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CHEYENNE, Wyo., July 29, 2023 A sold-out rodeo crowd of more than 15,000 watched the final contestants in the Semi Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals.

Saturday was filled with surprises during the rodeo in every event. The bareback riding win went to reigning world champion Jess Pope from Waverly, Kansas. Pope got on the Three Hills Rodeo horse named Short Stuff Bucks for 86.5 points. That gives him the opportunity to win the title here for the first time. While seeing Pope do well here is no surprise, watching his friend and traveling partner Tim O’Connell come up short was. O’Connell nearly bucked off before the eight-second buzzer but managed to score 79, just short of qualifying for Sunday’s finals. The Zwingle, Iowa, native is a three-time world champion and a three-time champion here. He has won the last two titles in Frontier Park and was hoping to make it three in a row.

In the breakaway roping KeAnn Hayes was the first competitor out, put her name at the top of the leaderboard and it stayed there. The Blanchard, Oklahoma, cowgirl had a time of 3.5 seconds and will be hoping to add her name to the history books as a champion at the “Daddy of ‘em All.”

Jake Pratt may be from Ellensburg, Washington, but winning the tie-down roping here would be really special for him. After graduating from high school, he moved to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming. He qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo while in Laramie and has fond memories from the Cowboy State. He had the fastest time on Saturday at 12.3 seconds and will rope again on Sunday.

South Dakota’s Cole Elshere and Lefty Holman who grew up in California tied in the saddle bronc riding. Elshere rode the Summit Pro Rodeo horse named Big John. Holman got on United Pro Rodeo’s Awesome Sauce. When the judges added up their scores, they each had an 85 by their names. Both have qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo but have yet to win a title here.

There was also a tie in Saturday’s team roping at 8.9 seconds and all four men hale from Oklahoma. Curry Kirchner from Ames did the heading for Billy Jack Saebens from Nowata to set the pace. Three teams later, Corben Culley (header) from Muse, and Blayne Horne (heeler) from McAlester had an identical time.

Dakota Eldridge, a nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo steer wrestler, won Semi Finals 2 at the 127th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Saturday. The Nevada cowboy stopped the clock in 6.6 seconds and will be trying to win his first championship in Frontier Park at Sunday’s Championship Finals.

PRCA Photo by Jackie Jensen

The winner in the steer wrestling was Dakota Eldridge from Elko, Nevada. The nine-time NFR qualifier stopped the clock in 6.6 seconds and has a chance to win his first buckle from Cheyenne. Eldridge got to see his nephew, Lefty Holman, win in the saddle bronc riding.

Leslie Smalygo of Skiatook, Okla., finished as Cheyenne Frontier Days reserve champion barrel racer last year. She’s making a bid for the title this year as she won Semi Finals 2 on Saturday with a time of 17.27 seconds, advancing her to Sunday’s finals.

PRCA photo by Click Thompson

Leslie Smalygo finished as the reserve champion in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel race here last year. She had the fast time on Saturday and the Skiatook, Oklahoma resident will be a favorite for the championship.

When bull riders get hurt, there may be an option for a healthy rider to take his place. That’s what happened in the bull riding. Bryce Jensen, a recent high school graduate from Huntsville, Texas, competed in the Quarter Finals, advanced to the Semi Finals where he was the winner on Saturday. He scored 89.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Redneck Romeo and will compete for the title on Sunday. If he wins, he will be one of the youngest CFD champions on record.

Stetson Wright, from Beaver, Utah, who won the last two saddle bronc riding titles in Frontier Park won’t be able to repeat. He rode here in that event on Saturday and fell short of the top six scores that advance. He was among Friday’s bull riders and will have an opportunity to win that title for the second time in his career. He also is a favorite to win the prestigious all-around award that goes to the contestant who wins the most money in more than one event.

Rodeo action at Frontier Park starts at 12:45 on Sunday where champions in all of these events will be crowned.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 29, 2023)- The following are unofficial results from Semi Finals  (eighth performance) and Finals qualifiers at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Saturday, July 28.

