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postheadericon An Austin Statement

Beau Schueth will be one of 12 men from Bullfighters Only that will be part of the excitement next Saturday during Bulltober Fest presented by Rodeo Austin. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Beau Schueth will be one of 12 men from Bullfighters Only that will be part of the excitement next Saturday during Bulltober Fest presented by Rodeo Austin. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

The best men from Bullfighters Only will be showcased at Bulltober Fest

AUSTIN, Texas – The chute flies open, and the pounding hooves of a Spanish fighting bull race toward the animal’s intended target.

Those sounds mark the beginning of the bout, and it’s the drawing card for the best in Bullfighters Only to showcase their athleticism. It’s what fans will experience during Bulltober Fest presented by Rodeo Austin, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Rodeo Austin Fairgrounds.

Weston Rutkowski

Weston Rutkowski

The stand-alone BFO event will feature 12 of the top bullfighters in the game all vying for their share of the $25,000 purse. This is the greatest showcase of action in all of extreme sports, because it’s a true man-vs.-beast competition.

“You just have to go out and beat your bull,” said Weston Rutkowski, the reigning BFO world champion who also sits No. 1 in the standings. “Everything else will take care of itself after that.”

Rutkowski is just one of the 12. They will make up four three-man bouts, and the winners will advance to that evening’s championship round where the lion’s share of the money will go to the BFO-Austin champion.

Beau Schueth

Beau Schueth

“I’m very excited about Austin,” said Beau Schueth, the No. 4 man in the standings from O’Neill, Neb. “It will be an awesome event, like all of our stand-alone bullfights. There’s an opportunity to make big moves in the standings.

“Winning Austin could change anybody’s season and move them up into the running for the world championship.”

Before the BFO came on the scene, the rewards for bullfighters were small. Now with the explosion of Bullfighters Only, the athletes are finding great benefits for showcasing their talents.

“You know when you get there that you have to show out just to get in the championship round,” said Justin Josey, the 14th-ranked man from Apache, Okla. “You need to be at your very best at these stand-alone bullfights. You can’t fool around, you have to go out there to win.”

That’s a powerful attitude, but it’s a winning one that every man in the field must have. Going head-to-head with an athletic and agile Spanish fighting bull is dangerous business and bullfighters must utilize every ounce of ability and effort to come out on top.

“Every great guy in the BFO is going to be there,” Schueth said. “It’s not like going up against a few of the best guys; they’re all there. It definitely ups the ante and makes you bring your A game.”

CONTESTANTS
Weston Rutkowski
Toby Inman
Schell Apple
Beau Schueth
Kris Furr
Justin Josey
Zach Call
Tanner Zarnetski
Evan Allard
Dayton Speil
Ray Carlson
Alex McWilliams

postheadericon Dent earns 2nd-round victory

DUNCAN, Okla. – Just like a superhero, Steven Dent makes the switch from a man in a walking boot to a champion bareback rider.

Hampered by a broken foot that occurred at a California rodeo a month ago, Dent uses the walking boot to move around until it’s time to ride. He changes into his riding boots and limps onto the bucking chute to get to work.

He made it work Friday night, matching moves with Beutler & Son Rodeo’s High Motion for 84.5 points to win the second round of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. He earned $1,802 and pushed his circuit-leading standings total to $22,058. Not bad for a man with a broken left foot.

“It’s cutting down on my working out,” said Dent, an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Mullen, Neb. “I can’t jog or ride a bike. Riding is about the only thing that doesn’t hurt it.”

By riding High Motion, he was reunited with an old friend. He’s been on the veteran bucking horse two times before and recalls vividly winning the Elk City, Okla., rodeo a decade ago. She comes from a strong bloodline: her sire, Commotion, was a three-time Bareback Horse of the Year and has a statue of him in Elk City.

“She’s probably one of the first Commotion colts that became a superstar and went to the NFR,” Dent said. “She’s a little older now. I don’t think they buck her as much, but I think she had a pretty exceptional day.”

It was the perfect redemption from Dent’s first-round ride. He decided to try out a new rigging and new riding glove, and that didn’t work. His hand did not stay locked into position, and that caused him to ride very conservative just to stay on.

