By Susan Kanode
A new crop of cowboys will be sowing their oats in the CFD Arena today! There are a lot of contestants that are making their way here from Salinas including leader for the Rookie of the Year in the bareback riding Clayton Biglow. Biglow and his traveling partner, Wyatt Denny, had success in Wyoming at the College Finals Rodeo in June. Denny earned the title in the bareback riding and Biglow finished second.
They are coming here today with Biglow again adding to his checking account after a second place finish at California Rodeo Salinas yesterday. Last week, Biglow was 11th in the world standings and could very well be headed to his first NFR. Other bareback riders that are making the trip from Salinas to compete in Cheyenne today are Casey Colletti and Kody Lamb who was scheduled to ride his second horse here on Sunday. Colletti, along with Richmond Champion will be trying to earn second CFD championships.
Three of our saddle bronc riders left here after Saturday’s performance to compete in Salinas. Joe Lufkin, Ben Londo and Jesse Bail will ride their second round horses today. Londo, who is the rodeo coach at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, had the most success – finishing in second place.
Zeke Thurston has made history in his native land of Canada by winning the $100,000 bonus at the Calgary Stampede for the past two years. His father, Skeeter, earned the saddle bronc buckle here in 1983. Thurston is currently 10th in the world standings and looking for his second NFR qualification. The money he won in Canada doesn’t count in those standings, so any money he wins here is extremely important for his quest to qualify for his second NFR.
Taos Muncy won the saddle bronc riding here in 2007 and went on to win his first of two world titles. He is 7th in the world standings and would love to see that history repeat itself. He, his wife Marisa and daughter Marley, just welcomed a baby boy, Milo, to the family last May.
Today’s bull riding will feature livestock from Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo and our stock contractor Stace Smith as well as Hi Lo Pro Rodeo from Arkansas. The bull riding field is filled with talented cowboys so expect to see qualified rides. Lon Danley, Ty Wallace, Rocky McDonald and Lon Danley are all busy with ranching chores when they aren’t at a rodeo.
Wyoming’s Bobby Welch is on today’s roster as well. Welch has made it a priority to help young kids who want to rodeo. He has bulls of all levels to help them get started and improve their skills. Welch has come close to winning the title here and would like nothing more than to keep the CFD championship in his home state. He is 21st in the world and a win here would also help him get to his eighth NFR, which would be his first since 2011.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing:
It is a very happy Cody Kroul that will be competing in steer wrestling here today. He won the Salinas Rodeo yesterday and will be hoping that luck stays with him as he runs his first steer at “the Daddy of ‘em All.” K.C. Jones, the 2014 CFD steer wrestling champion is also on the roster. He was a spectator here yesterday watching his wife Gayle compete in barrel racing.
There should be new leaders in the first round of team roping after today. There will be 10 teams during the performance and seven of those are ranked in the top 50. Former college champions Kolton Schmidt and Shay Carroll are a new duo this year. Schmidt was the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association champion header in 2015 and Carroll earned the heeling in 2012. They are ranked 4th and 7th respectively in the PRCA and are likely headed to Las Vegas this December to compete for world titles. This would be Schmidt’s first qualification and Carroll’s second.
Another young team to watch will be Jake Orman and Tyler Domingue. They qualified for April’s RAM National Circuit Finals and left Kissimmee, Fla., with the championship each earning $26,601. That was the biggest win of their careers and should be the first of many. Both are talented horseman that are driven and dedicated.
Reigning world champion tie-down roper Caleb Smidt is working hard to get back to Las Vegas and defend his title. He is seventh in the standings coming into Cheyenne. Watch for Marcos Costa, the first Brazilian to qualify for the NFR in tie-down roping to make a move here. He’s been here twice before and made it to the finals both times.
Chase Williams took the lead in the first round here before taking off for Salinas where he finished third. He will be roping his second calf here today and could be the new overall leader.
The barrel racing field is loaded with talent and boasts four former CFD champions. Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi won here in 2007. Kim Schulze was the champion in 2011 and the next year saw Mary Walker win. Last year’s champion Lisa Lockhart is also on the roster. Walker has the best opportunity after finishing third in the first round with a 17.70 and earning $3,845 here already.