Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals Wrap Up

Logan Hofer.  Photo by Great Falls Tribune 

Hofer ties together his first RMCFR win

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)

Courtesy PRCA (ProRodeo.com)



GREAT FALLS, Mont. – For tie-down roper Logan Hofer, winning the RAM Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo means more than just another buckle on the shelf and a shot at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo – it’s a confidence boost in his pursuit of making his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification.

“To start the year like that and move up in the standings gives you a drive to go to the rest of the rodeos,” Hofer said. 

This wasn’t Hofer’s first time at the RMCFR, but it was his first time winning the average. 

“I got skunked last year,” Hofer said with a laugh. “But this year, I roped good and drew some good calves.”

The 30-year-old Magrath, Alberta, native was off to a rough start at the RMCFR, placing fourth in the first two rounds. 

“The first round, I had my hand come off the flank and I had to re-flank her and that slowed me down,” he said.

Hofer entered the third round with some background knowledge on his calf, which helped him land the second-place score of 8.6 to claim the top spot in the average with 28.3 seconds on three head.

“I knew she was straight down the pen, so I took the same start,” Hofer said. “Coming in there, there was some guys who were out of the average and I knew I had to make a solid run to stay in the average. The other guys didn’t draw as good, so I used my head and just tied one down.”

Winning the RMCFR bumped the Canadian roper up by $6,105, which now counts toward the Weatherguard PRCA World Standings and a shot at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER. His best year was in 2012, when he ranked 24th in the world standings with $49,838. 

“Practice is always the key – when you get going, you have to find a spot to practice and stay sharp,” Hofer said. “If you do something every day, like flank and tie a calf, you can stay sharp and win the rodeos. I’ve been practicing a lot and trying not to get sore, and make it two to three runs a day. And if you do something wrong, do it better the next day and not get sore instead of just pushing everything all the time.”

Past success at the Canadian Finals Rodeo has Hofer ready for the WNFR, now it’s just a matter of hitting as many rodeos as possible on his road to Las Vegas. 

“I just need to do the same thing – stay on my good horse at these rodeos and if a good calf comes, you should place,” Hofer said, referring to his 16-year-old seven-time Canadian Finals Rodeo veteran, Easy. “He’s real solid everywhere and he feels good this year too.” 

Hofer is on his way to Denver with hopes of qualifying for The American as well as competing in San Antonio and San Angelo, Texas.

“I go there every year and will continue like I was planning on doing anyway – hit all the big pro rodeos,” Hofer said. 

Other winners at the $208,459 rodeo were all-around cowboy Gerald Eash ($6,687 in saddle bronc and bull riding), bareback rider Jessy Davis (247 points on three head), steer wrestler Ty Erickson (11.7 seconds on three head), team ropers Cody Tew/Chase Tryan (18.4 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Chase Brooks (227 points on three head), tie-down roper Logan Hofer (28.3 seconds on three head), barrel racer Carmel Wright (39.84 seconds on three runs), and bull rider Luke Gee (90 points on one head). 

For more coverage of the RAM Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo, check out the Feb. 3 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

Gee makes final ride count at MPRF

Scott Mansch smansch@greatfallstribune.com7:55 p.m. MT Jan. 15, 2017

The bulls bested the cowboys all weekend.

Except for the last ride.

Stanford star Luke Gee made an eight-second trip and a lifetime memory Sunday afternoon as the 38th annual Montana Pro Rodeo Finals concluded at Pacific Steel and Recycyling Four Seasons Arena.

Gee, on the final ride of the rodeo and needing a qualified score to earn a year-end circuit championship, came up clutch with a 90-point score aboard New West Rodeo’s “Long Haired Outlaw” to send another fine crowd of about 4,000 at Four Seasons into a frenzy and put an exclamation mark on the rich rodeo.

There were only two qualified rides on Friday in the bull riding, and the cowboys went 0-for-12 on Saturday. In Sunday’s finale 11 bull riders were bucked off.

“We brought some buckers this year,” Gee said with a grin. “Guys didn’t ride as good as they coulda and we sure didn’t ride as many as we shoulda.”

It turned out he only needed one. His game plan?

“Just keep hustling and don’t let go until my head hits the ground,” he said.

Gee and the crowd waited patiently for the last ride, as his bull just wouldn’t cooperate in the chute.

