Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Today is the final opportunity for any contestant to advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals. In the bareback riding, there are a bunch of rising stars including Rocker Steiner who just won the Calgary Stampede, is leading the Resistol Rookie of the Year race and is headed to his first NFR. The high school reserve champion, Jacek Frost is also on the list as well as Keenan Hayes who did well here the first time he entered, in 2021. Tim O’Connell will be trying to win his third CFD championship. He is the reigning champ. Other NFR qualifiers Caleb Bennett and Tilden Hooper will be doing their best to finish among the top half of the contestants and stay here through Sunday’s rodeo.
The reigning saddle bronc riding champion Stetson Wright will be here along with former champion Wade Sundell and Stetson’s older brother Ryder. Wyoming native Tanner Butner could have the ride of his life today. Butner who lives at Daniel is in the 15th spot in the world standings. If he is among the top six today and advances to Sunday, he would be the first Wyoming resident to win a saddle bronc riding title here since 2005 when Bryce Miller won it. Butner is a native. Miller claimed Wyoming as home while he was competing and spent much of his time with the Forbes family at Kaycee. Regardless, Butner is proud to represent the “Cowboy State,” and will be doing his best to keep the bronc riding title at home.
There is only one former CFD champ in the bull riding and it happens to be Ky Hamilton who won here last year. The native of Australia is traveling with Stetson Wright who came up short in this event. Garrett Smith has done well here almost every year he has competed and this year is no exception. The former high school rodeo all-around champion loves the western atmosphere and the big open arena. Cody Teel won the world title in 2015, the same year he got married. He is now a father, and while his focus has been on the PBR, he is very grateful to be doing well here and wants that momentum to continue today. He has been to the NFR five times, and has countless wins to his credit, but has yet to get the prestigious buckle from the “Daddy.”
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing
Riley Webb is extremely happy he had the opportunity to compete at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The tie-down roper from Denton, Texas is one spot out of the top 15 that qualify for the NFR. That could change today. Riley is less than $1,000 out of the top 15 and is leading the Resistol Rookie of the Year race. He could increase his lead in that category and put himself in better position in the world standings with a win here.
Haven Meged grew up in Miles City, Montana, working cattle and basically being a working cowboy. Those skills have transferred over to the arena where he is one of the top tie-down ropers. The 2019 college and world champion will be trying to win his first CFD title. Tyson Durfey is another world champion hoping to cash in here. Durfey is a social media influencer that mentors others and is always looking for ways to improve.
Today’s team roping will see Paul David Tierney trying to win a title here and go down in history as the first from his rodeo family. His father, Paul Tierney, is a former world champion, his brother Jess will be here on Sunday in the steer roping. At the end of Sunday’s rodeo, there could be some bragging rights at stake. Chad Masters won the team roping here in 2009 with Jade Corkill who has already qualified for Sunday’s championships. This year Chad is roping with Paul Eaves. Both have two world championships to their credit and can be a very exciting team to watch.
Most of the fans won’t recognize Turner Harris who will be heading for Matt Kasner. Harris comes from a ranching family in North Dakota, mainly goes to circuit rodeos, but loves Cheyenne. He has roped here multiple times and has made the final round nearly every time he has come to Cheyenne. The big arena, long score and big cattle are perfect for this ranch cowboy.
The steer wrestling is full of talent starting with Trell Etbauer who is in the top 25 in the world standings, is a former all-around here and is trying to be the first of his bronc riding family to qualify for the NFR in a timed event. A win here would give him a significant boost in the standings and get his children each a buckle from the “Daddy.” Will Lummus is second in the world standings and is looking for his first gold buckle. The four-time NFR qualifier knows what it takes to be an athlete and take care of his body. His wife is a pharmacist and he is a certified physical therapist.
The reigning college champion is hoping to turn his professional season around here today. Walt Arnold won the title in Casper in June and is 43rd in the world. If he is among the top 6 today and advances to Sunday’s finals, he could win a college title and CFD championship the same year just like J.D. Struxness did in 2016. Struxness is also in the field and looking for his second CFD buckle
Taylor Hanchey was the first woman to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo racing and the National Finals Breakaway Roping. She competed in barrel racing in 2013 and 2015, but prior to 2013 considered herself more of a roper than a barrel racer. She hasn’t found her next great barrel racing horse, so she began roping again and qualified in breakaway last season. Her husband Shane won the tie-down roping title here in 2018 and she’d love to add her own to the family trophy room. Bradi Good qualified for the Finals last year in both breakaway and barrel racing. She missed the cutoff in barrels this year but has another shot in breakaway. Her dad Shay Good won the CFD steer roping title in 2015.
Lisa Lockhart was the barrel racing champion here at in 2015. She’s qualified for 15 consecutive and the South Dakota native is always a fan favorite. She is 23rd in the world standings and any money she wins here will help her get to a 16th NFR. Another fan favorite is Emily Beisel. The Oklahoman has qualified for the last three NFRs and rides horses that are known for their calm demeanor at the start. Shy-Anne Jarrett and her husband, tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett, are both competing today. Shy-Anne is in the barrel racing and Ryan is in the tie-down roping. If things go their way, they could have a chance to become the first spouses to win CFD titles in the same year.