July 19-28, 2024
From three bareback riding champions to unheralded first-time winners to repeat champions to arena records, Championship Sunday at the 127th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) was a day to remember.
The record-setting day began in the bareback riding when, for the just the third time since the event began here in 1936, three cowboys were crowned champions at the “Daddy of ‘em All.” Louisiana’s Kade Sonnier, Wyoming’s Cole Reiner and California’s Clayton Biglow shared the winning stage after they each scored 87.5 points. Biglow won the title here in 2019; Sonnier is a rookie competing here for the first time and Reiner, who grew up in Buffalo and attended college in Sheridan and Casper, has three Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifications since turning pro in 2019.
Both Sonnier and Reiner felt lucky to even have a chance at the title. CFD advances 12 contestants to the finals in each event, but in the rough stock events those who tie for sixth also advance. Of the 14 bareback riders who competed on Sunday, Sonnier and Reiner were two of the three who advanced on a tie in Semi Finals 1.
Joey Williams, a rancher from Volberg, Montana, won the breakaway roping with a time of 3.8 seconds. The mom of three is a former collegiate champion who has qualified for the National Finals Breakaway Roping twice. Williams, who earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of South Dakota, won nearly $20,000 in Frontier Park.
Luke Potter of Maple City, Kansas, ranked 24th in the tie-down roping world standings when Cheyenne Frontier Days began. He started in the qualifying round July 17 on a borrowed horse since his main mount was injured last month and did well enough to qualify for the Quarter Finals last Thursday. On Wednesday he purchased an experienced roping horse called Katniss and finished third with both his quarter-final and semi-final runs. His time of 10.6 seconds on Sunday gave him the CFD title as well as a big boost in the standings which could put him in contention for his first NFR berth.
The CFD record in saddle bronc riding had been 91 points since Louisiana’s Cody DeMoss set it in 2010 and it took another Louisianan to break the record. Ryder Sanford of Sulphur bested the mark by one and a half points when he scored 92.5 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ horse named The Black Tie. Sanford, who ranked 24th in the world when the rodeo began, was thrilled to win the championship here in the same year as Sonnier. They competed together on the McNeese State University rodeo team in their home state where Sanford earned a degree in civil engineering.
Texas team ropers Billy Bob Brown of Carbon and Kirby Blankenship of Lampasas may not be household names, but their time of 8.0 seconds gave them the CFD championship. The duo spent most of the past four years competing part time at rodeos and stand-alone ropings near home. They decided to make a month-long trip to major rodeos this month and success here has them altering their plans and staying on the rodeo trail.
Eli Lord of Sturgis, South Dakota, became the first of three men to win a repeat championship here. Some of Lord’s earliest memories are of Cheyenne Frontier Days as his father J.B. competed here for more than two decades, coming close but never winning a title. Lord took an early lead in the steer wrestling with a time of 5.9 seconds Sunday, then watched the rest of the field, including two world champions, try unsuccessfully to best his time. Lord, the 2019 winner, earned his second CFD championship.
Cheyenne Frontier Days steer roping runs in Troy Tillard’s veins. His grandfather competed here for the first time 80 years ago. “As a kid we worked all summer and got to spend the (rodeo) week in Cheyenne,” Tillard said. “Cheyenne is a huge deal for most rodeo people, but for our family it’s like 10 times.”
Tillard’s uncle Marty won the steer roping title here in 1991; his father Tim won the senior steer roping championship in 2010; and Troy won his first CFD title in 2004. Nineteen years later he was back on the winner’s platform with a 14.6-second run.
Records also fell in the barrel racing. Summer Kosel of Glenham, South Dakota, broke the long-standing record for the fastest barrel racing time here in 2022 with a 17.02-second run. On Sunday, she broke her own record with a 16.97 and it looked like she was on track to win the championship. But Sue Smith of Blackfoot, Idaho, and her mare Dashs Centerfold had other plans. They beat Kosel’s time by .08 seconds and set a new record with a time of 16.89 to win the championship.
This was the first time for Smith to run Centerfold in Frontier Park and “she likes it,” Smith said. A trainer of futurity horses who generally competes at rodeos in the Wilderness Circuit, Smith earned more than $200,000 at futurities on Centerfold and has won a similar amount at futurities on one of the sorrel mare’s colts.
Seven of the 12 bull riders made qualified rides in the finals with Tyler Taylor of Stephenville, Texas, taking the lead when he scored 89 points on Stace Smith Rodeo’s bull named Tom Horn. Stetson Wright of Beaver, Utah, who was the 2019 bull riding champion here, bumped Taylor to second with a 91.5-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s bull Trump Train. The closest anyone came to Wright’s score was an 89.5 by Josh Frost of Randlett, Utah on Stace Smith’s Let’s Gamble.
