postheadericon Cooper honors Tuffy with solid run

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper's grandfather, Dale "Tuffy" Cooper. Tuf Cooper's two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

Two-time world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper closes out a 7.8-second run Wednesday to lead the first round at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. During the second performance, the family was on hand during a dedication to those who have supported rodeo in the county, including Cooper’s grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper. Tuf Cooper’s two-run time of 16.2 seconds leads the Lovington average.

LOVINGTON, N.M. – In his seven years in ProRodeo, Tuf Cooper has earned two tie-down roping world championship gold buckles and six qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He hasn’t, however, done very well at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

“I placed fourth in the first go-round last year, and that was the first check I ever won in Lovington,” said Cooper, who pocketed a little more than $1,500 last August.

Tuf Cooper

Tuf Cooper

He should add a lot to it. On Wednesday, Cooper posted two runs in a cumulative time of 16.2 seconds, leads the first go-round and the all-important average with just two days of competition remaining. More importantly, he put on quite a show inside Jake McClure Arena on a night when his late grandfather, Dale “Tuffy” Cooper, was honored.

“They just dedicated this to my grandfather,” he said, noting that Tuffy Cooper died last November at the age of 88. “I hope I end up winning it; if I do, it’s going to be a special one for me and my family.”

Cooper owns a lot of victories, but doing well in his family’s home county has always been a big deal. His father, legendary roper Roy Cooper, was raised in Lea County; Roy Cooper then passed along his experience and talent to his three sons, Tuf, Clif and Clint, a Lovington High School graduate.

But the foundation was laid in Monument, N.M., by Tuffy Cooper.

“My dad gave me all the opportunity to rope,” Tuf Cooper said. “Whenever I wanted to learn something and try to get better, I would call my grandpa and ask him what I could work on to get better. My dad taught me to rope, but my grandpa helped me get better.

“By just talking to him on the phone, he could teach me how to practice and to do the right things to improve. He helped develop me over the telephone.”

That’s quite a statement about his namesake, but it’s one he shares with countless other ropers. Those lessons came in quite handy Wednesday; he roped and tied his first round calf in the afternoon session in 7.8 seconds, then followed that with an 8.4-second run in the performance, which moved Cooper to a tie for second place in the second round.

“You want to win every time you nod your head, but whenever I have those special moments, it fuels my fire,” said Cooper, the No. 1 tie-down roper in the world standings with more than $106,000 in earnings so far this season. “Tonight was one of them.”

The fire has been ignited, and the Cooper clan has another reason to celebrate Wednesday.

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Bobby Mote, 85 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s River Boat Annie; 2. Steven Dent, 82; 3. (tie) Joel Schlegel and Jared Green, 81; 5. Luke Creasy, 80; 6. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle and Tim O’Connell, 79.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Denard Butler, 4.3; 4. (tie) Tanner Milan and Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Cooper Shofner, 4.8; 7. (tie) Cole Edge and Jacob Shofner, 5.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 5.4; 7. Timmy Sparing, 6.7; 8. Cimarron Thompson, 14.0. Second round leaders: 1. Cooper Shofner, 3.9 seconds; 2. Ty Erickson, 4.2; 3. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 4. Tommy Cook, 4.5; 5. Josh Peek, 4.7; 6. Kyle Irwin, 5.0; 7. Gary Gilbert, 5.1; 8. Jule Hazen, 5.2. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Cooper Shofner, 8.7; 3. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Josh Peek, 9.4; 5. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 6. Timmy Sparing, 11.1; 7. Cole Edge, 11.6; 8. Tommy Cook, 14.3.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4; 3. Trent Walls, 9.0; 4. (tie) J.D. Kibbe, Marcos Costa, Matthew Love and Tyson Durfey, 9.1; 8. (tie) Clint Cooper and Stran Smith, 9.2. Second round leaders: 1. J.D. Kibbe, 8.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyson Durfey and Tuf Cooper, 8.4; 4. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 5. Spence Barney, 8.8; 6. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Marcos Costa, 9.1; Quay Howard, 9.3. Average leaders: 1. Tuf Cooper, 16.2 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. Kibbe, 17.3; 3. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5; 5. Marcos Costa, 18.2; 6. JohnPete Etcheverry, 18.3; 7. Trent Walls, 18.8; 8. Cody Owens, 19.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 83 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Cody Wright, 82; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Rusty Wright, Louie Brunson and Hardy Braden, 80; 7. (tie) Sterling Crawley, Kaleb Asay and Wade Sundell, 78.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. Rod Hartness, 10.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 4. Brodie Poppino, 11.5; 5. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 6. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 7. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 8. Jess Tierney, 12.5. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Brodie Poppino, 46.4; 3. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 4. Ralph Williams, 53; 5. Rod Hartness, 24.2 seconds on two runs; 6. J.P. Wickett, 25.2; 7. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 8. Chance Kelton, 26.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueiro, 4.9; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.8; 4. Riley Minor, 5.0; 4. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 6.0; 5. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 6.5; 6. Jesy Austin/Corey Hendrick, 7.3; 7. Lee Kiehne/Brian Sullivan, 8.4; 8. Jake Brown/Jay Logan, 9.0. Second round leaders: 1. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 2. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 5.6; 3. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 5.7; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 9.8; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 9.9; 6. (tie) Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager and Seth Hall/Russ Sullivan, 10.3, 8. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 11.0. Average: 1. Blaine Vick/Walt Woodard, 11.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8; 3. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 17.0; 4. Brock Hanson/Cesar de la Cruz, 20.1; 5. JohnPete Etcheverry/Corban Livingston, 22.0; 6. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds on one run; 7. Jake Barnes/Junior Nogueira, 4.9; 8. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 5.0.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Rebecca Hughes, 17.24 seconds; 2. Callie Gray, 17.47; 3. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.54; 4. Christine Laughlin, 17.58; 5. Dena Kirkpatrick, 17.63; 6. Shelby Perez, 17.69; 7. Natalie Bland, 17.83; 8. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.87; 9. Christy Loflin, 17.94; 10. Jessica Frost, 18.00; 11. Carmen Larson, 18.19; 12. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 13. (tie) Lacinda Rose and Ivy Hurst, 18.23; 15. Nikkie Miller-Gosney, 18.26.

Bull riding: 1. J.W. Harris, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat; 2. (tie) Brett Stall and Caleb Sanderson, 87; 4. Seth Glause, 86; 5. (tie) Dylan Vick and Garrett Smith, 83; 7. (tie) Corey Granger and Jarrod Craig, 79.

postheadericon Bulldogger wrestles Lovington lead

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Quite simply, steer wrestler Ty Erickson is having the best season of his young professional career.

