Melancon stays hot at Xtreme Bulls
- Joe Kavanaugh Journal correspondent
- A couple of bull riders who have been tearing up the arena lately, continued hot streaks Saturday night as the Xtreme Bulls Tour concluded a two-day run at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo.
For Cole Melancon, the weekend was a case of one, two, three times a charm indeed for the Texas cowboy, as he capped off an outstanding weekend followed up two covers in the money in Friday night’s Xtreme performance and Saturday afternoon’s PRCA rodeo with an 89.6 point ride in the Saturday night Xtreme Bull’s finale.
“Yes sir, it’s been good weekend for sure,” Melancon said moments after a victory ride around Barnett Arena. “I’ve been riding just about everything, so I’m off to a good year, and hopefully I can keep it that way.”
The red-hot weekend is far from a fluke as Melancon came to Rapid City sitting third in the 2017 PRCA World Standings, and had recently won the final round at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
“For me, it’s just a result of a lot of hard work and knowing exactly what I want this year. In December, I want to be at the finals, and I’m pretty much dedicating my life to that right now. Eat, sleep and rodeo pretty much,” Melancon added. “I didn’t know the bull I had tonight, but he came out and spun away from my hand, which I like, and just hung on from there.”
Melancon needed an outstanding ride to top another cowboy riding the high of an afternoon win in the PRCA matinee performance, as 2X National Finals qualifier Tim Bingham lit up the Xtreme Bulls’ first section with an 86.5 point ride.
“I knew I had a good bull. He’s one we see all year long and we ride him a lot, and usually for a good score, so this was the one I came to Rapid City for,” said Bingham, who was looking for a money bull to keep an early winter in high gear. “My winters usually don’t start off very well. I’m kind of a fourth quarter player when it comes to rodeos and have to play catch-up. So this year is different and hopefully it will stay good so I can relax a little at the end of the season.”
Three-time NFR qualifier Joe Frost claimed third money with an 85.5-point trip, while a trio of bull riders shared fourth with 84-point rides — Wyatt Gregg of Belle Fourche, Andrew Coughlin of Spearfish and Texas bull rider Parker Breding.
Sig“It definitely feels good coming here and getting two rides on two nights. I had a really good bull and I felt really good on him,” said Gregg, who also shared fourth on Friday night with another 84-point trip. “I haven’t been doing too well lately, but I had a good ride last night and that carried. This is kind of a hometown crowd for me, so the pressure of wanting to do well with everybody watching, wanting you to do good, and I did do good, so that makes it special.”
Earlier in the day the PRCA portion of the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo kicked off with off with a matinee performance at the Barnett Arena. Event leaders after the initial performance included: bareback— Wyatt Bloom, 79.5 on Sutton Rodeos’ Wild Wings; steer wrestling — Cash Myers, 5.6 seconds; tie-down roping — Jerrad Hofstetter, 9.7 seconds; team roping – JR Dees & Matt Zancanella (Aurora, S.D.), 4.5 seconds; saddle bronc — Travis Nelson (Broadus, Mont., by way of Philip), 82 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Time Rental; barrel racing — Lacinda Rose, 13.30 seconds and bull riding — Tim Bingham, 83.5 on Sutton Rodeos’ Smoky Mountain.
Subsequent PRCA rodeo performances are scheduled for next Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and two final day performances on Saturday (1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).
Duncan wins first night of Extreme Bulls
- Joe Kavanaugh Journal correspondent
- Hannah Hunsinger, Journal staff
While rodeos traditionally conclude with bull riding, a fan favorite guaranteed to keep the seats filled until the very last moment, the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo has taken a different approach, providing a thrilling show by opening the rodeo portion with an Xtreme Bulls Tour event.
The formula obviously works as each year the Friday and Saturday night Xtreme Bull performances attracts two of the largest Civic Center Barnett Arena crowds during the rodeo’s eight-day run.
Dalan Duncan, 23, from Ballard, Utah, had the right formula as well as the 2016 Rapid City Xtreme Bulls champion doubled up by staying aboard a rank bull named Scarface for an 87-point ride.
“No doubt Rapid City has been good to me and has kind of been my sweet spot,” Duncan said while explaining his winning ride. “I asked what he was supposed to do, and he pretty much did the exact opposite of that. But it worked out. He took one big jump out and turned to the right, and after that, he was just a really good bull to get on. I hurt a joint in my shoulder and haven’t been on very many this year, but I won in Waco (Texas) early, and now with this I should be pretty high in the standings.”
Scottie Knapp came into Rapid City fresh off a 2016 NFR December appearance in which the Albuquerque cowboy was roughed up considerably, suffering multiple injuries including a concussion, a face laceration, a dislocated shoulder, sprained spine in addition to being horned in the leg.
A week into his 2017 comeback, Knapp chalked up a flashy 85-point ride to earn second place money.
