Pro Rodeo Weekend News Roundup - August 13 & 14th

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

Pro Rodeo News Headlines

  • From a week that offered 35 PRCA rodeos and $2,016,066 in prize money, nobody took better advantage of the opportunities than timed-event cowboy Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo. Peek, 36, won the all-around titles in Lovington, and at the Lawton (Okla.) Rangers Rodeo and the Yuma County (Colo.) Fair & Rodeo. He also banked checks from Hermiston, Ore., Sikeston, Mo., Lamar, Colo., and the Aug. 14 Wrangler Champions Challenge in Cody, Wyo. It all added up to $22,912, easily allowing him take back the lead in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings in the all-around with total earnings of $99,070 - $14,227 more than second-place Russell Cardoza.
  • RETURN OF THE LEGEND: It has been 12 years since the last of Guy Allen's record 18 steer roping world championships and eight since the last time he qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in 2008. Yet, here he is, just a couple of weeks' shy of his 58th birthday and Allen is looking more and more like a solid bet to make it back to this year's NFSR. His win at the Inter-State Rodeo in Coffeyville, Kan., over the weekend was his second of the season - after a three-year drought, including one in which he did not compete - and paid him $3,351. With six weeks left in the season, Allen stands 13th in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $33,210, which represents a $10,113 cushion over 16th-place JoJo LeMond.
  • J.D. Struxness seems to be surging on the momentum from his big win at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. He won two more rodeos this past weekend, sharing the title at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M., with Shayde Etherton, and dominating the field in Lawton. His 3.1-second run to win the first round in Lawton was equal to the second-fastest time of the year in PRCA competition, and his 6.9 seconds on two head was also second only to Shane Frey's 6.7 on two in Lufkin, Texas. Frey had a 3.0-second run in Lufkin, and Termaine Debose was 3.1 at that rodeo.

 

Hass tops traveling partners in Hermiston



HERMISTON, Ore. – Clayton Hass may be trying his hand at some team roping this season, but that doesn’t mean his steer wrestling isn’t as sharp as ever.

The 32-year-old from Terrell, Texas, was tops in a loaded steer wrestling field at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, which included two of his traveling partners finishing in the top four.

Hass posted a time of 10.3 seconds on two head to claim the average title and a total of $3,458. His buddies, Ty Erickson and Josh Boka, finished second and fourth in the average, respectively.

“It’s always nice to get a big win and keep chipping away and adding money,” Hass said. “I have 27 rodeos left, and I’ll get them in. We’re going to seven next week alone. I want to win as much as I can, because I have a family to feed and want to stay high in the standings.”

Hass, who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER in both 2014 and ’15, entered the weekend fifth in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings.

Aboard his trusted horse, Cadillac, Hass has put together another banner year in bulldogging. However, that isn’t the only event he’s competing in.

Hass is also competing in team roping – on both sides of the event.

“I’m trying to rope as much as I can wherever I am, and my goal was to try to be up there in the all-around race,” Hass said. “I’m doing a little of both heading and heeling. It all depends on the day which one I’m better at. I’m entered with Ty (Erickson) at White Sulphur Springs (Mont.). He made the College Finals in team roping, and he’s talented.”

Hass is currently seventh in the all-around world standings. In addition to the nearly $60,000 he’s won in steer wrestling, he’s also added $6,324 as a header and $1,622 as a heeler.

Earlier this season, he won the all-around and team roping with Cody Doescher at the State Fair of Louisiana (Shreveport) Pro Rodeo. He’s even toyed with the idea of tie-down roping this season.

However, his main focus remains throwing steers to the ground as quickly as possible – and he’s one of the best in the world at that skill set.

Hass has finished eighth and fifth the past two seasons, and is in a prime spot to not only make a third trip to the WNFR, but win a gold buckle.

“It’s a big advantage to be able to ride a horse you know, and Cadillac and I know each other and we have a lot of confidence in each other,” Hass said. “A lot of things can still happen, and you see how the cookie crumbles at the end of the season. But if I do win the world, there will be a big party.”

In addition to Erickson and Boka, Hass also travels with Tyler Waguespack. Erickson and Waguespack currently sit second and third in the world, making their rig the best on the rodeo road.

