Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Bareback riding will be one of the most exciting events to watch today as veterans Tilden Hooper and Tim O’Connell try to score higher than newcomers Rocker Steiner and Ty Pope. Tim’s set of accomplishments includes three world titles and a win here in Frontier Park in 2017 and 2021. Winning here is never easy and no one knows that more than Tilden. He competed here the first time as the reigning college champion in 2007. He was the runner up last year finishing 2.5 points behind Tim.
Ty Pope has been on a roll. He won the bareback riding at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper in June. He is attending school at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, the same place his older brother Jess went. Tim also went to school there and the college is gaining a reputation as bareback riding U because of the champions they are producing. Ty left Casper and hit the pro rodeo circuit. He had qualified for the NFR Open presented by Ram in Colorado Springs and earned his second national title of the year.
And then there is Rocker. The fifth-generation rodeo competitor bought his PRCA membership soon after turning 18. He proved he was ready when he immediately started winning. He won the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver last January. Injuries kept him home in the spring, but he came back with a vengeance setting a new world record of 95 points at the Riggin’ Rally in June. He went to Calgary for the first time and just last week earned the title there. He has been here in the mini bareback riding, but this will be his first time to compete here as a PRCA member.
Canada will be well represented in the saddle bronc riding with one-fourth of the contestants coming from the north. All four have been to the NFR and the group includes two-time world champion Zeke Thurston. He will be competing with Dawson Hay, Kolby Wanchuk and Jake Watson. Zeke and Dawson had fathers that competed here. Dawson’s dad, Rod Hay, was the saddle bronc winner in 2000.
There are seven Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers in the bull riding. Garrett Smith has had success here nearly every time he has nodded his head. Cheyenne Frontier Days is among his favorites because of it’s legendary status. Garrett competed in all of the events growing up. He is one of three boys and his older brother Wyatt competed in steer wrestling. His younger brother Payson stays busy team roping and if Garrett didn’t love bull riding so much, he could be competing in the team roping or steer wrestling.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing:
The winner of the tie-down roping qualifier will try to add to his earnings in Frontier Park today and he is a rookie. Cash Enderli had never been to Cheyenne before this year, then beat 197 other ropers to win $5,172. He is a student at Weatherford College in Texas and will not pursue a rodeo career until he graduates from college in one year. Then he plans on hitting the road and competing for the Resistol Rookie of the Year award in tie-down roping. If he advances from the Quarter Finals, he may be regretting that decision.
Tie-down ropers’ horses are some of the most highly-trained animals in rodeo. They do at least 70% of their jobs without anyone on their back. Horsemanship is right up Trevor Hale’s alley. He won the Reined Cowhorse competition at the National High School Finals Rodeo in 2020 and now is making his way up the roping ranks. He is currently 30th in the world standings and has the potential to move up if he adds earnings here.
Today’s breakaway ropers come from New York to Oregon and everywhere in between. Josie Goodrich’s dad, Brad Goodrich was a contender here in the tie-down roping for years. She is also following in her barrel racing mom’s footsteps. Josie qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in that event. Her only opportunity at Cheyenne will be in the breakaway roping and she will be working hard to make the most of it.
Brandon Beers won the team roping here in 2014 heading for Jim Ross Cooper. He has been providing team roping cattle for events and moved to the production side. He still ropes for fun and has been having that with Daniel Braman IV. Tinlee’s dad, Garrett Tonozzi will be roping today and her mom, Brittany will be competing in the barrel racing later this week. The couple’s young daughter has caught the rodeo bug too and will be hoping that dad and his partner T.J. Watts connect and advance to the semi-finals.
The reigning college champion steer wrestler is hoping to be among the NFR qualifiers this year and a win in Cheyenne could make that happen. Walt Arnold graduated from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, in May. Then he won the CNFR and headed to Reno and a full summer of rodeoing. Walt is inside the top 40 in the world standings. He won $1,902 during the qualifier and has an opportunity to add to that today.
Teneille Angland grew up in Australia, married a saddle bronc rider who had been competing in the U.S. and now she is doing the same. Except, she had to fly her horses over, while all he had to bring was his saddle. The couple has two young boys and traveling with them and taking care of horses keeps her on her toes. She is the first barrel racer out today so will be in first place when she rides out of the arena no matter what her time is. Just being here and competing is very exciting for her, so to be among the qualifiers is a big step.
Lisa Lockhart has consistently won money at this rodeo and is hoping to do that again here today. She is 32nd in the world standings so to have her 16th NFR, she has a big push to make. She typically wins most of her money in the summer and Cheyenne has been a very important rodeo for her. She got the champions package in 2015.