Jule Hazen claims second Buffalo Bill buckle



By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – The first ProRodeo buckle Jule Hazen ever won was at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in 2004, his first year of PRCA competition. 

And he just got himself a second one.

The steer wrestler from Ashland, Kan., made a 3.7-second run on his first steer during slack on Wednesday, then made another 3.7 second run on his second steer the next day, to win the steer wrestling title with a time of 7.4 seconds on two head. 

The buckle, plus the check for $2,663 is wonderful, but the best part is the self-assurance, he said. “It’s not just the money, it’s a confidence booster. Whenever we get ready to start out the summer run, it gets things on a roll. It’s major mental boost.” 

He and his four traveling partners – Josh Clark, Lane Herl, Blair Jones and Richard Coat – left North Platte, headed for Reno, Nev.; Springdale, Ark.; Pecos, Texas; Santa Fe, N.M.; Greeley Colo., and Livingston, Mont., all by July 4th.

“It’s great,” Hazen said of traveling with a group of guys with common goals. “We can all tell each other what you’re doing right or wrong. Whenever you’re down, they pick you up. And whenever you get too high, they’ll knock you back down.”

Having a good hazer is important, too. Chad Van Campen hazed for Hazen on both of his runs, and Van Campen, also a steer wrestler at North Platte, hazed for him two of his three years at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The second steer Hazen drew had a tendency to stop to the right, and the hazer’s job was to keep him close to the steer wrestler.

“With Chad over there, there’s no room for that steer to get away. Chad never stubs his toe. Having him over there is kind of like having my binkie,” Hazen said with a laugh. “It makes it real simple.” 

Barrel racer Hailey Kinsel turned the pattern in 17.37 seconds to win a gold buckle. The Cotulla, Texas, cowgirl just came back from competition at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., where she didn’t win a check.

“I’m just back from the College Finals, and didn’t have any luck up there,” she said. “I was down on myself, so I went in to make a confidence-builder run, and see what my horse could do, and he impressed the heck out of me.”

She has owned her horse TJ, a 12-year-old gelding whose registered name is Thunder Stones, for the last three years. She’s taken TJ to about two dozen rodeos, and he seems to prefer bigger arenas.

“The bigger, longer, stretch-out runs, he runs really hard,” Kinsel said. “I don’t think he loves the indoor (arenas). I’m starting to figure out what his niche is, and I think I’ve found it.”

Kinsel will be a senior this fall at Texas A&M University. This was her first time to compete at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. 

The 2016 Trail Boss Award was awarded to Art Daly posthumously. Daly was born and lived his entire life in western McPherson County, Neb. Daly became a rodeo announcer, first at high school and college rodeos, then at Nebraska State and Mid-States Rodeos. It was at the urging of Buffalo Bill Rodeo announcers Hadley Barrett and Randy Corley that Daly got his PRCA announcer’s card, which took him to rodeos across the nation. He was selected to announce the 1990 Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, and was the voice of the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo when it was televised live. 

The other 2016 champions were bareback rider Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa (85), tie-down roper Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas (17.3 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah (88 points), team ropers Adam Rose, Willard, Mo., and Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas (12.2 seconds on two head), and bull rider Bart Miller, Pleasanton, Neb. (85). 

More NEBRASKAland Days activities take place from now until June 26. The U.S. Cellular Summer Jam Concert Series is Fri., June 24 with Sam Hunt and special guest Cassadee Pope. The Sat., June 25 concert is Dierks Bentley with Randy Houser.  For more information, visit www.NebraskaLandDays.com.

Johnson eyes repeat as North Platte champion

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – Chet Johnson is working on his second Buffalo Bill Rodeo championship buckle.

The Lusk, Wyo. cowboy has the high score in the saddle bronc riding after two nights of the rodeo in North Platte, after completing an 84-point ride aboard Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Painted Desert. 

He was happy when he learned that he had drawn that horse, an 18-year-old mare.

“I’ve been wanting to get on that horse for quite a while,” he said. “He’s one of the older ones of Bennie’s, and he’s been good for years. I drew him here, and have been excited all week when I found out what I had.”