On Wednesday at Jake McClure Arena, Erickson put on a dominating showcase to take the lead in the first and second rounds and the two-run aggregate; he knocked down his first steer in 3.9 seconds during the afternoon competition, then followed that up with a 4.2 in the first performance of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Ty Erickson

Ty Erickson

“I drew real well,” said Erickson, 23, of Helena, Mont. “That first one I wasn’t expecting it, but he slowed up and stopped right in the front of the chute. I was lucky to catch him, so I hustled and went to scrambling and was lucky enough to get him tipped over in 3.9. I knew I had a good one tonight.

“I just wanted to be real smart, get a good start and make a good run on the ground tonight.”

He did, but that seems to have been the normal pattern for the 6-foot-6 Montana cowboy. So far this season, he has earned $40,133 wrestling bovines and sits 11th in the world standings. He credits his traveling partner, K.C. Jones, and Jones’ good horse, Tebow.

“That’s an awesome horse,” he said of the sorrel gelding. “I was fortunate enough to take him out to California this past spring, and I won Red Bluff on him.

“He stands so good in the corner (of the timed-event box). When you nod your head to start the run, you can drop your reins when you want to. He’s not moving when you nod; that’s why he’s so much better than the other horses out here because he scores so well.”

A week ago, Tebow helped Jones and another Helena cowboy, Timmy Sparing, to share a three-way tie for the championship in Dodge City, Kan. Two weeks ago, Jones earned his first Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days title on his talented mount.

When he’s not riding, Jones serves as a mentor and a hazer for the younger bulldoggers, making sure the steers are in good position when it’s time to finish off a run.

“You don’t have to worry about K.C., because you know he’s always going to be there,” said Erickson, the 2011 steer wrestling rookie of the year. “You know he’s going to be pulling for you and helping you out and giving you the best go you can.”

It’s working rather well. If things continue, Erickson will be making a run at the biggest ProRodeo in the world, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“My goal is to make the finals this year, and I have a good shot now,” he said. “Hopefully this will help out.”

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 6-9
Bareback riding:
1. Luke Creasy, 80 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Lights; 2. (tie) Kyle Bowers, Caine Riddle and Tim O’Connell, 79; 5. (tie) Justin Pollmiller and Winn Ratliff, 77; 7. Kody Lamb, 75; 8. Yance Day, 73.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 3.9 seconds; 2. Tanner Milan, 4.7; 3. Cooper Shofner, 4.8; 4. (tie) Cole edge and Jacob Shofner, 5.1; 6. Jule Hazen, 5.4; 7. Timmy Sparing, 6.7; 8. Cimarron Thompson, 14.0. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 4.2 seconds; 2. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 3. Jule Hazen, 5.2; 4. Cody Cassidy, 5.6; Tanner Milan, 4.0; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Ty Erickson, 8.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Jule Hazen, 10.6; 3. Timmy Sparing, 11.1; 4. Tanner Milan, 18.7; 5. Cody Cassiedy, 12.3; 6. Cooper Shofner, 4.8 seconds on one run; 7. (tie) Jacob Shofner and Cole Edge, 5.1.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Cody Owens and Ryan Watkins, 8.4 seconds; 3. Trent Walls, 9.0; 4. (tie) J.D. Kibbe, Marcos Costa and Tyson Durfey, 9.1; 7. (tie) Clint Cooper and Stran Smith, 9.2. Second round leaders: 1. Tyson Durfey, 8.4 seconds; 2. JohnPete Etcheverry, 8.7; 3. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Marcos Costa, 9.1; 5. Chris Demases, 9.7; 6. Sean O’Neil, 9.9; 7. Clint Cooper, 11.0; 8. Russell Schilling, 19.0; Average leaders: 1. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Tyson Durfey, 17.5 seconds on two runs; 3. Marcos Costa, 18.2; 4. JohnPete Etcheverry, 18.3; 5. Clint Cooper, 20.2; 6. Sean O’Neil, 21.3; 7. Stran Smith, 29.8; 8. Russell Schilling, 43.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 83 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Django; 2. Cody Wright, 82; 3. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw and Rusty Wright, 80; 5. Sterling Crawley, 78; 6. Spencer Wright, 75; 7. Jeremy Ray Melancon, 74; 8. Dean Wadsworth, 73.

Steer roping: Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 3. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 5. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 6. Jess Tierney, 12.5; 7. Martin Poindexter, 12.6; 8. Dane Noyce, 13.2. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 3. Ralph Williams, 53; 4. J.P. Wickett, 25.2 seconds on two runs; 5. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 6. Chance Kelton, 26.6; 7. Trey Wallace, 29.2; 8. Trevor Brazile, 29.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds; 2. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.8; 3. Riley Minor, 5.0; 4. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 11.1; 5. Tom Richards/Monty Joe Petska, 11.6; 6. Drew Horner/Buddy Hawkins II, 15.3. Second round leaders: 1. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3 seconds; 2. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 10.3; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 11.0; 4. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 14.4; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 15.8 seconds on two runs; 2. Chad Masters/Clay O’Brien Cooper, 4.7 seconds on one run; 3. Riley Minor/Brady minor, 5.0; 5. Chace Thompson/Jett Hillman, 5.3; 5. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 10.3; 6. Brandon Beers/Jim Ross Cooper, 11.1; 7. Tom Richards/Monty Joe Petska, 11.6; 8. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill and Clay Smith/Jake Smith, 14.4.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Christine Laughlin, 17.58 seconds; 2. Dawn Lewis, 18.21; 3. Kati Jundt, 18.53; 4. Morgann McDonald, 18.59; 5. Gayle Jones, 19.47; 6. Carley Richardson, 22.43; 7. Lisa Ogden, 23.30; 8. TiAda Gray, 24.24.

Bull riding: 1. Seth Glause, 86 points on Salt River Rodeo’s Fireball; 2. Dylan Vick, 83; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Bingham stays hot in Lovington

Tim Bingham rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Lineman for 91 points to win the short go-round at the Lea County Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday Night. (PHOTO BY COWBOY IMAGES)

Tim Bingham rides Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman for 91 points to win the short go-round at the Lea County Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday Night. (PHOTO BY COWBOY IMAGES)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Having momentum in any sport is vital to success, and Tim Bingham is in the middle of a hot streak.

On Tuesday night, Bingham dominated the Lea County Xtreme Bulls at Jake McClure Arena, winning both go-rounds and the coveted title. He also pocketed $11,577.

“When things are working out, it happens so fast,” said Bingham, 22, of Honeyville, Utah. “I’m not thinking; I just know to not let go and to never give up. It’s paying off lately. Within a week, I’ve won my first Division 2 Xtreme Bulls and my first Division 1 Xtreme Bulls.”

Bingham was just a week removed from his Division 2 victory in Dodge City, Kan., when he arrived in Lovington. It showed from his first ride, when he made moves to match every challenge he faced in Salt River Rodeo’s Lucky Dawg for 89.5 points to win the first round; he finished just a point ahead of Chris Roundy of Spanish Fork, Utah.