“It’s good to have guys who are winning a lot in the same rig,” Hass said. “We all want to win the world title, but we’ll be happy for whoever wins.”

Other winners at the $196,742 rodeo were all-around cowboy Rhen Richard ($5,533 in team roping and tie-down roping), bareback rider Jake Vold (87 points on Calgary Stampede’s Xplosive Skies), team ropers Garrett Tonozzi and Wyatt Cox (10.1 seconds on two head), saddle bronc riders Tyrell Smith (83 points on Kesler Rodeo’s Navajo Sun), and Sterling Crawley (83 points on Calgary Stampede’s Weary Joke), tie-down roper Tyler Prcin (16.7 seconds on two head), barrel racer Kimmie Wall (17.09 seconds) and bull rider Cole Melancon (83.5 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Comatose).

For more coverage of the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, check out the Aug. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Etherton gets taste of glory at Lovington

 

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Steer wrestler Shayde Etherton isn’t going to be a player in the chase for a bid for the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.

But the Hico, Texas, cowboy did get to experience victory at the tradition-rich Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo (Aug. 10-13).

Etherton walked away as a co-champion with a time of 7.5 seconds in the two-head average.

Etherton tied J.D. Struxness – the same Struxness who won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo (July 23-31).

“This feels really good,” said Etherton, 25. “It’s always good to win a big check, and this rodeo was definitely on my bucket list.”

Etherton, who was out of the top 50 in the Aug. 8 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings, was thrilled to walk out of Jake McClure Arena after earning $5,277.

He set the tone for his memorable rodeo with a first-round winning run of 3.7 seconds.

“I called a buddy of mine, Dean Stermer – he and Stan Branco broke in the cattle – and Dean told me my steer was supposed to be good,” Etherton said. “I got a quick start, and took a chance.”

After his great first run, Etherton was nearly as quick with a 3.8-second run in the second round, which tied him for fourth place in the round with Dirk Tavenner.

“I had a steer that a guy missed in the first round,” Etherton said. “I just came back and took the same start and tried to make a good run on him, and the steer took it good.”

Fueling Etherton’s run was the horse, Grumpy, owned by Derek Stewart.

“I’ve won on that horse a few times this year,” Etherton said. “I won ($6,220) at the Cody Stampede (July 1-4) and I placed on him at St. Paul (Ore., July 1-4).”

Etherton acknowledged this season hasn’t gone according to plan – going full-time – so now he’s turning his focus to the Texas Circuit. He competed in the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo for the first time this past April in Kissimmee, Fla.

“That was a great rodeo,” Etherton said about the RNCFR. “They were really hospitable and the pay was good and the cattle were good. It sure would be great to go back to the RNCFR. This year didn’t pan out, and I didn’t get enough won, but this year I want to finish out and get back there to the RNCFR.”

 Other winners at the $220,783 rodeo were all-around cowboy Josh Peek ($6,426 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), bareback rider R.C. Landingham (86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl), team ropers Luke Brown and Jake Long (9.1 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Sam Spreadborough (86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings), tie-down roper Sterling Smith (17.9 seconds on two head), barrel racer Sarah Rose McDonald (17.36 seconds), steer roper J.P. Wickett (32.7 seconds on three head) and bull rider Cody Rostockyj (88.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Leroy Brown).

For more coverage of the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo, coverage out the Aug. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

 

Fontenot overcomes injury to win Sikeston



SIKESTON, Mo. – Never mind that Ike Fontenot spent more time in Justin SportsMedicine trailers than he did in arenas this weekend, and he is about to take a month off back home in Louisiana to heal a badly sprained left ankle.

Nah, none of that mattered when we he was galloping through his victory lap in Art Saunders Arena as the newly minted tie-down roping champion of the Aug. 10-13 Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.

With his ankle swollen and heavily taped, the 23-year-old PRCA rookie managed to win the first round during slack on Saturday with an 8.5-second run and then came back to finish sixth in the evening program with a time of 9.8.

Fontenot’s combined time of 18.3 seconds gave him a full second advantage over second-place Josh Peek and total earnings of $4,956 at this Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo.

