SHERIDAN — What started as an overcast and muggy afternoon quickly transformed into cool summer evening as the second night of Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo performances saw plenty of action, a few spills and more than its fair share of impressive handling from cowboys and cowgirls alike.
On Patriot Night at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds, the evening began with four heats of Indian relay races won by His Bad Horse of the Northern Cheyenne nation, Old Elk Relay of the Crow Nation, Morning Star Weed of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe nations and Lakota War Path of the Ogalala Lakota Nation respectively.
The first heat came down the wire in a mad dash to the finish line between His Bad Horse of Busby, Mont. and Holds the Enemy of Pryor, Mont.
Although Holds the Enemy came out on top Wednesday evening, His Bad Horse and jockey Lynwood His Bad Horse proved to be too much to handle Thursday.
The second heat saw several wipeouts early before Old Elk Relay from Lodge Grass, Mont. established a sizable lead and went on to finish first. The team was captained by Ashton Old Elk and Charine Old Elk. Ashton served as jockey.
The bareback riding portion of the evening saw Wes Stevenson from Lubbock, Texas draw a high score of 86 on a horse named Thunder Monkey. His ride put him on top of the leaderboard through two nights, topping Seth Hardwick’s 84 from Wednesday among five 80-plus scores. While a handful of riders earned scores in the high 70s Thursday, Stevenson’s impressive ride was enough to easily stand out among the 12 competitors.
Also in the bareback riding event, cowboy Chris Harris from Itasca, Texas was bucked from his horse at the last second and stepped on by the animal.
While he remained on the ground for several seconds, drawing a worried whispers from the crowd, Harris managed to stand up with the help of several trainers and gingerly walk out of the area to the medical trailer.
Announcer Will Rassmusen later told the crowd that the tough cowboy was OK and on his way to the next rodeo.
The steer wrestling competition found a Wyoming cowboy atop the pack as Seth Brockman of Wheatland logged a time of 4.6 seconds to win the go-round.
Morgan Grant of New Waverly, Texas and Timmy Sparing of Decatur, Texas finished second and third respectively in the go-round with scores of 5.1 seconds and 5.2 seconds.
The good night for the Texas contingent continued into the steer roping competition as JoJo LeMond of Andrews, Texas finished first with a score of 11.8 seconds. J.P. Wickett of Sallisaw, Okla. finished closely behind with a time of 12.5 seconds.
Another Wyoming cowboy finished atop the saddle bronc event as Colin Stalley of Riverton registered a score of 81 to beat out six other riders.
“I can’t complain,” he said following the run which put him tied for second in the week’s standings, trailing an 82 from Wednesday. “It felt like a good run on a good horse.”
While Stalley said he had room for improvement, he added that the current rodeo season has mostly been good to him.
“It’s been treating me really good,” he said. “I’ve been getting paid quite a bit, and any time that happens you’ve got to keep going.”
Team ropers Turtle Powell and Dugan Kelly finished first in team roping with a time of 6.1 seconds. They held the lead in the average after last night.
Following the run, Powell said that while he was pleased with the result, he wasn’t set to rest on his laurels just yet.
“There’s a lot of good guys coming through, and we’ll be lucky if we stay in there decent,” he said. “There’s still a lot of rodeo left.”
A veteran of the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo since 1996, Powell said the event stands out among other rodeos across the region.
“This rodeo seems like it keeps getting better and better for us,” he said. “It’s always nice to come to a rodeo like this in a real Western town.”
In the tie-down roping event, Monty Lewis of Hereford, Texas finished first with 8.9 seconds while Ryan Watkins of Dublin, Texas finished just behind him at 9.6 seconds.
Among the barrel racers, Sheena Robbins of Fresno, Calif. finished first with a time of 17.34 seconds.
Christina Richman of Glendora, Calif., and Nicole Aichele of Walla, Wash., finished second and third respectively with times of 17.51 seconds and 17.56 seconds.
The night culminated with the long-anticipated bull riding event, drawing an enormous cheer from the packed house on hand.
Cole Echols of Elm Grove, La. Beat out 11 other riders with the week’s top score so far, an 89. His bull, the formidable Thomas the Train, suddenly changed direction mid-run, and Echols’ ability to stay with him was enough to impress the judges into granting him the top prize of the evening.
Ranked seventh in this week’s bull riding pro rodeo standings, Echols said it was especially meaningful to win the event in Sheridan while at the same time drawing a such a good bull.
“I’ve kind of had tough luck (in Sheridan) in years past but it worked out good this year,” he said.
Friday’s contests begin at 7 p.m. at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.
Sheridan Press sports editor Brad Estes contributed to this report.
July 10-13, 2013
Wes Stevenson 86 (overall leader)
Zach Curran 81
Heath Ford 80
Jerad Schlegel 77
Caine Riddle 76
Jared Smith 76
Chad Rutherford 76
Ty Breuer 76
Joe Gunderson 75
Tyler Scales 73
Joel Schlegel 73
Matthew Smith 72
Tom McFarland 70
Cole Echols 89 (overall leader)
Wesley Silcox 86
Steve Woolsey 80
Cole Ponce (Big Horn) C
Sheena Robbins 17.34
Christina Richman 17.51
Nicole Aichele 17.56
Tammy Thompson 17.58
Julie Leggett 17.80
Holly Favour 17.98
Kendel Fawcett 18.03
Jordon Briggs 18.18
Chandler Markel 18.38
Lexie Goss 23.08
Colin Stally 81
Ty Atchison 80
Will Smith 78
Chase Brooks 74
Alex Wright 67
JoJo LeMond 11.8
J.P. Wickett 12.5
Shane Suggs 14.0
Roger Branch 22.5
Seth Brockman 4.6
Morgan Grant 5.1
Timmy Sparing 5.2
Kyle Broce 16.0 X (barrier)
Cody Pratt 18.1 X
Monty Lewis 8.9
Ryan Watkins 9.6
Jordan Ketscher 14.6
EJ Roberts 15.4
Clayton Shaw 19.7 X
Tyson Durfey 20.4 X
Riley Pruitt 21.4 X
Turtle Powell/Dugan Kelly 6.1 (current average leaders)
Marcus Battaglia/Jordan Ketscher 6.3
Travis Tryan/Jake Long 9.9
Tyler Schnaufer/T.J. Watts 10.5
Adrew Ward/Reagan Ward 15.3