconds, $1,710; 2. Rocky Patterson, 12.5, $1,282; 3. Billy Good, 12.7, $855; 4. Dee Kyler Jr., 15.4, $427. Second round: 1. Brady Garten, 10.6 seconds, $1,710; 2. J.P. Wickett, 11.0, $1,282; 3. (tie) Cole Patterson and Trenton Johnson, 11.1, $641 each. Third round: 1. Brodie Poppino, 9.9 seconds, $1,710; 2. Billy Good, 13.3, $1,282; 3. Ralph Williams, 14.6, $855; 4. Kelton McMillen, 19.4, $427. Average: 1. Kelton McMillen, 51.8 seconds on three runs, $2,565; 2. Mike Chase, 57.0, $1,924; 3. Ralph Williams, 65.0, $1,282; 4. Brodie Poppino, 22.3 seconds on two runs, $641. Year-end champion: Rocky Patterson.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Tyler Hessman, 86.5 points on Big Rafter’s Outback Pharmacy, $1851; 2. Nathan Hatchel, 84, $1,388; 3. Jeston Mead, 82.5, $925; 4. Brett Custer, 82, $463. Second round: 1. Trevor Kastner, 86 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Bull Throttle, $2,545; 2. Brett Custer, 83, $2,082; no other qualified rides. Third round: 1. Trevor Kastner, 86 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Black Lightning, $2,005; 2. Tyler Hessman, 82.5, $1,542; 3. Brett Custer, 81, $1,080. Average: 1. Brett Custer, 246 points on three rides, $2,776; 2. Trevor Kastner, 172 points on two rides, $2,082; 3. Tyler Hessman, 169, $1,388; 4. Nathan Hatchel, 84 points on one ride, $694. Year-end champion: Trevor Kastner.

postheadericon Braden has eyes set on PCF title

DUNCAN, Okla. – Hardy Braden knew he had no chance to win the year-end saddle bronc riding title in the Prairie Circuit.

His only chance to advance to the National Circuit Finals Rodeo was to win the average championship this weekend at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

He’s well on his way. After finishing second in Thursday’s opening night, Braden followed Friday with an 83.5-point ride on Rafter H Rodeo’s Aces Wild to win the second round and move into the average lead with one round remaining Saturday night.

Hardy Braden

Hardy Braden

“I’ve got a good horse (Saturday),” Harden said of Frontier Rodeo’s Memphis King. “It’s set up good if I do my part It’s still anybody’s game. Steven (Dent) is still right there. He may be down in the average a bit, but you know he’s going to make a good ride almost every time if he has a good horse. You can’t leave Tyrel (Larsen) behind either.

“I’m saying I’m not confident I’m going to win the average, but I’m confident in myself.”

He should be. Braden is a three-time average winner at the Prairie Circuit Finals, and he owns two outright championships. A year ago, he qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his career.

His two-ride cumulative score is 162 points, and he has already earned $3,239 in Duncan. He has pushed his season circuit earnings to $13,501. Of course, he knew a little something about his Friday ride, Aces Wild.

“I got on her last year in Vinita, and I made a good ride on her and she had a decent trip,” Braden said. “She still gives you the opportunity, so I was excited to have her.”

The Prairie Circuit once was one of the featured regions for saddle bronc riding with names like Etbauer, Latham, Franks and others battling for titles. This year’s class features Dent, Larsen and Braden, all of whom have been to the NFR; Dent has been in bareback riding, and he’s competing this weekend in both events.

“Steven would be at the NFR in saddle bronc riding if he would focus just on bronc riding rather than doing both,” Braden said. “He’s one of the best bronc riders going down the road, and he only does it half the time.

“We’ve got a lot of good bronc riders in this circuit. If some of those guys hadn’t been bucked off, there would be five or six of us that could be right there in a bunch that could go for the average title. The talent’s coming back for the Prairie Circuit.”

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 18-20
Duncan, Okla.
Bareback riding: First round:
1. Will Martin, 83 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Jason’s Pride, $1,832; 2. Jared Keylon, 81.5, $1,374; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 80, $916; 5. (tie) Garrett Shadbolt and Steven Dent, 77, $229 each. Second round: 1. Jared Keylon, 84.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Big League, $1,832; 2. Steven Dent, 82.5, $1,374; 3. (tie) Mike Fred and Mark Kreder, 79, $687 each.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Blake Mindemann, 3.8 seconds, $1,851; 2. Stockton Graves, 4.4, $1,388; 3. Riley Duvall, 4.7, $925; 4. Jule Hazen, 5.3, $463. Second round: 1. (tie) Riley Duvall and Hunter Crawford, 4.3 seconds, $1,619 each; 3. Jule Hazen, 4.4, $925; 4. Kyle Eike, 4.7, $463.

