postheadericon NFSR-Round Five

Mike Chase

Mike Chase

Fifth round: 1. Mike Chase, 10.2 seconds, $5,331; 2. Trevor Brazile, 10.3, $4,281; 3. Brodie Poppino, 10.7, $3,231; 4. (tie) J.P. Wickett and Troy Tillard, 10.8, $1,656 each. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 54.2 seconds on five runs; 2. J.P. Wickett, 60.6; 3. Mike Chase, 61.7; 4. Jason Evans, 63.5; 5. Jess Tierney, 67.5.

postheadericon NFSR-Fourth Round

Jason Evans

Jason Evans

Fourth round: 1. Jason Evans, 9.5 seconds, $5,331; 2. (tie) Mike Chase and J.P. Wickett, 10.3, $3,756 each; 4. Rocky Patterson, 11.1, $2,181; 5. Jess Tierney, 11.3, $1,131. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 43.9 seconds on four runs; 2. Jason Evans, 47.0; 3. Jess Tierney, 48.6; 4. J.P. Wickett, 49.8; 5. Mike Chase, 51.5.

postheadericon NFSR-Third Round

Scott Snedecor

Scott Snedecor

Third round: 1. Scott Snedecor, 11.0 seconds, $5,331; 2. Trevor Brazile, 11.5, $4,281; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., 11.6, $3,231; 4. Brodie Poppino, 12.7, $2,181; 5. Jess Tierney, 13.4, $1,131. Average leaders: 1. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Scott Snedecor, 31.2 seconds on three runs; 3. Jess Tierney, 37.3; 4. Jason Evans, 37.5; 5. Troy Tillard, 38.6.

postheadericon NFSR-Second Round

Scott Snedecor

Scott Snedecor

Second round: 1. Scott Snedecor, 9.1 seconds, $5,331; 2. Trevor Brazile, 9.9, $4,281; 3. J.P. Wickett, 10.3, $3,231; 4. Tony Reina, 10.6; 5. Jason Evans, 11.3. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 19.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Scott Snedecor, 20.2; 3. Jason Evans, 21.5; 4. Mike Chase, 22.9; 5. J.P. Wickett, 23.1.

postheadericon NFSR-First round

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

First round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 9.8 seconds, $5,331; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.0, $4,281; 3. Jason Evans, 10.2, $3,231; 4. Rocky Patterson, 11.0, $2,181; 5. Scott Snedecor, 11.1, $1,131.

postheadericon UBHA a proving ground for horses

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The greatest athletes in the world need a proving ground.

All major sports utilize the college ranks, where young players fine-tune their talents with hopes of developing into a long career. Baseball and golf have minor leagues, and basketball features a developmental league.

The United Bucking Horse Association is a system in place to help with the advancement of bucking horses for rodeo-related events. Now in its first year, the UBHA was created to showcase 2- and 3-year-old colts that were born to buck. The young horses perform with a mechanical dummy instead of a rider to allow the horses the opportunity to develop with age.

UBHA-logo1“It makes perfect sense to establish an association that would cater to the dummy classes and potentially provide proven foals as contenders,” said Guy French, the UBHA’s executive director.

Through the 2014 season, the organization conducted 11 contests across the United States and Canada that featured the young bucking horses. Now the top 25 in each age division have qualified for the UBHA World Finals, set for 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) Friday, Nov. 14, at the Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.

“What I hear the most is people saying how much fun they’re having with is,” said Darcy Hollingsworth, a UBHA shareholder who raises bucking stock near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. “There are still a lot of people that aren’t involved in it yet. I can see it growing to where we have regions, and I see a lot of people being up and building our finals into a really good deal.”

Hollingsworth has been around the game for many years. He rode broncs when he was younger and now enjoys watching these tremendous athletes.

“The UBHA competitions are just a fun thing to do,” he said. “There are a lot of good things coming.”

It starts with the world finals next week.

“Part of our concept is to keep this as an all-inclusive association where everyone is welcome to participate and everyone has an equal shot of winning,” French said. “We have several new people that had never raised bucking horses that have qualified for our finals. They have done well.

“The UBHA gives the small guy a chance to compete against the big guy and still have a chance at winning.”

The competition is an added flavor to the association. A key ingredient is serving as the minor league system for the young horses.

“I see this as being a proving ground for the future of the PRCA,” French said of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the sport’s premier sanctioning body that produces the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo every December. “This allows us to showcase the animals and get them out there to perspective buyers at the next level.

“These are the top colts in the United States and Canada. They earned the spot to be there. This will be the best set of bucking colts that have ever been together in one place.”

postheadericon Struxness, Kyle win NWOSU rodeo

ALVA, Okla. – J.D. Struxness transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University earlier this fall in order to better learn the art of steer wrestling.

“I wanted to come bulldog with Stockton and Kody,” Struxness said of Rangers coach Stockton Graves and assistant Kody Woodward. “I figured this would be a good place to get better.”