Bareback Riding: 1, Jess Pope, Waverly, Kan.,  86.5 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Short Stuff Bucks, $3,144. 2, Waylon Bourgeois, Church Point, La., 85.5, $2,182. 3, Kade Berry, Weatherford, Texas, 84.5, $ 1,715. 4, (tie) Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, Canada, and Richmond Champion, Stevensville, Mont., 84, $905 each. 6, (tie) Trevan McAllister, Ronan, Mont., and Keenan Hayes, Hayden, Colo., 83.50, $238 each. Finals qualifiers:  Pope, Bourgeois, Kade Berry, Larsen, Champion, McAllister, Hayes, Donny Proffit, Diamondville, Wyo.; Ben Kramer, Max, N.D.; Jacek Frost, Browns Valley, Calif.; Kade Sonnier, Carencro, La.; Leighton Berry, Weatherford, Texas; Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif.; and Cole Reiner, Buffalo, Wyo.

Breakaway Roping: 1, KeAnn Hayes, Blanchard, Okla., 3.5 seconds, $5,983. 2, Joey Williams, Volberg, Mont., 3.8, $4,533. 3, Anna Callaway, Billings, Mont., 4.3, $3,263. 4, Misti Brown, Valentine, Neb., 4.8, $2,175. 5, Kayelen Helton, Stephenville, 5.2, $1,269. 6 , Brandy Schaack, Chadron, Neb., 5.4, $907. Finals qualifiers:  Hayes, Williams, Callaway, Brown, Helton, Schaack, Bryana Lehrmann, Lexington, Texas; Willow Wilson, Baggs, Wyo.; Bradi Good, Abilene, Texas; Shayla Hall, Belle Fourche, S.D.; Martha Angelone, Stephenville, Texas, and Cassidy Boggs, Stephenville, Texas.

Tie Down Roping: 1, Jake Pratt, Ellensberg, Wash., 12.3 seconds, $5,200. 2, Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, Texas, 13.5, $4,300. , 3, Carsyn Sunvision, McDade, Texas, 13.6, $3,400. 4, Trent Creager, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 13.7, $2,500. 5, (tie) John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, and Tate Thomas, Sterling City, Texas, 16.8, $ 1,250 each. Finals qualifiers:  Pratt, Hughes, Sunvision, Creager, Douch, Thomas, Taylor Santos, Creston, Calif.; Marcos Costa, Tolar, Texas; Quade Hiatt, Canyon, Texas; Luke Potter, Maple City, Kansas; Haven Meged, Miles City, Mont., and Britt Bedke, Oakley, Utah.

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, (tie) Lefty Holman, Visalia, Calif., United Pro Rodeo’s Awesome Sauce, and Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Big John, 85 points, $2,645 each. 3, Cameron Messier, Herald, Calif., 84.5, $1,642. 4, (tie) Stu Wright, Coalville, Utah; Dylan Hancock, Clarendon, Texas,  and Tegan Smith, Winterset, Iowa, 83.5, $730 each. Finals qualifiers:  Holman, Elshere, Messier, Wright, Hancock, Smith, Q Taylor, Casper, Wyo.; Sage Newman, Melstone, Mont.; Ryder Sanford, Sulphur, La.;  Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas;  Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, and Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D.

Team Roping: 1, (tie) Curry Kirchner, Ames, Okla., and Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla.; and Corben Culley, Muse, Okla., and Blayne Horn, McAlester, Okla., 8.9, $  each. 2, Andrew Ward, Edmond, Okla., and Buddy Hawkins II, Stephenville, Texas, 9.3, $ each. 4, Clayton Van Aken, Yoder, Wyo., and Cullen Teller, Ault, Colo., 9.4,  $2,500 each. 5, Mitch Barney, Blair, Neb., and J.W. Nelson, Alta, Iowa, 9.8, $1,600 each. 6, Edgar Aguilar, Greeley, Colo., Edgar Villegas, Denver, Colo., 10.2, $900 each. Finals qualifiers:  Kirchner and Saebens, Culley and Horn, Ward and Hawkins, Van Aken and Teller, Barney and Nelson, Aguilar and Villegas, Bubba Buckaloo, Kingston, Okla., and J.R. Gonzales, Maypearl, Texas; Matt Sherwood , Pima, Ariz., and Dylin Ahlstrom, Hooper, Utah; Jr. Dees, Aurora, S.D., and Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas; Billy Bob Brown, Carbon, Texas, and Kirby Blankenship, Lampasas, Texas; Kaleb Driggers, Hoboken, Ga., and Junior Nogueira, Presidente Prude, Brazil; and Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo.