“I felt pretty normal coming off my horse,” Fontenot said. “There was maybe a little pinch when I planted my foot, but it wasn’t bad. I injured my ankle last week in Winnsboro, La., and I’ve just been wrapping it ever since.”

Fontenot and his travel partner, fellow Louisianan Cheyenne Harper, made it to four PRCA rodeos over the weekend and had Justin SportsMedicine trailers in Lovington, N.M., Lawton, Okla., and here in Sikeston to tend to him.

“It’s great that they (Justin) are at so many rodeos. They really got me through,” he said.

Involved in a tight, seven-way battle for the PRCA/Resistol Tie-Down Roping Rookie of the Year award, Fontenot now faces the possibility of falling out of that race and also losing out on his bid to finish the season among the top 40 in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings and thereby qualifying into the big winter rodeos in 2017.

He’s hoping to come back for the last two weeks of September, but knows that there is probably not going to be enough time.

“I have about 15 left on my rodeo count,” he said, “but right now it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to fill it.”

It’s a tough thing to accept after Fontenot waited until after he had completed his degree in business administration at McNeese State (Lake Charles, La.) to buy his PRCA card this year and go for the rookie title, but he certainly has no regrets about delaying his pro career.

“College is awesome,” he said. “Everybody should go. I made the decision on my own to wait until after I got my degree (to turn pro), but my parents encouraged me all the way. To go to college and have it paid for while competing on the rodeo team … that was great.”

Other champions at the $170,192 rodeo were bareback riders Joel Schlegel (86 points on Pickett Rodeo’s Real Fancy) and Orin Larsen (86 points on Pickett Rodeo’s Top Notch), steer wrestler Tanner Brunner (8.5 seconds on two head), team ropers Nathan McWhorter and Dustin Davis, and Colby Lovell and Travis Graves (10.5 seconds on two head each), saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss (82 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Pretty Boy), barrel racer Jordan Moore (16.23 seconds) and bull rider Sage Kimzey (87.5 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Devil’s Cut).

For more coverage of the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, check out the Aug. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Jesse snares memorable Xtreme Bulls win at Lovington

 

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Competing in a PRCA Xtreme Bulls Division 1 event can be a nerve-racking experience.

However, Colten Jesse, only 19 years old, never received that memo.

In his first career Xtreme Bulls Division 1 event, Jesse walked away a champion.

Jesse totaled 178.5 points to win the two-head average at the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo Xtreme Bulls Aug. 9 at Jake McClure Arena.

“This feels awesome,” Jesse said. “To get to go up against guys like Sage Kimzey and Brennon Eldred and win is great.”

Since joining the PRCA Oct. 14, 2015, this by far is Jesse’s career-best win. He earned $11,650 for his performance - $5,711 for capturing the average.

“For sure this is my biggest victory,” Jesse said. “Being 19 years old and getting this huge Xtreme Bulls win is really cool.”

Jesse joins the 2016 Xtreme Bulls Division 1 victory lineup which consists of Bobby Welsh (San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 27), Parker Breding (Fort Mohave, Ariz., March 12), and Eldred (Reno, Nev., June 16). The Xtreme Bulls Division 1 Tour Finale is Sept. 3 in Ellensburg, Wash.

If Jesse was nervous at all it wasn’t apparent in the first round as he had an 88.5-point ride on Salt River Rodeo's Silence Reigns – on a re-ride - to win the round.

“That turned out to be a great bull and I made things work,” Jesse said.

That put Jesse as the last rider out in the finals and before he climbed aboard Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo's Lone Star, he knew he had one score to beat – reigning two-time PRCA world champion Kimzey’s 169.5-point total which was atop the leaderboard.

“I had never been on Lone Star before, I just saw my buddy Lon Danley ride him at a rodeo earlier this season and he looked like a cool bull to ride,” Jesse said.

He was for Jesse as he had a 90-point ride.

“That bull got kind of wild and got away from my hand away around to the right,” Jesse said. “I was just trying to match him move for move and try and stay in the middle. I didn’t even hear the whistle. I was kind of just fighting for position and by the time he threw me off I had been on him long enough. It can put pressure on a guy going out last, but I’ve always dealt well with high-pressure situations like that.”

