Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
The second day of semifinals is shaping up to be even more exciting than the first with several world champions and former Cheyenne Frontier Days title holders in the field. While those veterans are hoping to win again, a rookie is taking the rodeo world by storm and hoping to win for the first time.
Stetson Wright will be competing in the saddle bronc riding and bull riding today making him a favorite for Cheyenne’s all-around cowboy championship. Wright is the youngest of the famed rodeo family from Utah. His father, Cody, is a two-time world champion. His uncles Spencer and Jesse have each won gold buckles as well as his older brother Ryder.
While there have been Wrights at the top of the leaderboard at most major rodeos, there has never been one to collect a buckle at the “Daddy of ‘em All.” Cody joined the PRCA in 1998 and there has been at least one member of the family competing here since then. Two decades without a title is unheard of for them and now it is the youngest who could bring it home to Utah.
Stetson will turn 20 on July 30th. He leads the world standings in the all-around category, is 18th in the saddle bronc riding and second in the bull riding. He needs to move into the top 15 in the saddle bronc riding and stay there until October 1st to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in two events. A win here would certainly help him do that.
Cody DeMoss will be among today’s saddle bronc riders and is hoping for his fourth buckle from Cheyenne Frontier Days. If he moves on to the finals and has the high score, he will join the history books as the second man to win four titles in that event. Earl Thode did that from 1927 – 34.
A star-studded field will compete in bareback riding today. Former CFD champs Richmond Champion, Tanner Aus, Orin Larsen and Tim O’Connell will be hoping for a chance to win a second buckle from the “Daddy.” O’Connell is a three-time world champion as well. They will be joined by Kaycee Feild, who has four gold buckles but has yet to win a title at Frontier Park.
Brothers Tim and Tyler Bingham have both qualified for the NFR, but not in the same year. When they have the opportunity to share rodeo memories with future generations, the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo could be a big highlight. They will be riding in the semifinals today and hoping for a score and a reason to stay here until Sunday. There is nothing that the brothers would like better than to be riding against each other for Cheyenne’s championship buckle.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down and Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing:
In breakaway roping a pair of sisters had success yesterday and will be looking to add to their winnings today. Jordan Jo Fabrizio of Canyon, Texas, was first yesterday with a 4.15-second run and her sister Rylea Fabrizio, who lives in Stephenville, Texas, placed third. The duo would love to compete in the first breakaway championship round at the Daddy.
Lari Dee Guy has won nine Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) roping and all-around world championships. She finished second yesterday and is in good position to qualify for the finals. Jackie Crawford, who has earned 14 WPRA all-around and roping world titles, finished fourth yesterday and will need to rope well today to move on to Championship Sunday.
Nebraska native Austin Hurlburt is no stranger to Cheyenne. He competed on the Laramie County Community College Rodeo Team and will move to the University of Wyoming this fall. Before becoming a Wyoming Cowboy, he has a chance to become a CFD champion. He won yesterday’s tie-down roping and is in good shape to advance to the Sunday’s Finals.
Last year’s CFD team roping champions Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison roped themselves into a tie for second place yesterday. Should they qualify for Championship Sunday, Masters will have the opportunity to become the first three-time CFD champion in the team roping since the event began here in 2001. Kellan and Carson Johnson, a pair of brothers from Casper, will have to finish among the top two today to make the finals. They are the sons of 2011 world champion heeler Jhett Johnson.
Two former CFD champions compete in today’s barrel racing semifinals. Brittany Pozzi-Tonnozzi (2007) and Stevi Hillman (2017) are both ranked in the WPRA top 10 and would love to come back Sunday to make their bids for a second CFD title. The highest-ranked barrel racing in the current standings is Shali Lord of Lamar, Colorado, who is fourth. She will compete first today and have the advantage of running on the “top” of the ground. She and her horse, Can Man, are likely headed to Las Vegas next December. Lord qualified for the first time in 2005 aboard a small bay gelding named Slider. She and Slider either got money or hit a barrel. He was one of the most dynamic and exciting horses to watch in any arena. Can Man has a totally different style and now while he is carrying Shali around the barrels at rodeos, Slider is at home in Lamar where Shali and Phy Lord’s son Slade has taken the reins.