“He kept laying down in there,” Gee said. “He was a good bull (New West’s ‘Can’t Get Right’) and I wanted to have him, but I couldn’t get out on him and after three tries I had to take the re-ride. It was a real good bull and I was glad to have him.

“And it worked out.”

As the lanky Gee stayed up top the spinning, brown 2,000-pound bull, the crowd noise increased each second. The former Stanford star athlete was dazed on the dismount but was all smiles moments later while accepting hugs, high-fives and handshakes from competitors and fans alike.

INDEED, THERE was much to celebrate Sunday as the $150,000 MPRF concluded and year-end circuit championships were decided. Year-end champs and MPRF average winners qualify for the Ram National Finals down the road in Kissimmee, Fla.

Carmel Wright of Roy has been there before. In fact two years ago the New Zealand native who moved to Montana in 2001 won a national championship in Kissimmee. She’s headed back south after clinching the MPRF average title on Sunday in a highly competitive event that included many champions.

Wright was without her familiar championship horse “Sweetheart Special,” so backup “Luna” was called to fill in.

“My young horse stepped up and took her place pretty admirably,” said Wright after winning Sunday’s go-round and clinching the average title.

Luna is a six-year-old sorrel mare.

“She’s amazing,” said Wright. “We’re pretty excited to hit the road with her.”

And that’s exactly what Wright plans to do. The veteran barrel racer has never qualified for the National Finals Rodeo – her best finish was 18th a few years ago – but because for the first time MPRF and subsequent Ram National Finals earnings count in the world standings, she has a head start on the 2017 pro rodeo campaign.

“That’s a huge opportunity,” Wright said.

AMONG THOSE who also emerged with year-end circuit championships were several stars who last month competed at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, including Lisa Lockhart (barrel racing), Dustin Bird (all-around), Ty Erickson (steer wrestling) and Jessy Davis (bareback).

Also earning year-end circuit titles were Tyrell Smith (saddle bronc), Logan Hofer (tie-down roping), Cody Tew (team roping header) and Chase Tryan (team roping heeler).

Davis, the Power man whose wife, Cassidy, and 1-year-old twin daughters, were in the audience on Sunday, needed a solid ride to fend off a challenge from Justin Miller of Billings. Davis, the seven-time NFR veteran, turned in a spectacular 86.5-point effort aboard Sankey Rodeo’s “Black Tie” to earn his third year-end circuit championship.

“The competition was tough and there was a lot of pressure,” Davis said. “I stayed on top and kept things rolling and it worked out great.”

Smith, who missed out on qualifying for last year’s NFR by just a few hundred bucks in saddle bronc, won Sunday’s go-round with an 80-point marking. Among those watching was Jesse Kruse, the Great Falls world champion who sat out all of last year with injuries but plans to continue his great career this winter after cracking out with a top-eight finish last week in Odessa, Texas.

“It was the first PRCA rodeo after almost a year off, so to get a check feels pretty dang good,” Kruse said. “It’s going to be a good year.”

Kruse said he’s proud of Smith, who earned his first year-end circuit championship.

“Tyrell’s riding good. He’s going to have a good year. I know he will,” said Kruse.

Smith, who lives now in Sand Coulee and like Kruse rides a saddle crafted by longtime Great Falls saddlemaker Allan Pursley, had a message for his fans.

“Just send me all the prayers you can and we’ll see in Vegas in December, hopefully,” he said.

TY ERICKSON FLASHED his amazing talent in the steer wrestling, winning the go-round for the second performance in a row thanks to a swift 3.8-second run. It actually tied for first place with Newt Novich, the 20-year-old Twin Bridges phenom, but Erickson claimed both year-end and MPRF average titles.

“I had both of bulldogging and hazer horse and I couldn’t have asked them to work any better,” Erickson said. “We drew three good steers up here, we used them and made three good runs.”

Erickson has made three NFR appearances and hopes to make another bid for a world championship in 2017. He said the January trips to Great Falls never get old.

“This is one of my favorite rodeos, man,” said Erickson. “Because we’re in Montana. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And when you’re competing in front of your friends and family it makes it pretty special.”

Chase Tryan and Cody Tew know all about that.

Tryan, a Helena heeler, is headed to the Ram National Finals for the first time.

“It’s awesome,” said Tryan, whose cousins Travis and Brady Tryan also performed well in the team roping over the weekend. “To get there with my best friend is pretty sweet.”