 For more coverage of the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo Xtreme Bulls Division 1 event, check out the Aug. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Oklahoma bull rider’s family enjoys his win

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Inter-State Rodeo committee

COFFEYVILLE, KAN. – After three nights of no qualified bull rides, the ice was broken during the final performance of the Inter-State Rodeo at Walter Johnson Park

Three bull riders made the eight-second buzzer, and the first of them, Guthrie Murray, came out on top.

The Miami, Okla. cowboy scored 83 points on the Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Make My Day to win the buckle and a check for $1,876.

It was a welcome ride for the 24-year-old cowboy, who took a several-month break from pro rodeo to sharpen his fundamentals.

“I wasn’t riding very good,” he said, “so I’ve been getting on practice bulls, focusing on getting better.” 

And it must be working. He won a check last week at the Abilene, Kan., rodeo and now in Coffeyville. 

He had his own cheering section in Coffeyville on Aug. 13. It’s about 55 miles from Miami, Okla., to Coffeyville, and his wife, Tess, parents Shawn and Latisha Henderson, and various aunts, uncles, and cousins were in the crowd. “I have a whole entourage out there,” he said, pointing to the stands. 

But the proudest family member was his Poppy, Gale Bachman, his mother’s dad. Poppy rode bulls when he was young, but Guthrie’s mother wouldn’t allow him to till he was eighteen. Then Poppy was there to help his grandson.

“He probably looks like a Cheshire cat, smiling,” Guthrie said of his grandad. 

Now that he’s won some checks, Murray’s focus is on the RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, the PRCA regional championship held in Duncan, Okla., in October. He’ll have to compete at a minimum of eight more Prairie Circuit rodeos to qualify, and be in the top twelve, but his check in Coffeyville will help. Murray was the 2012 Prairie Circuit champion.

Coffeyville cowboy Jake Long won his hometown rodeo.

The number three heeler in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings, along with his header Luke Brown, were one-tenth of a second faster than the second team to win in an arena that he’s competed in since he was a kid.

Long and Brown had a time of 5.1 seconds on Aug. 12 to win a check for $2,428. Their run at the Inter-State Rodeo wasn’t in front of thousands of people, but it was just as anxiety-inducing as the runs the cowboys have made at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, at which Long has competed five times and Brown eight times. 

“I don’t know why,” Long said, regarding the anxiousness. “I’ve roped at the (Wrangler National) Finals five times, and I don’t ever get nervous there, but for some reason, I was here.”

Long came to the Inter-State Rodeo as a kid, and even competed in the arena in Coffeyville. As a competitor in youth rodeo, the leaders in the standings would rodeo in the arena. 

The 32-year-old cowboy hadn’t competed at the Inter-State Rodeo since 2009, and it was a great opportunity for his family to see him rope close to home. His parents, Pam and Randy Weatherby and Cricket and Lynette Long, come to the Wrangler NFR, “and that’s an awesome experience,” he said. “But for everybody that can’t come out there, for them to be able to drive a couple of miles and come watch me, and have their support, that means a lot. It’s a big deal.” 

“I’ve got a lot of history here. I’ve watched this rodeo my whole life.

Other champions crowned were bareback rider Frank Morton, Wright, Kan. (81 points); steer wrestler Wade Steffen, Richmond, Ill. (8.6 seconds on two head), tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett, Apache, Okla. (7.6 seconds); saddle bronc rider Kobyn Williams, De Berry, Texas (82.5 points); steer roper Guy Allen, Santa Anna, Texas (24.9 seconds on two head); and barrel racer Paige Willis, Goshen, Ala. (17.36 seconds). 

On Friday night, the 2016 Inter-State Fair and Rodeo queen and princess were crowned. Winning the queen title was Meredith Taylor. The 19-year-old cowgirl is a resident of Mound Valley, Kan., and will start her second year of college this fall at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami. She is studying farm and ranch management with an equine emphasis. She is the daughter of Bill and Melinda Taylor.

