postheadericon Eldridge wrestles San Angelo lead

Dakota Eldridge moves onto his steer during his steer wrestling run Saturday. Eldridge leads both the first round and the average at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo with four performances remaining in the preliminary rounds. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Dakota Eldridge moves onto his steer during his steer wrestling run Saturday. Eldridge leads both the first round and the average at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo with four performances remaining in the preliminary rounds. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – The 2018 ProRodeo season has started off rather slowly for Dakota Eldridge.

He’s not among the top 50 in the world standings, but that can change within the next week or so after his two runs Saturday at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. Eldridge, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Elko, Nev., downed two steers in a cumulative time of 7.1 seconds to take the steer wrestling lead.

“I knew my first steer was pretty good, because they were good on that steer the first time they ran him here,” said Eldridge, who won NFR average championships in 2015 and 2017. “I knew I needed to use every opportunity I had. I scored good and bulldogged great, so it worked out.”

Yes, it did. His afternoon time of 3.1 seconds placed him into the first-round lead. He ran his second-round steer during Saturday evening’s seventh performance and stopped the clock in 4.0 seconds. He is just one-tenth of a second out of placing in that round.

Dakota Eldridge

Dakota Eldridge

But the important piece of the puzzle is having a fast two-run aggregate time, because only the top 12 return next Friday for the championship round.

The key behind all of his success lies with Rusty, a 19-year-old sorrel gelding that has been his key partner each of the past six years. That includes all five trips to Las Vegas and the two average saddles.

“He’s getting a little age to him, but he’s feeling better than he ever has,” Eldridge said. “He’s seasoned, and now I’m getting seasoned. This horse has been with me since I was a little kid.”

He’s also been an important mount for others along the way. Clayton Hass, a three-time NFR qualifier from Stephenville, Texas, has been riding the talented red horse this winter. He is second in the San Angelo average, just a tenth of a second behind Eldridge.

“With Clayton being right in there, Rusty should have a good day Friday when we head back over here for the short round,” Eldridge said. “It’s great to have a little momentum as we get ready for our set in San Antonio.”

He and others will compete at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo from Tuesday-Thursday, then return to San Angelo Coliseum for championship night.

“I’ve had a lot of luck at San Angelo,” Eldridge said. “You’ve always got a great crowd, and it’s a short, fast setup.

“I’ve finished second and third here in years past. You’re always trying to get the kinks worked out by the time you get to San Angelo. I’ve been drawing pretty good, but I’ve dropped the ball a little. Hopefully it’s all coming together at the right time.”

Sometimes things just don’t go a competitor’s way, but the Nevada cowboy knows how to take the roller-coaster rides that come with ProRodeo. He’s eager to return to the NFR for a sixth straight year, and he’s got the partner he needs to do it with Rusty.

“That horse has made 50 runs with me at the finals, and it’s been six years of hauling him professionally down t he road,” he said. “That horse has been there for me time and time again. For him to be that consistent is amazing.”

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Luke Creasy, 86.5 points on Lancaster and Jones’ Total Equine’s North Country; 2. (tie) Will Lowe, Tanner Aus and Justin Pollmiller, 85; 5. Kaycee Feild, 82.5; 6. (tie) BoDell Jessen and Wyatt Denny, 82; 8. (tie) Jake Brown and Tilden Hooper, 81; 10. Kash Wilson, 80.5; 11. (tie) Clayton Biglow and Trenton Montero, 80.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 3.1 seconds; 2. (tie) Brandon Harrison and Cameron Morman, 3.5; 4. (tie) John Kloeckler, Jarret New and Rowdy Parrott, 3.7; 7. Clayton Hass and Bridger Anderson, 3.8. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Dirk Tavenner, Clayton Hass, Jacob Talley and Cody Devers, 3.4 seconds; 5. Chason Floyd, 3.5; 6. Cade Staton, 3.6; 7. Denver Berry, 3.8; 8. (tie) Blake Knowles, Blake Mindemann, Mike McGinn and Dru Melvin, 3.9. Average leaders: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 7.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Clayton Hass, 7.2; 3. Jacob Talley, 7.5; 4. Blake Mindemann, 7.9; 5. Denver Berry, 8.2; 6. (tie) Tyler Waguespack, Blaine Jones and Cameron Morman, 8.5; 9. Scott Guenthner, 8.6; 10. (tie) Tyler Pearson and Will Lummus, 8.7; 12. Stockton Graves, 9.0.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 3.6 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Cody Hogan, 3.8; 3. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 3.9; 4. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, (tie) Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins, J.B. James Jr/Cesar de la Cruz and Bobby Baize/Justin Fox, 4.1. Second round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 3.6 seconds; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison, 3.8; 3. Luke Brown/Jake Long and Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 3.9; 5. (tie) Tom Richards/Jake Smith, Tyler Mangus/Truman Leo Mangus and Colby Lovell/Ty Arnold, 4.0; 8. (tie) Tyler Wade/Trey Yates and Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 4.1. Average: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 8.3; 4. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 8.4; 5. Paul David Tierney/TannerBraden, 9.5; 6. (tie) Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter and Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 9.0; 8. (tie) Logan Olson/Matt Kasner and Tyler Waters/Britt Bockius,9.2; 10. Tate Kirchenschlager/Tyler Worley, 9.5; 11. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 13.1; 12. (tie) Tyler Mangus/Truman Leo Mangus and Aaron Macy/Wyatt Cox, 13.8.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 85.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sweet Maria; 2. Audy Reed, 84.5; 3. Sterling Crawley, 84; 4. Rusty Wright, 81.5; 5. Lefty Holman, 80.5; 6. (tie) James Greeson and Shade Etbauer, 80; 8. Layton Green, 79.5; 9. (tie) Isaac Diaz and Troy Crowser, 79; 11. (tie) Preston Burr and Ty Manke, 78.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Weldon Watson, 7.1 seconds; 2. Scott Kormos, 7.3; 3. (tie) Cory Solomon and Westyn Hughes, 7.7; 5. (tie) Blane Cox, Zack Jongbloed and Cody Huber, 7.8; 8. Cody Craig, 7.9. Second round: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.0 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 7.4; 3. Michael Perry, 7.7; 4. Cade Swor, 7.8; 5. Garrett Jacobs, 7.9; 6. (tie) Trent Creager and Ryan Watkins, 8.0; 8. Brent Walden, 8.2. Average: 1. Scott Kormos, 16.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Timber Moore, 16.9; 3. (tie) Weldon Watson and Zack Jongbloed, 17.42; 5. (tie) Michael Perry and D.J. Parker, 17.52; 7. Marcus Theriot, 17.6; 8. L.D. Meier, 17.7; 7. Brice Ingo, 17.8; 9. Brice Ingo, 17.8; 10. Garrett Jacobs, 18.0; 11. Joseph Gernentz, 18.8; 11. Trent Creager, 18.9; 12. John Wall, 18.9.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Teri Bangart, 14.21 seconds; 2. Cindy Smith, 14.27; 3. Carman Pozzobon, 14.28; 4. Kaycie Teague, 14.35; 5. Callahan Crossley, 14.41; 6. (tie) Kelli Barichello and Madeline Dickens, 14.44; 8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 14.46; 9. Kim Coleman, 14.48; 10. (tie) Kasey Hall and Carley Richardson, 14.49. Average leaders: 1. Cindy Smith, 30.50 seconds on two runs; 2. Kim Coleman, 30.53; 3. Carman Pozzobon, 30.56; 4. (tie) Teri Bangart and Kimberly Cockrell, 30.59; 6. Callahan Crossley, 30.62; 7. Carley Richardson, 30.71; 8. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 30.73; 9. Cassidy Kruse, 30.77; 10. Kaycie Teague, 30.78; 11. Madeline Dickens, 30.85; 12. Kelli Barichello, 30.86.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 90.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal; 2. Jordan Wacey Spears, 88.5; 3. Tyler Bingham, 87; 4. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 5. J.T. Moore, 85; 6. Austin Patterson, 84; 7. (tie) Colten Gardner and Garrett Tribble, 83; 9. Nate Perry, 82; 10. Dustin Muncy, 81.5; 11. Tyler Hessman, 81; 12. Reid Barker, 79.5.