Team roping: First round: 1. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 4.6 seconds, $1,851; 2. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.2, $1,157; 4. Cole Markham/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.6, $463. Second round: Curry Kirchner/Jett Hillman, 5.0, $1,851; 2. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 5.1 $1,388; 3. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.5, $925; 4. Cale Markham/Buddy Hawkins, 6.0, $463.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Steven Dent, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Night Latch, $1,851; 2. Hardy Braden, 78.5, $1,388; 3. Roper Kiesner, 78, $925; 4. (tie) Clint Lindenfeld, Preston Kafka and Dalton Davis, 76, $154 each. Second round 1. Hardy Braden, 83.5 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Aces Wild, $1,851; 2. Dalton Davis, 79.5, $1,388; 3. Jake Finlay, 66, $925; 4. (tie) Colt Gordon and Tyrel Larsen, 75.5, $231 each.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 8.0 seconds, $1,851; 2. Trent Creager, 8.5, $1,388; 3. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $925; 4. Luke Potter, 9.3, $463. Second round: 1. Cody Quaney, 7.7 seconds, $1,851; 2. Cole Bailey, 8.0, $1,388; 3. Paul David Tierney, 8.2, $925; 4. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $463.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.55 seconds, $1,851; 2. Kyle Weast, 15.61, $1,388; 3. Hollie Etbauer, 15.76, $925; 4. Emily Miller, 15.85, $463. Round 2: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.50 seconds, $1,851; 2. Hollie Etbauer, 15.54, $1,388; 3. Kylie Weast, 15.70, $925; 4. Tracy Nowlin, 15.73, $463.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Blake Deckard, 11.4 seconds, $1,710; 2. Rocky Patterson, 12.5, $1,282; 3. Billy Good, 12.7, $855; 4. Dee Kyler Jr., 15.4, $427. Second round: 1. Brady Garten, 10.6 seconds, $1,710; 2. J.P. Wickett, 11.0, $1,282; 3. (tie) Cole Patterson and Trenton Johnson, 11.1, $641 each. Third round: 1. Brodie Poppino, 9.9 seconds, $1,710; 2. Billy Good, 13.3, $1,282; 3. Ralph Williams, 14.6, $855; 4. Kelton McMillen, 19.4, $427. Average: 1. Kelton McMillen, 51.8 seconds on three runs, $2,565; 2. Mike Chase, 57.0, $1,924; 3. Ralph Williams, 65.0, $1,282; 4. Brodie Poppino, 22.3 seconds on two runs, $641.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Tyler Hessman, 86.5 points on Big Rafter’s Outback Pharmacy, $1851; 2. Nathan Hatchel, 84, $1,388; 3. Jeston Mead, 82.5, $925; 4. Brett Custer, 82, $463. Second round: 1. Trevor Kastner, 86 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Bull Throttle, $2,545; 2. Brett Custer, 83, $2,082; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon McMillen wins average title

The first champions of the 2018 Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo were crowned Friday morning at Stephens County Arena in Duncan, Okla.

Kelton McMillen of Paden, Okla., won the steer roping average championship by roping three steers in a cumulative time of 51.8 seconds. Four-time world champion Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., won the year-end title. He finished second in the opening round and finished the 12-month campaign with $21,713.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Blake Deckard, 11.4 seconds, $1,710; 2. Rocky Patterson, 12.5, $1,282; 3. Billy Good, 12.7, $855; 4. Dee Kyler Jr., 15.4, $427. Second round: 1. Brady Garten, 10.6 seconds, $1,710; 2. J.P. Wickett, 11.0, $1,282; 3. (tie) Cole Patterson and Trenton Johnson, 11.1, $641 each. Third round: 1. Brodie Poppino, 9.9 seconds, $1,710; 2. Billy Good, 13.3, $1,282; 3. Ralph Williams, 14.6, $855; 4. Kelton McMillen, 19.4, $427. Average: 1. Kelton McMillen, 51.8 seconds on three runs, $2,565; 2. Mike Chase, 57.0, $1,924; 3. Ralph Williams, 65.0, $1,282; 4. Brodie Poppino, 22.3 seconds on two runs, $641.

postheadericon Mindemann wrestles circuit lead

With two-time world champion Hunter Cure hazing, Blake Mindemann makes a good run of 3.8 seconds to win the first round of steer wrestling at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. (PHOTO BY FLY THOMAS)

With two-time world champion Hunter Cure hazing, Blake Mindemann makes a good run of 3.8 seconds to win the first round of steer wrestling at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. (PHOTO BY FLY THOMAS)

DUNCAN, Okla. – Steer wrestling is nothing new to Blake Mindemann. He grew up in a bulldogging family and took to it in high school in the early 2000s.