“Frankly, I felt stupid,” he said. “I went back to my rigging that I’d been riding with and winning with. I’ll ride with it until the 10th round of the NFR. Hopefully it’ll help me to ride the way I’ve been riding.

“I think this is the best I’ve ever rode. I think I can still ride better. Ten years ago I made my first finals, and I was 21, not 31. I wanted to make the finals (this year), because I feel like I ride better now and, mentally, I’m a lot stronger now.”

With age comes experience, and he’s got a ton of confidence heading to Las Vegas in a month and a half for ProRodeo’s grand finale. But first, he has to finish some business in Duncan.

“I’ve never won the circuit title in bareback riding,” Dent said. “This is the first time I’ve been in this position in bareback riding. I’ve never been to the National Circuit Finals.”

He has a great opportunity before him to reach that goal and get off to a good start to the 2018 regular season.

“This last year I was playing from behind all year, so I thought it would be fun to win some early money and play from ahead,” he said with a laugh.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

postheadericon Stewart lending voice to local event

Andy Stewart will be the arena voice at Claremore's Extreme Roughstock when it takes place Nov. 4 in Claremore, Okla.

Andy Stewart will be the arena voice at Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock when it takes place Nov. 4 in Claremore, Okla.

CLAREMORE, Okla. – Andy Stewart looks at his job from many angles.

He is a researcher, a statistician and an entertainer. He has the unique ability to put it all together as one of the top emcees in professional rodeo, an eight-time nominee for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the Year.

He will bring his talents to Claremore as the voice of Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov 4, at the Claremore Expo Center. It will benefit the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma.

“I feel that production is extremely important in the world of rodeo,” said Stewart, now in his 22nd year in the PRCA. “If people get a $20 ticket, then we need to give them $40 worth of entertainment and get the most bang for their buck.”

Part of the attraction to him is that he’s a fan of the sport. In addition to announcing ProRodeos, Stewart has been the arena voice and a television commentator for bull ridings. He’s also a fan of the animals and truly understands the man-vs.-beast mentality that comes with events like this.

“This is going to be a lot of fun, and these guys are going to be riding for good money at a good time of year for them,” he said. “Hunger is a major motivator; it’s a financial motivation for these guys. They’ve got families, they’ve got bills, they’ve got things that they’ve got to pay.”

Stewart knows what it takes to work at an elite level. He works many of the biggest rodeos in the country, including the legendary Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo. One reason is because of his energetic, booming voice. Another is the extra work he puts ahead of each rodeo performance so that he can be the perfect voice of the fans.

For every hour he’s on the microphone, Stewart spends many more going through biographies and background and looking over all the important statistics of each competitor in the show. He understands what it takes to compete at an elite level, and he wants fans to realize it, too. It is, after all, the perfect mix of world-class competition and true family-friendly entertainment.

“I do this because of the people and the lifestyle,” he said. “You’re not going to find a better bunch of people. I have so many friends and extended family all over the country because of rodeo.

“The people are what make rodeo so special. Rodeo offers me the opportunity to go to a lot of places I don’t normally go and see a lot of things I don’t normally see.”

Now he gets to add Rogers County, Oklahoma, to his list.

postheadericon Gordon cashes in at circuit finals

DUNCAN, Okla. – Saddle bronc rider Colt Gordon loves to rodeo close to home, and it doesn’t get much closer than the Stephens County Arena.

Gordon earned his first paycheck ever at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo during Thursday’s first go-round when he rode Silver Creek Rodeo’s Birthday Suit for 83 points. He qualified for the finale the first time in 2016 but didn’t find the pay window until this year’s championship.

“This means a lot,” said Gordon, 20, of Comanche, Okla., just 10 miles south of the arena. “This is something I’ve been working on and working for, so I’m super proud to be here.”

Colt Gordon

Colt Gordon

He should be. He pocketed $1,802 for winning the round and pushed his season circuit earnings to $15,039. He sits second in the standings behind Hardy Braden of Welch, Okla., who finished half a point behind Gordon. Braden’s lead is more than $5,000 heading into the final two nights of the season, but Gordon has serious confidence after Thursday.