In the championship round, Bingham made major adjustments thrown at him by Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman for an event-best 91 points.

“Both of them rides were a handful,” said Bingham, who pushed his season earnings to nearly $70,000. “That last one (Lineman) had me down in the well really deep, and I didn’t have much hope of getting out. It felt like I was in there for good.”

The “well” is the inner portion of a bull’s spin, and the G-forces tend to pull cowboys off in a bad position. Bingham battled through it to stay atop the tough-to-ride bull.

“I just popped out,” he said. “It’s just mostly reaction. You know to look to the outside, but that’s about it. Other than that, you just have to let your body take over.”

It is working quite well, and the Utah cowboy is a virtual lock to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time – only the top 15 contestants in each event at the end of the regular season qualify for the year-end championship.

“I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life riding bulls,” Bingham said. “To know the NFR is coming and that it’s a goal that’s complete is amazing.”

So is the streak Bingham has been on over this season.

“Momentum is probably the biggest thing you can possibly have in bull riding,” he said. “You get hot this time of year and they’re all big rodeos, and you’re going to make bank.”

It happened in Lovington.

Lea County Xtreme Bulls
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 5
First round:
1. Tim Bingham, 89.5 points on Salt River Rodeo’s Lucky Dog, $3,405; 2. Chris Roundy, 89, $2,611; 3. (tie) Cole Echols and Brennon Eldred, 87.5, $1,589 each; 5. J.W. Harrison, 85, $795; 6. (tie) Jordan Spears and Corey Navarre, 82, $511 each; 8. Ardie Maier, 81, $341. Final round: 1. Tim Bingham, 91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Lineman, $2,497; 2. Cole Echols, 89, $1,892; 3. Joe Frost, 82, $1,589; 4. Brennon Eldred, 80, $908. Average: 1. Tim Bingham, 180.5 points on two rides, $5,675; 2. Cole Echols, 176.5, $4,351; 3. Brennon Eldred, 167.5, $3,216; 4. Joe Frost, 151, $2,081; 5. Chris Roundy, 89 points on one ride, $1,324; 6. J.W. Harris, 85, $945; 7. (tie) Corey Navarre and Jordan Spears, 82, $662 each.

postheadericon Herren leads average in Lovington

Chet Herren

Chet Herren

Steer roping: First round: 1. J.P. Wickett, 13.1 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 13.3, $1,625; 3. Rod Hartness, 13.5, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.7, $1,138; 5. Will Gasperson, 14.0, $894; 6. Trey Wallace, 14.1, $650; 7. Roger Branch, 14.5, $406; 8. (tie) Shay Good and Casey Sisk, 14.7, $81 each. Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 11.3 seconds, $1,869; 2. Bryce Davis, 12.0, $1,625; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 13.0, $1,381; 4. Chet Herren, 13.5, $1,138; 5. Jarrett Blessing, 13.6, $894; 6. Walter Priestly, 13.8, $650; 7. Ty Herd, 13.9, $406; 8. Jason Evans, 14.2, $163. Third round leaders: 1. (tie) Chance Kelton and Tom Smith, 11.3; 3. Scott Snedecor, 12.0; 4. J.P. Wickett, 12.1; 5. Mike Outhier, 12.2; 6. Jess Tierney, 12.5; 7. Martin Poindexter, 12.6; 8. Dane Noyce, 13.2. Average leaders: 1. Chet Herren, 44.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Kim Ziegelgruber, 47.9; 3. Ralph Williams, 53; 4. J.P. Wickett, 25.2 seconds on two runs; 5. Bryce Davis, 25.3; 6. Chance Kelton, 26.6; 7. Trey Wallace, 29.2; 8. Trevor Brazile, 29.6.

postheadericon Sundell scores 92 to win Dodge City

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Wade Sundell has ridden a lot of great bucking horses in his seven year saddle bronc riding career.

On Sunday night, the Iowa-born cowboy added another storied bronc to his victory list, dancing across the arena dirt with Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman for 92 points to win the championship round and the overall bronc riding title at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

“I’ve been waiting a long, long time to draw that horse,” Sundell said, noting the random draw that matches cowboy vs. animals. “I knew if I kept my chin down and kept pressure on my rein, it would be awesome. That was the buckingest horse I’ve been on.

“When I nodded my head until I got off, I felt like I was bucked off every jump.”

Despite Medicine Woman’s style, Sundell continued the classic spurring motion that has guided him to five-straight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and within millimeters of that elusive world championship. He finished eighth in his first trip to Las Vegas in 2009, and since has been a fixture among the top six.

He knew doing well in Dodge City could make a big difference in the final tally; in rodeo, dollars equal points, so every paycheck is vital. This marks the first time in Sundell’s career that he has found success inside Roundup Arena.

“I’ve done horrible in Dodge City,” said Sundell, who finished tied for seventh in the first round with an 81. “I was coming back to the short round tonight way in the back, so I had to let it all hang out and try to make something happen, and it worked.”

He finished with 173 points on two rides and earned $3,603 at the largest rodeo in Kansas.

“This rodeo has helped a lot of people make the finals and win the world,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do good at this rodeo, and I’ve done bad at it every year. This is awesome to win it now.”

K.C. Jones

K.C. Jones

Sundell was joined in the winner’s circle by bull rider J.W. Harris, a four-time world champion; barrel racer Christine Laughlin; steer roper Tyrel Taton; tie-down roper Cody Ohl, a six-time world champ; bareback rider Richie Champion; team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Patrick Smith; and a trio of steer wrestlers: K.C. Jones, Timmy Sparing and Bray Armes.

In fact, Jones’ horse, Tebow, guided both him and Sparing to the Roundup title.

“He worked awesome,” Jones said of the sorrel gelding. “Tim and I both got a buckle on him, so our plan worked out.”

Jones, who lives in Decatur, Texas, grew up less than three hours west of Dodge City in Las Animas, Colo.

“I remember coming here for the Dodge City Little Britches Rodeo, so we’ve spent a lot of time in this arena,” he said.

That time has paid off.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3

All-around: Landon McClaugherty, $1,050 won in steer roping and team roping.