Now the 33-year-old cowboy who grew up in nearby Apache, Okla., is heading to the National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his 14-year career. On Thursday night during the first round of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, he three his steer in 3.8 seconds to win on opening night at Stephens County Arena.

“That steer was good,” said Mindemann of Blanchard, Okla. “I didn’t know much about him, but he looked really good, and he was as good as he looked.”

He earned $1,851 and pushed his circuit earnings to $18,269. That moved him into the lead in the year-end race, just $194 ahead of the defending world champion, Tyler Pearson of Louisville, Miss.

“It would be awesome to win the year-end title,” Mindemann said. “If I could do that, I’d get to go to Kissimmee (Fla.) again.”

He’s talking about the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and only the year-end and average champions from each circuit advance to the national championship. That event will take place in late March.

“That’s a great rodeo to win a bunch of money. I just need to go knock a couple more down this week and see what happens.”

Money is big in rodeo. Not only does it pay bills, but dollars equal points. Only the top 12 on the money list in each event from rodeos primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska advance to this weekend’s championship, and the highest money winner in each discipline will be crowned year-end titlist.

He has a lot of help, from his black bulldogging horse to his hazer, two-time world champion Hunter Cure.

“Hunter is sure good to have on the other side,” Mindemann said. “The horse actually belongs to Johnny Asher. I’ve had him, hauled him and trained him like he was mine. We’re partners on him, and he’s a good horse.

“Both horses worked good, and Hunter did a great job hazing.”

Having all that in his corner has Mindemann’s confidence at an all-time high.

“Everything feels good, and the horses are clicking,” he said. “I’ve just got to try to make some money and run some steers.

“Winning’s always fun.”

Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Oct. 18-20
Duncan, Okla.
Bareback riding: First round:
1. Will Martin, 83 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Jason’s Pride, $1,832; 2. Jared Keylon, 81.5, $1,374; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 80, $916; 5. (tie) Garrett Shadbolt and Steven Dent, 77, $229 each.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Blake Mindemann, 3.8 seconds, $1,851; 2. Stockton Graves, 4.4, $1,388; 3. Riley Duvall, 4.7, $925; 4. Jule Hazen, 5.3, $463.

Team roping: First round: 1. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 4.6 seconds, $1,851; 2. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.2, $1,157; 4. Cole Markham/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.6, $463.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Steven Dent, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Night Latch,l $1,851; 2. Hardy Braden, 78.5, $1,388; 3. Roper Kiesner, 78, $925; 4. (tie) Clint Lindenfeld, Preston Kafka and Dalton Davis, 76, $154 each.

Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 8.0 seconds, $1,851; 2. Trent Creager, 8.5, $1,388; 3. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $925; 4. Luke Potter, 9.3, $463.

Barrel racing: First round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.55 seconds, $1,851; 2. Kyle Wast, 15.61, $1,388; 3. Hollie Etbauer, 15.76, $925; 4. Emily Miller, 15.85, $463.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Tyler Hessman, 86.5 points on Big Rafter’s Outback Pharmacy, $1851; 2. Nathan Hatchel, 84, $1,388; 3. Jeston Mead, 82.5, $925; 4. Brett Custer, 82, $463.

postheadericon Gladiators coming to Wichita

The raw power and agility that is freestyle bullfighting will be on full display during the Bullfighters Only Wichita Invitational, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Park City's Hartman Arena. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

The raw power and agility that is freestyle bullfighting will be on full display during the Bullfighters Only Wichita Invitational, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Park City’s Hartman Arena. (PHOTO BY TODD BREWER)

Bullfighters Only brings a showcase of danger, excitement at Hartman Arena

WICHITA, Kan. – Bullfighters Only will invade central Kansas on Saturday, as the world’s top freestyle bullfighters compete in the BFO Wichita Invitational at Park City’s Hartman Arena.