Northwestern rodeo coach Stockton Graves, right, presents Ranger J.D. Struxness with his trophy Yeti cooler for winning the steer wrestling title at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo. (NORTHWESTERN RODEO PHOTO)

Northwestern rodeo coach Stockton Graves, right, presents Ranger J.D. Struxness with his trophy Yeti cooler for winning the steer wrestling title at the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo. (NORTHWESTERN RODEO PHOTO)

That theory is working quite well. This past weekend, Struxness won both rounds and the steer wrestling average at the NWOSU rodeo.

Struxness is from Milan, Minn., and attended his first year on the rodeo team at Missouri Valley College. Because of National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association transfer rules, he had to sit out for the first three events of the Central Plains Region season. The victory in Alva was a good way to start his Northwestern career.

“I drew good steers all weekend,” said Struxness, a sophomore who posted a 4.1-second run to win the opening round, then followed it with a 3.5 to win the short-round and the average.

He was one of eight Northwestern men in the championship round, where he was joined by steer wrestlers Brock White and Grayson Allred; tie-down ropers Hayden Pearce and Maverick Harper; the team roping tandem of Pearce and Wade Perry and header Dalton Richards; and bull rider Weston Wilson.

White, who posted a two-run cumulative time of 9.0 seconds, placed second in the short round and average. Pearce and Perry finished fourth in the team roping average, while Wilson finished sixth in bull riding.

Overall, the men’s team finished second. It was a solid performance at the Rangers’ hometown rodeo.

“This helped me a lot,” Struxness said. “The points helped, and it was nice to win the home rodeo and here in Alva.”

The women’s team, which finished third this past weekend, was paced by senior Karley Kile of Topeka, Kan. She won the breakaway roping championship – she finished third in the opening round with a 2.4-second run, then scored a 2.5 to win the short round and the average – and shared the first-round victory in goat tying with a 7.0-second run to earn a place in the short round.

Breakaway roper Taige Trent placed in both rounds and finished second in the average. She and Kyle were joined in the short round by goat-tier Elli Price, who finished fifth in the average.

The Northwestern rodeo was the final of four Central Plains rodeos in the fall portion of the season. The remaining six events will take place during the spring semester. The Rangers women finish the fall semester first in the regional standings; the men are fourth.

postheadericon Horse owners benefiting from UBHA

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Darcy Hollingsworth has an eye for great animals.

Over the years, the Alberta man has raised bucking horses that have performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Hollingsworth just has never taken them to either of the championships.

UBHA-logo1When Hollingsworth’s horses are big enough, he sells them to professional contractors, who then have the opportunity to buck them at the biggest events in the game.

Now he will have an opportunity to showcase his star-studded athletes in a championship event during the United Bucking Horse Association World Finals, set for 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) Friday, Nov. 14, at the Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.

“To have all those great horses in one building and in one competition is going to be great,” said Hollingsworth, who lives near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. “Everybody’s going to have their best colts under one roof. It’s going to be a very exciting contest.”

He should know. In 2010, his horse, Pedro, bucked at the first futurity that took place during the NFR in Las Vegas. Pedro won the competition, then sold for $55,000, which was the highest-selling horse at that time.

“Wayne Vold bout him, and he’s been to the NFR every year since,” Hollingsworth said. “He’s also in the rank pen at the Canadian Finals, and he’s been in the four-round at Calgary three of the last four years.”

This is nothing new for the Canadian. He’s been involved in breeding and raising bucking horses for the better part of two decades. It’s something he enjoys.

“I don’t want to contract,” he said. “I just want to be able to go and take the good ones to where I can get them, and the UBHA gives me that opportunity.”

Kenny Andrews of Vernal, Utah, was a professional rodeo cowboy who also had a background in horse racing. His interest changed to bucking horses within the last year.

“I was considering buying a racehorse,” said Andrews, who runs the operation with his wife, Keri. “That’s a rich man’s game. You never know if a horse is going to get there. Bucking horses is something that wasn’t that expensive to get into.

“In the UBHA, we were able to go out and compete with colts we bought in Guthrie” Okla., this past January, he said. “Most are in the top 25 and going to the finals.”

That’s a quick turn-around, but that’s what the UBHA has provided in its first year. The world finals will feature the top 25 horses in both the 2- and 3-year-old classes. The animals are bucked with a mechanical dummy instead of a rider to the colts the opportunity to develop with age.

“I think the UBHA is going to grow leaps in bounds,” Andrews said. “Here in Utah, there already are some people talking about it. Even racehorse people are talking to me about it. You get to be more involved, which is something I really like.”

There’s a lot to like about it. That’s why the organization is continuing to grow.

postheadericon InVinci-Bull setting the standard


The image is clear and stunning.

A cowboy lies motionless in the arena dirt as a 1,600-pound bull continues to leap, kick and twist near him. Athletic men move in to protect the cowboy and entice the beast away. Fear and a sense of panic are natural, from fellow bull riders to announcers to fans.

It’s that vivid image that has led to the partnership between Impakt Protective and InVinci-Bull in the creation of the Shockbox helmet sensors for bull riding. The relationship allows not only for better protection for the cowboys, but also a way many others to keep track of the types of forces that a bull rider faces during a ride.