postheadericon Kormos makes move in San Angelo

Scott Kormos roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds Friday night to move into second place in the opening round at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Scott Kormos roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds Friday night to move into second place in the opening round at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – There’s a reason the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo is one of Scott Kormos’ favorite events.

“When you’ve had success somewhere and keep having success there, it keeps going to the top of the board as far as our favorite events,” said Kormos, a tie-down roper from Teague, Texas, with eight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

On Friday night during the fifth rodeo performance, he roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds, moving into second place in the first round. He will compete again during the sixth performance, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, with hopes of posting another fast run and securing his spot for the championship round; that will feature the top 12 contestants in each event from the preliminary rounds.

“I had a good calf, and my horse worked good,” said Kormos, who could move into the No. 1 spot in the two-run aggregate if he posts a run of 10.0 seconds or faster Saturday afternoon. “I just wanted to make a solid, no-mistake run.

Scott Kormos

Scott Kormos

“It’s always pretty fast here. The first thing you’ve got to do is draw a good calf. Once you’ve got a good one, you’ve got to go after it. There are 200 of the best guys in the world here every year. You’d better bring you’re A Game.”

So far, so good for the Texan, who is 12th so far in the 2018 world standings. He’s had plenty of success in this west Texas community over the years, and he always enjoys coming back. He won the San Angelo title a few years ago and has left town with money most years.

“San Angelo has been good to me,” he said. “I like this rodeo. They have a great committee here. They do a lot of things for the fans, and they really do a lot for the contestants, too. The hospitality is really good here.

“The fans in this town are good, and it’s been like this every year that I’ve been coming here. The people out here are calf roping fans; we have a big roping out here in the fall, and they show up. It’s a pretty neat place.”

The winter is fairly lean for most rodeo contestants. There are a number of big-money rodeos, but they are spread out. He may compete one weekend, then not be on the rodeo trail for a few weeks again. It’s much different than in the summer, where cowboys can hit virtually a rodeo a day for many weeks at a time.

“The hard part about this time of year is getting your confidence, because you can go so long between runs,” he said. “If you’re able to run good calves and make good runs, then it helps.”

He started a solid streak on Friday night, and he hopes it carries over into the weeks and months ahead. He last competed at the NFR in 2013, and he’s taken some off the rodeo trail to secure his team to make another run at Las Vegas.

“I haven’t rodeo’d hard the last three or four years because I’ve been trying to get a horse together,” said Kormos, 37. “Now I’ve got a horse that I really like. I want to get back to that, because there’s a lot of good money up at the NFR now. You want to take your shot at that.”

He has plenty of confidence in competing at San Angelo, so there’s no reason to doubt him now.