The princess tiara went to Addison Criner of Coweta, Okla. The nine-year-old girl will be a fourth grade student at Porter Consolidated School, where her favorite subject is math. She participates in 4-H is a barrel racer, and shows pintos and Ponies of America. She is the daughter of Brad and Lori Criner. 

The dates for the 2016 Inter-State Fair and Rodeo are tentatively set for August 5-12. For complete results from all fair activities, visit the website at FairandRodeo.com.

Brennecke masters wet arena to take lead

By Ted Harbin/for the Lea County Fair & Rodeo committee

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Every dollar matters to bareback rider Kyle Brennecke at this stage of the game. 

He set up a nice paycheck Aug. 12 at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo with a wet and wild 85-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River. That pushed him into the No. 1 spot heading into Saturday’s final performance. 

“It was really important,” said Brennecke of Stephenville, Texas, the No. 29 cowboy in the bareback riding world standings. “I needed it mentally and just for the rodeo, too. I’m sitting in a spot where I can’t stop going and I need to keep going. Riding good when you draw a good (horse) like that is very important this time of year.” 

Less than two months remain in the 2016 regular season, and he wants to capitalize at every turn; only the top 15 in the world standings at that point advance to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by POLARIS RANGER, the sport’s premier championship. 

“This season has been better,” said Brennecke, now in his seventh year in ProRodeo. “I’ve done some things different this year. I’ve worked a little bit harder at it, and took it a little more seriously. Here lately (success) has been on and off. I’ve just been trucking a long, and sometimes you’ve just got to run right through that wall they put in front of you.” 

Sometimes the wall is opened in the form of a quality partner. The Missouri-born cowboy found it in Painted River, a 7-year-old mare with a championship lineage – sire Korczak has been to the WNFR multiple times, and dam River Boat Annie was the 2007 reserve world champion bareback horse. 

“My traveling partner, Tim O’Connell, won the short round at San Antonio on her,” Brennecke said. “He said, ‘She’s a really good horse, and she’s going to try no matter what.’” 

He was right. O’Connell knows a thing or two about bucking horses. He is the No. 1 bareback rider in the game with nearly $128,000 in earnings and has guaranteed his third straight WNFR qualification. O’Connell was 83 points on Carr’s Good Time Charlie and sits in third place. 

“We click together pretty good, because we’re both pretty upbeat,” Brennecke said. “Sitting where he’s at and me looking up to that, it’s good to ride against somebody like that every day. It just keeps you stepping up instead of stepping back.

“My goal is to make the finals; it always has been. The guy that’s at the top of his level like Tim is definitely a plus for me. You’re only as good as the people you ride against every day. It’s always good to ride against him every day.” 

Iron sharpens iron, and Brennecke hopes to continue his piercing streak through the final six weeks of the season.

Coffeyville roper thrills hometown crowd

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Inter-State Rodeo committee

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. – A Coffeyville cowboy thrilled his hometown rodeo crowd.

Team roper Jake Long and his header Luke Brown turned in a time of 5.1 seconds to take the lead at the Inter-State Rodeo in Coffeyville Aug. 12.

Long, who grew up in Coffeyville and whose parents still live there, has competed in the Coffeyville arena since he was a kid. As one of the leaders in the standings of a youth rodeo association, he competed in the breakaway roping during the pro rodeo, and he’s competed there as a professional as well.

The 32-year-old cowboy heels for Luke Brown, of Stephenville, Texas. Long moved to Morgan Mill, Texas four years ago, and is about eight miles away from Brown. He hated to leave Kansas.

“It’s hard,” not being in Coffeyville, he said. “I love Coffeyville, and this will always be my home. But if you’re going to rodeo for a living, you have to live in Texas amongst everybody else.”

Roping in front of his hometown friends and family was nerve wracking for him and Brown, who have competed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo five and eight times, respectively.

“Luke said it was like running the first (steer) at the Finals,” Long said. “He wanted to do a good job for me, with it being my hometown and all my family here. He knew it would be a good build-up. I think he felt more nerves than anybody because he’s got to start the run. If he does a bad job, then I don’t even get to throw (a rope).”