Steer Wrestling: 1, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 6.6 seconds, $4,060. 2, Billy Boldon, Oglala, S.D., 7.6,  $3,360. 3, Walt Arnold, Coleman, Texas, 8.1, $2,660. 4, Chisum Docheff, Mead, Colo., 8.7, $1,960. 5, (tie) Tate Petrak, Martin, S.D., and Newt Novich, Twin Bridges, Mont., 8.8, $980 each. Finals qualifiers:  Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D.; Rowdy Parrott, Bellville, Texas; Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La.; Don Payne, ; Tristan Martin, La.; and Cameron Moorman, Glen Ullin, N.D.

Barrel Racing: 1, Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla., 17.27 seconds, $5,248. 2, Summer Kosel, Glenham, S.D., 17.28, $4,343. 3, Kassie Mowry, Dublin, Texas, 17.53, $3,438. 4, Tarryn Lee, St. David, Ariz., 17.56, $2,533 . 5, Michelle Merrick, Buckeye, Ariz., 17.61 seconds, $1,629. 6, Shyann Lucas, Jackson, Wyo., 17.65, $905. Finals qualifiers:  Smalygo, Kosel, Mowry, Lee, Merrick, Lucas, Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho; Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo.; Taycie Matthews, Wynne, Ark.; Wenda Johnson, Pawhuska, Okla.; Sharon Harrell, Wickenburg, Ariz., and Tara Seaton, Winslow, Ariz.

Bull Riding: 1, Bryce Jensen, Huntsville, Texas, 89.5 points on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Redneck Romeo,  $3,109. 2, Tristen Hutchings, Monteview, Idaho, 88.5, $2,355. 3, Garrett Smith, Rexberg, Idaho, 88, $1,696. 4, Ky Hamilton, Mackay, Queensland, Australia, 86, $1,131. 5, Josh Frost, Randlett, Utah, 85.5, $660 . 6, Riggin Shippy, Colome, S.D., 83.5, $471 . Finals qualifiers: Jensen, Hutchings, Smith, Hamilton, Frost, Shippy, Cannon Cravens, Porum, Okla.; Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Texas; Trey Holston, Fort Scott, Kansas; Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont.; Stetson Wright, Beaver, Utah, and Cullen Telfer, Plant City, Fla.

The following events do not have Semi Finals.

Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round winners) 1, Caleb Brangham, Big Piney, Wyo., 85 points, $1,242. 2, Hunter Greathouse, Santa Fe, Texas, 82, $941. 3, Lavern Borntreger, Elsmere, Neb., 79, $677. 4, (tie) Isaac Richard, Eunice, La.; Slade Keith, Stanfield, Ariz., and Denton Mars, Freedom, Okla., 78, $301 each. (second round winners) 1, Coleman Shallbetter, Gunnison, Colo., 82 points, $1,242. 2, (tie) Cauy Masters, Leon, Iowa, and Clancy Glenn, Parma, Idaho, 79, $810 each. 4, Caleb Newell, Vernon, Texas, 78, $452. 5, Blake Steuck, Hume, Mo., and Tayson Jones, Howes, S.D., 75, 4226 each. (overall winners – total on two) 1, Keith, 151 points, $1,242. 2, Newell, 148, $941. 3, Masters, 146, $677. 4, Richard, 145, $452. 5, Borntreger, 144, $263. 6, Glenn, 139, $188.

Wild Horse Race: 1, Team Roanhorse, $550. 2, Team Agin, $413. 3, Billy Scharton, $275. 4, NDN Outlaw, $137.50.


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