Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Our past two bareback riding champions will be competing against each other today. Tim O’Connell won here in 2017 and went on to win his second world championship. He is the reigning world champion, but that title came with a price. In the 10th and final round last December, he had to make a ride. He did just that, but when he came off, he ended up underneath the horse with his hand still in the rigging. A torn rotator cuff and he was looking at a vacation. He started back mid-June and is now 23rd in the world standings.
A win here could make the difference in O’Connell’s sixth trip to Las Vegas to compete for another gold buckle. That is the position that Will Lowe found himself in a year ago. Then he won Cheyenne for the third time and went on to qualify for the NFR for the 15th time. Lowe is 33rd in the world standings and if he wins Cheyenne again, he will need to make a decision about the remainder of the season.
Brody Cress will be here defending his past two CFD championships in saddle bronc riding. Cress who grew up here used his past two wins at Frontier Park to qualify for his first two NFRs. Just days after winning here last year, he decided to jump off of a horse after the ride and broke his ankle. He was high enough in the standings to qualify for the NFR, so he had surgery and took the rest of the season off. He got on his first bucking horse in Las Vegas. He would have liked to have more time, but that wasn’t an option and getting back to his old riding form has been a challenge. He is 29th in the world and another win here could make a huge difference in his 2019 season.
Also watch for Wyoming’s own smiling Chet Johnson who has yet to get a title here. Johnson is a native of the Cowboy State and nothing would make him happier than winning at the “Daddy.”
Roscoe Jarboe used a win here in 2016 to qualify for his first of three NFRs. He is 25th in the standings and all he has between him and a trip to Las Vegas is a few eight-second rides. He is joined by other NFR qualifiers Chase Dougherty, Elliot Jacoby and Boudreaux Campbell. Also, Ruger Piva, last year’s champion will be here to defend his title.
If Dougherty rides, it might be due to his balance. While in college at Montana State University, he could be seen riding a unicycle around campus because he thought it helped improve his balance and bull riding skills.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down and Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing:
Yesterday, we watched Wyatt Lindsay stop the clock in 5.4 seconds in the steer wrestling and he will be looking for another fast time today. Lindsay was just three-tenths of a second off of the 5.1-second arena record. Lindsay is a former student at New Mexico State University where he qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo twice. He tried all of the events growing up but loves steer wrestling because of the speed involved.
That speed will come into play today as he makes his second run at this year’s rodeo. Cattle typically run faster the second time through and often get farther down the pen before they are caught. Cheyenne’s 30-foot head start makes this event especially challenging.
Marcos Costa has been coming to Cheyenne Frontier Days nearly every year since he made the trip to the U.S. from Brazil. Costa joined the PRCA in 2014 and could barely speak any English. He taught himself the language, took every opportunity to learn about tie-down roping from anyone he could and became the first man from Brazil to earn an individual world championship in 2017. He watched his friend Junior Nogueira win the all-around championship in 2017 for their native country. Nogueira was the reserve world champion in team roping that year and also won enough money in the tie-down roping to win the gold all-around cowboy buckle.
Costa qualified for the finals here in 2014 and finished fifth. He placed fourth yesterday and will need to add to that today to have any chance at being at the Championship Finals on Sunday.
Hannah Lee, a native of Nesbit, Mississippi, who won high school state championships in Tennessee, has likely punched her ticket to the finals in breakaway roping. She won yesterday’s round and earned more than $2,600 for her efforts. Even if she fails place in today’s round, odds are good she’ll be one of the top four in this set. Louisiana’s Chloe Frey is in a similar position after winning second yesterday and earning more than $2,000.
A pair of WNFR team ropers – Kelsey Parchman of Tennessee and Matt Kasner of Nebraska – are in the driver’s seat in today’s set of team roping after winning yesterday’s round. They have a great chance to return on Sunday and finishing in the money today would cement their place in the finals. Reigning CFD champions Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison need a fast run today to win enough to advance, after clocking 20.8 yesterday. They are currently ranked 8th in the heading and heeling world standings, respectively.
Another former CFD champion, heeler Cesar de la Cruz and his partner Lane Ivy will be looking for a quick time today after failing to connect for a qualified run yesterday. He won the championship here in 2010.