Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Tanner Aus won the bareback riding title at CFD in 2015. Aus has made six trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), has passed the $1 million mark in career earnings and looks like he’ll make a return trip to Las Vegas in December since he’s currently ranked sixth. Anthony Thomas calls Texas, home now, but he’s originally from New Zealand. Canadian Kody Lamb is a singer/songwriter and holds a master’s degree in science and applied psychology from Tarleton State University.
Damian Brennan leads the Resistol Rookie of the Year standings in saddle bronc riding. The native of Queensland, Australia, qualified for the 2022 College National Finals Rodeo last month as a member of the Western Texas College team. In the middle of that week, he also won the saddle bronc riding at the inaugural Battle of the Broncs in Fallon, Nevada. Parker Kempfer of Deer Park, Florida, won the Southeastern Circuit Finals this year and is currently ranked third in his circuit. Winning a championship here could be life-changing for either of them.
There’s more on the line today for Stetson Wright in the bull riding than any other cowboy. While 13 bull riders must ride today to advance to the Semifinals — and only six will — Wright has to make a qualified ride in order to have a chance to win a third consecutive CFD all-around title – a feat no other cowboy has accomplished since the title was first awarded in 1944. Ky Hamilton’s win yesterday keeps him in contention to become only the sixth bull rider to win back-to-back CFD titles.
This year’s rodeo is missing Sage Kimzey, the reigning and seven-time world champion bull rider. Sage had shoulder surgery recently and is expected to be out the rest of the season. In spite of all of his wins, he has never won in Frontier Park and won’t have that opportunity this year. His younger brother, Trey Kimzey rode here yesterday and finished seventh yesterday, one spot out of advancing to the semi-finals. If less than six ride today, he will qualify, but it would be easier and better for him if he rode again and scored high enough to be at the top of the leaderboard.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing
Looking through the list of timed event contestants, today’s performance promises to be exciting. It starts with the WPRA-sanctioned breakaway roping which has become one of the rodeo’s most popular events since it was included here three years ago. The first time it was hosted at Cheyenne, it was invitational. When they had it again last year, it counted in the world standings and the committee’s portion of the purse was the same in that event as all of the others.
Today’s competition will feature world champion Jackie Crawford who has been a mentor and role model for a lot of young women hoping to have an opportunity to compete at rodeos like Cheyenne’s. There is also Madison Outhier who was the first woman to win that event at The American Rodeo where she earned over $100,000 while still in high school. Outhier has watched her father, Mike Outhier compete here and now will be adding to the family legacy. Taylor Hanchey won the qualifying round here and will hope to advance and become the first husband wife team to collect roping championships at Frontier Park. Her husband Shane was the tie-down roping champion here in 2018. Last year, Taylor qualified for the National Finals Breakaway Roping held in conjunction with the NFR. She has also competed at the NFR in the past in the barrel racing and became the first woman to qualify for both events.
If one of today’s tie-down ropers finishes at the top of the leaderboard on Championship Sunday, it will be the first time that they have won the “Daddy.” It’s amazing to think that none of them have won a title here knowing that there are five world titles represented and that out of the 12, half of them have qualified for the NFR. Among those is the reigning and three-time world champion Caleb Smidt who is likely to be riding “Pockets,” the horse that he earned those titles on. Caleb is from Bellville, Texas, but Pockets is a born in Wyoming, ranch-raised Quarter Horse that excels in any type of conditions.
Haven Meged took the tie-down roping world by storm in 2019 earning the college title for Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, then going on and winning a world title. Shad Mayfield won the high school finals that same year and got a big jump towards his first NFR qualification with money he earned in Cheyenne. Even without winning a title here, this rodeo will also have special meaning for Shad.
Today’s barrel racing will see Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi trying to win her second CFD title and the first since 2007 when she rode her great horse Sixth Vision “Stitch” to the championship. Brittany has qualified for the NFR nearly every year since then. She also won the first of two world titles in 2007. She had a quick turn around this week to get here today. She competed in Salinas, California on Saturday where she won the championship at the California Rodeo, then started the journey back here. Now she is hoping to add to those earnings.
Sarah Rose Waguespack came onto the rodeo scene thanks to a little bay-roan mare Fame Fling N Bling. She ventured west from her home state of Georgia to give them a chance that resulted in trips to Las Vegas to compete at the NFR. Sadly, she lost Bling, but the legacy of that mare is living on. Sarah is now having success on Red Roan Ranger, who is a grandson of the mare that started it all. Along her adventures on the road, she met and married world champion steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack. The couple makes their home in Gonzales, Louisiana.
In the team roping watch for brothers Riley and Brady Minor who won the qualifying round and will be hoping for more success here in Cheyenne. The duo from Ellensburg, Washington are the most successful brothers to ever rope together in the history of the PRCA. They won their hometown rodeo, love big setups and fresh cattle so this rodeo is right up their alley.