Rodeo Contestents We’ll Highlight Today on Rodeo On The Radio
Here are just some of the talented cowboys Wayne Spencer and Dave Chaffin will be highlighting today during Rodeo on The Radio getting underway on AM 650 KGAB and kgab.com getting underway at 12 noon. Listen in! Our special thanks for the information provided by Rachel Girt and the great volunteers on the Public Relations Committee for all their hard work to provide us with the information we need each day to bring you the best rodeo broadcast possible.
Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Contestants will be thinking about first round checks today as the rodeo is winding down. The first round in all of the events should be completed today. The biggest and most famous group of brothers to ever compete in rodeo will be here today, Cody, Jake, Jesse and Alex Wright who are all saddle bronc riders. Missing at this year’s rodeo is the youngest, Spencer who recently won the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.
Cody Wright is leading the world standings and has earned two world titles. Jake and Jesse are twins with Jesse being the most successful so far as the reigning world champion. All three competed against each other at last year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Alex has yet to make an appearance at the NFR. If one of these men wins the title here, it would be the first for any of the Wright brothers.
The 2006 world champion saddle bronc rider Chad Ferley is on a roll this summer. He won the Reno Rodeo and the Greeley (Colo.) Independence Stampede. He is currently 8th in the world standings.
Jesse Bail won the saddle bronc riding here in 2011, That was the last year that the South Dakota cowboy qualified for the NFR. Bail is 24th in the world standings and has an outside chance of moving into the top 15 to be back in Las Vegas in December. Another title here would certainly help.
Winn Ratliff won a saddle as the all-around champion at the College National Finals Rodeo that was donated by Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2011. Now he’s hoping to win one at the rodeo. Ratliff competed in bull riding and bareback riding to earn the college title. He is specializing in bareback riding now and qualified for his first NFR last year.
Rodeo sees their athlete’s progress through high school and college just like other sports. Luke Creasy, Taylor Price and Richmond (Richie) Champion are three great examples of that. Creasy graduated from Texas Tech with an English degree and qualified for the CNFR four consecutive years. He has struggled with injuries since then but is healthy and hungry.
Price and Champion were both at this year’s CNFR and are now spending their summer traveling to Pro Rodeo’s together. Price has one year left at Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas) before he will graduate. Champion is attending Tarleton State University.
We could have an all-around title from the rough stock end of the arena this year with former Cheyenne Frontier Days and world bull riding champion Shane Proctor. Proctor won both of those titles in 2011. He will make his first appearance in both bull riding and saddle bronc riding today. He is 12th in the world in bull riding and 44th in saddle bronc riding.
Two more of the top five bull riders in the world standings will be here as well. Josh Koschel who lives just down the road at Nunn, Colo., is in fourth place and Tyler Smith from Fruita, Colo., is in third. Koschel is headed for his first NFR while Smith is going to his second.
Smith was there in 2010 and finished third in the world. He struggled with injuries the past two years. Last year at Salinas, in a bull riding wreck, he had his spur go clear through his leg. He is healthy now and has a goal of finishing the season in the number one spot.
The most exciting ride of the day could very well be between Kody Lostroh and Ice T. Ice T is a son of the legendary Mr. T, the 1986 bull of the year. Ice T has an 80% buck off percentage, but will have to work to get Lostroh off of his back. Lostroh is the 2009 Professional Bull Riders world champion. He has been using his time off of the Built Ford Tough Series to go to rodeos. Lostroh is coming off of a win at Greeley and is currently 42nd in the world standings.
Joe Frost who has been to the CNFR two times will be here today as well. He will be competing in the same arena that his late great cousin Lane Frost was killed in.
In the big man’s event, Louisiana’s Casey Martin will be competing at his favorite rodeo, looking to pad his $13,000 lead in the world standings. The 32-year-old father of five and part-time carpenter is headed to his third straight NFR, where he was the runner-up average champion last year. Meanwhile, Dru Melvin is trying to qualify for his first NFR in seven years, despite tragically losing his good horse Moonshine in a freak steer wrestling accident in January. Sean Mulligan and Seth Brockman also love Cheyenne – they used championships here in 2000 and 2005, respectively, to jump-start their careers.
Some new bulldogging blood out today includes 20-year-old Shane Frey of Oklahoma, who is the son of three-time NFR bareback rider Shawn Frey. Plus, 21-year-old Riley Duvall – a two-time national high school champion – is the son of NFR steer wrestler Sam Duvall. Riley’s father and grandfather both hazed for Ote Berry as he won four gold buckles (and two Cheyenne buckles in 1983 and 1991).
Steer roping fans are in for a treat – Scott Snedecor is a two-time world champion who finished 18th last year after making the NSFR for 11 straight years. Incidentally, he’s also a former collegiate national champion in team roping (1995). Also out today are the two sons of Dan Fisher (who is currently leading the steer roping standings at Cheyenne). Vin, is a 9-time NFSR qualifier, while J. Tom made it once in 2010. And watch for a rare appearance by timed-event icon Brent Lewis, 43. He’d love to add a Cheyenne steer roping buckle to the one he claimed in 2002 in tie-down roping. Lewis virtually retired from rodeo at age 34 after roping calves at 11 NFRs.
In team roping, seven-time world champ Clay O’Brien Cooper is arguably every young heeler’s hero, and is often dubbed simply “The Champ.” His closest counterpart in fame, eight-time world champ Rich Skelton, is also out today. Skelton and Cooper are sandwiched together at a precarious 12th and 13th in the world standings. A 2013 NFR berth would be Cooper’s 27th and Skelton’s 20th.
And don’t miss the performance of Kaleb Driggers and Travis Graves. This team is part of a great rivalry that has developed since former world champion header Clay Tryan left his long-time partner Graves earlier this season to rope with defending world champion heeler Jade Corkill. Yesterday, Tryan and Corkill took the lead here at Cheyenne. But their ex-partners – Graves and Driggers – are leading the world standings and will try to better their former better halves as they rope today.
Lots of NFR qualifiers are in the mix in tie-down roping, including former world champ Monty Lewis (2004) and current top-four ropers Tyson Durfey and Justin Maass. Young guns out today are Marty Yates and Riley Pruitt. Yates, 19, is the son of the late Marty Yates who was a top young college calf roper when he died in a car accident (he’s also the nephew of JJ Hampton – a Texas Cowboy Hall-of-Fame calf roper who won 17 women’s world championships. And keep an eye on all-around sensation Caleb Smidt. At 24, he’sin his sophomore season as a pro and is ranked eighth in tie-down roping. Two years ago, Smidt earned nearly $30,000 on his permit, which is the eighth-highest total in history for a permit holder.
In barrel racing, set to run second in the order is Sydni Blanchard, who won the first round with a 17.4 (Blanchard had to learn how to walk again in 2011 after a horse wreck). And near the bottom of the pack you’ll find two-time world champion Brittany Pozzi, who was the hottest barrel racer in America over the weekend (winning the California Rodeo in Salinas and more than $11,000) She will likely be running the 5-year-old mare that she used in the first round here, instead of her world champion palomino, Duke. Finally, Kassidy Denison, 20, was the first-ever Navajo to win a national high school championship, and is a five-time Indian National Finals Rodeo world champion. She’s not out of the running to represent the Navajo nation at her first NFR in December.