“Birthday Suit is just jam up and is nice every time,” Gordon said. “It’s just an all-around good horse, and you can’t beat him.”

Deep down, he’d like to overtake Braden for the year-end championship. If that’s not possible, though, Gordon would like to earn the average title; the year-end and average champions in each event in each of the 12 circuits advance to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place next April in Kissimmee, Fla.

“I showed up to win the (year-end) title,” Gordon said. “My main goal is to go to Kissimmee, get a good start on next year and go to the (National Finals Rodeo).”

While this was Gordon’s first circuit finals payout, steer wrestler Stockton Graves of Alva, Okla., earned another of dozens. Graves wrestled his animal to the ground in 3.9 seconds to win the round. The first-place money moved him to within $410 of the No. 1 man, J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn.

“The standings are tight between four or five of us,” Graves said. “The main thing is to get some money and get to Florida. I had a great steer; they’re going to win a lot of money on that steer this weekend.”

Graves is a seven-time NFR qualifier who now focuses much of his time on coaching the rodeo program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He led the pack in the bulldogging money, which included two of his former students: Jacob Edler of Dacoma, Okla., finished second in the round, and Struxness placed third.

“Alva was represented well,” said Graves, who rode his former horse, Peso, through much of the year and is riding this weekend. “I sold him to J.D. right before the (NFR) last year. Luckily I still get to ride him.

“I didn’t have a great summer, but I made the circuit finals and have a chance to win the circuit.”

That’s the chance everyone wants when they get to Duncan.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

postheadericon Claremore hosting bulls and broncs

Claremore's Extreme Roughstock will feature many of the best bull riders and bronc riders in ProRodeo on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Claremore (Okla.) Expo Center. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock will feature many of the best bull riders and bronc riders in ProRodeo on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Claremore (Okla.) Expo Center. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

CLAREMORE, Okla. – When good money is up for grabs, cowboys will find a way to get it.

That’s why 50 of the top bull riders and saddle bronc riders in rodeo will make their way to northeast Oklahoma in three weeks to compete in the Claremore’s Extreme Roughstock presented by the Kubota Center of Oklahoma, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov 4, at the Claremore Expo Center.

“There will be a lot of activity around town in celebration of Will Rogers’ birthday, and we thought this would be a great way to bring the cowboys to town and put on a heck of a show,” said David Petty, the event’s organizer who noted it will be in conjunction with Mickey Perry’s Bucking for Kids. “We’re going to have 25 bull riders and 25 bronc riders and several stock contractors so that we have as many good bucking bulls and horses as possible.

“This is also a way we can give to the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from the event.”

Promoters are in the process of receiving entries, but there has been high interest from regular qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The list of contestants should be released in the next week, but it should be a who’s who of the greatest stars in the game.

A big reason for that is the prize money and this time of year. The contestants will battle for their share of the purse, which is expected to be $7,500 in each event. Based on the entry fees of the 25 men in each event, which is mixed in with the committee-raised money, the winner will earn $3,500.

That’s incentive for cowboys who make their living riding bucking animals.

“We want the best cowboys we can get,” said Petty, noting that tickets can be purchased at buy.ticketforce.com. “We want to put on the best show possible. This will be a high-energy event that is loaded with action from start to finish. We’ve got the best personnel in rodeo helping us produce an amazing event, so I’m very excited about what everyone is about to experience.”

The competition will include freestyle bullfighting, where five athletic men will duel face to face with aggressive and agile fighting bulls that are bred specifically for this kind of fight.

But that’s just a small part of the entertainment puzzle; the action will be called by Andy Stewart, who has been nominated for Announcer of the Year numerous times; he will be joined by entertainer/clown Cody Sosebee, a four-time nominee for Clown of the Year.

“When you want to produce the best event, you’ve got to bring in the best,” Petty said. “Andy is one of my favorite announcers and brings a ton of energy. Cody is just plain funny, and he has some of the greatest acts in rodeo. It’s going to be highly entertaining.”

That, of course, is the primary goal. Just as importantly, though, is the competition. With the best cowboys battling the best animals in rodeo, it all adds up to a great evening in Claremore.

postheadericon Jarrett rolling into circuit finale

Ryan Jarrett will battle for the tie-down roping title this week at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Ryan Jarrett will battle for the tie-down roping title this week at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

DUNCAN, Okla. – To say Ryan Jarrett has been on a hot streak might just be a bit of an understatement.