Painted Desert stalled a bit before leaving the chute, but it all worked out.

“He didn’t want to leave the chutes real bad,” Johnson said. “It took him a few seconds to get going. Once he realized what was going on, he did his thing, and was as good as he could be.”

Johnson won last year’s Buffalo Bill Rodeo with an 86-point ride, and he’s hoping to repeat the feat. “This is a very tough rodeo, so to win it back to back, it would be quite an achievement.” But there are two more nights of rodeo, and Johnson knows his first-place score might not hold.

“You get all the tough guys (saddle bronc riders) here, and the horses are really good, so you get a combination of high scores. That’s what everybody needs, and why everybody wants to be here, trying to get that buckle.” 

Johnson, who is 35 years old, has spent a month at his family’s ranch north of Lusk, but is about to rodeo harder. A veteran of the rodeo world, he knows when to take it easy.

“I’ve been just taking it real easy, trying not to burn myself out. From here on out, I’m going to rodeo real hard and try to get back” to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He has competed at the WNFR four times (2005, 2007-08 and 2013). During the winters, he stays at his home in Stephenville, Texas, but in the summers heads to the family ranch.

“It’s about time to migrate north. It’s getting a little toasty (in Texas).” 

Other leaders from Thursday’s slack and performance are bareback rider Justin Miller, Billings, Mont. (83 points); steer wrestler Timmy Sparing, Helena, Mont. (3.5 seconds) and tie-down roper Michael Otero, Lowndesboro, Ala. (8.2 seconds). There was a two-way tie in the team roping with Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla./Gage Williams, Foster, Okla., and Adam Rose, Willard, Mo./Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas, each completing 6.1-second runs. Barrel racer Sabra O’Quinn, Ocala, Fla., had the fastest time for the day (17.86 seconds) and bull rider Cole Elshere led with a 79.

It was Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the rodeo, and three cancer survivors – Jan Rickertson, Gothenburg; Lisa Mullen, Paxton; and Diane Adkins, Ogallala – were honored. All three got treatment at the Callahan Cancer Center at Great Plains Health in North Platte.  

Night number three of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo takes place on Friday, June 17 at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. Tickets are available online at www.NebraskaLandDays.com, at the NLD office or at the gate.

Buffalo Bill Rodeo


North Platte, Neb., June 15-18


All-around cowboy: Josh Peek, $4,531, tie-down roping and steer wrestling.


Bareback riding: 1. Tim O'Connell, 85 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Nodbig.Com's Wonderland, $2,459; 2. Frank Morton, 83.5, $1,885; 3. Justin Miller, 83, $1,393; 4. Kyle Brennecke, 82.5, $902; 5. J.R. Vezain, 81.5, $574; 6. Tray Chambliss III, 79.5, $410; 7. Jerad Schlegel, 79, $328; 8. (tie) Blaine Kaufman, Casey Breuer and Casey Colletti, 78, $82 each. 


Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Jule Hazen, 3.7 seconds, $1,776; 2. Dean Gorsuch, 3.8, $1,470; 3. Josh Peek, 4.2, $1,163; 4. (tie) Weston Taylor, Tee Burress and Jacob Talley, 4.5, $572 each. Second round: 1. Timmy Sparing, 3.5 seconds, $1,776; 2. Jule Hazen, 3.7, $1,470; 3. Josh Peek, 3.8, $1,163; 4. (tie) Dirk Tavenner and Kyle Whitaker, 4.0, $704 each; 6. Wyatt Johnson, 4.1, $306. Average: 1. Jule Hazen, 7.4 seconds on two head, $2,664; 2. Josh Peek, 8.0, $2,204; 3. Jacob Talley, 9.1, $1,745; 4. J.D. Struxness, 9.2, $1,286; 5. Tee Burress, 9.6, $827; 6. Dean Gorsuch, 9.8, $459. 


Team roping: First round: 1. J.B. Lord/Levi Lord, 5.7 seconds, $983 each; 2. Adam Rose/Walt Woodard, 6.1, $814; 3. Levi O'Keeffe/Cotey Hanson, 6.2, $644; 4. (tie) Eli Lord/Jace Davis and Zac Small/Wesley Thorp, 6.4, $390 each; 6. Ty Blasingame/Shad Chadwick, 6.7, $170. Second round: 1. (tie) Adam Rose/Walt Woodard and Nick Sartain/Gage Williams, 6.1 seconds, $899 each; 3. Jesse Stipes/Buddy Hawkins II, 6.2, $644; 4. Casey Adams/Riley Pedro, 6.6, $475; 5. Jason Thorstenson/Paul Griemsman, 7.3, $305; 6. Tad Sheets/Chase Boekhaus, 11.1, $170. Average: 1. Adam Rose/Walt Woodard, 12.2 seconds on two head, $1,475 each; 2. Jesse Stipes/Buddy Hawkins II, 13.0, $1,221; 3. (tie) Jason Thorstenson/Paul Griemsman and Casey Adams/Riley Pedro, 14.1, $839 each; 5. Tad Sheets/Chase Boekhaus, 18.5, $458; 6. Travis Warren/Dustin Harris, 19.4, $254. 


Saddle bronc riding: 1. Rusty Wright, 88 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Bright Lights, $2,730; 2. Jesse Bail, 87, $2,093; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 84.5, $1,547; 4. (tie) Cody Wright and Chet Johnson, 84, $819 each; 6. Sterling Crawley, 82.5, $455; 7. Will Smith, 81.5, $364; 8. (tie) Dalton Rixen, Andy Clarys and Spencer Wright, 81, $91 each. 


Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Marty Yates, 9.0 seconds, $1,418; 2. Tyson Durfey, 9.1, $1,173; 3. Cory Solomon, 9.7, $929; 4. Matt Shiozawa, 9.8, $684; 5. Timber Moore, 9.9, $440; 6. Tylen Layton, 11.4, $244. Second round: 1. Michael Otero, 8.2 seconds, $1,418; 2. Marty Yates, 8.3, $1,173; 3. Timber Moore, 8.6, $929; 4. (tie) Jess Woodward and Dennis Luetge, 9.2, $562 each; 6. Cody Nye, 9.3, $244. Average: 1. Marty Yates, 17.3 seconds on two head, $2,126; 2. Timber Moore, 18.5, $1,760; 3. Tyson Durfey, 19.2, $1,393; 4. Cory Solomon, 20.7, $1,026; 5. Cody McCartney, 21.4, $660; 6. Ike Fontenot, 21.8, $367. 


Barrel racing: 1. Hailey Kinsel, 17.37 seconds, $2,782; 2. Taylor Jacob, 17.40, $2,365; 3. Pamela Capper, 17.55, $1,948; 4. Emily Miller, 17.57, $1,669; 5. Sidney Forrest, 17.59, $1,391; 6. Stevi Hillman, 17.71, $974; 7. Britany Diaz, 17.75, $696; 8. Ivy Conrado, 17.79, $556; 9. Jana Griemsman, 17.80, $487; 10. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 17.81, $417; 11. Sabra O'Quinn, 17.86, $348; 12. Tiany Schuster, 17.88, $278. 


Bull riding: 1. Bart Miller, 85 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Tumbler, $2,707; 2. Bryce Burnell, 79.5, $2,076; 3. Cole Elshere, 79, $1,534; 4. Taylor Miller, 73.5, $993; 5. Colten Jesse, 72.5, $632; no other qualified rides. 


Total payoff: $108,907. Stock contractor: Beutler & Son Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Vickie Shireman. Officials: Scot Quick, Joe Bob Locke and Jim Whiting. Timers: Ti Ada Wise and Michelle Corley. Announcers: Hadley Barrett and Randy Corley. Specialty act: Troy Lerwill. Bullfighters: Quirt Hunt and Wacey Munsell. Clown/barrelman: Troy Lerwill. Flankman: Rhett Beutler. Chute bosses: Matt Scott and Bennie Beutler. Pickup men: Butch Braden Jr and Matt Scott. Music director: Benje Bendele.