As has been the case the last two years, the race for the world championship is getting tight. Heading into the Wichita Invitational, Weston Rutkowski owns a $5,000 lead over Toby Inman, while Kris Furr is just $3,000 behind him. Inman, who owned the top spot for a majority of the season, now finds himself trailing with a big purse on the line at Hartman Arena.

“The 15 athletes set to compete in Wichita are the ones who have been performing the most consistently all season long” said Luke Kaufman, Bullfighters Only’s production manager.

Rutkowski understands the race because he has been atop the standings each of the past two seasons. While he’s fallen a bit behind his normal pace in 2018, the reigning BFO champion overtook the lead two weeks ago in North Carolina.

“My preparation won’t change,” Rutkowski said. “Instead of me being No. 2 or No. 4, the standings say I’m sitting first. It doesn’t matter until the champion is crowned in Las Vegas this December.”

Kris Furr’s outlook is much the same. He has been among the top 3 in the standings all season, but there is no denying that he could use a boost going into December’s BFO Las Vegas Championship.

“I try not to think about it too much, but if I can go in there and win, it will definitely set me up really good,” Furr said. “Last year when we got to Vegas, everything had to fall my way for me to catch Weston. Winning Wichita would definitely help me be in position.

“This is going to be hard to win. It’s going to come down to who is the best bullfighter on Saturday.”

This is a true gladiator competition – man vs. beast in a showcase of amazing athleticism, animal aggression and acrobatic feats by the greatest bullfighters in the business. Scores are based on a 100-point scale, with half the score coming from how aggressive the animal is and the other half from the bullfighter’s ability to remain in control while maneuvering around, and, jumping over the bull.

The event will also play host to the inaugural BFO Total Feeds Cattle Battle. It will feature five stock contractors, with each entering a team of four fighting bulls to be judged. The top bull team will take home $10,000.

“We want the stock contractors to bring the bulls that guys have the best chance to win on,” Kaufman said. “You’re going to see great bullfights across the board because the bulls will be fresh.”

The bullfighters agree.

“A lot of bulls you have to fight aren’t particularly fun,” Rutkowski said. “These will be the ones that guys can really show off on. It’ll be a demonstration of a true bullfighting match.”

Furr has been around bull riding organizations that have had bull team competitions, so he knows what bullfighters can expect.

“By adding the two scores together, you’re allowing the bulls that you can score high on win,” he said. “It’s really going to help the sport. It will help draw more bullfighters and keep the good ones healthier all year long.”

After being sidelined for a year and a half, BFO pioneer Ross Hill returned to action in July with a vengeance. He won three events in a row – Salinas, Calif., and Washington events in Kennewick and Ellensburg, before a tough match-up in Lewiston, Idaho, against Costa’s Spitfire threw off the streak.

“I don’t feel like I’ve been in a slump at all,” he said. “I haven’t fought more than nine bulls this year. I finished second once, then I got run over in Charlotte (N.C.). Rubbing is racing, as they say in NASCAR, and that’s part of bullfighting. I’ve just got started on my roll.

“It’s like rolling the dice; you’ve got to lose some to win it all.”

It’s more than a gamble, though. Bullfighters Only has reignited the fire that is freestyle bullfighting. Part of the attraction comes from the excitement and overall entertainment value that comes from the BFO’s live event production.

‘Bullfighting has been around for a long time, but nobody is putting on the production we’re doing.” Kaufman said. “We’re putting on a world-class bullfight, so we want to have a world-class production to go along with it. You won’t see Conor McGregor without a substantial show around him, and our athletes deserve the same.”

Kaufman grew up around event production and was involved in the formation of the now-defunct freestyle bullfighting league, Ultimate Bullfighting. The platform has been noted by BFO founder Aaron Ferguson as one of the original inspirations for Bullfighters Only.

“People want to be entertained,” he said. “Even though the BFO is the most dangerous sport in the world, you have to captivate people other ways, too. We want to keep it fun and energetic, and our shows are very fast-paced.”

postheadericon Carr to donate rodeo proceeds to Vezain

Pete Carr is going to donate proceeds from the Stampede at the Ike in West Monroe, La., to J.R. and Shelby Vezain to help cover the medical expenses that come with J.R.'s treatment for a broken back, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Pete Carr is going to donate proceeds from the Stampede at the Ike in West Monroe, La., to J.R. and Shelby Vezain to help cover the medical expenses that come with J.R.’s treatment for a broken back, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.