Wright, the two-time world champion bull rider, won the bull riding here as a rookie in 2019 and added another CFD bull riding title to his trophy case this year. Wright won the saddle bronc riding at CFD the past two years and also won the all-around title in both 2019 and 2022. Although he missed qualifying for the finals in saddle bronc riding in 2023, he earned enough in that event, when added to his bull riding winnings, to take home the CFD all-around championship for the third time.
Other champions at Frontier Park included Slade Keith of Stanfield, Arizona, who earned the Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding Championship on Saturday, and Team Agin who were crowned Wild Horse Race champions for the third time.
The 128th edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days will be held July 19-28, 2024, at Frontier Park.
Bareback Riding – (tie) Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif., $10,225
Kade Sonnier, Carencro, La., $9,298
Cole Reiner, Buffalo, Wyo., $8,074
Breakaway Roping – Joey Williams, Volberg, Mont., $19,589
Tie-Down Roping – Luke Potter, Maple City, Kan., $15,737
Saddle Bronc Riding – Ryder Sanford, Sulphur, La., $12,114
Team Roping – Billy Bob Brown, Carbon, Texas, and Kirby Blankenship, Lampasas, Texas, $10,600 each
Steer Roping – Troy Tillard, Douglas, Wyo., $11,291
Barrel Racing – Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, $14,296
Bull Riding – Stetson Wright, Beaver, Utah, $15,133
Rookie Bronc Riding – Slade Keith, Stanfield, Ariz., $1,543
All-Around – Stetson Wright, $15,722 in saddle bronc and bull riding
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 29, 2023)- The following are unofficial results from Championship Sunday at the 127th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Sunday, July 30.
Bareback Riding: 1, (tie) Kade Sonnier, Carencro, La., on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ MLW’s Irish Eyes; Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif., on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ Atomic Blonde; and Cole Reiner, Buffalo, Wyo., on New Star Pro Rodeo’s Chosen One, 87.5 points, $6,470 each. 4, Ben Kramer, Max, N.D., 87, $3,065. 5, (tie) Waylon Bourgeois, Church Point, La., and Leighton Berry, Weatherford, Texas, 86.5, $1,022 each.
Breakaway Roping: 1, Joey Williams, Volberg, Mont., 3.8 seconds, $11,966. 2, Martha Angelone, Stephenville, Texas, 3.9, $9,065. 3, Shayla Hall, Belle Fourche, S.D., 4.0, $6,527. 4, Brandy Schaack, Chadron, Neb., 4.4, $4,351. 5 Bryana Lehrmann, Lexington, Texas, 4.5, $2,538. 6, Cassidy Boggs, Stephenville, Texas, 4.7, $1,813.
Tie Down Roping: 1, Luke Potter, Maple City, Kansas, 10.6, $9,200. 2, (tie) John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, and Britt Bedke, Oakley, Utah, 10.9, $7,400 each. 4, Marcos Costa, Tolar, Texas, 11.2, $5,600. 5, Carsyn Sunvision, McDade, Texas,12.0, $4,400. 6, Taylor Santos, Creston, Calif, 13.0, $3,200. 7. Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, 14.6, $2,000. 8. Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont., 15.7, $800.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Ryder Sanford, Sulphur, La., 92.5 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Black Tie, $8,068. 2, (tie) Q Taylor, Casper, Wyo., and Sage Newman, Melstone, Mont., 89.5, $5,256 each. 4, Lefty Holman, Visalia, Calif., 88.5, $2,933. 6, Stu Wright, Coalville, Utah, 85.5, $1,711. 7, Cameron Messier, Herald, Cali., 85.5, $1,222.
Team Roping: 1, Billy Bob Brown, Carbon, Texas, and Kirby Blankenship, Lampasas, Texas, 8.0 seconds, $9,200. 2, Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, Ga., and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil, 8.2, $8,000. 3, Bubba Buckaloo, Kingston, Okla., and J.R. Gonzales, Maypearl, Texas, 9.0, $6,800. 4, Clayton Van Aken, Yoder, Wyo., and Cullen Teller, Ault, Colo., 9.5, $5,600. 5, Edgar Aguilar, Greeley, Colo., Edgar Villegas, Denver, Colo., 10.6, $4,400. 6. Jr. Dees, Aurora, S.D., and Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas; Billy Bob Brown, Carbon, Texas, 13.2, $3,200. 7, Andrew Ward, Edmond, Okla., and Buddy Hawkins II, Stephenville, Texas, 14.6, $2,000. 8. Corben Culley, Muse, Okla., and Blayne Horn, McAlester, Okla., 14.8, $800.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D, 5.9 seconds, $6,900. 2, Tristan Martin, La, 6.6, $6,000. 3, Walt Arnold, Coleman, Texas, 6.7, $5,100. 4, Tate Petrak, Martin, S.D., 6.8, $4,200. 5. (tie) Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., and Cameron Moorman, Glen Ullin, N.D., 7.3, $2,850 each. 7. (tie) Chisum Docheff, Mead, Colo., and Newt Novich, Twin Bridges, Mont., 7.5, $1.050 each.
