By Ruth Nicolaus/for the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo committee
MINOT, N.D. – Chuckulator met up with his namesake again Oct. 9 at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo and this time ‘chucking’ was not part of the equation.
Chuck Schmidt, after whom the Sutton Rodeo saddle bronc horse Chuckulator is named, rode the horse to a first-place finish with an 84-point ride during the second round of the rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men.
The stud earned his name after he sent Chuck into the dirt a couple of times.
In 2009, Schmidt rode him at the bucking horse sale at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo in Rapid City. “He made a couple good jumps,” Schmidt remembers, “and he bucked me off. I found out (the Suttons) kept him, and the next year, when I went to practice (at the Sutton ranch), I asked them if they could run that stud in for me again.”
Steve Sutton obliged Schmidt, and the second practice ride had the same result as the first.
“The round pen wasn’t more than 20 feet across, and I didn’t make it to the end,” said Schmidt, of Keldron, S.D. “He bucked me off pretty dang fast.”
After that, Sutton decided on a name for the stud, who was born in 2004: Chuck’s Eliminator, which got abbreviated to Chuckulator.
And since then, Chuckulator has lived up to his name, throwing off cowboys across the nation but carrying many of them to paychecks. In 2012, he was the PRCA’s Saddle Bronc Horse of the year and the top saddle bronc horse at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as well.
And Friday night in the North Dakota State Fair Center, the two Chucks met again. “He’s pretty bucky right out of the chute,” Schmidt said. “But he’s getting a lot better to ride, a little more rider-friendly. He used to be flat rank right out of there, but anymore, he’s the kind of horse a guy wants. You can still be plenty of points on him.”
Schmidt, who is headed to his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December, is in fourth place after two rounds of the Circuit Finals, and knows he doesn’t have a chance to win the Circuit’s year-end title. He’s focusing on each night of rodeo instead.
“Every round is a new one, and every round changes something (in the standings). You just have to take every horse the same.” And winning first on the horse named after him was special.
“I took (Chuckulator) pretty serious today,” he said.
A college rodeo champ got a check during the second round of action.
Steer wrestler Cameron Morman, of Glen Ullin, N.D., turfed his steer in 3.8 seconds to pocket a check for $1,678 and a first-place finish.
The cowboy is in his second year of Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association competition and came into the Circuit Finals in first place in the standings. This is his second trip to the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, and he’s made some mental notes from last year’s trip, which wasn’t the best.
“I was young, and a little nervous, and made some stupid mistakes,” he said. “This year, I kind of took a different way about rodeo and am more mentally strong.”
Morman, a senior member of the Dickinson (N.D.) State University rodeo team, gave credit to his college coach, Eudall Larson. “Our college coach has helped me out a lot,” he said. In addition to steer wrestling, he also tie-down and team ropes in college competition and finished the 2014-2015 school year as the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Steer Wrestling Champion.
Morman will graduate in December of 2017 with a degree in agronomy. He currently works for Southwest Ag in Mandan, scouting fields and selling chemicals and fertilizer to farmers and ranchers.
He is currently ranked fourth in the Great Plains region in the NIRA standings. In the team roping, he’s ranked eighth.
He rode fellow steer wrestler Jason Reiss’ horse, Scooter, and Reiss, of Manning, N.D., hazed for him.
Other winners in the second round of action included team ropers Preston Billadeau, Parshall, N.D., and Levi O’Keeffe, Mohall, N.D. (5.9 seconds), tie-down roper Boe Brown, Valentine, Neb. (8.2 seconds), barrel racer Calyssa Thomas, Harrold, S.D. (14.09 seconds), and bull rider Wyatt Gregg, Belle Fourche, S.D. (80 points).
The Breuer brothers from Mandan, N.D., took first and second place again in the bareback riding, with Ty in first (80 points) and Casey in second (79).
Before the rodeo started, a check for $69,663 was presented to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign. That amount recognizes the monies raised for this year of the campaign, with all funds going to the Trinity Health Cancer Exercise Rehab Center. Since the program began nine years ago, a total of $574,649 has been raised. Myron Feist, a cancer survivor and a member of the Minot Y’s Men, presented the check to Russell Gust, exercise physiologist for the Exercise Rehab Center.
The third of four performances of the 2015 RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10. Tickets are available online and at the State Fair Center prior to the rodeo. Full rodeo results are posted on www.ProRodeo.com. Additional rodeo information can be found at MinotYsMensRodeo.com.