Bareback riding: First round: 1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points, $2,320 each; 3. Richmond Champion, 84, $1,489; 4. Jared Smith, 83. $963; 5. (tie) Orin Larsen and Steven Dent, 81, $525 each; 7. (tie) Tim O’Connell and Tanner Phipps, 80, $306 each; 9.Tilden Hooper, 78; 10. (tie) Winn Ratliff and Taylor Price, 77. Final round: 1.Tilden Hooper, 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Show Stomper, $1,650; 2. (tie) Steven Dent and Richmond Champion, 82, $1,075 each; 4. Winn Ratliff, 81, $600; 5. (tie) Orin Larsen and Casey Breuer, 79, $300 each. Average: 1. Richmond Champion, 166 points on two rides, $2,627; 2. Tilden Hooper, 165, $2,014; 3. Casey Breuer, 164, $1,489; 4. Steven Dent, 163, $963; 5. Orin Larsen, 160, $613; 6. Winn Ratliff, 158, $438; 7. Tanner Phipps, 152, $350; 8. Jared Smith, 83 points on one ride, $263.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds, $2,611; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.3, $2,271; 3. Brandon Volker, 4.4, $1,930; 4. (tie) Casey Martin and Tom Duvall, 4.5, $1,419 each; 6. (tie) Jeff Miller, Timmy Sparing and Richy Coats, 4.6, $568 each. Second round: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds, $2,611; 2. K.C. Jones, 4.0, $2,271; 3. Tooter Silver, 4.1, $1,930; 4. Gabe Burrows, 4.2, $1,590; 5. Tie) Rowdy Parrott, Sean Santucci and Jeff Miller, $908, 4.3; 8. (tie) Timmy Sparing and Stewart Gulager, 4.4, $114. Final round: 1. Sean Stancucci, 3.8 seconds, $1,247; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.2, $1,032; 3. (tie) Cody Devers, Tommy Cook and Casey Martin, 4.3, $602 each; 6. K.C. Jones, 4.4, $215. Average: 1. (tie) K.C. Jones, Timmy Sparing and Bray Armes, 13.5 seconds on three runs, $3,406 each; 4. Sean Stancucci, 14.1, $2,384; 5. Casey Martin, 14.4, $1,873; 6. Tommy Cook, 15.0, $1,362; 7. Tom Lewis, 15.1, $852; 8. Tyler Waguespack, 16.3, $341.

Team roping: First round:1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds, $2,577 each; 2. (tie) Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton and Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.1, $2,073 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4, $1,569; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5, $1,233; 6. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.6, $728 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7, $224. Second round: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 4.5 seconds, $2,577; 2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.9, $2,241; 3. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 5.0, $1,905; 4. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill, Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2 each, $1,233 each; 7. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.3, $560; 8. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.4, $244. Final round: 1. Charly Crawford/Shay Carrol, 6.2 seconds, $1,044; 2. Joel Bach/Allen Bach, 8.6, $864; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 6.7, $684; 4. (tie) Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy and Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 6.8, $414 each; 6. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 7.8, $90 each. Average: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 17.4 seconds on three runs, $3,866; 2. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 18.3, $3,361; 3. Adam Rose/Billie Saebens, 18.8, $2,857; 4. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 19.0, $2,353; 5. Joel Bach/Allen Bach, 20.1, $1,849; 6. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenslager, 23.5; 7. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 23.8, $840; 8. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 24.3, $336.

Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. (tie) Sterling Crawley, on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, and Heith DeMoss, on Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight, 87 points, $2,034 each; 3. Cody Wright, 85, $1,305; 4. (tie) Jesse Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 83, $691 each; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82, $345; 8. (tie) Troy Crowser, Wade Sundell and Ty Thompson, 81, $77; 11. (tie) Doug Aldridge and Steven Dent, 79. Final round: 1. Wade Sundell, 92 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, $1,650; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 89, $1,250; 3. (tie) Jesse Wright and Cody Wright, 87, $750 each; 5. Isaac Diaz, 85, $350; 6. Heith DeMoss, 84, $250. Average: 1. Wade Sundell, 173 points on two rides, $2,303; 2. (tie) Jacobs Crawley and Cody Wright, 172, $1,535; 4. Heith DeMoss, 171, $844; 5. Jesse Wright, 170, $537; 6. Sterling Crawley, 168, $384; 7. Isaac Diaz, 167, $307; 8. Ty Thompson, 159, $230.

Tie-down roping: First round:1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds, $2,300; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 11.3, $2,000; 3. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8, $1,700; 4. Cody Ohl, 12.0, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 12.7, $1,100; 6. EJ Roberts, 13.0, $800; 7. Reese Riemer, 13.4, $500; 8. (tie) Jake Pratt and Thomas Merritt, 13.5, $100 each. Second round: 1. Justin Macha, 9.0 seconds, $2,300; 2. (tie) L.D. Meier and Marshall Leonard, 9.2, $1,850 each; 4. Marcos Costa, 10.2, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 10.3, $1,100; 6. Trent Creager, 10.9, $800; 4. (tie) Cody Ohl and Sterling Smith, 11.0, $350. Final round: 1. Cody Ohl, 8.2 seconds, $1,001; 2. L.D. Meier, 8.5, $828; 3. Ryan Watkins, 9.3, $656; 4. Cory Solomon, 9.6, $483; 5. (tie) Reese Riemer and Ace Slone, 10.5, $242. Average: 1. Cody Ohl, 31.2 seconds on three runs, $3,450; 2. Ace Sloan, 33.5, $3,000; 3. Marshall Leonard, 34.4, $2,550; 4. Reese Riemer, 35.0, $2,100; 5. Ryan Watkins, 36.0, $1,650; 6. L.D. Meier, 39.4, $1,200; 7. Adam Gray, 41.6, $750; 8. Cory Solomon, 44.3, $300.

Barrel racing: First round:1. Christine Laughlin, 17.24 seconds, $2,117; 2. Mary Walker, 17.53, $1,815; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.57, $1,512; 4. Jeanne Anderson, 17.58, $1,311; 5. Kaley Bass, 17.68, $1,008; 6. Taylor Jacob, 17.72, $807; 7. Shada Brazile, 17.87, $605; 8. Lynette Landis, 17.88, $403; 9. Jean Winters, 17.92, $302; 10. Jessi Fish, 17.96, $202. Second round: 1. Carlee Pierce, 16.92 seconds, $2,117; 2. Kaley Bass, 17.14, $1,815; 3. Christy Loflin, 17.25, $1,512; 4. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.32, $1,311; 5. Christine Laughlin, 17.41, $1,008; 6. Shelby Frasier, 17.50, $807; 4. Lacinda Rose, 17.67, $605; 8. Jeanne Anderson, 17.76, $403; 9. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.78, $302; 10. (tie) Jessi Meadand Lynette Landis, 17.89, $101. Final round: 1. Christine Laughlin, 17.04 seconds, $1,568; 2. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.32, $1,176; 3. Kaley Bass, 17.36, $784; 4. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.42, $392. Average: 1. Christine Laughlin, 51.69 seconds on three runs, $3,176; 2. Kaley Bass, 52.18, $2,722; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 52.31, $2,268; 4. Gretchen Benbenek, 53.52, $1,966; 5. Jill Beaty, 54.01, $1,512; 6. Jessi Mead, $1,210; 7. Lacinda Rose, 54.22, $907; 8. Jeanne Anderson, 57.82, $605; 9. Shelby Frasier, 58.17, $454; 10. Lynette Landis, 58.59, $302.

