The first bracket of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo was completed at Frontier Park on Thursday afternoon.
A new format this year meant the rodeo started with six Quarter Finals with the best from each advancing to two Semi Finals. The best from the Semi Finals advance to the Championship Finals which will close out the competition on Aug. 1.
There are some very happy rodeo contestants and even more that are disappointed and headed on to the next rodeo. Among the happiest are saddle bronc riders Isaac Diaz and Cole Elshere who tied for the win in Quarter Finals 6. They each had 84-point efforts.
Diaz has the most to gain with a win here. He is currently 21st in the world standings and if he continues collecting checks, he is likely to move into the top 15 who qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) next December. Diaz, from Desdemona, Texas, rode Stace Smith’s horse named Cow Camp. He is looking for his eighth NFR qualification.
Elshere got on another horse from Smith named Satin Sheets. The Faith, South Dakota, resident isn’t ranked in the top 50 in the world standings, so he also really needs a win. Elshere competed at his fourth NFR last December and has been dealing with a neck injury, so getting on a great horse and earning a big score had him smiling from ear-to-ear.
If either one remains at the top of the board through the Semi Finals and Championship Finals, it would be their first title at the “Daddy of ‘em All.” Brody Cress, who calls Hillsdale, Wyoming home and is a local favorite, has won the saddle bronc riding at the last three rodeos here in Cheyenne. Cress also rode today, but his score was not high enough to advance him to the Semi Finals.
Justin Shaffer from Hallsville, Texas, had the fast time in the steer wrestling at 5.9 seconds. Shaffer has yet to qualify for the NFR, but with the way he is performing at Frontier Park, he should be among rodeo’s best soon. His time was over a second faster than the man in second place, Justin Kimsey from Kennewick, Washington.
Thursday’s barrel racing once again saw a Cheyenne Frontier Days champion at the top. Nellie Miller from Cottonwood, California, stopped the clock in 17.37 seconds for the win. Miller has won this rodeo twice (2018 & 2019) aboard her great blue roan mare, Rafter W Minnie, known as Sister. Miller said the reason that they do so well here is that Sister likes the arena at Frontier Park.
The first performance of the Semi-Finals will start at 12:45 on Friday. There will be 12 contestants in all the events except the bull riding.
The following are unofficial results from the Quarter Finals (sixth performance) at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Thursday. Payoff subject to change.
Bareback Riding: 1, Waylon Bourgeois, Church Point, La., 85.5 points on Three Hills Pro Rodeo’s Pony Keg, $2,448. 2, Will Martin, Goodwell, Okla., 82.5, $1,836. 3, (tie) Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas and Jess Pope, Waverly, Kansas, 82, $916 each.
Breakaway Roping: 1, Danielle Lowman, Gilbert, Ariz., 5.2 seconds, $2,952. 2, (tie) Coralee Spratt, Shoshoni, Wyo., and McKenzie Frizzel, Cochise, Ariz., 5.4, $1,845 each. 4, Sawyer Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D., 6.0, $737.
Tie-Down Roping: 1,(tie) Hagen Houck, Henrietta, Texas, and J.C. Malone, Plain City, Utah, 11.8 seconds, $1,662 each. 3, Kasen Brennise, Craig, Colo., 12.3, $949. 4, Robert Mathis, Mart, Texas, 12.5, $488.
Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding: First round leaders– 1, Colt Cunningham, Rose, Okla., 80 points. 2, Jade Taton, Kersey, Colo., 78. 3, Dylan Schofield, Philip, S.D., 77. 4, (tie) Wyatt Lohman, Weatherford, Okla., and Rowdy Dunklin, Malakoff, Texas, 76. Second round leaders – 1, Triston Eklund, Valentine, Neb., 83 points. 2, Matt Shannon, Prineville, Ore., 75. 3, Bailey Bench, Oakley, Idaho, 71. 4, (tie) Brody Wells, Powell, Wyo.,69. 4, Karson Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif, 68. Total on two: 1, Schofield, 144 points. 2, Wells, 143. 3, Lucas Macza, High River, Alberta, 136. 4, Clayton Atkinson, Casper, Wyo., 133.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, (tie) Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Satin Sheets, and Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas, on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Cow Camp, $2,060 each. 3, Leon Fountain, Soccoro, N.M., 83, $1,177. 4, Jake Clark, Crane, Ore., 81.5, $589.
Team Roping: 1, Jason Burson, Sealy, Texas, and Corey Hendrick, Bedias, Texas, 8.9 seconds, $1,847 each. 2, Lane Stock, Taylor, Ariz., and Justin Simon, Florence, Ariz., 9.8, $1,386 each. 3, Joshua and Jonathan Torres, Ocala, Fla., 10.4, $924 each. 4, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif., and Wesley Thorp, Throckmorton, Texas, 10.8, $462 each.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Justin Shaffer, Hallsville, Texas, 5.9 seconds, $1,951. 2, Justin Kimsey, Kennewick, Wash., 7.1, $1,463. 3, Newt Novich, Twin Bridges, Mont., 8.7, $975 . 4, (tie) Dean Finnerty, Wheatland, Wyo., and Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 9.0, $244 each.
Barrel Racing: 1, Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, Calif., 17.37 seconds, $2,225. 2, Katie Pascoe, Morro Bay, Calif., 17.67, $1,669. 3, Shelley Morgan, Canton, Texas, 17.75, $1,112. 4, (tie) Tyra Kane, Weatherford, Texas, and Cheyenne Hattesen, Lemon Cove, Calif., 17.76, $278 each.
Bull Riding: 1, Jack Gilmore, Ironton, Mo., 86 points on Universal Pro Rodeo’s Chan Man, $2,397. 2, J.B. Mauney, Cotulla, Texas, 85, $1,798. 3, Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 84.5, $1,198. 4, Gavin Michel, Nixa, Mo., 83, $599.
Wild Horse Race: (three rides) 1, Shockers, $782. 2, James Federer, $587. 3, Nowland, $391. Overall leaders: 3-N, $1,173. 2, (tie) James Federer and Shockers, $977.50 each. 4, (tie) Butin Pump, Cowboy Dream, Crazy Rays, Team Meanus, New Mexico Playboys, $782 each.
South Dakota saddle bronc rider Cole Elshere made an 84-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s horse Satin Sheets to tie for first with Texas cowboy Isaac Diaz during Quarter Finals 6 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. – PRCA photo by Click Thompson