Tew grew up in Belgrade and Harlowton and lives now in Texas. His brother, Casey Tew, teamed with Kory Mytty to win Friday’s go-round. Tryan’s cousins also earned some nice checks throughout the weekend.

Many observers thought the team roping field was stronger than ever before at the MPRF.

One thing is for sure: the rodeo is still going strong.

And thanks to a new three-year contract between the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit, led by president Jim Croff, and Cascade County, represented by Montana ExpoPark general manager Susan Shannon, the roping and riding will continue for Januarys to come.

FINAL RESULTS

 

Bareback Riding: 1. Jessy Davis, Power, 86.5 points on Sankey Rodeo’s Black Tie, $2325.91; 2. Troy Vaira, Richey, 84.5, $1744.43; 3. Chase Erickson, Helena, 84, $1162.95; 4. Justin Miller, Billings, 83, $581.47; 5. Blade Elliott, Centerville, 75; 6. Cavan Wrzesinski, Boulder, 74; 7. Tristan Hansen, Dillon, 71; 8. Skyler Erickson, Powell, WY, 56.5; No Scores - Luke Wozney, Powell, WY; Chase Redfield, Opheim; Tucker Zingg, Glendive; Jeffery Zdziarski, Weston, WY

Average: 1. Jessy Davis, 247/3, $3488.87; 2. Justin Miller, 246/32, $2616.65; 3. Chase Erickson, 238/3, $1744.43; 4. Troy Vaira, 237/3, $872.21

Year End – 1. Jessy Davis, $22,712.97; 2. Justin Miller, $19,8988.52

RNCFR Qualifiers: Jessy Davis and Justin Miller

Team Roping: 1. Travis Tryan, Billings/John Robertson, Polson, 4.2, $2325.92 each; 2. Cody Tew, Belgrade/Chase Tryan, Helena, 4.3, $1744.44 each; 3/4. Shawn Bird, Cut Bank/Casey Cummins, Lodge Grass, and Tanner Patzke, Klamath Falls, OR/Side Sporer, Cody, WY, 4.5, $872.22 each; 5. Delon Parker, Worder/Ryan Zurcher, Powell, WY, 4.7; 6. Brady Williams, Hammond/Dylan Johnson, Billings, 4.8; 7 Miles Kobold, Shepherd/Josh Hodge, Volborg, 5.1; No Times – Max Kuttler, American Falls, ID/Ike Folsom, Dillon; Dustin Bird, Cut Bank/Justin Viles, Cody, WY; Casey Tew, Belgrade/Kory Mytty, Lolo; Shawn Bessette, Great Falls/Kasper Roy, Mossleigh, AB; and Brady Tryan, Huntley/Matt Robertson, Augusta.

Average: 1. Cody Tew & Chase Tryan, 18.4/3, $3488.87; 2. Delon Parker & Ryan Zurcher, 20.3/3, $2616.65; 3. Travis Tryan & John Robertson, 8.9/2, $1744.43; 4. Tanner Patzke & Sid Sporer, 9.1/2, $872.21

Year End – Header: 1. Cody Tew, $19,189.50; 2. Dustin Bird, $19,185.08

Year End – Heeler: 1. Sid Sporer, $19,021.75; 2. Ryan Zurcher, $15,084.35

RNCFR – Headers – 1. Cody Tew & Dustin Bird

RNCFR – Heelers - 1. Sid Sporer & Chase Tryan

High School Challenge

 

Bareback Riding – 1. Shawn Perkins, Roberts 75 points; No Score – Sebastian Hotalen

Saddle Bronc Riding – 1. Tate Harmon, Powderville, 67 points; 2. Caleb Meeks, Geraldine, 36; No Score – Houston Brown, Miles City and Tyrell Toren, Kalispell

Steer Wrestling: 1/2. Newt Novich, Twin Bridges and Ty Erickson, 3.8, $2035.17 each; 3. Bridger Chambers, Stevensville, 3.9, $1162.95; 4. Straws Milan, Cochrane, AB, 4.0, $581.47; 5. Kyle Callaway, Blue Creek, 4.3; 6. Hank Hollenbeck, Molt, 4.4; 7. Reef Mills, Augusta, 4.8; 8. Mike Gollaher, Cascade, 5.1; 9. Josh Boka, Dillon, 6.1; 10. Tony Larsen, Sheridan, WY, 18.0; No Times – Denver Roy, Dalemead, AB; Bill Boyce, Lewistown. 

