Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
A new group of bareback, saddle bronc and bull riders are making an appearance at Frontier Park today. The saddle bronc riding is filled with Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and promises to be exciting. And while the field has a lot of rodeo wins on their respective resumes, none of them have won the buckle that goes to Cheyenne Frontier Days’ best.
Cort Scheer, a ranching cowboy from Elsmere, Nebraska, has come the closest. He won the rookie bronc riding in 2008. Since then he has earned checks here and qualified for the finals. However, he has yet to make the victory lap around the arena as the champion. Scheer is currently 20th in the world standings so any money he earns here will help him qualify for his seventh Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He needs to finish the regular season, Sept. 30, in the top 15 to make a trip to Las Vegas in December to compete at rodeo’s championship.
Chase Brooks essentially has his second NFR qualification sewn up. He is fourth in the world standings but is working hard to improve that. Brooks is a lover of art, especially expressed as a tattoo. He got his first one when he was 18. Six years later and he has added to that significantly. He will celebrate his 25th birthday one day after the final performance in Frontier Park.
Orin Larsen is having one of the best seasons of his career. He has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo the past four years and at second place in the world standings, he is headed back to Vegas in December. He competed at the Cody Stampede on July 2nd this year and set a new bareback riding arena record of 93 points. Two days later, that record was broken with a 93.5 point ride. Larsen had to settle for second place with a 93. He won the rodeo here in 2016 and finished third in the world. He is hoping this year he will finish at the top of the world standings.
No one wants to win Cheyenne Frontier Days any more than Seth Hardwick. He has watched his traveling partners earn the bareback riding and has always been happy for them. The Wyoming resident qualified for the NFR in 2015 and after a four year absence is looking to be back there in December. He is 24th in the world standings and has some ground to make up.
Yesterday, we had two qualified bull rides and that could certainly be the case again today. The bulls are coming from Mandan, N.D. stock contractor Chad Berger and to say that they are notorious might be an understatement. Trevor Kastner, currently 2nd in the world standings will attempt to ride Low Dog, a bull that has yet to be ridden. None of the bulls in today’s pen are known for being rider friendly, but an eight-second ride will mean a big score.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down and Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing:
Most of these events will be in their second round of competition today. The four contestants in everything but the barrel racing who earned money yesterday have an advantage today. If they add to their winning, they will be assured a spot in the Championship Finals one week from today.
The other contestants will have to get a first or second place check just to have a chance, so they will all be going for it. Cattle tend to run faster and get stronger so times today should be slower than yesterday. There is also more opportunity for broken barrier penalties as contestants take chances trying to earn their portion of the $1 million in prize money that is paid out this year.
In the breakaway roping, Hagen Brunson from Hutchison, Kansas, picked up the first-place win with a 4.89-second run yesterday. The college rodeo athlete made the trip here from Hutchison, Kansas and now will need to decide whether to go home for a few days and come back or just enjoy a little more of Cheyenne Frontier Days’ hospitality.
Travis Bard and Jhett Johnson (Casper, Wyo.) had a five-second penalty yesterday when Johnson only caught one of the steer’s hind legs. They finished out of the money and will need a clean run for Johnson to have any opportunity to win a CFD buckle. If they are among the top four after today, Johnson could be just the second team roper from Wyoming to win here. Bobby Harris from Gillette tied for the win the heeling here in 2010.
Fan favorite Lisa Lockhart is among today’s barrel racers. Lockhart is just coming off of a big win at the Calgary Stampede. In 2015, she had one of the biggest wins of her career at the Calgary Stampede, then came here and won the buckle at “the Daddy.” Just one week ago, she earned her second championship in Calgary. She is now hoping that history will repeat, and she gets her second Cheyenne title as well.
Wyoming will be cheering for Elaine Hollings who qualified for the rodeo in the barrel racing as well. Hollings, from Pavillion, Wyoming is among the oldest competitors at this year’s rodeo at 68. Hollings will need to be among the top four today to advance from the quarterfinals into the semifinals.
The new format of the rodeo gives every contestant an opportunity to win money today. Each event will see checks paid and each check will give the contestant a chance to advance to the next bracket in the tournament style format. So expect some fast-paced and exciting action!