Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
R.C. Landingham of Hat Creek, California, has been one of the hottest bareback riders in the PRCA lately. This past Saturday he won first place and nearly $6,000 at the California Rodeo in Salinas. On Monday, he earned $25,000 and a gold medal at the Utah Days of 47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City. Although that money doesn’t count in the PRCA standings, it still fattens the pocketbook. He’ll be looking to continue that streak on Dakota Rodeo’s Gun Powder today. Will Lowe won the CFD bareback riding title in 2009, 2012 and 2018. At age 39, the three-time world champion is still riding well and can’t be overlooked to win another CFD title and hold the record for most bareback wins here. (He currently shares with Joe Alexander and Clint Corey who each have three championships.) Six-time world champion Kaycee Feild has won almost everything there is to win in bareback riding, except he has never won the “Daddy of ‘em All.”
Hometown favorite Brody Cress won the saddle bronc riding title here three years in a row. He’s currently ranked second in the world and would love to win in front of the hometown crowd again. Another crowd favorite is 2018 world champion Wade Sundell of Boxholm, Iowa, who won The Daddy in 2013. Californian Lefty Holman who is ranked 9th in the standings would love to win a saddle bronc riding title in Cheyenne, just as his uncle Joe Marvel did in 1981. Logan Hay’s dad Rod won the CFD bronc riding title in 2000. The Canadian cowboy just won the Calgary Stampede and is 10th in the standings.
Shane Proctor won the bull riding world title, the Calgary Stampede Championship and the CFD championship all in 2011. Earlier this month he won his second title in Calgary, and he’d love to do the same here in Cheyenne. Josh Frost continues the momentum his 2021 National Finals Rodeo average and reserve world title started and currently sits second in the world standings. Frost won the Linderman Award last year, given to the cowboy with the highest season earnings who wins at least $1,000 in three events, including both a rough stock and a timed event. Despite the many accomplishments of his famous cousin Lane and his older brother Joe, Josh could become the first in his family to win a CFD championship. Watch for Trevor Reiste. The ambidextrous cowboy decides which hand to ride with depending on what bull he has drawn.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing
One of the most successful barrel racers in the history of Cheyenne Frontier Days is Nellie Miller from Cottonwood, California. Nellie won back-to-back championships here in 2018 and 2019. Her title in 2018 was as the reigning world champion and both of her wins in Frontier Park helped her qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo again last December. She didn’t win anything during qualifying, is 20th in the world standings and is hoping for success in the Quarter Finals to give her an opportunity to cash in.
One of the things that makes Cheyenne the “Daddy of ‘em All” is the opportunity for newcomers to compete against world champions and NFR qualifiers with equal chances. One of those newcomers is Laura Mote, the daughter of Bobby Mote who was the bareback riding champion here in 2004, one year after she was born. Laura has leaned on her dad for her mental game and also gotten experience from her barrel racing mom. She is ninth in the rookie of the year standings and if she finishes among the top four here today, it could be a game changer for the recent high school graduate.
Stevi Hillman, had barrel racing fans on the edge of their seats when she won the championship here in 2017 riding I’m a Sharp Guy an amazing gray gelding. This year, she has her solid gelding Cuatro Fame “Truck” in her trailer as well as a super palomino mare Famous Lemon Drop. Whatever she is riding, Stevi will be doing it with her whole heart and gratitude for the opportunities rodeo has provided her to share her faith.
The seasoned veterans will be trying to show the youngsters how it is done in the tie-down roping today. Mike Johnson has earned titles here in 1997 and 2003. At 58-years-old, he has a wealth of experience that he shares with others by hosting competitions and training horses. He has been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo a record 23 times in his event. The other veteran in the field today is Blair Burk who will go down in history as the first header to ever win a championship in the team roping here. That happened in 2007. He was here consistently after that but has yet to win a title in his signature event – the tie-down roping. That could change in 2022, 15 years after he won the team roping title.
Steer wrestling should get fast today as former CFD champion’s Curtis Cassidy (all-around 2010,) Eli Lord (2019 and J.D. Struxness (2016) are in the mix. Eli is the only one of these that hasn’t been to the NFR, but he could be in contention this year if he has some success here. He is currently 24th in the world standings.
Add in Blake Mindeman, Rowdy Parrott, Tanner Milan who have all been to the NFR and 2021 college champion Gavin Soileau and it will be the timed-event of the day to watch. They have all come to play and have everything to gain today.
Eli will be watching the team roping today too as his brother Levi Lord will be roping with Jr. Dees. One of the most exciting headers in the industry to watch, Dustin Egusquiza, will be here with veteran heeler Travis Graves. They are looking for their first CFD title and their first gold buckles. Chad Masters and Paul Eaves have each won gold buckles, but not together. If their world-championship skills mesh at CFD, it would be the first title for Paul and the third for Chad who won here in 2009 and 2018.