Cheyenne’s Champions…Courtesy of Susan Kanode and Cowgirl Imaging
Champions crowned at 118th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
CHEYENNE, Wyo. —- July 27, 2014 —- Winning the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo isn’t easy. And repeating the feat consecutively is so difficult that no saddle bronc rider had done it since 1936.
Defending Frontier Days champion bronc rider Chad Ferley of Oelrichs, S.D., broke that streak on Sunday in front of 12,883 fans. He rode J Bar J’s bronc Sweatin’ Bullets to 83 points – enough to give him the overall title in Cheyenne by three points over Missouri’s Doug Aldridge.
“I had that horse at the NFR but I had a broken arm and had to ride him with the wrong hand,” said Ferley, 34. “It was good to get to ride him with the correct hand.”
Last year, Ferley’s $12,037 win in Cheyenne helped propel him to his second world championship. Sunday’s paycheck in Cheyenne of $12,026 has bumped him from 10th to fifth in the world standings.
“I’ve been coming here 15 years and started in the Rookie Bronc Riding at Cheyenne,” said Ferley. “To come that far and win this title back to back means the world to me.”
Rodeo’s biggest superstar, Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, repeated a Cheyenne championship, as well, but in a different event this year. Brazile, whose father annually traveled to compete at Cheyenne in the 1980s, won his third steer-roping contest here in 2013.
“It’s great to win rodeos, but it’s an honor to win this one,” said Brazile, who on Sunday won his first tie-down roping title in Cheyenne by two full seconds. His paycheck, $22,573, was the highest of the rodeo and pushed him into the top five in the tie-down roping world standings.
“There are a lot of variables here at the Daddy of ’em All and I’ve been close a lot of times,” he said. “It feels good when everything works good in the big arena. I’ve actually been at this rodeo since I was in diapers probably, and I used to have match ropings for quarters behind the stands, so Cheyenne has been paying my bills for a long time.”
The hottest bareback rider in professional rodeo marked another item off his bucket list, as well. Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, made a spectacular 91-point ride on Carr Pro Rodeo’s bronc Dirty Jacket to win the overall title at the Daddy of ‘em All and $12,122.
“This is incredible,” said 21-year-old Champion, who will qualify for his first NFR in December. “You can’t beat coming to Cheyenne; we only go to a couple of rodeos a year where we can stay in one place two or three days. Everyone wants to be the champ here.”
Second-generation champions in Cheyenne were abundant on Sunday, including all-around champion cowboy Trell Etbauer – the 29-year-old son of two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Robert Etbauer. Trell, a former national collegiate champion, placed fifth overall in steer wrestling in Cheyenne and also placed in a round of tie-down roping to earn $12,053 and the coveted title.
“This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” said Etbauer, who immediately strapped the new trophy buckle on his belt. “There’s no other rodeo where you can run cattle like this; this is my favorite place to bulldog. I was second one year in the Rookie Bronc Riding and then got a little too big to do that.”
Etbauer has never qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but is a four-time Linderman Award winner for his skills in both roughstock and timed events.
Two other sons of former world champions paired up together for one of the biggest wins of their lives in Cheyenne. Childhood friends Brandon Beers of Powell Butte, Ore., and Jim Ross Cooper of Monument, N.M., caught their last steer in 9.7 seconds to win the championship in Cheyenne for the first time.
“We’ve been around each other whole lives, so this is a great feeling,” said Beers, who has traveled to Cheyenne Frontier Days annually since the age of 1 or 2.
The win boosted Beers, the son of 1984 world champion team roper Mike Beers and Cooper – the son of 1981 world all-around champion Jimmie Cooper – earned $17,302 and moved from 15th to sixth in the world standings.
“We have very few opportunities to win this much money at one rodeo,” said Cooper, who recalls being pushed around in a stroller near Cheyenne’s famed arena. “We had to fight back the tears a little.”
Steer roper Jarrett Blessing of Paradise, Texas is also a first-time champion in Cheyenne, having tied his final steer in 19.6 seconds to win the overall event with a time of 58.9 seconds on three steers.
“This rodeo is so old-school,” said Blessing, a teacher in a community west of Fort Worth. “Big, fresh cattle are kind of my deal. I like tying down big cattle. I’ve placed a lot here but this is by far the best I’ve ever done.”
Blessing was ranked 30th last week in the world standings, but moved all the way to ninth by collecting $14,731 in Cheyenne. He has qualified for the National Finals Steer Roping three times, but hasn’t been back since 2007.
The steer wrestling was an extremely close contest, with veteran K.C. Jones squeaking out his first championship in Cheyenne by just three one-hundredths of a second on three steers to earn $13,205.
“This rodeo is a cowboy deal,” he said. “You have to have a good horse and ride well enough to set it up. They ought to have the NFR here and run 10 head.”
