Rebound day at rodeo
Sunday was a chance at redemption for cowboys and cowgirls who experienced hiccups and danger in previous days at the Y’s Men’s Rodeo and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Badlands Circuit Finals.
Fans at All Seasons Arena were well aware of area competitors and erupted in applause after performances by Williston bull rider Stetson Lawrence, 24, and Mohall barrel racer Britta O’Keeffe, 25.
Lawrence refocused after a scary incident following an 88-point run Saturday night to post an 82 on the final day. Lawrence rode Korkow Rodeo’s Yellow Diamond for the entire eight seconds Sunday to help erase the memory of being dragged the night before. He was yanked around the arena by Sutton Rodeo bull Johnny Ringo after his spur got caught in the flank.
“I’m just happy to be riding bull and staying healthy,” Lawrence said. “It’s nice to keep it rolling and stay positive and consistent.”
Jeff Bertus, of Avon, S.D., won the bull riding rodeo average with a four-day total of 323. Jeff Johnston (Thedford, Neb.), the Badlands Circuit year-end header champion in team roping, also won the all-around title for the rodeo.
O’Keeffe, who hit one of the three barrels in each of the first three days, was flawless in her final run with her horse Roger. The duo finished the run in a blistering time of 13.41 seconds for the best mark of the day.
“It was a lot of fun,” O’Keeffe said. “I love running barrels, but I kind of had a rough weekend. I finally ended on a high note.”
Year-end champion Lisa Lockhart (Oelrichs, S.D.) was a mere 6 tenths of a second off O’Keeffe’s time. Nikki Steffes (Vale, S.D.) won the average title.
Justin Scofield (Volga, S.D.) continued his dominance in tie-down roping with his fourth straight title at the Y’s Men’s Rodeo. Scofield broke out of the chute smoothly, flipped the calf seamlessly and finished the event in 9.2 seconds. Boe Brown (Valentine, Neb.) posted a stunning time of 7.4 seconds, but was docked another 10 seconds on a penalty to secure Scofield’s fifth title overall at the Minot rodeo.
“I just roped consistently all weekend,” Scofield said. “What let me win was the misfortune of a couple other guys.”
Joe Gunderson (Agar, S.D.) rode Karkow’s Ten Sleep and scored 83 in the final round of bareback riding to edge Mandan’s Ty Breuer, the No. 7-ranked rider in the world, by two points for the title. Mac Erickson (Sundance, Wyo.) won the year-end championship.
Bean Franzen (Sidney, Mont.) didn’t coast in the steer wrestling despite entering the final round with a comfortable lead. Immediately after Jim Roedeske (Cartwright) posted the best time of the day at 3.3 seconds, Franzen matched him to secure his average title. J.B. Lord (Sturgis, S.D.) won the year-end title.
“I had a pretty big lead coming in,” Franzen said. “I just had to stop the clock without a barrier.”
Ty Thompson (Wanblee, S.D.) rode Sutton’s Wildflower to both the average and year-end titles with an 81 on Sunday in the saddle bronc competition.
“I just did good, felt all right and tried to take it one horse at a time,” Thompson said, “and not worry about points and money and let that stuff take care of itself.”
Paul David Tierney (Oral, S.D.) and Jared Bilby (Bridgeport, Neb.) won the rodeo average in team roping with a second-place finish of 5.6 seconds Sunday. Levi Tyan (Wallace, Neb.) claimed the team roping year-end heeler championship.
The top two finishers in each category advanced to a $2 million rodeo in Oklahoma City at the end of March.
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.