But he did fine. “Our steer was good,” Long said. “He ran straight down the middle. Luke did a great job, spun him good, and I just came around and cleaned him up, and it worked out.”

Long is ranked third in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings, the highest he’s ever been at this time of year. “It’s a neat experience,” he said. “It’s neat to be in the position we’re in, and hopefully we can keep roping good.”

Long’s mount for the rodeo was a 12-year-old sorrel named Colonel, who was originally a show horse. Colonel was one of the first show horses owned by Dixon Flowers Rope Horses. In 2010, when Colonel was six years old, he was towards the end of his show career, and Dixon Flowers wanted to see if he could be a rodeo horse.

“We visited,” Long said, “and I agreed to take him for a while, and it’s been the biggest blessing of my life, as far as horses. He never makes a mistake, he’s super calm, he’s a big stout horse, he’s durable. And they’re turning out a lot more quality horses like that.”

Long rode Colonel at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo the last three years he qualified (2012, 2014-2015). 

Long’s parents, Pam and Randy Weatherby and Cricket and Lynette Long were in attendance to watch their son rope. Long’s wife Tasha and his daughters Haven (8) and Haizlee (4) were also there.  

Fast times and high scores in the other events on Friday night included bareback rider Caine Riddle, Vernon, Texas (81 points), steer wrestler Chancey Larson, Manhattan, Kan. (3.6 seconds), tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla. (7.6 seconds), saddle bronc rider Doug Aldridge, Carthage, Mo. (80 points), steer roper Brodie Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla. (13.6 seconds) and barrel racer Sally Young, Micanopy, Fla. 17.56 seconds). In the bull riding, no cowboy a made qualified ride. 

The final night of rodeo takes place August 13 at 7:30 p.m., along with the last day of the fair. The junior market livestock sale begins at 4 p.m., with the carnival starting at 6 p.m.  Tickets for the rodeo range from $15-$30 and are available online at FairandRodeo.com or by calling 1.800.952.FAIR.

Bradshaw rides into the top spot

By Ted Harbin/for the Lea County Fair & Rodeo committee

LOVINGTON, N.M. – CoBurn Bradshaw wasn’t exactly born to be a saddle bronc rider, but you can’t tell that by the way he rides.

On Aug. 11, he matched moves with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cowboy Cowtown for 84 points to take the lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. It was a nice change of pace for the cowboy who might finally see some success in this southeastern New Mexico community.

“I’ve been here the last two years and haven’t done any good, so it feels good to be able to have some success here,” said Bradshaw of Beaver, Utah. “I had that horse a few years ago, and he was a little better to ride here than he was in San Angelo (Texas).”

ProRodeo success has come quickly for the 21-year-old cowboy. As a high school star, he finished second at the National High School Finals Rodeo in both 2011 and ’12. A year later, he finished third. As a freshman at Western Texas College in 2014, he earned the national championship.

Last year, he not only earned the Resistol/PRCA Rookie of the Year title but also qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he earned just shy of $230,000 over 10 nights in Las Vegas. Bradshaw won the second and fifth rounds, placed in four others and finished with the second highest 10-round cumulative score.

Not bad for a cowboy who didn’t start riding broncs until a few years ago, when he was beginning high school. He married into the famed bronc riding family, the Wrights, which consists of two-time world champion Cody Wright and his younger brothers, Jesse (the 2012 titlist) and Spencer (2014). Another brother, Jake, is a four-time NFR qualifier. 

Meanwhile Cody’s oldest son, Rusty, earned his first trip to Las Vegas last year with Bradshaw; in 2015, Rusty Wright finished third in the final world standings, while Bradshaw placed fourth.

“I was good friends with Rusty in high school,” Bradshaw said.

In fact, that’s how Bradshaw met his wife, Rebecca; Rusty asked Bradshaw to take his aunt to prom. They were married in 2013.

Now he travels the rodeo trail chasing gold-buckle dreams with his in-laws. So far this season, he has earned more than $90,000 on the backs of bucking horses.

He’d like to add more from the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

Texas cowboys enjoying Inter-State commerce

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Inter-State Rodeo committee

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. -- Kobyn Williams had a game plan when coming into the Inter-State Rodeo August 11. 