Steer Roping: 1. Troy Tillard, Douglas, Wyo., 14.6 seconds, $11,291. 2. Duck Benson, Worden, Mont., 15.5, $9,597. 3. Paul Tierney, Oklahoma City, Okla., 16.4, $7,904. 4, Tuff Hardman, Atoka, Oka., 16.80, $6,775. 5. Austin Posey, Jourdanton, Texas, 18.0, $5,645. 6, Don Eddleman, 20.90, $3,952.
Barrel Racing: 1, Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 16.89, $10,495. 2, Summer Kosel, Glenham, S.D., 16.97, $8,685. 3, Kassie Mowry, Dublin, Texas, 17.16, $6,876. 4, Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo, 17.54, $5,066. 5, Tarryn Lee, St. David, Ariz., 17.55, $3,257. 6, Taycie Matthews, Wynne, Ark., 17.56, $1,809.
Bull Riding: 1, Stetson Wright, Milford, 91.5 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Trump Train, 8,334. Josh Frost, Randlett, Utah, 89.5, $6,314. 3, Tristen Hutchings, Monteview, Idaho, 89.0, $4,546. 4, Trey Holston, Fort Scott, Kansas, 87.0, $3,030. 5, Parker Breding, Edgar Mont., 86.5, $1,768. 6, Riggin Shippy, 86.0, $1,262.
Wild Horse Race: 1, Cowboy Chaos, $880. 2, Team Agin, $660. 3, CLS Team, $440. 4, Wagon Burners, $220. (Total money) 1, Team Agin, $4,510. 2, Cowboy Chaos, $3,382. 3, CLS Team, $2,255. 4, Wagon Burners, $1,127.
Idaho’s Sue Smith won her first Cheyenne Frontier Days title aboard her great mare that she calls Centerfold on Sunday. The duo also set a new arena record with a blazing fast time of 17.89. PRCA photo by Click Thompson
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — July 29, 2018 — It’s been 86 years since a saddle bronc rider won back-to-back championships at Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD), but local favorite Brody Cress was not intimidated by history.
The 22-year-old from nearby Hillsdale won his hometown rodeo in 2017, an accomplishment that fueled the rest of his season and helped him win his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo championship last December. Cress is sponsored by CFD and proudly wears the legendary rodeo’s iconic arrowhead logo on his chaps and his shirts. “There’s no other rodeo I’d want to represent,” he said.
Last year he came into Championship Sunday in second place and had to ride two broncs after being awarded a re-ride. He won the title by half a point. This year he came in with the overall lead and had to wait on Texan Wyatt Casper’s re-ride to see if his lead would hold for his second, record-setting CFD Championship. The crowd of 12,401 erupted with cheers and were on their feet when Cress took his victory lap around the arena.
The biggest money winner at the 122nd “Daddy of ‘em All” was steer wrestler Levi Rudd. The Chelsea, Oklahoma, cowboy earned $21,396. When the day began he had already collected more than $11,000 in the first and second rounds. He added nearly $900 for fourth place in the final round and about $9,500 for winning the overall championship by 1.1 second.
Rudd had competed at CFD twice in the past but had never done well. “I was happy after I won the first round since I’d never done any good here,” he said. Rudd started the week ranked 50th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) steer wrestling standings. He more than doubled his season earnings after his win here and jumped about 20 spots in the standings.
Three-time world champion bareback rider Will Lowe started the day in sixth place, but an 88-point ride on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Black Tie earned the Canyon, Texas, cowboy his third CFD championship and nearly $16,000. He previously won here in 2009 and 2012. Lowe, who has qualified for 14 National Finals Rodeos (NFR) is grateful to still be riding at the highest level 10 years after winning his first title in Frontier Park.
“It’s so awesome to be able to still be here, riding with these guys and still be competitive,“ he said. The win here should help his quest for a 15th NFR berth.
Lowe joins three legendary cowboys – Jim Shoulders, Joe Alexander and Clint Corey – as the only ones to win three bareback riding championships here.
Idaho bull rider Ruger Piva has accomplished something in the past year that many bull riders never will in their entire careers. Last September Piva, now 23, won the Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon. This week he competed for the first time at CFD, rode all three of his bulls and left with more than $10,000 in prize money and a Cheyenne Frontier Days title. The 23-year-old former high school and college wrestler can now claim wins at two of the most historic and prestigious rodeos in North America.