Steer roping: First round: 1. (tie) Neal Wood and Travis Mills, 12.7 seconds, $1,705 each; 3. Tony Reina, 13.2, $1,222; 4. Roger Branch, 13.5, $901; 5. Jess Tierney, 13.8, $579; 6. Landon McClaugherty, 14.0, $322. Second round: 1. J.B. Whatley, 11.2 seconds, $1,866; 2. Tuf Cooper, 11.5, $1,544; 3. (tie) Tom Smith and Chet Herren, 12.0, $1,062; 5. Jason Evans, 12.1, $579; 6. Brodie Poppino, 12.2, $322. Third round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 10.3 seconds, $1,866; 2. (tie) J. Tom Fisher and Joe Wells, 12.0, $1,383 each; 4. Corey Ross, 12.2, $901; 5. Mike Chase, 12.3, $979; 6. Rocky Patterson, 12.4, $322. Average: 1. Tyrel Taton, 43.0 seconds on three runs, $2,799; 2. Brodie Poppino, 43.6, $2,316; 3. Jess Tierney, 45.3, $1,834; 4. C.A. Lauer, 46.1, $1,351; 5. Martin Poindexter, 46.3, $869; 6. Tom Smith, 49.4, $483.

Bull riding: First round: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Sweet Tater, $2,599; 2. Tyler Smith, 84, $1,992; 3. (tie) J.W. Harris and Jacob O’Mara, 83, $$1,213 each; 5. (tie) Clayton Foltyn, Wes Wahlert and Corey Navarre, 81, $462; 8. Sage Kimzey, 80, $260; 9. Josh Koschel, 76; 10. (tie) Dillon Tyler, Lane Wilhelm and Dustin Bowen, 75. Final round: 1. J.W. Harris, 89 points on Four L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Sandi’s Dream, $1,650; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. J.W. Harris, 172 points on two rides, $2,599; 2. Bart Miller, 85 points on one ride, $1,992; 3. Tyler Smith, 84, $1,473; 4. Jacob O’Mara, 83, $953; 5. (tie) Corey Navarre, Wes Wahlert and Clayton Foltyn, 81, $462 each; 8. Sage Kimzey, $260.

postheadericon Champion shooting for Roundup title

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Richie Champion is just 21 years old, and he has won nearly $1.2 million riding bucking horses over the last five months.

It’s been so hectic, he took a few days off the ProRodeo trail and ventured to his home in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. He needed to handle the personal matters that come with earning that much money over a short course of time.

Richie Champion

Richie Champion

He returned to work night at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo and promptly took care of his business. Champion matched moves with Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pine Cone for 84 points inside Roundup Arena to finish third in the first round in bareback riding, earning $1,489 for the feat.

More importantly, he qualifies for the championship round, which will feature the top 12 contestants in each event and crown this year’s Roundup champions beginning at 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

“This is a huge rodeo for us all, but this is where I made the first short round ever,” said Champion, the No. 4 bareback rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association with nearly $67,000 in earnings this season. “I came into the short go in the bottom of the field then. Now to be within striking distance coming into tomorrow and the caliber of horses they’ll have tomorrow, it should be pretty cool.”

Champion is closing in on his first qualification to the National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s year-end championship that takes each December in Las Vegas. Of course, a lot of it comes down to confidence. A week ago, he posted a 91-point ride in the short round to win the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo. He also won the rodeo in Spanish Fork, Utah, so he earned about $17,000 a week ago alone.

“I was confident that in my career I would reach this point; I just didn’t think it would be right now,” he said. “I’m going to be grateful and thankful and humble.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay humble and have fun.”

Of course, it helps to have fun when he gets on some of the best animal athletes in the world. In Cheyenne, his high marking was on Dirty Jacket, which has been named one of the top three bareback horses in the PRCA each of the past two years. He knows Sunday’s ride will be on another amazing animal.

“I saw a lot of those horses at Cheyenne, and they were all outstanding,” Champion said. “There’s nothing in there that’s going to be a day off. You don’t come thinking you have a day off. Those are going to be great bareback horses, and that’s why I ride bucking horses.”

He’s pretty good at it, too.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3
Bareback riding and short-round qualifier:
1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points, $2,320 each; 3. Richmond Champion, 84, $1,489; 4. Jared Smith, 83. $963; 5. (tie) Orin Larsen and Steven Dent, 81, $525 each; 7. (tie) Tim O’Connell and Tanner Phipps, 80, $306 each; 9.Tilden Hooper, 78; 10. (tie) Winn Ratliff and Taylor Price, 77.

Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds, $2,611; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.3, $2,271; 3. Brandon Volker, 4.4, $1,930; 4. (tie) Casey Martin and Tom Duvall, 4.5, $1,419 each; 6. (tie) Jeff Miller, Timmy Sparing and Richy Coats, 4.6, $568 each. Second round: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds, $2,611; 2. K.C. Jones, 4.0, $2,271; 3. Tooter Silver, 4.1, $1,930; 4. Gabe Burrows, 4.2, $1,590; 5. Tie) Rowdy Parrott, Sean Santucci and Jeff Miller, $908, 4.3; 8. (tie) Timmy Sparing and Stewart Gulager, 4.4, $114. Average leaders and short-round qualifier: 1. Jeff Miller, 8.9 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Bray Armes and Timmy Sparing, 9.0; 4. K.C. Jones, 9.1; 5. Tyler Waguespack, 9.9; 6. Casey Martin, 10.1; 7. Sean Santucci, 10.3; 8. Tommy Cook, 10.7; 9. Tom Lewis, 10.9; 10. Tait Kvistad, 11.1; 11. Christian Pettigrew, 11.6.

Team roping: First round:1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds, $2,577 each; 2. (tie) Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton and Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.1, $2,073 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4, $1,569; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5, $1,233; 6. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.6, $728 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7, $224. Second round: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 4.5 seconds, $2,577; 2. Clay Tryan/Jade Corkill, 4.9, $2,241; 3. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 5.0, $1,905; 4. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill, Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2 each, $1,233 each; 7. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.3, $560; 8. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 5.4, $244. Average leaders and short-round qualifier: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 10.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Joshua Torres/ Jonathan Torres, 11.2; 3. (tie) Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto and Adam Rose/Billy Saebens, 12.0; 4. 5. Charly Crawford/Shay Carroll, 12.1; 6. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.5; 7. Jeol Bach/Allen Bach, 13.5; 8. Cory Kidd/AdamPlyer, 14.2; 9. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 15.3; 10. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 16.5; 11. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 17.0; 12. Jake Orman/Zack Bocco, 17.2.