Jarrett, an 11-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and the 2005 all-around world champion from Comanche, Okla., just concluded one of the best regular-season campaigns of his 14-year career. He earned a little more than $96,000 in tie-down roping and returns to Las Vegas No. 8 in the world standings.

Of that, nearly $20,000 came in the Prairie Circuit, which is made up of contestants and rodeos in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. He is No. 1 in the regional standings and hopes to secure his third year-end championship at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

He arrives with some valuable momentum having just secured a share of the tie-down roping crown at the All American ProRodeo Finals, pocketing just shy of $13,000 last week alone. That money counts toward the 2018 season, so Jarrett is already establishing himself for next year.

He’ll have the opportunity to do that again this week in Duncan, just a 15-minute drive from his home. He will be one of more than 100 of the top circuit contestants who will be part of the three performances.

There are two purposes for the contestants. The goal for many is to earn the year-end championship; others will vie for the average title, which is given to the contestants in each event who put together the best three-round cumulative scores or times. The year-end and average titlists advance to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place next spring in Kissimmee, Fla.

Jarrett has played on that stage, just as he has at about every major rodeo in North America. He’s won the Calgary (Alberta) Stampede, RodeoHouston and the average title at the NFR.

It’s just the next step in the cycle that has been Jarrett’s ProRodeo career, one that began with him Resistol Rookie of the Year title in steer wrestling. A year later, he qualified for the NFR in both bulldogging and tie-down roping. He won the tie-down roping average championship and earned his first gold buckle.

Since then, he’s continued to be one of the elite cowboys in the game.

postheadericon Team ropers secure Bellville cash

Clayton Van Aken, right, and Richard Durham stopped the clock in 4.8 seconds Saturday night to finish fourth in the team roping at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Clayton Van Aken, right, and Richard Durham stopped the clock in 4.8 seconds Saturday night to finish fourth in the team roping at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

BELLVILLE, Texas – For only being their third rodeo of competing together, Clayton Van Aken and Richard Durham are doing quite well.

They have placed in two of three rodeos, including a 4.8-second run during Saturday’s final performance of the Austin County Fair and Rodeo. The tandem finished fourth in Bellville and pocketed $1,184 each.

“We had a good steer, and Clay did a good job of turning him for me so he was easy just to catch,” said Durham, a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in heeling from Henrietta, Texas. “Clayton ropes really good. He gets to them real fast and makes my job where I just need to catch.”

Van Aken, from Descanso, Calif., is leaning on his experienced partner through the beginning of this season – the 2017 regulars season concluded two weeks ago, so cowboys and cowgirls are already trying to earn their stripes for the 2018 NFR.

Durham has been around the game for some time. The 32-year-old Texan first began competing in ProRodeo 14 seasons ago. He qualified for ProRodeo’s grand finale in 2005 and ’09.

“I just didn’t want to break the barrier,” Van Aken said, referring to the rule about not allowing the steer a long enough head start; failure to do so would’ve meant a 10-second penalty added to their time. “If I do what I do, we’re going to win money because he’s going to catch.”

That’s a lot of confidence, but the young Californian has learned quickly what to expect out of Durham. The road to the NFR has changed since he last qualified; now money earned at year-end championships will count toward next year’s finale.

“With the All American Finals money and the circuit finals money counting for the world standings, we’re trying to get off to a good start to the season,” he said.

And, of course, it’s nice to earn money in Bellville, where he has competed a number of times through his career.

“I haven’t been here in several years,” Durham said. “In the past, I never missed it. It’s just a great rodeo, the committee is great, and it’s a great setup.

Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 12-14
Bellville, Texas
Bareback riding:
1. Anthony Thomas, 81 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Rainmaker, $1,545; 2. Bill Tutor, 79.5, $1,170; 3. Taylor Broussard, 77, $77.5; 4. Blade Elliott, 75, $562; 5. Kirk St. Clair, $328; 6. Winn Ratliff, 79, $234.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jacob Talley, 4.0 seconds, $1,773; 2. Matt Reeves, 4.2, $1,542; 3. Morgan Grant, 4.3, $1,310; 4. Stan Branco, 4.6, $1,079; 5. (tie) Brandon Harrison and Dylan Schroeder, 4.9, $732 each; 7. Tyler Waguespack, 5.0, $385; 8. Jacob Edler, 5.3, $154.

Team roping: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 3.9 seconds, $1,946; 2. Andrew Livingston/Twister Cain, 4.5, $1,692; 3. Tanner Green/Shawn Turner, 4.7, $1,438; 4. Clayton Van Aken/Richard Durham, 4.8, $1,184; 5. (tie) Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres and Tyler Waters/Caleb Anderson, 5.0, $804 each; 7. Quisto Lopez/Trey Carter, 5.5, $423; 8. (tie) Tee Luttrell/Corey Hendrick and Lee Kiehne/Rich Skelton, 6.1, $85.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Audy Reed, 84 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone, $1,805; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 80, $1,138; 3. (tie) Leon Fountain and Aaron Lide, 77, $821 each; 5. Dawson Hay, 76, $383; 6. (tie) Cort Scheer and Isaac Diaz, 75.5, $137 each.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Cooper Mathews, 7.7 seconds, $2,140; 2. Tanner Green, 8.1, $1,861; 3. Justin Smith, 8.6, $1,582; 4. Trenton Smith, 8.7, $1,302; 5. (tie) Clint Nyegaard and Jackson Massey, 8.9, $884 each; 7. (tie) Chantz Webster and Dennis Luetge, 9.1, $326 each.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Alex Lang, 14.57 seconds, $2,326; 2. Cassidy Kruse, 14.67, $1,977; 3. K.L. Spratt, 14.74, $1,628; 4. Lisa Thornton, 14.75, $1,395; 5. Kelly Bruner, 14.84, $1,163; 6. (tie) Blythe Beshears and Kylan Shaw, 14.87, $698; 8. Kelley Carrington, 14.89, $465; 9. Shelley Morgan, 14.95, $407; 10. (tie) Robyn Herring and Tammy Fischer, 14.97, $320 each; 12. Fallon Taylor, 14.98, $233.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Garrett Hale, 8.9 seconds, $1,117; 2. (tie) Bryce Davis and Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2, $698 each; 4 (tie) Mike Chase and Ralph Williams, 10.4, $140 each. Second round: 1. Jim Locke, 9.5 seconds, $1,117; 2. Landon McClaugherty, $838; 3. Roger Branch, 9.7, $559; 4. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.0, $279. Average: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 20.2 seconds on two runs, $1,676; 2. Rocky Patterson, 21.0; $1,257; 3. Trevor Brazile, 21.7, $838; 4. Bryce Davis, 21.8, $419.

Bull riding: 1. Boudreaux Campbell, 85.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s No. 414, $1,871; 2. (tie) Travis Smith and Clayton Foltyn, 84.5, $1,219 each; 4. Sage Kimzey, 84, $680; 5. Dylan Vick, 82.5, $397; 6. Randy Myers, 80.5, $283.

postheadericon Talley grapples the Bellville lead

Jacob Talley transitions to his steer Friday night en route to a 4.0-second run to take the lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Jacob Talley transitions to his steer Friday night en route to a 4.0-second run to take the lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

BELLVILLE, Texas – In his first trip to the Austin County Fair and Rodeo, Jacob Talley found Bellville to his liking.

On Friday night during the second rodeo performance, he knocked his animal to the ground in 4.0 seconds to take the steer wrestling lead with one night remaining in this year’s championship. He took advantage of a little education and made it work to his benefit.

“That was the second run on that steer,” said Talley, a 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Keatchie, La. “Gary Gilbert ran that steer (Thursday) night and said (the steer) stopped on him, but everybody said he was supposed to be good on the ground if you could catch him.”

Talley did everything he was supposed to. He’s trying to get off to a fast start on the 2018 regular season after finishing 18th when the 2017 campaign closed on Sept. 30.

“I’m focused on making the NFR again in 2018,” he said, referring to finishing among the top 15 bulldoggers in the game. “After finishing 18th, that’ll light a fire under you where you don’t ever want to do that again.

“We had a good year, but the reality is we fell short of our end goal. The main thing I’m going to do is practicing every day and be at the gym every day.”

His breakout season was in 2016 when he earned that coveted trip to the Nevada desert to compete at ProRodeo’s grand finale. While there, he pocketed $25,654 – that’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s a far cry from where he wanted to be. Fellow Louisianan Tyler Waguespack earned nearly $200,000 over the same 10 nights in Las Vegas.

That’s why success in Bellville is important for Talley. Not only did he enjoy the hospitality the volunteer committee offered, he thought the atmosphere was simply electric.

“This is my first time but it’s a good rodeo,” he said. “It’s like those small-town football games where the whole town comes out and pack it out.”

They came to see a show, and Talley did his part to put it on. He knew the steer was solid, and he had a lot of trust in his mount, Viper, a 15-year-old sorrel gelding.

“My horse is working good,” Talley said. “’I think that was kind of a factor in not making the finals this year. There were six weeks in the northwest at the end of the year where I didn’t ride him; he was a little sore, so I bounded around from horse to horse.

“He’s starting to feel good again, so everything’s starting to come together.”

That’s good timing as he makes his plans for the 2018 NFR.

Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 12-14
Bellville, Texas
Bareback riding:
1. Anthony Thomas, 81 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Rainmaker; 2. Bill Tutor, 79.5; 3. Winn Ratliff, 79; 4. Paden Hurst, 77.5; 5. Blade Elliott, 75; 6. (tie) Clint Laye and Kenny Haworth, 71.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jacob Talley, 4.0 seconds; 2. Matt Reeves, 4.2; 3. Morgan Grant, 4.3; 4. Stan Branco, 4.6; 5. Tyler Waguespack, 5.0; 6. Jacob Edler, 5.3; 7. (tie) Rowdy Parrott, Josh Clark and Cade Staton, 5.5 each.

Team roping: 1. Jake Orman/Will Woodfin, 3.9 seconds; 2. Andrew Livingston/Twister Cain, 4.5; 3. Tanner Green/Shawn Turner, 4.7; 4. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.0; 5. Quisto Lopez/Trey Carter, 5.5; 6. Tee Luttrell/Corey Hendrick, 6.1; 7. Chuck Butler/Dale Martin Jr., 7.0; 8. Chuck Doebbler/Randal Eggemeyer, 7.7.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Audy Reed, 84 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 80; 3. Leon Fountain, 77; 4. Dawson Hay, 76; 5. (tie) Cort Scheer and Isaac Diaz, 75.5.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Cooper Mathews, 7.7 seconds; 2. Tanner Green, 8.1; 3. Justin Smith, 8.6; 4. Trenton Smith, 8.7; 5. Clint Nyegaard, 8.9; 6. Chantz Webster, 9.1; 7. Cooper Raley, 9.2; 8. B Braxton Laughlin, 9.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Cassidy Kruse, 14.67 seconds; 2. Lisa Thornton, 14.75; 3. Kelly Bruner, 14.84; 4. (tie) Blythe Beshears and Kylan Shaw, 14.87; 6. Kelley Carrington, 14.89; 7. Shelley Morgan, 14.95; 8. (tie) Robyn Herring and Tammy Fischer, 14.97 each; 10. Fallon Taylor, 14.98; 11. Sydni Blanchard, 14.99; 12. Brittany Grant, 15.05; 8. Amanda Cupp, 15.10; 9. Katelyn Scott, 15.11; 10. (tie) Ari-Anna Flynn and Chaney Speight, 15.17 each; 12. Kimmi Byler, 15.18.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Garrett Hale, 8.9 seconds, $1,117; 2. (tie) Bryce Davis and Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2, $698 each; 4 (tie) Mike Chase and Ralph Williams, 10.4, $140 each. Second round: 1. Jim Locke, 9.5 seconds, $1,117; 2. Landon McClaugherty, $838; 3. Roger Branch, 9.7, $559; 4. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.0, $279. Average: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 20.2 seconds on two runs, $1,676; 2. Rocky Patterson, 21.0; $1,257; 3. Trevor Brazile, 21.7, $838; 4. Bryce Davis, 21.8, $419.

