TUNES ON THE TERRACE TICKETS

July 19-28, 2024

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COWBOYS TO WATCH

Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding

Saddle bronc riding is known as the classic event of rodeo and was one of the first included in Cheyenne Frontier Day’s rodeo. Today’s event promises to be exciting with second-generation stars making a bid for their own CFD buckle.

Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alberta is one of the winningest bronc riders going down the road today. The eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier is currently third in the world standings. He has three world titles to his credit including the one he earned in Las Vegas last December. Zeke is following in his father’s footsteps and they both have Wyoming ties. He went to college in Sheridan. His father Skeeter Thurston went to Casper. While Zeke has earned titles across the U.S. and Canada, CFD’s has eluded him. Skeeter never won the saddle bronc riding here either, but he did win the rookie bronc riding in 1982.

Rod Hay won this rodeo in 2000 and now he has two sons trying to get that buckle for the family. Logan rode in the first performance and is advancing to the Semi Finals. Today it is Dawson’s turn. The three-time NFR qualifier is coming off of a big win at the Calgary Stampede and is hoping that momentum continues at Frontier Park. He is currently fifth in the world standings and will be working towards the family’s first gold buckle at the NFR in December.

Also look for Wild West Wade Sundell to make his mark in the arena. Sundell tied for the title here in 2013 and would like to see his name alone at the top of the leaderboard. Sundell has been riding bucking horses in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association since 2007 and a stop at CFD has been part of his schedule for most of those years. He is among the top 40 in the world standings and a win here could give him a big boost.

Jess Pope is the reigning world champion bareback rider after finishing third in 2020 and second in 2021. Pope, from Waverly, Kansas, went to school at Missouri Valley College which has produced the likes of Tim O’Connell and Tanner Aus. He is currently 12th in the world standings and has some ground to make up. A win here would add his name to the list of MVU athletes that have won titles here. He is known for his positive outlook and lives by the saying, “The view from the windshield is a lot bigger than the one from the rearview mirror.”

Today’s bull riding sees the second group of contestants making the first of two performances. Among them is the reigning and two-time college champion Tristan Hutchings. Hutchings also qualified for last years’ NFR and finished third in the world standings. He is currently eighth in the world and is on track to be back in Vegas in December.

Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing

Rodeo action at Frontier Park started on July 15th with qualifying competition. That was where a jaw-dropping record-setting tie-down roping run was set on Monday, July 17. Tyler Milligan from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, stopped the clock in 9.3 seconds and won $5,172 to jump start his Cheyenne Frontier Days. Milligan is riding a mare that he bought from Ryan Thibodeaux who tied for the win here last year with Cory Solomon who is also competing here today. Tyson Durfey, the 2016 world champion is also in the mix. He has cut back his rodeos and is working as a coach and mentor for rodeo athletes.

Linsay Rosser Sumpter is playing double duty in her rodeo career. The Fowler, Colorado, resident has qualified for the Quarter Finals in breakaway roping, a spot she is very thankful to be in. She also has two full-time jobs, first as a rodeo coach at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado and also as the commissioner of Women’s Rodeo World Championships which are produced in part by the Professional Bull Riders. Sumpter has made the finals here before and is looking to be there again this year.

Jess Tierney, another rodeo coach, has also advanced to the Quarter Finals in team roping. He oversees the rodeo program at Western Oklahoma State College. He will be roping here today with Jett Hillman who grew up in Sterling, Colorado, and now also lives in Oklahoma.

Barrel racing will see former NFR qualifier Tracy Nowlin who has been known for years for training her own horses. She will be on one of those today, a mare known as Dolly that she found on Facebook as a rope horse prospect for her son. When that didn’t work out, she followed her instincts and started her on barrels. Dolly is the mare that she went to the NFR on. She is 36th in the world standings and a win here would improve that position significantly. The rodeo committee is working hard here to keep ground conditions even and safe for barrel racers and are working the ground midway through the competition daily. Jessica Routier will be running at the top of the ground after the drag and we expect her to have a fast time. Routier is a former college champion and has qualified for the NFR for five consecutive years. Her qualifications started in 2018 and have come aboard Fiery Miss West, a 12-year-old mare known as Missy.

Steer wrestling is always exciting at Frontier Park and today promises to live up to its reputation. Along with several up and comers, the 2019 world champion Ty Erickson from Montana has yet to win a title here. Erickson was 6.1 in the qualifying competition and added $2,991 to his earnings. One of those rising stars is Walt Arnold, the 2022 college champion. He competed at the CNFR representing Tarleton State University shortly after graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice.