Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Contestants from the National High School Finals Rodeo are finding their way to Cheyenne. Among them is bareback rider Jacek Frost, whose older brothers Joe and Josh have been here in the bull riding and gone on to qualify for the NFR in that event. Jacek finished his high school career as the reserve world champion. Now, he is competing on one of rodeo’s biggest stages at the 126th “Daddy of ‘em All” and will be hoping that the momentum from Gillette carries on in Frontier Park.
Statler Wright became the fourth brother of his immediate family to win a high school championship on Saturday. Statler joins his brother Rusty and Ryder as saddle bronc riding champions at the NHSFR. Stetson, who has won four championships here in the last two events was the 2017 all-around champion there. Their uncles Jake and Spencer also earned those titles. Injuries have been an issue for the uncles and Rusty, but Ryder, Stetson and Statler will all compete in the saddle bronc riding today. Stetson is the first member of his family to earn a saddle bronc riding championship here and he did that last year along with the all-around championship. In 2019, he won the bull riding and the all-around.
Stetson will compete in the bull riding today and tomorrow. He is joined by his traveling partner and last year’s winner at Cheyenne, Ky Hamilton. The bull riding is star studded with 10 NFR qualifiers and two world champions. Stetson is one of those. The other is Cody Teel who won the PRCA’s world title 2012 has been focusing on the Professional Bull Riders. He will be competing at their event tonight as part of the Missouri Thunder team.
Last year, Montana’s Parker Breding rode more bulls at Cheyenne than any other contestant. However, his ride in the final round garnered him 85 points, four points shy of Ky Hamilton’s score so Hamilton got the champion’s package. Parker is just inside the top 40 in the world standings.
Clayton Savage is the oldest bull rider in today’s field. At 35, he is making a comeback after battling over 60 injuries and being diagnosed with epilepsy. Clayton has been to the NFR three times, the last ten years ago. He is currently in 35th place and needs to add at least $10,000 to move into the top 15, something that could happen at Frontier Park.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing
The team roping has two former champions in it today. Tyler Wade won it in 2016 roping with Dakota Kirchenschlager. Trey Yates was the 2019 champion heeling for Dustin Bird. This year, they are trying to win their second buckles here together with Tyler heading for Trey. They are each 25th in the world standings so any money they earn at Frontier Park could help move them up in the world standings and give them the opportunity to be in Las Vegas in December for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Tyson Durfey won the 2016 gold buckle in the tie-down roping and since then he has used his rodeo skills to build a social media audience and is a huge influencer in the western industry. He has 491 thousand followers on Facebook, 156 thousand on Instagram and another 20 thousand on Twitter. He has started a mentorship program called No Limits, has been working with life coaches and finding his own inspiration to share. He missed last year’s NFR, is in 45th place this year and really needs to win some big checks to be back there again this year. Durfey told his followers that he still gets goosebumps when he backs his horse in the box at Cheyenne. Hopefully he advances to the Semi-Finals and then the championships and gets to do that two more times after today.
Steer wrestling should be fast today. Ty Erickson, the 2019 world champion from Montana would love to add a CFD title to his rodeo resume. After winning the gold buckle, he missed the 2020 and 2021 NFR, got married, added a daughter to his family and is ready to be back there again. Ty is currently 5th in the world standings, just two spots behind Will Lummus who has been one of the most consistent steer wrestlers in the PRCA since 2018 when he qualified for his first NFR. He has been there every year since and has his eye on that buckle. Will is currently in 3rd place. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin and went on to get his certification as a physical therapist.
Trell Etbauer is trying to be the first member of his famous bronc riding family to get to the NFR in a different event. He has been traveling hard this year and is currently 20th in the world standings. Etbauer has competed here in the saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and steer wrestling. He was the best multi-event cowboy here in 2014 winning the all-around championship.
In 2019, a dream came true for Shali Lord when she and her great horse “Can Man,” tied for the win in the women’s barrel race. She and Can Man went on to qualify for the NFR. Lord is currently outside of the top 100 in the WPRA world standings. She will be riding a mare she calls CeCe today. A win here would help her move up in the standings and meet qualification guidelines for the 2023 big winter rodeos.
Also in the mix today is Emily Beisel who has been a fan favorite at the last three NFRs. Beisel was raised on a farm and is the first in her family to compete in rodeos.