Saddle bronc riding and short-round qualifier: 1. (tie) Sterling Crawley, on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, and Heith DeMoss, on Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight, 87 points, $2,034 each; 3. Cody Wright, 85, $1,305; 4. (tie) Jesse Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 83, $691 each; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82, $345; 8. (tie) Troy Crowser, Wade Sundell and Ty Thompson, 81, $77; 11. (tie) Doug Aldridge and Steven Dent, 79.

Tie-down roping: First round:1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds, $2,300; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 11.3, $2,000; 3. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8, $1,700; 4. Cody Ohl, 12.0, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 12.7, $1,100; 6. EJ Roberts, 13.0, $800; 7. Reese Riemer, 13.4, $500; 8. (tie) Jake Pratt and Thomas Merritt, 13.5, $100 each. Second round: 1. Justin Macha, 9.0 seconds, $2,300; 2. (tie) L.D. Meier and Marshall Leonard, 9.2, $1,850 each; 4. Marcos Costa, 10.2, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 10.3, $1,100; 6. Trent Creager, 10.9, $800; 4. (tie) Cody Ohl and Sterling Smith, 11.0, $350. Average leaders and short-round qualifier: 1. Cody Ohl, 23.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Ace Sloan, 23.0; 3. (tie) Marshall Leonard and Caddo Lewallen, 23.5; 5. Reese Reimer, 24.5; 6. Ryan Watkins, 26.7; 7. Adam Gray, 27.7; 8. Sean O’Neil, 30.4; 9. L.D. Meier, 30.9; 10. Thomas Merritt, 31.1; 11. Marcos Costa, 33.5; 12. Cory Solomon, 34.7.

Barrel racing: First round:1. Christine Laughlin, 17.24 seconds, $2,117; 2. Mary Walker, 17.53, $1,815; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.57, $1,512; 4. Jeanne Anderson, 17.58, $1,311; 5. Kaley Bass, 17.68, $1,008; 6. Taylor Jacob, 17.72, $807; 7. Shada Brazile, 17.87, $605; 8. Lynette Landis, 17.88, $403; 9. Jean Winters, 17.92, $302; 10. Jessi Fish, 17.96, $202. Second round: 1. Carlee Pierce, 16.92 seconds, $2,117; 2. Kaley Bass, 17.14, $1,815; 3. Christy Loflin, 17.25, $1,512; 4. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.32, $1,311; 5. Christine Laughlin, 17.41, $1,008; 6. Shelby Frasier, 17.50, $807; 4. Lacinda Rose, 17.67, $605; 8. Jeanne Anderson, 17.76, $403; 9. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.78, $302; 10. (tie) Jessi Meadand Lynette Landis, 17.89, $101. Average leaders and short-round qualifiers: 1. Christine Laughlin, 34.65 on two runs; 2. Kaley Bass, 34.82; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 34.89; 4. Jeanne Anderson, 35.34; 5. Shelby Frasier, 35.52; 6. Lynette Landis, 35.77; 7. Lacinda Rose, 36.00; 8 Jill Beaty, 36.04; 9. Gretchen Benbenek, 36.20; 10. Jessi Mead, 36.29; 11. Jessi Fish, 36.48; 12. Jordan Taton, 36.50.

Bull riding and short-round qualifier: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Sweet Tater, $2,599; 2. Tyler Smith, 84, $1,992; 3. (tie) J.W. Harris and Jacob O’Mara, 83, $$1,213 each; 5. (tie) Clayton Foltyn, Wes Wahlert and Corey Navarre, 81, $462; 8. Sage Kimzey, 80, $260; 9. Josh Koschel, 76; 10. (tie) Dillon Tyler, Lane Wilhelm and Dustin Bowen, 75.

postheadericon Dodge City photos updated

We’re down to the final two nights of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Tonight is the final preliminary round, and we will know the 12 qualifiers for Sunday’s short round. Freelance photographer Fran Ruchalski provided some outstanding photos. You can see more HERE. As a teaser, chick this one out:

Heith DeMoss rides Frontier Rodeo's Midnight Delight for 87 points Friday night to share the first-round lead in the bronc riding at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. (FRAN RUCHALSKI PHOTO)

Heith DeMoss rides Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight for 87 points Friday night to share the first-round lead in the bronc riding at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. (FRAN RUCHALSKI PHOTO)

 

 

postheadericon First round complete in Dodge City

Bray Armes

Bray Armes

The first round of timed events are complete at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Here are the payouts:

Steer wrestling: 1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds, $2,611; 2. Tom Lewis, 4.3, $2,271; 3. Brandon Volker, 4.4, $1,930; 4. (tie) Casey Martin and Tom Duvall, 4.5, $1,419 each; 6. (tie) Jeff Miller, Timmy Sparing and Richy Coats, 4.6, $568 each.

Team roping: 1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds, $2,577 each; 2. (tie) Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton and Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.1, $2,073 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4, $1,569; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5, $1,233; 6. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman and Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.6, $728 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7, $224.

Tie-down roping: 1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds, $2,300; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 11.3, $2,000; 3. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8, $1,700; 4. Cody Ohl, 12.0, $1,400; 5. Ace Slone, 12.7, $1,100; 6. EJ Roberts, 13.0, $800; 7. Reese Riemer, 13.4, $500; 8. (tie) Jake Pratt and Thomas Merritt, 13.5, $100 each.

Barrel racing: 1. Christine Laughlin, 17.24 seconds, $2,117; 2. Mary Walker, 17.53, $1,815; 3. Cheyenne Shipps, 17.57, $1,512; 4. Jeanne Anderson, 17.58, $1,311; 5. Kaley Bass, 17.68, $1,008; 6. Taylor Jacob, 17.72, $807; 7. Shada Brazile, 17.87, $605; 8. Lynette Landis, 17.88, $403; 9. Jean Winters, 17.92, $302; 10. Jessi Fish, 17.96, $202.

postheadericon Ropers hope slump ends in Dodge

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Patrick Smith is not one to mince his words.

“I’m not one to whine or griper or complain, but it’s been a little while since we’ve just drawn some good ones in a row,” said Smith, a two-time world champion heeler from Lipan, Texas. “We’ve been on a bit of a slow streak, and I’m not going to blame it just on the draw.

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

“Our roping has been poor; we’ve been taking our turns screwing up. It’s like a friend of mine says, it’s just our turn in the barrel. Hopefully we’re crawling out of the barrel here.”

That’s the difference a single day makes in the life of a rodeo cowboy. Smith, who ropes with Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Ga., scored two round-placing runs Friday at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo and own the lead in the two-run aggregate with 10.7 seconds, half a second better than the tandem of Joshua and Jonathan Torrez.

Driggers and Smith sit tied for second place in the opening round after a 5.1-second run Friday morning, then returned in the evening for a 5.6 – that has them in seventh place in the second round. But they are a virtual lock to return Sunday for Roundup’s championship round, which features only the top 12 times and scores from the preliminary rounds.

