Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
We will see a star-studded field in the rough stock events today with Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifiers, world champions and former Cheyenne Frontier Days champs.
The bareback riding world standings leader, Caleb Bennett will be trying to win his first Cheyenne buckle. Caleb has been
competing here for 10 years and is having the best season of his career. He started off the year with a big win at the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and hasn’t slowed down one bit since that title last February.
Caleb plays double duty at most rodeos. He is the bareback riding event director for the PRCA, so he listens to suggestions and concerns from fellow competitors, stock contractors and interacts with judges and committees. He evaluates the horses and along with his fellow riders, selects the animals to be used in his event at the NFR. Caleb is traveling with Richmond Champion, the 2015
Contestants often share notes about horses they have competed on with their fellow riders. Jake Brown doesn’t need information from anyone about Storm Cloud, the Stace Smith Pro Rodeo horse that he is riding today. Jake has been matched up with Storm Cloud on two other occasions. The first time was last year at Goliad, Texas, where he was 87 points and won the rodeo. The next matchup came in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and didn’t go like the first one. The result was a 76.5-point effort that was out of the money. Jake is hoping that Storm Cloud has her day today and they are at the top of the leaderboard just like they were at Goliad.
Bull rider Garrett Smith is hungry for wins and looking to climb up in the world standings. Garrett is 36 th in the world standings and after two consecutive NFR qualifications, he needs a big win to return to Las Vegas in December. He injured his knee there last year in the third round and was able to make it through the next seven with help from the Justin Sports Medicine Team. He had surgery and missed the big winter rodeos. Garrett shared a round win here in 2016 and would like nothing more than to show off his horsemanship skills by making a victory lap as the champion.
Wyoming’s own Clayton Savage is also on the roster today. Clayton had some luck over Cowboy Christmas in his home state at the Cody Stampede. He is hoping to add to that and increase his place in the world standings and in the Mountain States Circuit. He is 33 rd in the world and leads the circuit. If he would win a championship here, he would be the first Wyoming bull rider to win the championship here in years.
Half of the Wright clan will be here today. Brothers Jake and Alex and their brother-in-law CoBurn Bradshaw will each be trying to win their first CFD title. Their rig is missing Jake’s twin brother Jesse who broke his collarbone last month. Their nephew Stetson Wright will be in the rookie bronc riding today. He competed at the National High School Rodeo finals yesterday and is 10 the overall. He may be making a flying trip back to Rock Springs to compete at their final round tonight. Also, in today’s saddle bronc field is the 2016 world champion Zeke Thurston who is currently 5 th in the world. Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel
The Duvall family is legendary among steer wrestling fans and CFD has had one of the best as a champion, Roy Duvall, who won it in 1967. Roy’s great nephew Riley Duvall will be trying to add his name to the champions roster today. Riley’s father, Sam Duvall, has hazed many steers here along with being a competitor himself. He traveled with Ote Berry, two-time CFD champion and 2017 CFD Hall of Fame inductee. Today, Ote’s son, Denver Berry, will be competing alongside Riley. Cody Moore has never qualified for the Wrangler National Finals, but he has done something that hundreds of other steer
wrestlers dream of – winning Cheyenne Frontier Days. Cody won the title here in 2010. He was from Artesia, N.M., then and while he has had success in the arena, he has made his family a priority. He will be competing against his brother-in-law today, Jace Melvin. The 2014 CFD all-around champion, Trell Etbauer will make the long ride from the timed-event end of the arena twice today. He is competing in the steer wrestling and tie-down roping and in between his competition, he will be watching for his younger
brother, Shade Etbauer in the saddle bronc riding.
In 2013, Tuf Cooper won the all-around title here competing in the team roping and tie-down roping. Tuf isn’t roping here today, but the man that helped him win the title is. Trey Johnson did the heeling then and will do that again today. He is roping with Ty Bach, son of the legendary Allen Bach. Trey has a ministry that has taken him to places he never dreamt of. Along with roping and preaching, he has published two books and released CD’s that inspire, motivate and encourage people. He also teaches faith-based roping schools. The women’s barrel racing progressive round starts today. Most of them have time to make up, but with four NFR qualifiers in the field and expected good weather, times should be fast. Tillar Murray rode here last year with a broken back. She got healed up and qualified for her first NFR last December. Now, she is focusing on her education and limiting her rodeo schedule. Watch for Tillar, along with Sabrina Ketcham, Benette Little and Sabrina Ketcham.
The barrel racers are in their second round of competition while all of the other competitors are making their first appearance in the
Frontier Days Arena.