Boasting names like Kody Lostroh, Will Lowe, Trevor Brazile, Stran Smith, Luke Branquinho and Sherry Cervi — just to name a few — the lineup card for the July 4 championship round of rodeo at the 2013 Greeley Stampede lived up to the annual event’s reputation.
One of the top 25 rodeos in the country, the competition offered nearly $300,000 in prize money and the prestige of a coveted buckle from a 91-year-old tradition.
Winning it once is an accomplishment.
Winning it multiple times is a big deal.
“Oh heck, being able to do good at those rodeos once is a blessing,” Texas bareback cowboy Will Lowe said about competing in large venues like the Greeley Stampede.
Lowe’s opinion mattered, since he picked up his second Greeley title with an 84-point ride in the championship round aboard Red Bandana.
“Being able to be successful there multiple times is just icing on the cake,” he said.
Asked about the satisfaction of besting a huge field of competitors, Lowe had a ready reply.
“That’s the great thing about these big rodeos,” answered the three-time PRCA world champ. “The competition is so tough at them. You take the top 50 guys in the PRCA and any one of them can jump out there and beat you any day. You’ve got to stay sharp if you want to stay on top.”
Oklahoma steer wrestler Billy Etbauer didn’t stay on top at the Greeley Stampede.
A better way to describe his 3.9-second run in hot and humid weather at the short go would be catapulting to the top.
Etbauer was outside the top-five coming into the final round, but drew a strong steer and made the best of it. Once finished, he waited and watched the rest of the field fail to keep pace in order win his first Greeley Stampede buckle and the big check that came with it.
“I knew that steer would run a little bit harder than everything else there,” described Etbauer of his draw. “I knew if I wanted a chance to win, I was going to have to jump out there and try to put the pressure on everybody else to make them try to run at the barrier a little bit more.”
Questioned whether his final round 3.9-second time surprised him, Etbauer came clean.
“Yeah, especially on that steer,” he admitted. “I didn’t know if I could catch him quick enough to be 3.9 on him, so I was a little shocked that I did catch him quick enough to be that fast.”
After team ropers Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith earned their buckle against a solid lineup, the crowd wondered if Brazile could double their fun with another buckle in the Tie Down roping, this time against a lineup loaded with heavyweights like Stran Smith, Cody Ohl and Scott Kormos.
Brazile held up his end of the bargain with a solid 8.4-second effort and a taste of first place, but Kormos arrived at the final round with a lead and made it stand after his victorious 9.8-second run.
“It felt great,” said Kormos about holding off a lineup of accomplished opponents. “Trevor roped before me and Cody Ohl roped before me. I kind of had a little bit of a lead coming in and I had a pretty good calf, so I knew I had to just go make a good run and I could come out on top.”
Continuing the discussion, Kormos praised the Greeley rodeo.
“To win a rodeo like Greeley, with the competition we had out here, yeah, it’s awesome,” he finished with certainty.
For a rookie barrel racer from Colorado, it was awesome just to compete in the Greeley Stampede. But when 18-year-old Randi Timmons ran a personal best of 17.40-seconds in her initial round to qualify for the July 4th championship, awesome took on a whole new meaning.
“I can’t lie to you, I was so nervous,” revealed Timmons about competing for big money against NFR-caliber contestants in one of the bigger rodeos of the summer. “I was trying to tell myself just to have fun, but it’s a lot of pressure. I told myself I’d go in there and keep a clean pattern and that’s exactly what happened.”
That clean pattern in front of an enthusiastic crowd was fifth best of the short go, giving Timmons seventh place in the average along with a boatload of memories.
“It was amazing,” she described of her experience, relating how she had Sherry Cervi’s autograph inside her hat while she competed against Cervi in Greeley. “It was pretty unreal being able to run with that kind of competition. It was just the time of my life. This is a tough rodeo and it sure has meant a lot to me that I got to make it back to the short round and win that money.”
Colorado bull rider Kody Lostroh is used to making short rounds and winning money, something he did more of in Greeley.
Although no one made a successful bull ride during the championship round, Lostroh won the event as a result of his 90-point score coming into the final.
While it wasn’t how he wanted to win, the humble cowboy still appreciated competing in his home state and earning a buckle at the tradition-rich event.
“It’s always great to ride in front of a home state,” said Lostroh after the bull riding was complete. “It’s a great time. I love the 4th of July run and being part of the Greeley Stampede in front of my home state. It was perfect.”
Greeley Stampede officials thought it was pretty good, as well.
“We had a really good turnout as far visitors from last year to this year,” stated Andy Segal, the media and communications manager for the Greeley Stampede, as he related attendance increases for 2013 that were on top of 2012’s increases. “Overall, the weather was good, the reception was great. As far I was concerned, it was a great week of rodeo.”
When the biggest names in the sport show up at your venue every year, it’s always a good week of rodeo. ❖
Greeley Stampede Average Winners:
Bareback – Will Lowe (173.0/2)
Steer Wrestling – Trell Etbauer (8.3/2)
Team Roping – Trevor Brazile & Patrick Smith (11.9/2)
Saddle Bronc – Chad Ferley (171.0/2)
Tie Down Roping – Scott Kormos (27.4/3)
Barrel Racing – Kelli Tolbert (34.74/2)
Bull Riding – Kody Lostroh (90.0/1)