“We had two really good steers,” said Smith, who just began his partnership with Driggers this season; Driggers is the reigning Roundup heading champion, winning the 2013 title with Travis Graves.

Kaleb Driggers

Kaleb Driggers

“Kaleb did an outstanding job on both steers. That steer tonight was really tough to head; he had really small horns and was a little bit low-headed, and Kaleb did a really great job turning both of them. I was able to get both of them caught. Hopefully this will turn it around for us.”

The tandem has earned $41,191 this season; Driggers is 15th in the heading world standings, and Smith is 12th in heeling. They want to remain among the top 15 in order to return to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. Smith is a 10-time NFR qualifier who won gold buckles in 2005 and 2010; Driggers has earned the right to compete in ProRodeo’s grand finale each of the past three seasons.

“This is huge for us,” Smith said. “This is the last third of the season. If we can finish this off with a good run Sunday, it will sure help our cause out a lot.

“This is a great rodeo. They add good money, and they’re very good to the contestants. It’s hard to beat the hospitality and the town. I love coming here. This year was particularly nice because it wasn’t 110 degrees. They kept the weather cool for us.”

Roundup has experienced unseasonably mild temperatures this week, but Driggers and Smith bean turning up the heat Friday night. They’ll await the outcome of the final day of preliminary rounds Saturday to see their position for Sunday’s final round.

By then, they hope to be on fire.

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3
Bareback riding:
1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points; 3. Jared Smith, 83; 4. (tie) Orin Larsen and Steven Dent, 81; 6. Tim O’Connell, 80; 7. Tilden Hooper, 78; 8. Winn Ratliff, 77; 8. (tie) Kyle Brennecke and Joel Schlegel, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders:1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds; 2. Brandon Volker, 4.4; 3. Casey Martin, 4.5; 4. (tie) Richy Coats and Timmy Sparing, 4.6 each; 6. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and K.C. Jones, 5.1 each; 8. Shane Frey, 5.4. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, 4.0; 3. Tooter Silver, 4.1; 4. Gabe Burrows, 4.2; 5. Timmy Sparing, 4.4; 6. Levi Rudd, 4.5; 7. (tie) Chance Howard and Tyler Waguespack, 4.8 each. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Bray Armes and Timmy Sparing, 9.0 seconds on two runs; 3. K.C. Jones, 9.1; 4. Tyler Waguespack, 9.9; 5. Casey Martin, 10.1; 6. Tait Kvistad, 11.1; 7. Denver Berry,12.9; 8. Brock White, 13.1.

Team roping: First round leaders:1. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 5.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith and Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.1 each; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.4; 5. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5; 6. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman, 5.6 each; 8. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7. Second round leaders: 1. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 5.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill, Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers and David Key/Kory Koontz, 5.2 each; 5. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 5.3; 6. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 5.5; 7. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 5.6; 8. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torrez, 5.7. Average leaders: 1. Kaleb Driggers/Patrick Smith, 10.7; 2. Joshua Torres/ Jonathan Torres, 11.2 seconds on two runs; 3. Casey Hicks/Jake Pianalto, 12.0; 4. Turtle Powell/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.5; 5. Cory Kidd/AdamPlyer, 14.2; 6. Arky Rogers/Travis Woodard, 15.3; 7. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 16.5; 8. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 17.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Sterling Crawley, on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop, and Heith DeMoss, on Frontier Rodeo’s Midnight Delight, 87 points each; 3. Cody Wright, 85; 4. (tie) Jesse Wright and Jacobs Crawley, 83; 6. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82; 8. (tie) Troy Crowser and Ty Thompson, 81.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders:1. Scott Kormos, 9.2 seconds; 2. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8; 3. Cody Ohl, 12.0; 4. EJ Roberts, 13.0; 5. Thomas Merritt, 13.5; 6. Fred Whitfield, 13.8; 7. Perry Dietz, 14.1; 8. (tie) Ryan Watkins and Cade Swor, 14.9 each. Second round leaders: 1. L.D. Meier, 9.2 seconds; 2. Marcos Costa, 10.2; 3. Cody Ohl, 11.0; 4. Ryan Watkins, 11.8; 5. Adam Gray, 12.0; 6. Luke Tkach, 12.9; 7. Tyson Durfey, 13.3; 8. Sean O’Neil, 13.8. Average leaders: 1. Cody Ohl, 23.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Ryan Watkins, 26.7; 3. Adam Gray, 27.7; 4. Sean O’Neil, 30.4; 5. L.D. Meier, 30.9; 6. Thomas Merritt, 31.1; 7. Marcos Costa, 33.5; 8. Fred Whitfield, 35.4.

Barrel racing: First round leaders:1. Shada Brazile, 17.87 seconds; 2. Jessi Fish, 17.96; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.19; 4. Jane Melby, 18.37; 5. (tie) Gretchen Benbenek and Jaime Barrow, 18.42 each; 7. Shelley Morgan, 18.50; 8. Korrina Lynne Hughes, 18.51; 9. Jordan Taton, 18.56; 10. Carol Chesher, 18.57. Second round leaders: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.78 seconds; 2. Jordan Taton, 17.94; 3. Ivy Hurst, 17.97; 4. Kristie Riley, 18.23; 5. Jane Melby, 18.43; 6. Jessi Fish, 18.52; 7. Shelbie Parrish, 18.56; 8. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.61; 9. Lizzy Her, 18.64; 10. (tie) Alissa Burson and Katie Loughran, 18.71 each. Average leaders: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 36.20 seconds on two runs; 2. Jessi Fish, 36.48; 3. Jordan Taton, 36.50; 4. (tie) Sarah Rose McDonald and Jane Melby, 36.80; 6. Ivy Hurst, 36.93; 7. Kristie Riley, 37.25; 8. Katie Loughran, 37.38; 9. Lizzy Her, 37.58; 10. Korrina Lynn Hughes, 37.72; 6. Shelbie Parrish, 37.75; 7. Alissa Burson, 38.03; 8. Sandi Brandli, 38.14; 9. Angie Thompson, 38.33; 10. Peyton Mentzer, 38.50.

Bull riding: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Sweet Tater; 2. Tyler Smith, 84; 3. J.W. Harris, 83; 4. Sage Kimzey, 80; 5. (tie) Dillon Tyler, Lane Wilhelm and Dustin Bowen, 75; 8. Tag Elliott, 74.

postheadericon Wright has his mind set on the title

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Jesse Wright has a little payback on his mind.

A year ago, the Milford, Utah, cowboy posted a 90-point saddle bronc ride during the championship round of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. Moments later, his older brother – two-time world champion Cody Wright – scored 91 points to win the round and the coveted Roundup title. Jesse was the runner-up.

Jesse Wright

Jesse Wright

On Thursday night at Roundup Arena, Jesse matched moves with Frontier Rodeo’s Griz for 83 points for the highest-marked ride of the performance. He’s two points behind Cody and is a virtual lock to return the Sunday short go-round for just the second time in his career, where he knows there will be an opportunity to not only catch his older brother, but surpass him.