The Texas saddle bronc rider had studied the horse he had drawn, Cosmo, from the New Frontier Rodeo string, and knew what he needed to do. “I did a little homework on (the horse), and a bunch of guys kept saying they got ripped (pulled) over the front (of the horse). So I gave him quite a bit more rein than what they were saying, and it was definitely a fight from the start to the finish.” 

The seven-year-old bay roan gelding wasn’t easy to ride.

“He had me, about the second jump,” Williams said. “I know I was not in my saddle, whatsoever, and I just kind of scratched back into it, and everything worked from there on.” 

The 28 year old cowboy may be in the same situation he was two years ago.  He was the high score after two performances, but ended up finishing in third place. “When I left (the rodeo in 2014), I was leading the bronc riding. And I got bumped a few places. But I’ll take it any day.”

Williams is traveling with fellow saddle bronc rider Cody Anthony of Monahans, Texas. The two Texas Circuit cowboys competed in Crossett, Ark. yesterday, and Coffeyville tonight, before moving on to Lawton, Oklahoma tomorrow, and then Lovington, N.M.

“It’s set up real nice for us,” Williams said. “We’re just making a big circle.”

Anthony is leading the saddle bronc riding at the Crossett rodeo, which ends August 13, and in Coffeyville, he is in second place so far, behind Williams. “It looks really good for our crew right now,” Williams said. “We’ll take it any day.” 

Other fast times and high scores from the second night of the Inter-State Rodeo include bareback rider Anthony Thomas, Kimberly, Australia (78 points), steer wrestler Josh Clark, Belgrade, Mont. (4.1 seconds), tie-down roper Dave Corcoran, Earlville, Ill. (10.7 seconds), team ropers Dustin Egusquiza, Mariana, Fla. and Clint Summers, Lake City, Fla. (9.6 seconds); steer roper Guy Allen, Santa Anna, Texas (11.8 seconds); and barrel racer Molly Steffen, Hico, Texas (17.70 seconds). No bull riders made a qualified ride. 

Beef dominate the show ring for tomorrow’s livestock shows. The bucket calf show begins at 8 a.m., followed by the beef breeding, market steers, and showmanship shows. Tomorrow night’s rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range in price from $15 to $30 and are available online at FairandRodeo.com or at the gate .For more information and a complete schedule, visit the website.

Gorsuch feels right at home in Lovington

By Ted Harbin/for the Lea County Fair & Rodeo

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Success has always followed steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. 

“This has been a really good rodeo for me,” said Gorsuch, a two-time world champion bulldogger from Gering, a tiny community in the Nebraska Panhandle. “I like this rodeo. It’s a really long way from home, but it always feels like home when I’m here. You have those rodeos where you feel good.”

That’s the case at Jake McClure Arena on the Lea County Fairgrounds. He won the championship in 2011 and has earned a bucket load of money in Lovington over the course of his career. He has a good chance to continue that trend this year. 

Gorsuch put together two quality runs Aug. 10 during the first day of the rodeo, scoring a 4.3 to lead the opening round, then following that with a 3.9-second run during the performance; he also leads the second round and the average with a two-run cumulative time of 8.2 seconds. 

“There are a bunch of good guys to go, and these back-to-back deals are awesome,” he said, referring to the opportunity timed-event cowboys have to make multiple runs in the same day; that allows them to move on to the next rodeo without having to double-back to Lovington, which just adds to the expense of rodeo. “I ran two good steers, and hopefully it’ll win some money.” 

He’ll wait through the final three days of competition to see where he sits when the curtain closes Saturday night, but he stands pretty tall so far. He should know; he’s a two-time world champion with eight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – his two gold buckles came in 2006 and 2010. 

Heading into this week’s competition, he was 14th in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings with $42,416. He knew he had an opportunity to do well Wednesday evening, mainly because fellow steer wrestler Jace Melvin provided a little background on the steer – Melvin had competed on the same steer during the afternoon session.

“I probably would have missed him if (Jace) hadn’t told me about him,” Gorsuch said. “He was great once you get him.”