“It was a rematch with 391 (Damn It’s Good). He bucked me off the last time, and I knew he could do a little bit everything. But he came out to the left into my hand and I just kept hustling and taking the ride to him,” said Knapp who finished sixth in the 2016 World Standings. “The injuries are behind me for the most part. My shoulder is a little sore and I have a brace on it, but God willing, it will hold up for a few more rounds, and in bull riding there aren’t any guarantees anyway. I got on two bulls last week and rode one and then another one tonight, so two out of three ain’t bad.”
Cole Melancon (Liberty, Texas) claimed third with an 84.5 ride, while Adam Lucero (Toole, Utah) picked up a paycheck as well with an 84-point trip.
SignSturgis bull rider Tyson Donovan will carry some momentum into Saturday night’s Xtreme Bull performance, notching fifth with a solid 83.5 effort.
“I had never seen him before, but I heard he was a good bull, and it worked out well,” Donovan said. “The year has been off to a good start for me. I won in the Council Bluffs earlier, and that was a nice start with a lot more rodeos to come. I been able to stay healthy and things are in slow motion for me right now, which is what a bull rider needs to be able to make the right moves.”
Chutes open on the final night of 2017 Xtreme Bulls tonight at 7:30 p.m.
High School Rodeo a popular event to watch at stock show
High school rodeo athletes will take to the ring at 2 p.m. today for the High School 20X Rodeo in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
In rodeo, you don't have to be a professional to put on a good show.
That will be proved true today at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo Rapid City when high school athletes from across the tri-state region take to the ring for the annual High School 20X Showcase.
Some of the young rodeo athletes will start their day at the college fair at 9:30 a.m. in Barnett Arena at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to learn about opportunities to study and perform at colleges from across the region.
Then, at 2 p.m., the high school rodeo riders will take to Barnett to ride, rope and barrel race in one of the most popular events of the stock show. They may not be professionals, but the young men and women try their darnedest. And the fact they're not as experience as the professional riders means almost anything can happen in the ring.
Sign UAlso today, the cattleman's steak and egg breakfast is set for 10 a.m. at the Central States Fairgrounds; the Beefy Chili Cook-off is at noon in the Rodeo Zone at the civic center; and the auctioneers bid-calling contest is at 2 p.m. in the civic center.
Veteran clown has seen the serious and zany side of rodeo
- Jim Holland Journal staff
Veteran rodeo clown Duane Reichert dons the greasepaint, zany shirts, baggy pants, wig and pink straw hat for laughs now, but he knows there’s a serious side for the rodeo cowboys who depend on clowns, barrelmen and bullfighters to keep them safe in the arena.
Reichert, who lives north of New Underwood, has done it all in his long career.
I did some bullfighting and was a barrelman,” he said. “I always did all of it.”
Reichert started clowning in 1961 and got his Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association card in 1968.
He has appeared in 44 states and most of western Canada, performing for circuit finals rodeos as well as opening three National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas.
“I had a lot of fun and met a lot of really nice people,” he said.
His “Backstage with a Rodeo Clown” performance has been a staple at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo for a half-dozen years.
Reichert declined to give his age, only winking when he said he's been eligible for Social Security for several years now.
Rodeo clowns serve as more than entertainment between events. The bullfighter’s job is to get between the cowboy and the bull and get the bull to chase him or her instead of the cowboy.
A barrelman’s job is the same, getting a bull to attack a specially made padded aluminum barrel, with the clown safely protected inside.
“Some bulls are mean. They try to hit cowboys and hurt them,” Reichert explained during his first show Friday morning on the Rodeo Zone stage at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena.
Reichert said he stepped out of his barrel for the last time two or three years ago. He displayed his pink padded barrel, built by a New Orleans firm at a cost of $1,600. The aluminum core is surrounded inside and out with ample layers of foam rubber
“The foam rubber on the inside protects my head. The 4 inches of foam on the outside protects the bull’s head,” he said.
His act includes several animals, including a sorrel horse, a rabbit, rooster, guinea pig and ferret. Reichert was unable to use his pony, Little Richie, in the ice arena Friday and substituted a stick horse named Silver instead.
“I can gallop him and I can back him up,” Reichert joked. “And I don’t have to feed Silver or water him.”
Joe Evenson and his young son, Jep, of Doland, were front-row center for the start of Reichert’s show on Friday.
Sign “It was fun,” Joe Evenson said of the half-hour performance, which kept them both entertained. “I needed to keep Jep from climbing on all the tractors. That’s all he wants to do.”
Soon, other youngsters and parents filled the seats, with many of the children involved in Reichert’s stunts and gentle humor.
Reichert said he draws on current events and even old vaudeville comedy routines to come up with his sight gags.
Political jokes or other ribald humor generally need to be avoided, he said.
“We always have to remember rodeo is a family sport. Anything you wouldn’t tell your kids shouldn’t be used,” he said.
Reichert said he will continue with his act as long as he's in demand.
“I enjoy it so much," he said. "I probably won’t ever retire.”
If You Go:
What: "Backstage with a Rodeo Clown," with Duane Reichert
Where: Sutton Rodeos Rodeo Zone stage on the south end of Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena
When: Today: 11 a.m., 1 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m., 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 :, 11 a.m., 1 p.m.