DALLAS – When bareback rider J.R. Vezain was paralyzed, the reality of rodeo injuries emerged again on Sept. 22, 2018.

Vezain suffered a broken back that required surgery and has left him paralyzed from the waist down at this point. He is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston and will continue that beyond his time in southeast Texas. All the while, expenses that come with his injury will keep adding up.

“The rodeo industry is one big family, and when one of our family members is down, we all need to pick them up,” said Pete Carr, owner of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “We put on rodeos, so my heart told me that the next rodeo we produce could be a benefit rodeo for the Vezain family. All the proceeds from the Stampede at the Ike rodeo in West Monroe (La.) will go directly to J.R. and Shelby.”

In addition to serving as stock contractor for two dozen events nationwide, Pete Carr Pro Rodeo produces the Stampede at the Ike, which will take place Jan. 4-5.

“J.R. is a tremendous athlete and a remarkable young man,” Carr said. “He was closing out the regular season when the injury happened. He actually finished 14th and qualified for his sixth NFR. I’ve seen some posts made about his work in rehab, and having known J.R. for several years, I’m not surprised with his overall strength and faith during this challenging time.”

“This was an opportunity for our whole crew and partner Buckshot Sims of the Deep South Rodeo in Winnsboro (La.) to show our support for J.R. and his wife.”

Vezain is undergoing rehabilitation at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital and will remain there for a few more weeks. His treatment will continue after that, and the Cowley, Wyo., cowboy is weighing options for where it will take place. He’d like to return closer to home if possible.

“Every time we run our hand in, there’s a chance of something like this happening,” Vezain told the PRCA in late September. “You can have two attitudes: You can either look to blame and get mad and ask why, or you can make the most of it and find the positive and start working to get better. This has been humbling. I’m at a loss for words to see how many friends I truly have and everybody who has stepped out to help me out.

“The calls, the fundraising came together so fast, and all I can say is thank you to everybody. I do believe the good Lord will make something good from this, and I will be a walking miracle here before too long. I want to be the story that changes lives for the better. That, to me, is way more exciting and more important than any gold buckle that can be won.”

postheadericon Yaussi scores big for Rangers

Bo Yaussi, shown in this photo from 2016, finished second in the tie-down roping race this past weekend in Stillwater, Okla. He is second in the Central Plains Region standings. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BO YAUSSI)

Bo Yaussi, shown in this photo from 2016, finished second in the tie-down roping race this past weekend in Stillwater, Okla. He is second in the Central Plains Region standings. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BO YAUSSI)

ALVA, Okla. – The deep red dirt that filled the arena at the Oklahoma State University rodeo this past weekend in Stillwater just got darker and thicker as the weekend wore on.

“It was bad,” said Bo Yaussi, a sophomore all-around cowboy at Northwestern Oklahoma State University from Udall, Kan. “The first performance was great. Then it rained, it got deep, and it rained again. It was pretty muddy, but everybody had to rope in it.”

Yaussi did better than most. He placed fourth in the opening round with a 9.3-second run. He finished second in the championship round and the average, scoring big points for himself and the Rangers.

“My theory on short rounds is to leave the arena leading it and make the rest come get me,” he said. “There were three guys after me, and the next guy to rope was long. The second to last guy beat me, and the last guy to rope, the guy that won the long round, missed.”

His plan paid off, but he also had some help. Three Rangers tie-down ropers were in the short round, and all three placed: Jeremy Carney placed fourth in the final round and the average, while Levi Walter placed fifth in both rounds and the average.”

Yaussi transferred Northwestern from North Central Texas College in Gainesville, and he’s now gotten his feet wet in the Central Plains Region. He is second in the tie-down roping standings, just behind teammate Riley Wakefield, and is 12th in the steer wrestling standings.

“This is a very tough region,” the Kansan said. “Team roping has been really tough, and there are a lot of freshman calf ropers that are roping really good. Bulldogging has also been very tough in this region.

“I’m from this area, so I know these arenas. It’s almost like rodeoing on my home turf.”

Aided by another solid performance in Stillwater, the Northwestern men’s team sits No. 2 in the Central Plains Region. The Rangers found limited, yet adequate success this past weekend. Sophomore Bridger Anderson, who qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo last season, placed in both rounds of steer wrestling and finishing as the runner-up.

Bradley Ralph won the first round and was sixth in the short round to finish sixth overall. Jace Rutledge tied Anderson and two other cowboys for a four-way tie for fifth place in the opening round. Anderson leads the bulldogging standings, while Ralph sits third.