“If you had told me two years ago that I would win Pendleton and Cheyenne within a year, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Piva said. “Cheyenne felt a lot bigger than I expected. I hid in the ready room and watched the action on the tv screen.
He received congratulations from four-time world champion J.W. Harris, who finished second. As Harris walked away, Piva asked Harris for an autograph. “He’s one of my heroes,” Piva explained.
For the second year, weather affected the Championship Sunday competition. Last year it rained, but this year a tornado warning issued during the rodeo resulted in a weather delay of about 20 minutes. When competition resumed, rain and hail came down, particularly during the barrel racing.
World champion Nellie Miller and her horse Rafter W Minnie Reba, that she calls “Sister,” were on the course during some of the worst of the weather, but the California duo made a solid run. Although they did not win money in the final round, their total time of 53.21 seconds earned Miller the championship. She won $19,530 and helped boost her lead in the 2018 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) standings. Miller and her father, Sam Williams, raised and trained Sister, who got her name because she is a half-sister to the horse Miller rode to her first NFR in 2010.
Second-generation rodeo athlete Brodie Poppino of Big Cabin, Oklahoma, came into Championship Sunday ranked fifth in steer roping. It was the first time he qualified for Championship Sunday in seven years of trying.
Poppino won the final round by nearly six seconds, riding his 22-year-old horse named Shaggy, a full brother to the horse his mother, Tana Poppino, rode to qualify for the NFR in barrel racing. “He stays in the pasture most of the year and about a month before we start legging him up for Cheyenne,” Poppino said.
“This is one of the most prestigious, one of the oldest rodeos in the world. It’s called “The Daddy” for a reason,“ he said. “Everybody wants to win this one. It’s a dream come true.”
Tie-down roper Shane Hanchey credits his horse Si, the 2017 horse of the year, for helping him come from seventh place to win his first CFD title. The former world champion and eight-time NFR qualifier had the second-fastest time on Sunday. Although he did not place in the first two rounds, he earned more than $13,000.
“I never really dreamed of winning this rodeo,” he said. “I weigh 140 pounds. All I’ve ever heard since I was about four years old is how big the calves were and how little people didn’t fare very well (at Cheyenne). I don’t show emotions very much, but this win’s got me shook up.”
Coming from the middle of the field to take the title was a trend in the roping events. Tennessee’s Chad Masters and Oklahoma’s Joseph Harrison were sixth in team roping when the day began, but out-paced the rest to win the final round. Their total time of 26.4 earned Masters his second CFD title (his first was in 2009) and Harrison his first.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, won his eighth CFD championship when he took home the all-around title for the fourth time. He has also won a team roping and three steer roping championships at CFD.
Three 2017 CFD Champions have a chance to defend their titles- saddle bronc rider Brody Cress, team roping header, Erich Rogers, team roping heeler, Cory Petska (Rogers and Petska are now roping with different partners)
Today’s field includes 13 more former CFD champions: Tanner Aus (bareback-2015), Will Lowe (bareback- 2009, 2012), Jacobs Crawley (saddle bronc- 2016), Nick Guy (steer wrestling- 2015), Chad Masters (team roping header- 2009), Derrick Begay (team roping header- 2010), Clint Cooper (tie-down roping- 2004), Scott Kormos (tie-down roping-2013), Sherry Cervi (1995), Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi (barrel racing- 2007), Lisa Lockhart (barrel racing- 2015), Matt Herbbert (competing in steer roping, rookie saddle bronc- 2003) Jarrett Blessing (steer roping- 2016)
2008 CFD bull riding champion Steve Woolsey will not be competing. He broke his leg in Deadwood, S.D.
Wyoming will be cheering for three of their own cowboys, steer wrestler Miguel Garcia from Kaycee, bareback rider Seth Lee Hardwick who makes his home in Ranchester, and hometown hero, Brody Cress will be defending his title in saddle bronc riding.
Trevor Brazile virtually has the all-around title sewn up. None of the other contestants in the running have won money in two events.
Fourteen current or former world champions qualified for today’s finals.
Several bucking horses and bulls from different stock contractors in today’s draw were selected for the 2017 National Finals Rodeo.
None of today’s bull riders have won CFD titles.
Championship Sunday is a family affair in the team roping, barrel racing, saddle bronc, steer roping and tie-down roping.
Cory Petska (team roping heeler) and his wife Sherry Cervi (barrel racing)
Brothers Jacobs and Sterling Crawley (saddle bronc)
Rusty Wright will compete against his Uncle and 2014 World Champion Spencer Wright (saddle bronc)
Brothers Tuf Cooper (steer roping) and Clint Cooper (tie-down roping), sons of Roy Cooper (eight-time world champion and six-time CFD champion)
Former world (1985 -1086) and CFD (1998 – 1999) champion steer roper Jim Davis’ son, Bryce Davis will be competing in the steer roping.