Round 2: Horrific Wreck – ’21 WNFR

Round 2 Results & Round 3 Draw

Justin Sports Medicine team working on J.B. Mauney in Round 2. PRCA photo by Clay Guardipee.

Something didn’t seem right when I was watching Round 1 last night. Then it hit me — none of the bronc riders are from South Dakota.

It has happened before, but it’s highly unusual because South Dakota is a hotbed for broncs and bronc riding. I looked back on the records, and the PRCA has named a World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider for 96 years, and 23 of those years, the Champ came from South Dakota. No other state can compare.

In fact, Canada is next at 15 years. That led to more research, and I was astounded to find that the only two South Dakota NFR contestants in the Thomas & Mack this year are barrel racers, Jessica Routier and Lisa Lockhart. It reminded me that World Champion Barrel Racer Lindsay Sears was Canada’s only NFR competitor not long ago. It comes and goes in cycles, so enjoy the fact we’ve got nine contestants and lots of four-legged stars to cheer on nightly.

Jess Pope Big Stone Rodeo Fired Up 89.5-pts. PRCA photo by Rod Connor.

Jess Pope from Waverly, Kansas is really on a roll — he’s won both rounds in the Bareback Riding so far, and he darn well should have. Tonight he was 89.5 on Bruce Sundstrom’s 48 Fired Up; a horse bought a year ago from Denny and Kim Robbie of Altario, Alta. Bruce’s Big Stone outfit also mounted Orin Larsen with 313 Mayhem, who got Orin tipped forward about four seconds out. The Manitoba riggin’ rider recovered and finished the ride, but his 84 points didn’t win a cheque. The Calgary Stampede had three barebacks out tonight. Garrett Shadbolt won second with a fine 88-point ride on Y-92 Yippee Kibitz. Tanner Aus split sixth on Z-16 Zig Zag Cherry with 84.5, and Caleb Bennett barely survived a 69 point journey on W-38 Welcome Delivery. Taylor Brassard’s 84.5 split sixth on 001 Wilson Sanchez, a horse Darcy Hollinsworth sold to Hi Lo Rodeo several years ago. Richie Champion was 81.5 on Bridwell’s 374 Mary, and R.C. Landingham was 77 points on Legend Rodeo’s 232 Uptown Flash.

Idaho Steer Wrestler Dirk Tavenner split the first round and won the second round with a speedy 3.4. Canadian bulldoggers Curtis Cassidy and Scott Guenthner both recorded 3.8-second runs, but it was a tough round, and they split sixth. Hey, it’s a cheque; they broke the ice on borrowed horses. It sounds like 2X World Champion Steer Wrestling Horse Tyson is in recovery mode and could return to action for Round Four.

The Team Roping Go-Round buckles were won by a make-up team when their usual partners didn’t qualify for the NFR. Derrick Begay and Brady Minor stopped the clock in 3.9 seconds for the first-place cheque. Rhen Richards and 2016 World Champion Jeremy Buhler struggled to a 7.3 + 10.

Brody Cress earning 87.5-pts on C5 Rodeo’s Kitty Whistle. PRCA photo by Connor.

Wyoming bronc rider Brody Cress topped the field with 87.5 points on C5’s 333 Kitty Whistle. 2X World Champion Zeke Thurston split fourth and fifth with 84.5 points on Championship Pro Rodeo’s 445 Damaged Goods, and Kolby Wanchuk collected his first-ever NFR cheque when he marked 83 points for sixth on Bar T’s P3Z Lady Vain. Dawson Hay had a reride and took C5’s 00 Double D to 80 points to finish in the crying hole again. Layton Green was 75.5 on Legend’s 23 Artificial Colours. Ben Anderson was undoubtedly placing for seven seconds but couldn’t get the whistle on Calgary’s B-92 Baby Kibitz. Of note: two horses that 20-time NFR Bronc Rider Rod Hay has sold south were out tonight, and Ryder Wright split fourth and fifth with 84.5 on 926 Archie while 875 Wall Street bedded down Tegan Smith.

Defending Champion Shad Mayfield won the Tie-Down Roping tonight with a 7.2-second run. Shane Hanchey finished out of the money with an 8.9 on Logan Bird’s Canadian Tie-Down Horse of the Year Peso.

Last year Dona Kay Rule tested positive for COVID and couldn’t compete at the NFR in Texas. This year she won the second round with a blazing time of 13.56.

Parker Breding Outlaw Buckers Rodeo Lose Your Bones 90-pts. PRCA photo by Rod Connor.

Just four bull riders got a whistle, so their cheques were a little bigger. The biggest cheque went to Parker Breding for his 90 point effort on Outlaw Buckers athletic 604 Lose Your Bones. Long-time PBR star J.B. Mauney was in a horrific wreck; I’ll be surprised if he’s competing tomorrow.

Later at the Buckle Presentation in the South Point. On stage for 48 Fired Up’s victory, Bruce Sundstrom mentioned that all three Rough Stock Go-Round buckles are going to Canada. Congratulations, guys.

Happy to be in Vegas! PRCA crowd shot by Clay Guardipee.

Round 3 Draw

In the Bareback Riding. The guy with the best moustache at the NFR, Manitoba’s Orin Larsen, has 535 Southern Star from Frontier Rodeo. Cole Reiner has Legends’ 156 Illegal Smile, and Zach Hibler will try Duane Kesler’s 96 Nitelife.

Round Three features a bunch of buck-off specialists in the Saddle Bronc Riding. In rodeo slang, it’s called ‘the Eliminator Pen’; the younger generation dubs it ‘the E-pen’. Ben Andersen has 18 Snatchy from Championship Pro Rodeo. Layton Green has Dakota Rodeo’s hard-to-ride 208 Cash Deal. Two-time World Champ Zeke Thurston has 407 Shady Lounge from the J Bar J outfit. They tangled at Sentinal Butte this summer and scored 85 points. Kolby Wanchuk drew 303 Lil Sugar from Frontier Rodeo, and Dawson Hay will test Frontier’s 102 Miss Ellie. Tegan Smith has Calgary’s Y-38 Yesterday’s Delivery, and Sage Newman will measure his rein on Wayne Vold’s 53 One More Reason.

Ward Macza’s double rank bull 15 OLS Tubs Sunny will put the test on Trey Benton lll.

There will be good watching on December 4th at 7:45 pm, Maple Creek Standard Time. That’s quarter to seven in Alberta.

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