Gorsuch gets most of his steers, but that doesn’t come without struggles. Rodeo is a humbling sport, and championships aren’t guaranteed. He hasn’t been to the NFR since 2013, when he was in the race for the world championship until the final round of the season. 

“I got hurt two years ago,” Gorsuch said. “I didn’t do very good last year, but I still wasn’t very confident. It felt like it still hurt at times, and I just never let things hang out. It feels like it’s coming together this year.”

If the Lea County Fair and Rodeo is any indication, it certainly has.

Slone aces test in Coffeyville

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Inter-State Rodeo committee

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. -- A special horse is making Ace Slone’s rodeo year exceptional. 

 The Cuero, Texas cowboy leads the tie-down roping at the Inter-State Rodeo in Coffeyville, Kan., and he’s doing it on a good friend’s horse. 

 Slone made an 8.1-second run on the first night of the Coffeyville rodeo, aboard a 10-year old sorrel named Ripple.

 His relationship with Ripple came about in a unique way.

 A few years ago, as he left Salt Lake City, Slone pulled over on the side of the road to let his truck cool. A rodeo family from Evanston, Wyo., Justin and Lindie Martin, stopped to offer assistance.

 The Martins, who have six kids, are a tie-down roping family, and a friendship was struck.

As Slone and the Martins became better friends, he occasionally stopped by their ranch in Wyoming. “Over the years, we built a really strong friendship,” he said. “They invited me to come stay with them if I ever needed a place to rope. I got to swing in there a couple of times, and now I’ve gotten to be really close with the whole family.”

The Martins’ oldest son, A.C., graduated from high school last year and began a two-year mission for the LDS church. That’s when Ace got a phone call.

“He told me, if I needed Ripple, he would like for me to have a chance to ride his horse.” A.C. had roped off Ripple, who was a little more high-powered than the younger Martin kids could use.

But Ripple was just what Slone needed. They worked out a two-year lease, and the sorrel has revitalized Slone’s career. 

Slone is ranked 22nd in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings, just $5,000 shy of the top 15, who go on to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by POLARIS RANGER.

“He’s been phenomenal,” Slone said of the horse. “It’s been a lot of fun. (The Martins) have been excited to follow me and my name in the standings, and know that they have everything in the world to do with it.” 

In 2010, Slone’s rookie year, he was ranked eighth in the world when he tore a knee ligament at a rodeo in California in July, ending his season. The next year, he rehabilitated his knee and focused on college. 

In 2012, he ended up 16th in the world, one hole out of the Wrangler NFR, getting knocked out of the standings on the last day of the rodeo year.

That sent his “sucker in the dirt,” he said. “It burned me pretty bad, being 14th on September 30 and 16th on October 1,” (the end of the rodeo year). It left him not willing to rope much the next year. “I thought they’d cancel all the rodeos because I didn’t show up,” he laughed. “I learned that being out here is more fun than being at home, but it took a while.” 

Then, the next year, in 2014, his horse was hurt, limiting his roping again. “I didn’t realize how important a good horse was, until he was hurt.

“I spent the last couple years, doubting myself, and doubting everything, because I didn’t have the horse power.”

Ripple has made the difference in his rodeo and his attitude. “It has absolutely changed my roping and brought my confidence back. Hopefully I can give us a chance,” at a Wrangler NFR run.

Slone’s wife Allie travels with him; they married on June 5.

Other leaders after the first night of rodeo include bareback rider Frank Morton, Wright, Kan. (81 points), steer wrestler Kaleb Summers, Claremore, Okla. (6.3 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jace Lane, Stephenville, Texas (80 points), team ropers Cody Graham, Everton, Mo. and Jason Stroup, Cape Girardeau, Mo. (11.0 seconds), steer roper Shorty Garten, Pawhuska, Okla. (14.4 seconds), and barrel racerStevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas (17.75 seconds). No bull riders made a qualified ride. 

The Thursday night edition of the Inter-State Rodeo is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. Fans are asked to wear pink and voluntary donations will be picked up to benefit breast cancer patients in the area. The rodeo begins at 7:30 pm. The carnival begins at 6 p.m., and there will be  four livestock shows: rabbits, sheep, poultry, and goats.