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Luke Creasy, 86.5 points on Lancaster and Jones’ Total Equine’s North Country; 2. (tie) Will Lowe, Tanner Aus and Justin Pollmiller, 85; 5. BoDell Jessen, 82; 6. (tie) Jake Brown and Tilden Hooper, 81; 8. Kash Wilson, 80.5; 9. Jordan Pelton, 79l 10. Taylor Broussard, 77; 11. (tie) Dayton Swearingen, Tyler Berghuis, Kody Lamb, Wyatt Ortega, Kyle Charley and Justin Miller, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Brandon Harrison and Cameron Morman, 3.5 seconds; 3. (tie) John Kloeckler and Jarret New, 3.7; 5. Bridger Anderson, 3.8; 6. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Blake Mindemann, 4.0; 8. (tie) Ross Mosher, Sam Powers, Royce Johnson, Justin Shaffer, Jacob Talley and Josh Clark, 4.1. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Dirk Tavenner, Jacob Talley and Cody Devers, 3.4 seconds; 4. Cade Staton, 3.6; 5. Denver Berry, 3.8; 6. (tie) Blake Knowles, Blake Mindemann, Mike McGinn and Dru Melvin, 3.9. Average leaders: 1. Jacob Talley, 7.5 seconds on two runs; 2. Blake Mindemann, 7.9; 3. Denver Berry, 8.2; 4. (tie) Tyler Waguespack, Blaine Jones and Cameron Morman, 8.5; 7. Scott Guenthner, 8.6; 8. (tie) Tyler Pearson and Will Lummus, 8.7; 9. Stockton Graves, 9.0; 11. Cody Harmon, 9.1; 12. (tie) Justin Shaffer and Mike McGinn, 9.2.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 3.6 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Cody Hogan, 3.8; 3. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 3.9; 4. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Cory Kidd V/Caleb Anderson, 4.0; 6. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins, J.B. James Jr/Cesar de la Cruz and Bobby Baize/Justin Fox, 4.1. Second round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 3.6 seconds; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison, 3.8; 3. (tie) Tom Richards/Jake Smith, Tyler Mangus/Truman Leo Mangus and Colby Lovell/Ty Arnold, 4.0; 6. (tie) Tyler Wade/Trey Yates and Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 4.1; 8. (tie) Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres and Shane Philipp/Joel Bach, 4.2. Average: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 8.3; 4. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 8.4; 5. Paul David Tierney/TannerBraden, 9.5; 6. (tie) Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter and Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 9.0; 8. Tyler Waters/Britt Bockius,9.2; 9. Tate Kirchenschlager/Tyler Worley, 9.5; 10. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 13.1; 11. (tie) Tyler Mangus/Truman Leo Mangus and Aaron Macy/Wyatt Cox, 13.8.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 85.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sweet Maria; 2. Sterling Crawley, 84; 3. Rusty Wright, 81.5; 4. Lefty Holman, 80.5; 5. James Greeson, 80; 6. Layton Green, 79.5; 7. Isaac Diaz, 79; 8. Preston Burr, 78; 9. Quincy Crum, 77; 10. Kolby Wanchuk, 76.5; 8. (tie) Tom Knight, Lane Watt, Wyatt Casper, Joey Sonnier, Jesse Wright and Mason Laviolette, 76.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Weldon Watson, 7.1 seconds; 2. Scott Kormos, 7.3 seconds; 3. (tie) Cory Solomon and Westyn Hughes, 7.7; 5. (tie) Zack Jongbloed and Cody Huber, 7.8; 7. Cody Craig, 7.9; 8. Reid Zapalac, 8.0. Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 7.4 seconds; 2. Michael Perry, 7.7; 3. Garrett Jacobs, 7.9; 4. Ryan Watkins, 8.0; 5. Brent Walden, 8.2; 6. Cody Owens,8.4; 7. Randall Carlisle, 8.5; 8. Haven Meged, 8.7. Average: 1. (tie) Weldon Watson and Zack Jongbloed, 17.4 seconds on two runs; 3. (tie) Michael Perry and D.J. Parker, 17.5; 5. Marcus Theriot, 17.6; 6. L.D. Meier, 17.7; 7. Brice Ingo, 17.8; 8. Garrett Jacobs, 18.02; 9. Joseph Gernentz, 18.8; 10. John Wall, 18.9; 11. Reno Gonzales, 19.2; 12. (tie) J.D. McQuistion and Seth Cooke, 19.5.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Teri Bangart, 14.21 seconds; 2. Carman Pozzobon, 14.28; 3. Kaycie Teague, 14.35; 4. Callahan Crossley, 14.41; 5. Kelli Barichello, 14.44; 6. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 14.46; 7. Kim Coleman, 14.48; 8. Kasey Hall, 14.49; 9. Bridget Carr, 14.52; 10. (tie) Megan Mariluch and Suzanne Brooks, 14.56. Average leaders: 1. Kim Coleman, 30.53 seconds on two runs; 2. Carman Pozzobon, 30.56; 3. Teri Bangart, 30.59; 4. Callahan Crossley, 30.62; 5. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 30.73; 6. Kaycie Teague, 30.78; 7. Kelli Barichello, 30.86; 8. Sabrina Devers, 30.94; 9. Suzanne Brooks, 30.96; 10. Nicole Laurence, 30.97; 11. Kasey Hall, 30.99; 12. Megan Mariluch, 31.01.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 90.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal; 2. Jordan Wacey Spears, 88.5; 3. Tyler Bingham, 87; 4. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 5. Austin Patterson, 84; 6. (tie) Colten Gardner and Garrett Tribble, 83; 8. Nate Perry, 82; 9. Reid Barker, 79.5; 10. Shane Proctor, 77.5; 11. Dave Mason, 74; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Wrangler Bullfights return

Lance Brittan was one of the last world champions on the original Wrangler Bullfighting Tour when he won the crown in 1999. The Wrangler Bullfights return through Bullfighters Only and will be tied to PRCA rodeos that will feature the BFO. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LANCE BRITTAN)

Lance Brittan was one of the last world champions on the original Wrangler Bullfighting Tour when he won the crown in 1999. The Wrangler Bullfights return through Bullfighters Only and will be tied to PRCA rodeos that will feature the BFO. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LANCE BRITTAN)

Bringing together the past and future of freestyle bullfighting

The history of freestyle bullfighting dates back nearly 40 years, when Jim Sutton, David Little and David Allen developed the Wrangler Bullfighting Tour. Wrangler’s support helped propel the sport to its glory days in the 1980s and ’90s.

Today, the premier freestyle bullfighting organization in the world, Bullfighters Only, is announcing a partnership with Wrangler Jeans and Shirts to launch the BFO Wrangler Bullfights.

“This is an exciting time for freestyle bullfighting, and Bullfighters Only, to have an iconic brand like Wrangler involved with this sport again,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only. “The Wrangler Bullfight brand is still synonymous with our sport, and we’re honored to bring it back to life. While we don’t take the responsibility lightly, we’re going to have a lot of fun bringing our innovation to such a staple of western sports.”

The BFO Wrangler Bullfights will feature competitions that take place in conjunction with Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events – the first of which will take place Feb. 24 at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

“The Wrangler Bullfights go back over 30 years,” said Jeff Chadwick, the director of Western events for Wrangler. “It was the talent and heart of men like Wick Peth, Rob Smets, Miles Hare, Skipper Voss, Rex Dunn and other great bullfighters in paint, matched up with the likes of Crocked Nose and Purple People Eater, that brought fans to the edge of their seats for years.

“Now, the next generation of athletes in cleats are matched up against the fastest and most aggressive bulls in the game – that’s what Bullfighters Only is about.”

BFO has also formed a partnership with Wrangler Network, the online network built exclusively for those living the western lifestyle. Plans are being made to livestream the BFO Wrangler Bullfights, as well as BFO stand-alone events throughout 2018.

“BFO has always been about fan engagement,” Ferguson said.  “To have the incredible team at Wrangler Network stream our events to so many fans just made sense.”

There are a number of benefits to the partnership.

“Wrangler teaming up with the BFO is a perfect fit,” said Weston Rutkowski, the reigning two-time world champion from Haskell, Texas. “Wrangler was such a big part of creating freestyle bullfighting and does so much for rodeo. For them to jump on board with the BFO, it will allow these two great companies to really showcase this sport.

“The Wrangler brand is the epitome of freestyle bullfighting, and BFO is the premier bullfighting group in the world.”

Lance Brittan understands that. He was the 1999 Wrangler Bullfighting world champion who briefly came out of retirement last year to compete in the BFO.  He now serves as a BFO judge and was one of two judges selected for the BFO Las Vegas Championship this past December.

“The more partners we can get like Wrangler, the better it is for the BFO and for the up-and-coming bullfighters,” said Brittan of Windsor, Colo. “This is a really good thing for the future of freestyle bullfighting.”

Brittan was joined as a BFO judge in Las Vegas by Rowdy Barry of Kennewick, Wash., who first became a professional bullfighter 32 years ago. He spent 15 years on the Wrangler Bullfight Tour.

“Bullfighting is very different now than it was then, and that’s for the better,” Barry said. “In comparison, we fought a lot more crossbred bulls, and the bulls they had for the bullfights might go twice every week. You couldn’t really throw any tricks at them they hadn’t seen.

“A lot of times, we were just trying to survive. That didn’t always leave a lot of room to be able to showcase our talents.”

Bullfighters Only was established in 2015 and has quickly brought freestyle bullfighting into the mainstream by showcasing the true athleticism of its fighters, along with a powerful element of danger in an action-sports environment.

“I think it’s awesome that Wrangler has teamed with the BFO,” Barry said. “There’s so much talent out there. There are a lot of great athletes that are bringing some new tricks to the industry, things that we never even thought of trying.”

The BFO’s partnership with Wrangler is the perfect transition from freestyle bullfighting’s glorious history with the ever-developing future of the sport.

“The sky is the limit with the BFO,” Rutkowski said. “We’re only scratching the surface of what we’re going to do in the future.”

postheadericon Furr kicks off season with win

SALT LAKE CITY – Just like a boxer, a freestyle bullfighter needs to be light on his feet and throw accurate punches in order to come out victorious.

Kris Furr

Kris Furr

That’s exactly what Kris Furr did Saturday night to claim the first Bullfighters Only event of the season, held in conjunction with the Days of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls & Broncs at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City.

“It’s a good start to the year,” said Furr, who matched moves with WAR Fighting Bulls’ Sinful Nights for 85 points to claim the championship. “That’s a sweet bull. You couldn’t ask for a better one, and I handled him.”

Weston Rutkowski

Weston Rutkowski

As Sinful Nights burst out of the chute, Furr made a quick round with the black Spanish fighting bull. Then, as the animal showed his aggression, the North Carolinian threw a series of strong fakes to keep the bull off balance. Once he got enough separation, Furr was able to clear the bull on a head to tail jump.

“He let me do my thing,” he said. “But, he sure helped me get the win.”

Two-time reigning world champion Weston Rutkowski and Toby Inman, the 2017 reserve world champion, also had solid fights. Rutkowski finished second with an 82-point bout, but the difference came in the bull power. Inman finished third with a 77.

Toby Inman

Toby Inman

“I was the first one out, so I wanted to set the standard,” Furr said. “That was definitely had the bull to win it.”

But the bullfighter also had to hold up his end of the fight, and Furr did that. He also said it was great to be part of the Lewis Feild Bulls & Broncs, which featured all three rodeo roughstock events and barrel racing.

“The crowd was into it the whole time, especially during the bullfight,” he said. “I think it was really neat to them because we did it in the dark under the spotlight, so that made it even more electric.”

That’s what Bullfighters Only is all about, finding every way possible to showcase talent.

RESULTS
1. Kris Furr, 85 points on WAR Fighting Bulls’ Sinful Nights; 2. Weston Rutkowski, 82; 3. Toby Inman, 77

postheadericon Newcomer finds groove in Angelo

Teri Bangart circles the cloverleaf pattern in 14.21 seconds to take the lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Teri Bangart circles the cloverleaf pattern in 14.21 seconds to take the lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – For most of her life, Teri Bangart dreamed of competing in barrel racing against the best cowgirls in the country.

She’s doing it now. On Sunday afternoon during the fourth performance of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, Bangart proved why she’s on the rodeo trail. She and her mount, RCAs Three Bugs Honor, rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 14.21 seconds to take the second-round lead in commanding fashion.

She and Peak also own the fastest time in the two-run aggregate and are holding out hope that they can return San Angelo for the Feb. 16 championship round, which will feature just the top 12 contestants in each event from the preliminary rounds.

“I just wanted to have a good run under my belt,” said Bangart of Olympia, Wash., who is on her third year as a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. “It’s been kind of a trying month. Just having a good run in that pen was great, and the building was electrifying. The crowd was amazing.

“My horse feeds off the energy in that building. He was on a roll today.”

So is Bangart. She capped off the 2017 season as the Columbia River Circuit champion and is taking a run on the ProRodeo trail away from her Washington home for the first time in her life. Of course, this is all fairly new to the mother of two.

She grew up with horses, but just had them around for pleasure. She didn’t start running barrels until 12 years ago, once she’d started her family. Now that she has her trusty stead, she decided to see how life would be on the road and away from family.

“I’ve been gone since Jan. 16,” she said. “I talk to my kids at least every other day, but we text every day. They’re really supportive, and that’s great. That helps a lot, especially since I’ll be gone for six weeks.”

She has a good chance to place high in the second round. In order to make it back for the short round, though, she’ll have to have one of the top 12 cumulative times on two runs. Now Bangart will have to wait through six more preliminary performances to see if she and Peak will have another shot inside that electric coliseum.

Teri Bangart circles the cloverleaf pattern in 14.21 seconds to take the lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Jordan Wacey Spears rides Pete Carr’s Buzzard Breath for 88.5 points to move into second place. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)a

“I would love to place at San Angelo,” she said. “If we could place fairly well, it would be a way of saying were supposed to be down here. To run against great horses and outstanding riders is pretty awesome.”

Jordan Wacey Spears has proven to be one of the top bull riders in the game. He is coming off his third qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he finished seventh in the world standings. On Sunday afternoon, he rode Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Buzzard Breath for 88.5 points to move into second place in the standings.

That gives him a great chance to return for the short round and compete for the San Angelo crown.

“That was a great-feeling bull, the one guys want to get on,” said Spears of Redding, Calif. “It felt good to get on a bull like that. It was one of the better bulls I’ve been on this year.”

Spears has had plenty of success inside the San Angelo Coliseum over the years, and he’s looking to add to it again this year.

“Pete Carr brings a bunch of really good bulls here,” he said. “You know you can win on these bulls, and the crowd is always great. The fans definitely show up, and there’s a lot of energy in the building. It makes for better rides, better scores and faster times.”

That showed Sunday.

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Luke Creasy, 86.5 points on Lancaster and Jones’ Total Equine’s North Country; 2. (tie) Will Lowe, Tanner Aus and Justin Pollmiller, 85; 5. (tie) Jake Brown and Tilden Hooper, 81; 7. Kash Wilson, 80.5; 8. Taylor Broussard, 77; 9. (tie) Dayton Swearingen, Tyler Berghuis, Kody Lamb, Wyatt Ortega and Kyle Charley, 76.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 4.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Will Lummus and Tyler Pearson, 4.2; 4. (tie) Cody Cabral, Ty Erickson and Kyle Irwin, 4.3; 7. (tie) Blaine Jones and Billy Bugenig, 4.4; 5. (tie) Tom Lewis and Badger Chambers, 4.8; 7. J.D. Struxness, 5.0; 8. Olin Hannum, 5.1. Second round leaders: 1. Dirk Tavenner, 3.4 seconds; 2. Blake Knowles, 3.9; 3. (tie) Scott Guenthner, Blaine Jones and Cody Kroul, 4.1; 6. (tie) Tyler Person, Tyler Waguespack and Will Lummus, 4.5. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Blaine Jones, 8.5 seconds on two runs; 3. Scott Guenthner, 8.6; 4. (tie) Tyler Pearson and Will Lummus, 8.7; 6. Bridger Chambers, 10.0; 7. Kyle Irwin, 19.2; 8. Dirk Tavenner, 3.4 seconds on one run; 9. Blake Knowles, 3.9.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Cory Kidd V/Caleb Anderson, 4.0 seconds; 2. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins,4.1; 4. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.2; 5. Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 4.3; 6. (tie) Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler and Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 4.4; 8. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.4. Second round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 3.6 seconds; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harriwon, 3.8; 3. Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 4.0; 4. (tie) Tyler Wade/Trey Yates and Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 4.1; 6. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Ty Blasingame/Levi Tyan, 4.3; 8. Tanner Baldwin/Tanner Luttrell, 4.7. Average: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 8.3 seconds on two runs; 3. Paul David Tierney/TannerBraden, 9.5; 4. (tie) Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter and Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 9.0; 6. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 13.1; 7. Bart Brunson/Wesley Brunson, 14.9; 8. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph  Harrison, 18.7; 9. Cory Kidd V/Caleb Anderson, 4.0 seconds on one run; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 85.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sweet Maria; 2. Sterling Crawley, 84; 3. Rusty Wright, 81.5; 4. Lefty Holman, 80.5; 5. James Greeson, 80; 6. Isaac Diaz, 79; 7. Kolby Wanchuk, 76.5; 8. (tie) Tom Knight, Lane Watt, Wyatt Casper, Joey Sonnier, Jesse Wright and Mason Laviolette, 76.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Cory Solomon and Westyn Hughes, 7.7 seconds; 3. Cody Quaney, 8.5; 4. J.D. McQuistion, 9.1; 5. Reno Gonzales, 9.5; 6. Riley Pruitt, 19.4; 7. Randall Carlsile, 12.1; 8. Ty Harris, 12.2. Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 7.4 seconds; 2.  Randall Carlisle, 8.5; 3. Reno Gonzales, 9.7; 4. Ace Slone, 10.0; 5. J.D. McQuistion, 10.4; 6. Taylor Santos, 11.3; 7. Riley Pruitt, 12.0; 8. Cody Quaney, 18.8. Average: 1. Reno Gonzales, 19.2 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. McQuistion, 19.5; 3. Randall Carlisle, 20.6; 4. Riley Pruitt, 22.4; 5. Cody Quaney, 27.3; 6. Westyn Hughes, 31.9; 7. Sterling Smith, 32.2; 8. Taylor Santos, 33.2; 9. Trevor Brazile, 7.4 seconds on one run.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Teri Bangart, 14.21 seconds; 2. Kaycie Teague, 14.35; 3. Kelli Barichello, 14.44; 4. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 14.46; 5. Kasey Hall, 14.49; 6. Bridget Carr, 14.52;75. (tie) Megan Mariluch and Suzanne Brooks, 14.56; 9, Jimmie Smith, 14.60; 10. Kasey Kretzschmar, 14.61. Average leaders: 1. Teri Bangart, 30.59 seconds on two runs; 2. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 30.73; 3. Kaycie Teague, 30.78; 4. Kelli Barichello, 30.86; 5. Suzanne Brooks, 30.96; 6. Nicole Laurence, 30.97; 7. Kasey Hall, 30.99; 8. Megan Mariluch, 31.01; 9. Bridget Carr, 31.02; 10. Jodi Colton, 31.03; 11. Kasey Kretzschmar, 31.04; 12. Lyndee Stairs.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 90.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal; 2. Jordan Wacey Spears, 88.5; 3. Tyler Bingham, 87; 4. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 5. Colten Gardner, 83; 6. Nate Perry, 82; 7. Reid Barker, 79.5; 8. Shane Proctor, 77.5; 9. Dave Mason, 74; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Versatility pays off for Waguespack

Tyler Waguespack, the 2015 world champion steer wrestler, transitions to his second-round steer Saturday at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. He is 8.5 seconds on two runs and leads the average. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Tyler Waguespack, the 2015 world champion steer wrestler, transitions to his second-round steer Saturday at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. He is 8.5 seconds on two runs and leads the average. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Growing up training steer wrestling horses with his father, Tyler Waguespack jumped steers from many mounts.

That background came in handy on Saturday as he made two solid runs on two horses at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. He leads the first round with a 4.0-second run and sits third in the second round with a 4.5. His combined efforts put him in the two-run aggregate lead.

“I rode Scooter on my first one,” Waguespack said of the 2017 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year owned by friends Tyler Pearson and Kyle Irwin. “Pearson had to take him to Fort Worth (Texas) for the short round there, so I rode my palomino, Outlaw, on my second steer.

“Everything is looking pretty good to come back for the short round here.”

Tyler Waguespack

Tyler Waguespack

There are seven performances remaining to decide the 12 contestants in each event who return Feb. 16 for the championship round. A year ago, he was in a great position to win the San Angelo championship, but Baylor Roche put together a lightning fast final run to claim the title.

Still, Waguespack – the 2015 world champion from Gonzales, La. – placed second and earned $9,652, which he utilized in his third straight Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification.

“San Angelo is like one of my honey holes,” he said. “I’ve always had some success there. It’s a really fast setup, and the committee does a good job of getting good stock contractors to put on a great rodeo.”

Waguespack finished last season No. 4 in the world standings with $231,277. He was one of four men who rode Scooter through the NFR this past December. Combined, he, Irwin, Pearson and Ty Erickson won just shy of $500,000 on the back of the talented sorrel.

“Scooter gives you the same trip every time,” Waguespack said. “He’s just easy for about anybody to ride. At the NFR, we were moving the stirrups four different times every night, and he didn’t mind it at all. He’s going to give you a chance to win.”

Pearson won the gold buckle, thanks in large part to Scooter. The other three all finished in the top five in the final world standings. But all four know they can’t rely on the athletic red horse, which is why it was nice to have Outlaw available Saturday night.

“Outlaw took the whole month of December off,” he said. “In January, we were on him quite a bit. On Friday night, Ty (Erickson) and I rode him at a jackpot. He’s in shape and ready to go. We will be using him a bunch this winter so we can take some heat off Scooter.

“Whenever you have something that great, you don’t want to abuse him.”

But they do want to win, and Waguespack has found the winning formula in San Angelo.

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Luke Creasy on Lancaster and Jones’ Total Equine’s North Country; 2. (tie) Will Lowe and Tanner Aus, 85; 4. (tie) Jake Brown and Tilden Hooper, 81; 6. Taylor Broussard, 77; 7. (tie) Dayton Swearingen and Tyler Berghuis, 76; 9. Evan Jayne, 73; 10. (tie) Harry Ash, 72; 12. Zach Hibler, 69.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 4.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Will Lummus and Tyler Pearson, 4.2; 4. (tie) Cody Cabral, Ty Erickson and Kyle Irwin, 4.3; 7. (tie) Blaine Jones and Billy Bugenig, 4.4; 5. (tie) Tom Lewis and Badger Chambers, 4.8; 7. J.D. Struxness, 5.0; 8. Olin Hannum, 5.1. Second round leaders: 1. Blake Knowles, 3.9 seconds; 2. Scott Guenthner, 4.1; 3. Tyler Waguespack, 4.5; 4. Kyle Irwin, 14.9; no other qualified runs. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 8.5 seconds on two runs; 2. Scott Guenthner, 8.6; 3. Kyle Irwin, 19.2; 4. Blake Knowles, 3.9 seconds on one run; 5. (tie) Tyler Pearson and Will Lummus, 4.2; 7. (tie) Ty Erickson and Cody Cabral, 4.3.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Cory Kidd V/Caleb Anderson, 4.0 seconds; 2. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins,4.1; 4. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.2; 5. Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 4.3; 6. (tie) Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler and Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden, 4.4; 8. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.4. Second round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 3.6 seconds; 2. Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 4.0; 3. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 4.3; 4. Bart Brunson/Wesley Brunson, 5.5; 5. Dustin Bird/Jake Minor, 8.8; no other qualified runs. Average: 1. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 8.3 seconds on two runs; 3. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 9.0; 4. Bart Brunson/Wesley Brunson, 14.9; 5. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.2 seconds on one run; 6. Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, 4.4; 7. Dustin Bird/Jake Minor, 8.8; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 85.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sweet Maria; 2. Sterling Crawley, 84; 3. Lefty Holman, 80.5; 4. James Greeson, 80; 5. Kolby Wanchuk, 76.5; 6. (tie) Tom Knight, Lane Watt, Wyatt Casper and Joey Sonnier, 76; 10. (tie) Hardy Braden and Tate Owens, 75; 12. Peter White II, 74.5.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Cory Solomon and Westyn Hughes, 7.7 seconds; 3. Cody Quaney, 8.5; 4. J.D. McQuistion, 9.1; 5. Reno Gonzales, 9.5; 6. Riley Pruitt, 19.4; 7. Randall Carlsile, 12.1; 8. Ty Harris, 12.2. Second round: 1. Randall Carlisle, 8.5 seconds; 2. Reno Gonzales, 9.7; 3. Ace Slone, 10.0; 4. J.D. McQuistion, 10.4; 5. Riley Pruitt, 12.0; 6. Cody Quaney, 18.8; no other qualified runs. Average: 1. Reno Gonzales, 19.2 seconds on two runs; 2. J.D. McQuistion, 19.5; 3. Randall Carlisle, 20.6; 4. Riley Pruitt, 22.4; 5. Cody Quaney, 27.3; 6. Cory Solomon, 7.7 seconds on one run; 7. Ace Slone, 10.0; no other qualified runs.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Kaycie Teague, 14.35 seconds; 2. Kelli Barichello, 14.44; 3. Kasey Hall, 14.49; 4. Bridget Carr, 14.52; 5. (tie) Megan Mariluch and Suzanne Brooks, 14.56; 7, Jimmie Smith, 14.60; 8. Kasey Kretzschmar, 14.61; 9. (tie) Kelly Tovar and Ari-Anna Flynn, 14.62. Average leaders: 1. Kaycie Teague, 30.78 seconds on two runs; 2. Kelli Barichello, 30.86; 3. Suzanne Brooks, 30.96; 4. Kasey Hall, 30.99; 5. Megan Mariluch, 31.01; 6. Bridget Carr, 31.02; 7. Kasey Kretzschmar, 31.04; 8. Lyndee Stairs, 31.10; 9. (tie) Jimmie Smith and Corley Cox, 31.11; 11. Kelly Tovar, 31.14; 12. Ari-Anna Flynn, 31.15.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 90.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal; 2. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 3. Colten Gardner, 83; 4. Nate Perry, 82; 5. Reid Barker, 79.5; 6. Dave Mason, 74; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Lowe shines at San Angelo