Jones, 43, lives in Decatur, Texas, but was raised in Las Animas, Colo., and had entered Cheyenne’s rodeo every year for 20 years – since he turned professional after earning a degree from the University of Wyoming in 1995.
“I have a place in my heart for Wyoming,” he said. “I was just a farm kid from Colorado, and the late Pete Burns gave me a scholarship at UW. He loved bulldoggers.”
Jones, a seven-time NFR qualifier, moved from 16th to ninth in the world standings.
Also on Sunday, Brenda Mays posted a time of 17.72 seconds on a horse she calls Dora to edge world-standings leader Kaley Bass by just four one-hundredths of a second. It was Mays’ first-ever Cheyenne championship in 20 years and she fought tears upon accepting her trophy buckle and saddle. Her paycheck of $18,089 moved her into contention to make the NFR for the first time since the May death of Jethro, who took her to the NFR six years straight.
“I wanted to just go make a consistent run,” said Mays. “Cheyenne is a place where you need to ride a little better and your horse needs to like it here. I just won the best rodeo!”
And in a spectacular day of bull riding in which six cowboys scored at least 86 points, four-time world champion J.W. Harris was tops with 91. But the overall championship went to 27-year-old Austin Meier of Kinta, Okla., who made an 80-point ride on Carr Rodeo’s Lineman. Meier edged Harris and Tyler Smith by two points overall for the $12,178 windfall.
“I’ve been blessed to win at a lot of big places, but this means the most to me,” said Meier, who has earned $1.3 million in the PBR over the past seven years. “Whether I was competing in the PBR or PRCA, I truly from the bottom of my heart always wanted to win Cheyenne one day.”
Meier has never qualified for the NFR, but plans to enter more rodeos around his PBR schedule.
“This is a cowboy rodeo,” Meier said. “When you think of ‘cowboy’ and you think of ‘rodeo,’ you think of Cheyenne. I can’t wait to come back next year.”
2014 Cheyenne Frontier Days Champions
All Around – Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., $12,053 won in steer wrestling and tie-down roping
Steer Roping – Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, Texas, 58.9 seconds, $14,731
Bareback Riding – Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 257 points, $12,122
Tie-Down Roping – Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 37.1 seconds, $22,573
Team Roping – Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore., and
Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., 27.7 seconds and $17,302 each
Saddle Bronc Riding – Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 248 points $12,026
Steer Wrestling – K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 30.2 seconds $13,210
Women’s Barrel Race – Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 53.23 seconds, $18,088
Bull Riding – Austin Meier, Kinta, Okla., 254 points, $12,178
CHEYENNE, Wyo. —-The following are unofficial current leaders after the eighth performance at the 118th Annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Overall winners are based on total scores or times on two head.
Bareback Riding: (final round winners) 1, Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 91 points on Car Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket, $1,650. 2, Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah, 88, $1,250. 3, (tie) Caleb Bennett, Morgan, Utah, and R.C. Landingham, Pendleton, Ore., 86 and $750 each. 5, (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., and Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 84, $300. (overall winners)1.Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 257 points, $8,415. 2, R.C. Landingham, Pendleton, Ore., 253, $6,452. 3, Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 252, $4,769. 4, (tie) Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah; Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore.; and Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 249, $2,151. 7, Caleb Bennett, Morgan, Utah, 248, $1,122. 8, (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., and Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, 246, $421.
Steer Roping: (final round winners) 1, Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D., 19.2 Seconds, $1,682. 2, Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, Texas, 19.6, $1,392. 3, Quinten Taylor, Kaycee, Wyo., 20.2, $1,102. 4, Randy Mekelburg, Yuma, Colo., 23.6, $812. (Overall winners) 1, Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, Texas, 58.9 seconds, $8,444. 2, (tie) Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D., and Randy Mekelburg, Yuma, Colo., 61.2 and $6,792 each. 4, Quinten Taylor, Kaycee, Wyo., 67.1, $5,140. (on two) 5, Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas, 37.8, $4,038. 6, Chet Herron, Pawhuska, Okla., 38.9, $2,937. 7, Jason Evans, Huntsville, Texas, 40.6, $1,836. 8, Casey Tillard, Douglas, Wyo., 41.2, $734.
Tie-Down Roping: (final round winners) 1, Jake Pratt, Ellensburg, Wash., 11.1 seconds, $2,496. 2, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 11.5, $2,170. 3, Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 12.4, $1,519. 4, Marcos Costa, Childress, Texas, 13.0, $1,519. 5, Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 13.3, $1,194. 6, Clay McCuistion, Sanger, Texas, 18.0, $868. (overall winners) 1, Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 37.1, $10,918. 2, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbock, Idaho, 39.1, $9,494. 3, Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 40.2, $8,070. 4, Jake Pratt, Ellensburg, Wash., 41.9, $6,646. 5, Marcos Costa, Childress, Texas, 43.5, $5,222. 6, Clay McCuistion, Sanger, Texas, 46.1, $3,798. (on two) 7, Ryan Watkins, Bluff Dale, Texas, 25.6, $2,373. 8, Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 27.2, $949.