Header Taylor Munsell finished fifth in team roping with her partner, Ean Price of Garden City (Kan.) Community College, while the Rangers team of Levi Walter and Jayden Johnson placed sixth overall. For the Northwestern women, barrel racers Kayla Copenhaver (first) and Baillie Wiseman (third) placed in the opening round. They were unable to have fast enough times in the final round to place overall.

But there are seven rodeos remaining on the 2018-19 season, one more set for Oct. 25-27 in Alva. That’s part of the attraction to compete at Northwestern for Yuassi.

“I wanted to go to a good all-around school, and I wanted to go to a place where I could get better at bulldogging,” he said. “You can’t go to a better place for that than Alva. Plus, it’s two and a half hours closer to home.”

Northwestern has been considered the top school in college rodeo for steer wrestling, thanks in large part to coach Stockton Graves, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and Rangers alumnus.

“Stockton’s got the mental game down,” Yaussi said. “He’s been there and done that, and he knows how to win. Everything he says is from experience. He’s at bulldogging practice every day with us. He puts in a lot of work.”

Now in just his second year of college eligibility, he plans to compete for Northwestern for his final three years. Still, he has some big ideas for this year.

“My personal goal for this year is to make the college finals in calf roping and team roping,” Yaussi said. “We’re hanging right in there for the year-end championship. For the team, I would love to win the region. We’ve just got to keep going strong.”

postheadericon Roughstock event offers fun for all

Claremore's Extreme Roughstock will feature all three rodeo roughstock events, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. The competition takes place Saturday at the Claremore Expo Center. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock will feature all three rodeo roughstock events, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. The competition takes place Saturday at the Claremore Expo Center. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – After viewing it for the first time, organizer David Petty knew he wanted to make Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock a better experience for everyone.

That’s the plan for this year’s event, which is presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Claremore Expo Center. This year’s festivities will include all three rodeo roughstock events: Bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.

“I wanted to make it a true roughstock event,” said Petty, noting that the proceeds will be used to benefit Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma. “I had a few guys call me wanting to include that to our show, so we decided to make it happen. We will add $5,000 in each of the events, which helps us attract the top contestants.”

That money will be mixed with the contestants’ entry fees to make up the total purse. But that’s not all that’s available. The event will also feature the Kubota Challenge Shootout, a head-to-head match with between two cowboys in each discipline.

“We’ll take the winner, then we’ll have a drawing of all the rest that are left, whether they placed second or bucked off right in out of the chute,” he said. “Whoever we draw will be part of the shootout, and it will be winner-take-all for the shootout’s $1,000 purse.”

That’s a unique feature to this world-class event. Dozens of the greatest stars in the game will put their names in the hat to battle for those dollars.

But Petty also upped the ante by adding celebrated rodeo clown Cody Sosebee and trick rider Haley Ganzel to the show to make for a better overall experience for the contestants, fans and sponsors.

“We do this for the community, and we want everyone to enjoy a night out in Claremore,” Petty said. “Cody has been nominated for PRCA Clown of the Year many times and was the barrelman at the National Finals Rodeo. He’s naturally funny.

“Haley is from Collinsville, and she does an amazing roman riding act that I think people from around here are going to love. She has been nominated for Act of the Year, which tells you that the cowboys love her act – they’re the ones who nominated her.”

In addition to the top cowboys and elite entertainers, Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock will have Andy Stewart calling the action. Stewart is recognized as one of the greatest announcers in the game. He has been nominated 10 times for Announcer of the Year.

“Andy adds so much to every event he works,” Petty said. “He understands our sport as well as anyone, and he knows about all the contestants. He helps make the overall production of our event even better.”

That’s just what fans in Claremore want to see.

“The word that came to us from the management staff at the expo and local residents is that it was one of the best events they’ve ever seen in the expo,” he said. “We want to keep making it better every year.”

They’re already planning to do that in Year 2.

postheadericon Gamble didn’t pay off in Bellville

J.T. Moore of Alvin, Texas, is bucked off his re-ride bull on Saturday night in Bellville, Texas. After scoring 80 points on his first bull and being offered a re-ride, Moore gambled to make an additional $800; instead, he left with zero. That's part of the gamble cowboys make, but it didn't pay off Saturday. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

J.T. Moore of Alvin, Texas, is bucked off his re-ride bull on Saturday night in Bellville, Texas. After scoring 80 points on his first bull and being offered a re-ride, Moore gambled to make an additional $800; instead, he left with zero. That’s part of the gamble cowboys make, but it didn’t pay off Saturday. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

BELLVILLE, Texas – Every gambler knows that once the dice go into the air, the numbers might not roll their way.