Three-time world champion Will Lowe rides Pete Carr's First Kiss for 85 points Friday night to take the early bareback riding lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

Three-time world champion Will Lowe rides Pete Carr’s First Kiss for 85 points Friday night to take the early bareback riding lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. (RIC ANDERSEN PHOTO)

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Will Lowe was just 19 years old the first time he qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

That was in 2002, and he’s been one of the best bareback riders in the game ever since. He is a 14-time NFR qualifier and, more importantly, a three-time world champion.

He proved every ounce of his ability Friday night during the opening performance of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. He matched moves with First Kiss of the Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo string for 85 points to take the early lead.

Will Lowe

Will Lowe

“That horse just bucks hard,” said Lowe, 35, of Canyon, Texas. “She jumps and kicks real, and it felt like she kicked straight over her head every time.”

He knows all about that kind of horse. In his career, Lowe has been on thousands of bucking horses, and he owns some of the highest-marked rides in the game, including a share of the world record he earned in 2003 after a 94-point ride.

“San Angelo is cowboy country,” Lowe said. “They always have such a great crowd; they always pack that coliseum. They’re knowledgeable, and they know what’s going on. They get into it.”

Now he hopes Friday’s score will move him to the championship round, which takes place Friday, Feb. 16 – it will feature the top 12 contestants in each event from the preliminary rounds competing for the elusive San Angelo championship.

“There were some really good horses out tonight, and there will be every night,” Lowe said. “I think I should be sitting good to make it back for the short-round. There are a lot of good guys to ride yet, but I think I should be in there.

“San Angelo is one of those rodeos that you hope you can always do good at.”

Trey Benton III

Trey Benton III

It helps to have big scores, and nobody competing Friday knew that any better than Trey Benton III of Rock Island, Texas. He took the early bull riding lead after posting a 90.5-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal.

Benton won the bull riding title a year ago, which was one of the catapults he needed to make it back to the NFR for the fourth time in his career. He finished last year second in the final world standings with more than $322,000.

He’s already making his way toward the top in 2018, and it starts in San Angelo.

San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Will Lowe, 85 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s First Kiss; 2. Dayton Swearingen, 76; 3. Harry Ash, 72; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Will Lummus, 4.2 seconds; 2. Cody Cabral, 4.3; 3. (tie) Blaine Jones and Billy Bugenig, 4.4; 5. (tie) Tom Lewis and Badger Chambers, 4.8; 7. J.D. Struxness, 5.0; 8. Olin Hannum, 5.1.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 4.0 seconds; 2. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.2; 3. Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 4.3; 4. Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, 4.4; 5. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.4; 6. Bart Brunson/Wesley Brunson, 9.4; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. James Greeson, 80 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Deuces Wild; 2. Tom Knight, 76; 3. Hardy Braden, 75; 4. Clayton Brum, 70; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 7.7 seconds; 2. Cody Quaney, 8.5; 3. J.D. McQuistion, 9.1; 4. Reno Gonzales, 9.5; 5. Riley Pruitt, 19.4; 6. Randall Carlsile, 12.1; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Kasey Hall, 14.49 seconds; 2. Jimmie Smith, 14.60; 3. Kelly Tovar, 14.62; 4. Lyndee Stairs, 14.65; 5. Shaylyn Hudson, 14.74; 6. Aimee Kay, 14.78; 7. Rachel Rule, 14.81; 8. Savannah Hays, 14.89; 9. Fallon Taylor, 15.46; 10. Lori Todd, 19.39; 11. Kathy Grimes, 19.50; 12. Jacque Woolman, 19.97. Average leaders: 1. Kasey Hall, 30.99 seconds on two runs; 2. Lyndee Stairs, 31.10; 3. Jimmie Smith, 31.11; 4. Kelly Tovar, 31.14; 5. Shaylyn Hudson, 31.31; 6. Rachel Rule, 31.32; 7. Aimee Kay, 31.34; 8. Savannah Hays, 31.46; 9. Fallon Taylor, 31.95; 10. Lori Todd, 35.62; 11. Kathy Grimes, 35.93; 12. Jacque Woolman, 36.44.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Trey Benton III, 90.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Air Marshal; 2. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 3. Nate Perry, 82; no other qualified rides.

postheadericon Youngster excels close to home

9-year-old Brazos Heck enjoys being part of youth rodeo in Oklahoma City

KINGFISHER, Okla. – Mike Latting has simple thoughts toward the International Miniature Rodeo Association.