Saddle Bronc Riding: (final round winners) 1, Doug Aldridge, Carthage, Mo., 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman, $1,650. 2, (tie) Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., and Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., 85 and $1,075 each. 4, Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 83, $600. 5, Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 81, $350. 6, (tie) Heith Allan DeMoss, Heflin, La., and Hardy Braden, Welch, Okla., 80, $125. (overall winners) 1, Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D., 248 points, $7092. 2, (tie) Doug Aldridge, Carthage, Mo., and Hardy Braden, Welch, Welch, Okla., 245, $4728. 4, (tie) Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., and Heith Allan DeMoss, Heflin, La., 244, $2,128. 6, Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 243, $1,182. 7, Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 240, $946. 8, Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 237, $709.
Team Roping: (final round winners) 1, Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore., and Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., 9.7 seconds, $1,650 each. 2, Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 9.9, $1,435. 3, (tie) J.D. Yates and Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colo., and Britt Williams, Hammond, Mont., and Bobby Harris, Gillette, Wyo., 10.1, $1,112 each. 5, Preston Billadeau, Parshall, N.D. and Jesse Fredrickson, Upham, N.D., 10.5, $789. 6, Payden Emmett, Ponca, Ark., and Chad Mathes, Lawson, Mo., 11.9, $574. 7, Kelsey Parchman, Cuberland City, Tenn., and Justin Davis, Cottonwood, Calif., 15.4, $359. (overall winners) 1, Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore., and Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M., 27.7 seconds, $9,391 each. 2, Britt Williams, Hammond, Mont., and Bobby Harris, Gillette, Wyo., 28.7, $8,166. 3, Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 29.7, $6,941. 4, J.D. Yates and Trey Yates, Pueblo, Colo., 29.8, $5,716. 5, Preston Billadeau, Parshall, N.D. and Jesse Fredrickson, Upham, N.D., 30.0, $4,491. 6, Payden Emmett, Ponca, Ark., and Chad Mathes, Lawson, Mo., 33.0, $3,267. 7, Kelsey Parchman, Cuberland City, Tenn., and Justin Davis, Cottonwood, Calif., 34.9, 2,042. (on two) 8, Tanner Baldwin, Vail, Ariz., and Brandon Bates, San Angelo, Texas, 19.0, $817.
Steer Wrestling: (final round winners) 1, Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 9.1 seconds, $2,093. 2, Stockton Graves, Alva, Okla., 10.9, $1,820. 3, Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb., 11.1, $1,547. 4, Gary Gilbert, New Underwood, S.D., 11.7, $1,274. 5, Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 11.9, $1,001. 6, Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 12.5. 7, Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 12.6, $455. 8, K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 12.9, $182. (overall winners) 1, K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 30.2 seconds, $9,874. 2, Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb., 30.5, $8,586. 3, Stockton Graves, Alva, Okla., 30.8, $7,298. 4, Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 31.5, $6,011. 5, Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 32.6, $4,723. 6, Gary Gilbert, New Underwood, S.D., 32.9, $3,435. 7, Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 33.5, $2,147. 8, Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 34.3, $859.
Women’s Barrel Race: (final round winners) 1, Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., 17.67 seconds, $4,385. 2, Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 17.71, $3,289. 3, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 17.81, $2,193. 4, Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas, 17.82, $1,096.(overall winners) 1, Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 53.23 seconds, $8,880. 2, Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla., 53.27, $7,611. 3, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 53.43, $6,343. 4, Laura Lambert, Wiggins, Colo., 53.62, $5,497. 5, Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas, 53.67, $4,228. 6, Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 53.74, $3,383. 7, Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 53.79, $2,537. 8, Samantha Lyne, Cotulla, Texas, 53.82, $1,691. 9, Randi Timmons, Elizabeth, Colo., 53.85, $1,269. 10, Jill Welsh, Parker, Ariz., 53.92, $846.
Bull Riding: (final round winners) 1, J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 91 points Smith, Harper, and Morgan’s Whirlygig , $1,650. 2, (tie) Jordan Wacey Spears , Redding, Calif., and Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo., 89 and $1,075 each. 4, (tie) Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., and Austin Meier, Kinta, Okla., 87, $475. 6, Sage Steele Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 86, $250. (overall winners) 1, Austin Meier, Kinta Okla., 254 points, $8,494. 2, (tie) J.W. Harris Mullin, Texas, and Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo., 252 and $5,663 each. 4, Sage Steele, Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 247, $3,114. 5, Jordan Wacey Spears, Redding, Calif., 246, $1,982. 6, Ty Wallace, Collbran, Colo., 232, $1,416. 7, Tye Chandler, Celina, Texs, 227, $1,133. (on two) 8, Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 175, $849.
Chad Ferley won his second consecutive saddle bronc riding championship with this 83-point ride on J Bar J Rodeo’s Sweatin’ Bullets. CFD photo by Dan Hubbell