That was the case for bareback rider Winn Ratliff and bull rider J.T. Moore, both of whom scored qualified rides on their first trips out of the chute Saturday night at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo.

Ratliff’s 80-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Booger would have allowed the Leesville, La., cowboy to finish second in bareback riding. Moore’s 80-point ride on Mo Betta’s 507 would have held up for third place in bull riding. In both cases, the house won some of its money back from the cowboys.

“The re-ride I had was a (Mo Betta) horse named Darth that’s been to the National Finals,” said Ratliff, 29, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “Bill Tutor was 84.5 points at Rosenberg (Texas) last weekend. I’ve had some history with that horse, and I’ve seen that horse a lot. When I knew he was the re-ride, I rolled the dice and took that gamble.

“That’s rodeo. If it was easy, everybody would do it.”

By accepting the re-rides, those 80-point rides were erased. Had Ratliff stayed with his, he would have pocketed $1,121. Instead, Darth had a bad day, and the tandem matched moves for just 74 points. That was good enough for fifth place. He gambled to make $350 more and lost $800.

“If you’ve got a horse that’s been to the NFR, you want that shot if you’re a competitor,” he said. “I came here to win this rodeo. When I had a free opportunity to get on another horse, I took it.”

Moore’s third-place finish would have netted him roughly $1,100. He gambled to win $800 more, then bucked off his re-ride bull and lost it all. That’s why it can sometimes be a difficult decision for cowboys to accept another chance.

But rodeo is a gamble. In the three roughstock events, half the score comes from the animals they ride. In Ratliff’s case, the big black horse was supposed to be better than he was Saturday night in Bellville. That’s just part of the game.

For his sake, though, the Louisiana cowboy is just happy to be back to work doing what he loves. He suffered a shattered pelvis two and a half years ago and is just getting back to where he can compete again.

“I feel really confident in my health,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of questions if I’m going hard again next year and try to make it back to the NFR, but I’m going to pray about it. I’ve really enjoyed being home. That’s the one blessing when you’re injured; you get to spend a lot of family time. I’ve got a 3-year-old daughter, and she needs her daddy, and I’ve got a little boy on the way in December.

“I’m blessed in what I’ve accomplished as a bareback rider. I’m enjoying every moment and having fun. But my priorities have changed, and it’s time to be a family man and a daddy.”

Sure, there is disappointment in Ratliff’s voice, but he understands the game well. He also knows his roles in both fatherhood and rodeo have changed over the years. He’s content with that.

“I’m thankful I get to go home, and there’s another rodeo next week,” Ratliff said.

Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 11-13
Bellville, Texas
Bareback riding:
1. Tim Murphy, 81.5 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Buckle Up, $1,480; 2. Zach Hibler, 79.5, $1,121; 3. Blade Elliott, 77.5, $807; 4. Sandro Ferretti, 74.5, $538; 5. Winn Ratliff, 74, $314; 6. Tyler David Johnson, 73, $224.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jacob Talley, 3.4 seconds, $1,665; 2. Heath Thomas, 4.5, $1,448; 3. (tie) A.D. Davis II and Lucas Brasfield, 4.6, $1,122 each; 5. (tie) Sam Powers and Dylan Shroeder, 4.7, $688 each; 7. Dakota Stermer, 5.2, $392; 8. Justin Shaffer, 5.4, $145.