InVinci-Bull-Helmet“We are in this to better protect the bull riders,” said Cody McGee, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for InVinci-Bull. “This sensor is going to change bull riding. With the sensor in the helmet and the signal it sends the app, we’re going to know the exact spot a cowboy takes a blow and the G-forces that impact has. Sports medicine can go in and pinpoint exactly where the impact was and what type of treatment they need to make.”

The Shockbox sensors weigh less than an ounce, but they provide great data that is transmitted via Bluetooth technology to any mobile device that has the appropriate application. For medical teams, the sensors will submit detailed information about the G-forces, points of impact and Head Injury Criteria.

The non-medical app – for announcers, television commentators and any fan who wants to follow specific bull riders – will feature a less detailed report that is still fascinating.

“The match of the two leading brands in bull riding helmets and helmet sensors was evident,” said Matt Owen, founder of InVinci-Bull Riding Equipment. “We are excited to bring the unique technology to the bull riding market and make an impact on head safety.”

The Shockbox sensors are made by Impakt Protective, a developer of smart sensors. It’s CEO, Danny Crossman, created the first helmet sensors for the military to record roadside bomb blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006. The sensors also have been used in other sports: hockey, football, lacrosse and snow sports.

The InVinci-Bull helmets were developed three years ago and were first tested at a Professional Bull Riders event in New York City. Since then, the company has worked with Simpson Racing, the primary safety products company in auto racing, to develop a lighter, yet stronger, product.

“What we learned from Bill Simpson, who was the godfather for NASCAR and drag racing safety equipment, is they use carbon fiber for their helmets,” McGee said. “We decreased the weight by 30 percent, but we saw a 40 percent increase in structure strength.

“We have met certification standings and have exceeded the certification criteria by 60 percent. We also have partnered with researchers at Iowa State and the University of Calgary, and that’s where we came down with the weave pattern. We can take the shocks and disperse them across the helmet so there isn’t so much pressure on the impact point.”

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, which is the sanctioning body for college rodeo, has listed InVinci-Bull as its official helmet. The company also has reached endorsement agreements with PBR Australia champion David Kennedy, announcers Scott Grover and Matt West, and Richard Jones, a professional announcer and sound technician.

“We know how superior the InVinci-Bull helmets are having them tested in our labs with Shockbox helmet sensors fitted,” Crossman said. “Providing access to data and immediate impact alerts to parents, riders and coaches is a key part of the concussion and head-trauma system.”

The technology is incredible. More importantly, it’s a great tool for sports medicine personnel to use in their treatment of potential head injuries.

“It has given us some accountability to our bull riding helmets,” McGee said. “It shows that we are not only putting a little bit of clout into them, but it also is about safety.”

That’s the most important message of all.

postheadericon Bucking horse finals set for Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Much has happened in the inaugural season of the United Bucking Horse Association.

“We had 11 events this year all across the country and in Canada,” said Guy French, the UBHA’s executive director. “It’s been an amazing year for us, and it’s just getting better.”

UBHA-logo1That’s true.

In fact, now members of the organization are gearing up for the UBHA World Finals, set for 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) Friday, Nov. 14, at the Central States Fairgrounds in Rapid City.

“Having this world finals in our first year of existence is huge for the UBHA,” French said. “The UBHA grew faster than we anticipated, but this is a great thing for us.”

The UBHA was created as a way to showcase younger bucking horses and to allow for anyone who is interested to be a horse owner. The colts do not have riders but are bucked with a mechanical dummy to allow the horses the opportunity to develop with age. The idea is catching on quite well.

“I feel the UBHA is the right director for breeders, especially the small breeders, because they can get their horses out there and compete against each other,” said Darcy Hollingsworth, a UBHA shareholder and board member who has raised several top horses that have performed at some of the top events in the country, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“We’re not relying on anybody else to show our animals.”

Now those owners will get to showcase their horses during an event specifically designed to be the marquee event in the association. At each event, the 2- and 3-year-old horses accumulate points by how well they placed. The top 25 in each age division who have earned the right through the season-long qualifying will buck during the UBHA World Finals.

“To be in the first year and to be able to have that kind of money to compete for is incredible,” said Kenny Andrews, a former rodeo cowboy who owns several horses with his wife, Keri. “Can you imagine what the next couple of years are going to be like? To have that much interest in the first year is pretty exciting.

“I’m glad we got in on the ground floor. I hope this isn’t the last year we get to qualify. You know that each year the competition is just going to keep getting tougher.”

That’s OK for the Andrewses. With a bit of interest, they took in the Simon Bucking Stock Sale in Guthrie, Okla., this past January and quickly found a passion for raising bucking horses.

“It’s addicting,” said Kenny Andrews, who raised his colts near Vernal, Utah. “I was going to start with two horses. It hasn’t even been a year since Simon’s Sale, and I’ve got probably 20 head.”

It’s that type of momentum that has helped the UBHA grow.

“The whole thing is due to Guy French’s vision,” said Hollingsworth of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. “Guy has worked very hard for this, and there have been a lot of good things happen. That’s how the finals came about. The board of directors is an upbeat, positive bunch of guys. Everybody’s working in the same direction, so it makes it easy to have a finals.”

The proof comes to Rapid City in just a few weeks.