Now in its first year in existence, Latting wants the association to be a launching point for youngsters who like the sport and want to compete in it. Brazos Heck of Kingfisher, Okla., is just one of those children, and he was part of the IMRA event in January held in conjunction with the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.

“We wanted to make sure kids had a place to start in a safe, positive and successful manner,” said Latting, who also operates Illinois-based Latting Rodeo Co. “As with any sport, if a child has success at it early, he or she is going to enjoy it more.

“We feel it is important to have appropriate livestock to compete on, meaning we have appropriate livestock depending on the age level and ability level. It’s all about building the heart in young kids.”

Brazos Heck

Brazos Heck

As a third-grader in Kingfisher, Brazos is just 9 years old but has proven to already have the heart of a champion. He showed it again in Oklahoma City, where he won three of four rounds in saddle bronc riding to claim that title, then placed in two rounds of bareback riding to finish as the reserve champion.

“It felt good to be there,” Brazos said. “That rodeo is a really good rodeo, and it was awesome to be part of it.”

In December, he won the pee wee division’s all-around championship at the Jr.NFR in Las Vegas. Combined with his performance in January, the young Oklahoma cowboy is proving to be quite a hand.

“When you watch him ride and watch him get ready and listen to him tell the stories, you see his love for the sport,” said Shasta Yost, Brazos’ mom. “I can’t deny him that. It’s what makes him thrive and what makes him who he is.”

The IMRA events took place in the mornings of Thursday, Jan. 18-Friday, Jan. 19. The top two in each age group competed during the IFR’s third go-round on Saturday, Jan. 20, to showcase the tremendous talent of the young athletes.

“That was great,” Latting said. “To see our kids compete head-to-head all week and then come back and let the world see … it was a good time for parents. Their chests puffed up, and they were all proud. I had that same feeling seeing those kids compete in that atmosphere.”

Brazos enjoyed it, too. It was a big-time event in his young career, and his father, Odie Heck, was right there by his son’s side every step of the way.

“It was great because all my family and friends came,” Brazos said. “It was awesome that I got to compete with my friends.

“I think I did good. I had a few things I could’ve done better and probably would’ve won it in bareback riding. You just learn from your mistakes whatever you do and move on.”

That’s part of growing as an athlete and as a young person. For a young man who rides mini bucking horses and bulls, there is a passion that is on display during every ride and every opportunity he has.

“We just let him chase that dream for as long as he has it,” Yost said. “Braz’s love for it is undeniable.”

postheadericon Panhandle pokes find NFR success

Hardy Braden rides Hi-Lo Pro Rodeo's Garden City Gal for 88 points to win Wednesday's seventh round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Hardy Braden rides Hi-Lo Pro Rodeo’s Garden City Gal for 88 points to win the seventh round of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

GUYMON, Okla. – Over 10 nights in Las Vegas, the Oklahoma Panhandle contingent had quite the memorable run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Six cowboys, all with ties to Texas County, earned just shy of $500,000 collectively while competing at ProRodeo’s grand championship. All six are graduates of the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo team and are expected to be part of the mix at this year’s Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

Joe Frost

Joe Frost

The Panhandle State rodeo program has long garnered the local support, and that continues with the Top Hand Auction, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Pickle Creek Event Center in Guymon. Proceeds from the auction will go to assist the program.

Back in December, bull rider Joe Frost led the way, placing in seven go-rounds – including the seventh-round victory – and finishing second in the average race. He left Las Vegas with $169,923 over 10 nights and finished the season with more than $300,000, good enough for fourth in the final world standings of 2017.

Hardy Braden

Hardy Braden

NFR rookie Hardy Braden also had a successful 10-day run. He had two round wins and placed six other nights. He finished second in the average and pocketed $160,192. Like Frost, Braden also finished fourth in the world standings with just shy of $263,000.

Braden led the way for the four Panhandle State bronc riders that were part of the championship. Another NFR newcomer, Audy Reed, placed fifth in the NFR average and placed in four go-rounds. He earned $57,385. Two-time world champion Taos Muncy placed in three rounds, including the 10th-round victory, and pocketed $54,000. Clay Elliott, competing in Vegas for the second straight year, placed twice and earned $32,423.

Orin Larsen

Orin Larsen

Bareback rider Orin Larsen started off his third straight NFR with a bang. He placed in the first six go-rounds before seeing some luck fall away. Still, he earned just shy of $72,000 and finished eighth in the world standings with $171,009.

“I ended up going to OPSU because of their track record and their resume in college and pro rodeo,” said Larsen, who won two college championships, the second after transferring to Goodwell. “I’m happy the way I did it.”

Although he wasn’t part of the 10-night championship, Shade Etbauer was recognized during the NFR. Etbauer, the youngest of Robert Etbauer’s three children, finished the year with $41,726 in saddle bronc riding and earned the Resistol Rookie of the Year title.

With it, Shade Etbauer matched one of the first ProRodeo awards ever earned by his father, a two-time world champion bronc rider. Now he hopes to add a few more buckles to his growing pile of accomplishments.

postheadericon Hedeman creates new tour

FORT WORTH, Texas – Tuff Hedeman is stepping out on his own.

According to a release issued Tuesday, the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour has been established and will include Hedeman’s annual stops in El Paso, Texas; Las Vegas; Bossier City, La.; and Fort Worth.

Tuff Hedeman

Tuff Hedeman

For the last several years, those events were also tied to the CBR. They have been removed from the CBR’s website. According to the site, the CBR will have just three more events on its regular season before the championship, set for July 23-24 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

“At this point in my life, it’s best for my family to be solely responsible for my destiny,” Hedeman said in the release. “My original goals have not changed since 1992. I’m still committed to producing bull riding events that give each bull rider entered the chance to win first and make sure the fans at every event are getting more than expected.”

Hedeman is a four-time world champion, earning three gold buckles in the PRCA and the 1995 PBR title. He was one of the PBR Founders and served as its president from 1992-2004. He moved over to the presidency of the CBR in 2005 and served in that role until 2011.

For more information on the Hedeman Tour and tickets, log on to www.TuffHedemanBullRiding.com.

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