Team roping: 1. Cory Kidd V/Martin Lucero, 4.7 seconds, $2,162; 2. Caleb Mitchell/Seth Smithson, 4.9, $1,880; 3. (tie) Garett Chick/Ross Ashford and Landon McClaugherty/Case Swaim, 5.0, $1,457 each; 5. Tanner Tomlinson/Corey Hedrick, 5.1, $1,034; 6. Shane Phillip/John Phillip, 6.2, $752; 7. Reno Cash Stoebner/Daniel Braman IV, 10.0, $470; 8. Manny Eguesquiza Jr./York Gill, 14.0, $188.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Parker Kempfer, 79 point on United Pro Rodeo’s Awsome Sauce, $1,502; 2. Taygen Schuelke, 74, $1,149; 3. Mason Laviolette, 71, $839; 4. Dusty Hausauer, 69, $574; 5. Curtis Garton, 68.5, $353; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Cody Lawrence, 8.4 seconds, $2,140; 2. (tie) De Andre Jackson and Justin Smith, 8.6, $1,722 each; 4. Lane Livingston, 8.8, $,1,303; 5. Justin Macha, 9.0, $1,024; 6. (tie) Austin Atkinson and Wyatt Imus, 9.5, $605 each;87. Coley Salge, 9.8, $186.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Chloe Gray, 16.18 seconds, $2,630; 2. Kelly Carrington, 16.19, $2,236; 3. Tiany Schuster, 16.20, $1,841; 4. (tie) Tasha Welsh and Melinda Edwards Dunn, 16.26, $1,447 each; 6. Cheyenne Wimberley, 16.27, $921; 7. Jennifer Kalafatic, 16.31, $658; 8. (tie) Ericka Nelson, Taci Bettis and Jill Wilson, 16.32, $460 each; 11. Alex Lang, 16.35, $329; 12. (tie) Shelley Morgan and Ivy Hurst, 16.39, $132 each.

Steer roping: First round: 1. (tie) J. tom Fisher and Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2 seconds, $925 each; 3. Cole Patterson, 10.3, $633; 4. Tony Reina, 10.4, $489; 5. Trenton Johnson, 10.8, $314; 6. (tie) Mike Chase and Travis Mills, 10.9, $87 each. Second round: 1. (tie) Laramie Allen and Brodie Poppino, 10.0 seconds, $925 each; 3. Landon McClaugherty, 10.7, $489; 4. Trenton Johnson, 10.9, $489; 5. Corey Ross, 11.0, $314; 6. Cody Lee, 11.2, $175. Average: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 21.5 seconds on two runs, $1,519; 2. Trenton Johnson, 21.7, $1,257; 3. John E. Bland, 22.3, $995; 4. Mike Chase, 23.0, $733; 5. Bryce Davis, 23.1, $471; 6. Travis Mills, 23.5, $262.

Bull riding: 1. Brody Yeary, 87.5 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Wonder Boy, $1,978; 2. Denton Fugate, 85, $1,523; 3. (tie) Jeff Askey and Jesse Petri, 77, $938; 5. Parker McCown, 76.5, $483; 7. Clayton Sellars, 76, $353; 7. Guthrie Murray, 75.5, $288; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Champs eager to return to Claremore

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Hardy Braden of Welch, Okla., was one of the first winners at the inaugural Claremore's Extreme Roughstock, and he hopes to defend his title. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Hardy Braden of Welch, Okla., was one of the first winners at the inaugural Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock, and he hopes to defend his title. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – The inaugural Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock was a homecoming of sorts for several of the 2017 contestants, but it was more than that for two.

Kade Alberty, a bull rider who grew up in Claremore, and Hardy Braden, a saddle bronc rider from nearby Welch, Okla., walked away from last year’s event with at least a share of the championship in their discipline.

Alberty split the title with Andrew Alvidrez of Seminole, Texas, while Braden earned the bronc riding title outright. This year’s event – which is presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma and will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Claremore Expo Center – will also benefit the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma and will include bareback riding.

“It was quite an honor to actually win it since it was the first time to put it on,” said Braden, a 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “I’m happy for it to be successful, and am really glad they’re having it again this year.”

He was one of several top cowboys in Claremore last fall, but organizers expect that number to increase this year with the inclusion of bareback riding. While the inaugural Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock was a hit 12 months ago, there is great anticipation for Oct. 27.

“It’s a really great thing for Claremore to have,” Braden said. “It’s something to go to after the regular season that has a good payout, and it’s about the right time before the finals for a good shot to get on good animals.”

The purse will also be attractive to contestants. Organizers are including $5,000 in local money in each event, which will be added to entry fees to make up the purse. That will offer the cowboys a chance at a nice payday.

In addition, the winners of each event will then be matched by one of the other cowboys in the field via random draw in the Kubota Challenge Shootout. The winner of that showdown in each event will earn $1,000, winner take all. That just adds to the intrigue of the event.

But there’s more incentive for the cowboys. Organizers plan to use multiple livestock providers, most of whom have been recognized on a national level for the ability of their bucking horses and bulls.

“The amount of different people that bring stock there is great,” Braden said. “That’s what attracts me to it. No matter whose herd you draw out of, you’re going to draw into the best pen of horses they have.

“With four or five stock contractors bringing their best stuff, it makes it really good for us, but it’s also good for the fans. They’re really going to enjoy it.”

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