Kansas Rodeo Roundup

Big week for Biglow in Phillipsburg, Sidney

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo committee

PHILLIPSBURG, Kan. – Eighty-four is the magic number for bareback rider Clayton Biglow this week.

That’s what he’s scored here at Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo on Aug. 5 and what he scored in Sidney, Iowa, the day before.

The Clements, Calif. cowboy rode Beutler and Son’s Pebbles for the high score in the bareback riding on Friday night in Phillipsburg and he knew he had a good one. “He’s really good,” he said. “I knew I had a good shot to win money on him.” 

Biglow, 20, is ranked ninth in the world standings right now, the highest he’s ever been in his three years of membership in the PRCA. He’d rather be in first place, but number nine is OK, too.

“As long as you’re in the top 15, you’re having a good year. I can’t complain at all,” he said. “The main goal is to be first, but as long as you’re in the top 15, you’re having a good year.” 

There are about two months left in the ProRodeo season, which ends September 30, and Biglow and his traveling partners, which includes fellow bareback rider Wyatt Denny, will hit the road hard.

“We’re entered up big-time. We have a lot of rodeos to go to, and we’re picking and choosing which ones to go to, the good ones.”

Biglow studied at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif. last year but will transfer to Western Nevada College in Fallon, Nev. this fall. His studies will be online, allowing him to pro rodeo yet attend school. He will graduate in May of 2018 with an agriculture business degree.

But right now, it’s time to ride bareback horses. 

“Keep rodeoing, keep entering, keep going. Don’t stop,” he said.

Other fast times and high scores for the night include steer wrestlers Dan Barner, Hershey, Neb., and Chason Floyd, Buffalo, S.D. (4.3 seconds each), team ropers Manny Egusquiza, Jr., Marianna, Fla. and Daniel Braman, Victoria, Texas (4.6 seconds), saddle bronc rider Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas (76.5 points) and barrel racers Kyra Stierwalt, Leedey, Okla. and Brittany Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif. (17.32 seconds each)

The only qualified bull ride was made by the two-time and reigning world champion Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla. He scored 83 points aboard Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Ranger Rick. 

Knapp posts 91 to win round in Dodge City

By Ted Harbin/for the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo committee

DODGE CITY, Kan. – Scottie Knapp knew nothing about his bull on Aug. 6, but that didn’t stop the Albuquerque cowboy. 

Knapp matched every move the athletic bovine threw at him and won the first-round of bull riding with a 91-point ride at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. 

“He doesn’t even have a name,” Knapp said. “Everybody said he was good. He was a little more than good; he was a bucker.” 

Scott Pickens with 4L and Diamond S Rodeo said the 3-year-old bull – which now has the name Last Cigarette – was raised on his Weatherford, Texas, ranch. He was fast and had a strong kick, which made for a solid performance for both bull and bull rider. 

“I had to keep moving; that’s the name of the game,” said Knapp, the No. 2 bull rider in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings with more than $79,000 in earnings. “The bull’s always moving, so you’ve got to keep moving, too. You can never weaken.”

And Knapp didn’t. He is well on his way to his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which features only the top 15 contestants in each event at the conclusion of the regular season. He has finished as high as 19th in the world standings, but that was three years ago. 

Now he’s having the best season of his career, and he’s adding to it at the Roundup Rodeo. He will try to win the coveted title – and the prized championship trophy buckle – during Sunday’s championship round. 

“I’ll let tomorrow worry about itself,” said Knapp, 25. “I’m just taking in the moment right now. I’m just blessed to be part of this rodeo and be doing what I love. 

“This is a real prestigious rodeo. To be 91 points here, you can’t hope for much more in this line of work or in our passion for bull riding. It’s truly a blessing and definitely one of my better rides this year, if not my best ride this year.” 

He began his love affair with rodeo at age 3, when he first started riding sheep. 

“Since then, it’s been my dream to be at the biggest rodeos and bull ridings in the world and go for gold buckles,” he said. “I’m just thankful to do that.” 

No matter what has happened or what the future holds, the humble cowboy keeps his mind in the right place. Maybe that’s why his season has been so strong.

“I need to focus on what I came here to do, just keep hustling and trying,” Knapp said. “It would be awesome to win (the Roundup buckle). I’ve got an opportunity, so I’m going to let it all hang out. 

“I am just focused on what I’m doing: Riding bulls and having fun. The rest will all work out, and it’s in God’s hands. I can’t worry about that stuff.”

Swayze dominates bulldogging in Dodge City

By Ted Harbin/for the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo committee

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The draw for rodeo cowboys is a life of independence and competing in a sport they love. 

The draw is also a big part of the game, as cowboys are matched with their animals by a random draw. Those that draw the best animals sometimes win the most. That was the case for steer wrestler Ryan Swayze Aug. 5 at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. 

“I did draw two outstanding steers,” said Swayze of Freedom, Okla. 

It is paying off quite well for the veteran bulldogger, who posted a 3.8-second run Friday morning to lead the opening go-round, then followed it up during Friday’s third performance with a 4.2; the latter is in a three-way tie for first place in the second round with Jacob Edler of State Center, Iowa, and Joby Allen of Alva, Okla. 

Swayze’s two-run cumulative time of 8.0 seconds puts him ahead of the field by nine-tenths of a second and has secured his spot in Sunday’s championship round, which features just the top 12 contestants in each event from the preliminary rounds. 

“I’ve had some success here,” he said. “It’s my circuit rodeo, so I’ve come here every year for probably 20 years. It’s about 60 miles from where I grew up. 

“It’s almost a hometown rodeo.”

It certainly seems like it. Swayze has been a regular fixture at the RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, so doing well in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region is important to his rodeo schedule. Doing well in Dodge City – the largest event in the circuit in terms of overall payout – would be a big boost. 

Of course, he’d love to win the title and take home a beautiful championship buckle. 

“That would certainly be a career highlight for me,” Swayze said. “I hope I can come back and draw me a good steer on Sunday.

He sits 23rd in the Prairie Circuit standings with nearly $1,700 in season earnings. With the potential for big earnings inside Roundup Arena, he could easily move into the top 10. 

“We go to a lot of the other smaller circuit rodeos,” he said. “A good week this week with (Kansas rodeos) Phillipsburg and Abilene going right along with this one, a circuit guy could absolutely make the circuit finals this week.”

Swayze placed in one round a year ago and earned nearly $2,500; the 2015 steer wrestling champ, Stockton Graves, placed only in the short round and won the average title while pocketing more than $5,700. Those earnings helped Graves win the circuit title and earn a trip to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes place each April in Kissimmee, Fla. 

“The real end prize is going to Florida,” Swayze said. “Winning a good check here and a little more along the way, and I could go in there with a good chance to win the year end title; that would be all that I could ask for.” 

He may as well go for a Roundup buckle while he’s asking.

The final night of Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo in Phillipsburg is August 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate, beginning at 6 p.m. They are $16 for reserved adult seating and $12 for reserved child seating. General admission tickets are $14 for adults and $11 for children. For more information, visit KansasBiggestRodeo.com.