Average: 1. Ty Erickson, 11.7/3, $3488.87; 2. Newt Novich, 11.8/3, $2616.65; 3. Kyle Callaway, 13.2/3, $1744.43; 4. Mike Gollaher, 13.7/3, $872.21

Year End – 1. Ty Erickson $27,955.18; 2. Newt Novich $15,288.48

RNCFR: Ty Erickson and Newt Novich

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1. Tyrell Smith, Sand Coulee, 80 points on J-J Rodeo’s Bullet Proof, $2325.91; 2. JC DeSaveur, Roberts, 79, $1744.43; 3. Gerald Eash, Trego, 78, $1162.95; 4. Kendall Green, Cohagen, 77.5, $581.47; 5. Alan Gobert, Browning, 75; 6. Chase Brooks, Deer Lodge, 66; 7. Cody Miller, Dillon, 61; No Score – Tanner Hollenback, Dillon; CJ Thoreson, Dillon; Wyatt Hurst, Brockway; Travis Nelson, Philip, SD. 

Average: 1. Chase Brooks, 227/3, $3488.87; 2. Tyrell Smith, 162/2, $2616.65; 3. Kendall Green, 157.5/2, $1744.43; 4. Alan Gobert, 157/2, $872.21

Year End - 1. Tyrell Smith $35,493.50; 2. Chase Brooks $13,778.14

RNCFR: Tyrell Smith and Chase Brooks

Tie Down Roping: 1. Austin Barstow, Springview, NE, 8.1, $2325.91; 2. Logan Hofer, Magrath, AB, 8.6, $1744.43; 3/4. J.C. Crowley, Poplar and George Marcenko, Havre, 8.7, $872.21 each; 5. Jake Hamilton, Casper, WY, 9.6; 6. Bryant Mikkelson, Buffalo, 11.2; 7. Hank Hollenbeck, Molt, 12.7; 8. Sam Levine, Wolf Creek, 14.4; 9. Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, 15.4; No Times – Rawlee Yamauchi, Grace, ID; Chad Johnson, Cut Bank; and Bode Scott, Custer.

Average: 1. Logan Hofer 28.3/3, $3488.87; 2. Jake Hamilton 29.9/3, $2616.65; 3. Hank Hollenbeck 31.3/3, $1744.43; 4. Dustin Bird 37.6/3, $872.21

Year End – 1. Logan Hofer $11,820.70; 2. Jake Hamilton $11,162.72

RNCFR: Logan Hofer and Jake Hamilton

Barrel Racing: 1. Carmel Wright, Roy, 13.24, $2325.91; 2. Becky Fuson, Conrad, 13.35, $1744.43; 3. Milee Dailey, Pray, 13.40, $1162.95; 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, 13.47, $581.47; 5. Mary Walker, Ennis, TX; 6. Ashley Sudan, Whitefish, 13.63; 7. Danna Jo Whitford, Browning, 13.65; 8. Danielle Wright, Roy, 13.67; 9. Heather Knerr, Lewistown, 18.18; 10. Lindsay Kruse, Great Falls, 18.32; 11. Emily Kallenberger, Havre, 18.62; 12. Lisa Anderson, Bozeman, 18.69

Average: 1. Carmel Wright 39.84/3, $3488.87; 2. Lisa Lockhart 40.17/3, $2616.65; 3. Ashley Sudan, 40.49/3, $1744.43; 4. Milee Dailey, 40.95/3, $872.21

Year End – 1. Lisa Lockhart $23,444.11; 2. Carmel Wright $17,624.11

RNCFR: Lisa Lockhart and Carmel Wright

Bull Riding: 1. Luke Gee, Stanford, 90 points on New West Rodeo’s Can’t Get Right, , $5814.76; No Other Qualified Rides

Average: 1. Luke Gee 90/1, $3,779.61; 2. Gerald Eash 72/1, $2907.39; 3. Hawk Whitt 71/1, $2035.17

Year End – 1. Luke Gee $15,586.84; 2. Parker Breding $10,375.79

RNCFR: Luke Gee and Parker Breding

Year-End All-Around: 1. Dustin Bird $24,418.22; 2. Hank Hollenbeck $21,214.03

Circuit Finals All-Around: 1. Gerald Eash $6,686.98; 2. Hank Hollenbeck $4,070.33; 3. Dustin Bird $2,616.64