Bull riding: 1. Boudreaux Campbell, 85.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s No. 414; 2. (tie) Travis Smith and Clayton Foltyn, 84.5; 4. Sage Kimzey, 84; 5. Dylan Vick, 82.5; 6. Denton Fugate, 78.

postheadericon Reed takes bronc riding lead in Bellville

Audy Reed rides Mo Betta Rodeo's Tombstone for 84 points Thursday night to take the saddle bronc riding lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo in Bellville, Texas. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

Audy Reed rides Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone for 84 points Thursday night to take the saddle bronc riding lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo in Bellville, Texas. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

BELLVILLE, Texas – Audy Reed is just 22 years old, but he’s wise beyond his years.

Part of that is a university education in saddle bronc riding while attending Oklahoma Panhandle State University, the best-known bronc riding school in all of rodeo.

Part of it is traveling with experienced cowboys. Combined, Chet Johnson, Tyler Corrington and Cort Scheer have 12 qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand finale that takes place in Las Vegas each December.

Reed is now heading to the Nevada desert for the first time, having qualified 15th in the world standings. Before he heads west, though, he moved into the saddle bronc riding lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo in Bellville after posting an 84-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone.

“This is a good set up, and the crowd is really good,” he said. “You also have great hospitality; plus, it’s in Texas, and you can’t beat that.”

Spoken like a true Texan. Reed was raised near Spearman, Texas, in the extreme northern portion of the state’s Panhandle. Now he’ll be one of the many Texans in the field in Vegas.

“Going to the NFR is everyone’s goal every year,” said Reed, who finished 24th in 2016. “I’m just glad to be going. I have a good traveling group, and they’ve all been there. You want to be the high score in the van, and to beat those guys, you sure have to ride good; it doesn’t happen very often.”

Johnson handles much of the business in the group, so that takes a load off the other three. He’s also the most experience; now 37, Johnson is a four-time NFR qualifier.

“We’ve looked at it, and I think Chet’s rookie year was the same year I was in kindergarten,” Reed said with a bit of a chuckle. “It’s good to have those guys that know the ropes.”

Because of their lessons, he’s living out his dreams that he’s had since he was a little boy riding just about anything he could.

“I knew what I wanted to do from a young age,” he said. “A lot of guys that have rodeoed a lot longer have never gotten to go to the NFR. When stuff falls your way, you just appreciate it. You’ve got to have a lot of luck.”

It takes a lot of luck and a great amount of talent. Reed had it before he attended college at Bronc Rider U in the Oklahoma Panhandle, just a 45-mile drive from home. There he was taught by some of the greatest cowboys in the history of the game: Robert Etbauer, a two-time world champion; Billy Etbauer, a five-time world titlist; and Dan Etbauer and Craig Latham, both of whom were multiple-time NFR qualifiers.

“Anyone that wants to be a bronc rider goes to school there,” Reed said. “They’ll figure it out there. You either rise to the top or just stay where you’re at. It’s a good atmosphere, and you have a lot of good guys that are there to help you.”

Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 12-14
Bellville, Texas
Bareback riding:
1. Winn Ratliff, 79 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Bar Maid; 2. (tie) Clint Laye and Kenny Haworth, 71; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: 1. Matt Reeves, 4.2 seconds; 2. Morgan Grant, 4.3; 3. Tyler Waguespack, 5.0; 4. Jacob Edler, 5.3; 5. Cade Staton, 5.5; 6. Riley Duvall, 5.8; 7. Termaine Dubose, 5.9; 8. Matt Cupp, 6.2.