“I’m gunning for him, that’s for dang sure,” said Jesse Wright, who won the 2012 world championship. “It’s awesome when you make the short round, because they hold out the buckers. When you make the short round, you know you’ll get the good ones.”

Griz is one of the good ones, and Wright suspects the athletic bay horse may be back in the mix come Sunday night. Only the top 12 contestants from the preliminary rounds qualify for the championship, and roughstock cowboys – bareback riders, bronc riders and bull riders – will be matched with 12 of the best horses in the game. Griz has bucked at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo several times.

“About three years ago, I won Corpus Christi, Texas, on him,” Wright said. “He’s a really good horse, really nice. He takes a lot of rein and is real flashy.”

After winning the gold buckle two seasons ago, Wright returned to the NFR for the fourth straight year this past December, where he earned a little more than $37,000 and finished well off the pace. This season, he sits 16th in the world standings and still needs to move up at least one spot in order to qualify for the NFR for a fifth time.

“It’s tough,” he said about repeating as the world champion. “You’ve got to keep a good, positive mindset. Staying healthy is the main key; when you can stay healthy for 365 days and ride at the top of your game and win a world championship, it’s something. You’ve earned it.”

Doing well in Dodge City will be a big boost to returning to the No. 1 spot at the conclusion of the season.

“It’s important here, because I’m not sitting right where I want to be, and this is a big, good rodeo,” he said, referring to the competition and the purse. “This’ll get me set up to go back to the finals and possible win another world championship. I’ll keep coming back here for dang sure.”

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 30-Aug. 3
Bareback riding:
1. Casey Colletti, on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Coast, and Casey Breuer, on Vold’s Hot Valley, 85 points; 3. Jared Smith, 83; 4. Orin Larsen, 81; 5. Tim O’Connell, 80; 6. Tilden Hooper, 78; 75. Winn Ratliff, 77; 8. (tie) Kyle Brennecke and Joel Schlegel, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders:1. Bray Armes, 4.0 seconds; 2. Brandon Volker, 4.4; 3. Casey Martin, 4.5; 4. Tyler Waguespack, 5.1; 5. Shane Frey, 5.4; 6. (tie) Gary Gilbert and Tait Kvistad, 5.9 each. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Lang, 3.9 seconds; 2. Tooter Silver, 4.1; 3. Levi Rudd, 4.5; 4. (tie) Chance Howard and Tyler Waguespack, 4.8; 6. Bray Armes, 5.0; 7. Kait Kvistad, 5.2; 8. (tie) Ty Talsma and Logan Rudd, 5.3; 7. (tie) Brock White and Casey Martin, 5.6. Average leaders: 1. Bray Armes, 9.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Tyler Waguespack, 9.9; 3. Casey Martin, 10.1; 4. Tait Kvistad, 11.1; 5. Denver Berry,12.9; 6. Brock White, 13.1; 7. Orrin Michael Fontenot, 13.9; 8. Brandon Volker, 15.5.

Team roping: First round leaders:1. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.1 seconds; 2. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward and Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman, 5.6 each; 4. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 5.7; 5. Robert Pixley/Joe Mattern, 5.9; 6. (tie) Kyle Linaweaver/Mitch Murray and Tom Richards/Monty Joe Petska, 6.1 each. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill and Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers, 5.2 seconds; 3. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 6.0; 4. (tie) Derrick Begay/Will Woodfin and Tavis Walters/Tyler Worley, 9.9; 6. Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 10.9; 7. Trey Harmon/Braden Harmon, 14.6; 8. Bull Austin/Corey Hendrick, 14.8. Average leaders: 1. Andrew Ward/Reagan Warad, 16.5 seconds on two runs. 2. Miles Baker/Dustin Searcy, 17.0; 3. Trey Harmon/Braden Harmon, 21.8; 4. (tie) Landon McClaugherty/Caleb Twisselman and Bull Austin/Corey Hendrick, 22.8; 6. Tavis Walters/Tyler Worley, 26.4; 7. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 5.1 seconds on one run; 8. (tie) Keven Daniel/York Gill and Jake Pancost/Austin Rogers, 5.2.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody Wright, 85 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Kate’s Hot Sister; 2. Jesse Wright, 83; 3. (tie) Taos Muncy and Isaac Diaz, 82; 5. (tie) Troy Crowser and Ty Thompson, 81; 6. (tie) Brady Nicholes and Sam Spreadborough, 78.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders:1. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8 seconds; 2. Cody Ohl, 12.0; 3. Thomas Merritt, 13.5; 4. Fred Whitfield, 13.8; 5. Perry Dietz, 14.1; 6. Adam Gray, 15.7. Second round leaders: 1. Marcos Costa, 10.2 seconds; 2. Cody Ohl, 11.0; 3. Adam Gray, 12.0; 4. Sean O’Neil, 13.8; 5. Blake Barber, 15.7; 7. Clete Scheer, 17.9; 8. Fred Whitfield, 21.6. Average leaders: 1. Cody Ohl, 23.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Adam Gray, 27.7; 3. Sean O’Neil, 30.4; 4. Thomas Merritt, 31.1; 5. Marcos Costa, 33.5; 6. Fred Whitfield, 35.4; 7. Jerome Schneeberger, 11.8 seconds on one run; 8. Perry Dietz, 14.1.

Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Shada Brazile, 17.87 seconds; 2. Jessi Fish, 17.96; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 18.19; 4. Jane Melby, 18.37; 5. Jaime Barrow, 18.42; 6. Korrina Lynn Hughes, 18.51. Second round leaders: 1. Jane Melby, 18.43 seconds; 2. Jessi Fish, 18.52; 3. Shelbie Parrish, 18.56; 4. Sara Rose McDonald, 18.61; 5. (tie) Katie Loughran and Alissa Burson, 18.71; 7. Peyton Mentzer, 18.83; 8. (tie) Callie Gray and Kris Hanson, 18.92; 10. Angie Thompson, 19.07. Average leaders: 1. Jessi Fish, 36.48 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Sarah Rose McDonald and Jane Melby, 36.80; 4. Katie Loughran, 37.38; 5. Korrina Lynn Hughes, 37.72; 6. Shelbie Parrish, 37.75; 7. Alissa Burson, 38.03; 8. Sandi Brandli, 38.14; 9. Angie Thompson, 38.33; 10. Peyton Mentzer, 38.50.

Bull riding: 1. Tyler Smith, 84 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Elise Said What; 2. J.W. Harris, 83; 3. (tie) Dillon Tyler and Dustin Bowen, 75; 5. Tag Elliott, 74; 6. Elijah Mora, 64; 7. Casey Huckabee, 53; no other qualified rides.