Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
The field has been narrowed in each of our events, from 72 in bareback and saddle bronc riding to 24 and from 60 in the bull riding down to 30. The top six in each of these events will advance from today directly to Sunday’s Championship Finals.
That’s good for Seth Lee Hardwick, who hopes to be the first contestant that calls Wyoming home to win the bareback riding championship in the last six decades. Seth’s success here came yesterday and while he wasn’t first, he was among the top four to advance to the Semi-Finals. Today, he is getting on Sankey Pro Rodeo and Phenom Genetic’s horse named South Land’s Mental Illness, a bucker that could easily get him into the 80-point range. There are two former CFD champions competing today, Orin Larsen who got the title here in 2016 and Will Lowe who is a three-time winner (2009, 2012 and 2018). Today could be a turning point for Waylon Bourgeois. The rising star is second in the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year standings and 21st in the world.
Saddle bronc riding will see a whole slate of riders trying to get their first Cheyenne buckle. Among them is two-time world champion Zeke Thurston and Wyatt Casper who is currently third in the world standings and will be headed to his third NFR in December. Wyatt won the rodeo yesterday, won first and is hoping to keep his momentum rolling. Zeke is one of four Canadians competing today. The odds are in their favor that at least one of them will advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals. If they do and finish at the top of the board, they would be the first Canadian to win a saddle bronc riding title in Frontier Park in nearly 20 years.
Trevor Reiste comes into today’s bull riding as a favorite, as the only bull rider that won both rounds of his competition. He is hoping to make it three in a row today and be in contention for a CFD buckle. There are three men that have older brothers that have competed here and missed getting a championship. Trey Kimzey’s older brother Sage is a seven-time world champion. Tyler Bingham’s brother Tim as well as Josh Frost’s brother Joe each won college championships and have multiple NFR qualifications to their credit. If any of the younger brothers win, it will be the first for their families.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing
The top six in each of these events today will advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals.
There’s a big difference between the arena at CFD and the Thomas and Mack where the NFR is held, but eight of today’s tie-down ropers have shown that they are competitive in any situation. Mike Johnson will be a crowd favorite. The 23-time NFR qualifier also won championships here in 1997 and 2003. He is the veteran of the field at 58 years old. Today’s competition could be a game changer for Quade Hiatt. The rising star is the grandson of world champion Butch Myers and Butch’s son Rope is his uncle. If Quade advances and is at the top of the board on Sunday, he would be the first member of his family to win a CFD title. His uncle Cash Myers is among the steer roping qualifiers for Championship Sunday.
There’s a good chance for Wyoming in today’s team roping. Clayton Van Aken, who is a UW graduate will be heading for Jayden Johnson from Casper. Jayden’s cousins and two-time college champions Kellan and Carson Johnson are also roping today. Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill who both have world and CFD titles to their credits had the fastest time yesterday and will hope to build on their success today.
Eli Lord won the steer wrestling here the first time the rodeo featured a tournament-style format in 2019. He is in the mix today and will be competing with NFR qualifier Rowdy Parrott who moved in on Wednesday. Parrott is highest in the world standings at 15. Talon Roseland is 20th and Eli is 24th. Today’s competition could move them up in the world standings. Talon and Eli are looking for their first trip to Las Vegas to compete at the NFR. This would be Rowdy’s third.
The fan favorite breakaway roping features two of the top three women in the WPRA standings. Erin Johnson is highest at number one. Johnson, 42, has been a member of the WPRA since 2007 and has three world titles on her resume. She’s experienced the rapid recent growth of her event and qualified for the first National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR) in 2020 and again in 2021. The ranch-raised mother of two rides a horse her father trained. Martha Angelone is ranked third in the world standings, about $9,000 behind Johnson. The Virginia native knew she needed to move to Texas if she wanted to become a world-class roper and she accomplished that goal. She finished as the reserve world champion in 2020 after winning the average at the inaugural NFBR and finished fifth last season. Emma Charleston won her quarter-final with a time of 3.1 seconds, just one-tenth of a second off the arena record. She’s a two-event cowgirl who is currently ranked 12 in the barrel racing world standings.
Andrea Busby may call Brock, Texas, home now, but her Wyoming roots are as deep as Cheyenne Frontier Days. She grew up near Lusk on a ranch that her family began in 1910. Busby had one of the fastest times of the quarterfinal competition. Two of today’s barrel racers have qualified for the WNFR and are poised to do so again. Cheyenne Wimberly has five NFR qualifications. Her first two came in 1997-1998. She took a break from professional rodeo for two decades, next making the field in Las Vegas in 2019. This season she’s ranked 9th. Jimmie Smith-Tew of McDade, Texas, just got married in May. She is ranked 15th in the standings and every penny she wins here can help her return to the NFR after missing last year. Sarah Rose Waguespack is another former NFR barrel racer. She made a big splash a few years ago as Sarah Rose McDonald riding a roan mare called Bling. She married world champion steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack and is back barrel racing at the highest level on a grandson of Bling.