Team roping: 1. Andrew Livingston/Twister Cain, 4.5 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Shawn Turner, 4.7; 3. Tee Luttrell/Corey Hendrick, 6.1; 4. Chuck Butler/Dale Martin Jr., 7.0; 5. Manny Egusquiza/Daniel Braman, 10.5; 6. Cole Frey/Reid Halbert, 14.9; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Audy Reed, 84 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone; 2. Dawson Hay, 76;3. Cort Scheer, 75.5; 4. Take Owens, 74.5; 5. Treyson Antonick, 71; 6. Chet Johnson, 70.5; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Cooper Mathews, 7.7 seconds; 2. Tanner Green, 8.1; 3. Justin Smith, 8.6; 4. Trenton Smith, 8.7; 5. Clint Nyegaard, 8.9; 6. Chantz Webster, 9.1; 7. Cooper Raley, 9.2; 8. B Braxton Laughlin, 9.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Lisa Thornton, 14.75; 2. Blythe Beshears, 14.87; 3. Shelley Morgan, 14.95; 4. (tie) Robyn Herring and Tammy Fischer, 14.97 each; 6. Fallon Taylor, 14.98; 7. Brittany Grant, 15.05; 8. Amanda Cupp, 15.10; 9. Katelyn Scott, 15.11; 10. (tie) Ari-Anna Flynn and Chaney Speight, 15.17 each; 12. Kimmi Byler, 15.18.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Garrett Hale, 8.9 seconds, $1,117; 2. (tie) Bryce Davis and Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2, $698 each; 4 (tie) Mike Chase and Ralph Williams, 10.4, $140 each. Second round: 1. Jim Locke, 9.5 seconds, $1,117; 2. Landon McClaugherty, $838; 3. Roger Branch, 9.7, $559; 4. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.0, $279. Average: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 20.2 seconds on two runs, $1,676; 2. Rocky Patterson, 21.0; $1,257; 3. Trevor Brazile, 21.7, $838; 4. Bryce Davis, 21.8, $419.

Bull riding: 1. Boudreaux Campbell, 85.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s No. 414; 2. Sage Kimzey, 84; 3. Tyler Bingham, 77.5; 4. Koby Radley, 74.5; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Braden chasing circuit title

Hardy Braden has had the best season of his career. He hopes to improve it with the year-end title during the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo next week. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

Hardy Braden has had the best season of his career. He hopes to improve it with the year-end title during the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo next week. (GREG WESTFALL PHOTO)

DUNCAN, Okla. – For much of his seven-year career, Hardy Braden’s focus was on the Prairie Circuit, a regional tour made up primarily of contestants and rodeos in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

It’s home to Braden, who lives in the northeastern Oklahoma community of Welch. He attended both Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships. Riding saddle broncs in the circuit has made sense.

Hardy Braden

Hardy Braden

He returns to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19-Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan. This marks his sixth qualification to the regional finale, and he’s excited to return.

“My goal this year was to make sure I got my rodeo count,” he said, referring to a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rule that stipulates cowboys and cowgirls compete in at least 15 Prairie Circuit rodeos in order to qualify for end-of-the-year honors. “Last year I missed my rodeo count by one, so I wasn’t eligible.”

Braden won the average championship in Duncan a year ago. Had he been eligible, he would have advanced to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla. He didn’t make the trip.

This year, though, he not only got to plenty of circuit events, he did pretty well at most of them. Of the seven bronc riding titles he won in 2017, six were in the Prairie Circuit. He has earned $19,000 in the region and owns the No. 1 spot heading into the finale.

More importantly, his lead over the No. 2 man – Colt Gordon of Comanche, Okla. – is more than $5,600. Braden still needs a solid performance in Duncan if he hopes to claim his second year-end championship.

“The circuit finals is even more important now since the money at the finals counts toward the world standings,” he said, pointing out that money earned at the 2017 Prairie Circuit Finals will count toward the race to the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“For me, it’s a celebration to the end of the year. Everybody works hard to ride good, and now the chances of you getting on a decent horse are good there. You get to show up and show off.”

Braden has shown off quite a bit this year. Nationally he has earned more than $100,000 and will compete at the NFR for the first time. He will be among an elite few that advance to ProRodeo’s grand championship, set for Dec. 7-16 in Las Vegas, which features only the top 15 from each event.

By competing in Duncan, he will have a preview of what it will be like for 10 nights inside the Thomas & Mack Center on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus.

“For somebody that’s going to his first NFR, it’s going to be a good time for me to refresh my muscle memory in Duncan,” Braden said. “The ultimate deal at the circuit finals is to make the RAM finals in Florida, but I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

He has the right mind set as he prepares for two of the biggest rodeos of his life.

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