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Championship Rodeo at 87th Greeley Stampede

Lincoln RogersOregon cowboy Bobby Mote nailed 89 points in a wild Bareback ride aboard Molly Brown - good enough for the Greely Stampede buckle.

The 87th Annual Greeley Stampede bucked its way into town for 11 days over the Independence Day holiday, providing rodeo fans a look at the best cowboys in the PRCA. The large event with its 9,500-seat arena and its $400,000-plus purse is an attractive lure for competitors looking to bank a check and climb the standings. According to some of the top names in the rodeo profession, no cowboy wants to miss it.

“Greeley is one of the most prestigious rodeos over the Fourth of July,” said Bobby Mote, a 2-time World Champion bareback rider from Culver, Oregon. Mote put up 89 points in the final to win the round and the average at Greeley, which also helped him pocket almost $30,000 during the hectic late June/early July rodeo schedule nicknamed “Cowboy Christmas.”

“It’s a big rodeo (and) it’s tough competition with great horses,” Mote continued about Greeley. “So to be in the mix to win anything there is really an honor and to win it is pretty tremendous.”



Speaking of tremendous, the lineup of top-ranked cowboys in the final round read like a who’s who in rodeo. Asked how it felt to compete against such a tough draw, Mote had nothing but praise for the field of bareback riders that thrilled the crowd and started the competition off with a bang (including Ryan Gray, Royce Ford and Cimmaron Gerke).

“That’s why I like doing this,” Mote said with enthusiasm. “I thrive on getting to compete with that caliber of guys. You’re getting on the best horses against the best guys (and) that’s really a chance to kind of see what you’re made of. That’s a big reason of why I enjoy rodeoing is because I get to rodeo at this level.”



Another former champ pocketing money in Greeley was saddle bronc rider Billy Etbauer. A 5-time World Champion and 20-time NFR qualifier with almost $3,000,000 in career earnings, you might think the Stampede would be no big deal to Etbauer, but the veteran performer’s reduced schedule makes him happy to do well wherever he enters.

“I just feel blessed to be able to be back to (Greeley). I guess it’s been a year or two since I’ve even been to the rodeo and then to be able to make the short round it’s been quite a few years,” Etbauer revealed a few days later via telephone. “I was glad to be able to be back in the short round. I drew a good horse and was tickled to death that I rode one. The horse was really good and I’m just glad it all worked out.”

Asked regarding his successful career and his fresh victory in Greeley, the humble Oklahoma cowboy gave all the credit to God.

“I thank God for all the abilities that He’s given me and all the people that He’s sent my way,” said Etbauer with a soft voice and firm conviction. (My faith) is everything to my rodeo career. I can’t control anything. It’s going to come down the pike the way it’s going to come down,” he added. “I’m going to try my best to do what I can do, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll just pray that we can stay healthy and just try to keep riding better.”

Riding better was the name of the game for every contestant in the final round, despite the threat of poor weather throughout the day. After every bareback cowboy turned in a successful ride, the steer wrestlers kept the crowd going as five in a row notched runs of 5.4 seconds or faster. Following the big cowboys stopping steers, Etbauer wowed the crowd with his 86-point ride and a reminder of how world champions rise to the occasion.

As the skies turned dark and a steady rain began to fall, almost all the tie-down ropers made successful turns inside the large arena. Local Greeley cowboy Chase Johnston had a nice run of 10.00 seconds to brighten the bad weather, but Idahoan Nate Baldwin saved his best for last when he nailed down the victory with a very wet and very quick 8.7 seconds.

Showing World Champions are successful for a reason, Trevor Brazile and team roping partner Patrick Smith took home the buckle with 15.8 seconds on three head, the last one in rain and wind. Once the rain stopped and the sun made another appearance, the Barrel Racers entertained the crowd with fast times; but none faster than Shelley Morgan, who blew away the competition with an untouchable 17.18 seconds in the final. Last but not least, four Bull Riders were successful in the final round; with Marcus Michaelis taking the buckle home after his 86-point ride beat former world champ Dustin Elliott in Elliott’s recent return to PRCA action.

“This is my first year again rodeoing (in the PRCA),” said Elliott after a few years concentrating solely on the PBR. “I bought my card back and (Greeley) is the first big rodeo I’ve been to, so it felt real good to make the short round.”

When asked about his feelings after a second place finish in the Stampede, Elliott was happy to share his satisfaction.

“When you win a big check, it always feels good to go into the bank on Monday morning and be putting that in there,” he said with a big laugh, before revealing a new goal for the 2009 season. “I didn’t expect to maybe even try to make a run at the NFR this year, but the way things have been going with what I won there at Greeley, it’s definitely not out of the question, now,” added Elliott. “I’ve been riding really good, so Greeley has definitely kind of made my mind up that I might be trying to make a run at the NFR now. The NFR can make or break a season, so with a good check at Greeley, that kind of puts me into the run of things.”

The high profile and large purse make a big impact on any cowboy who makes the final round at the Greeley Stampede, a fact event officials are proud to acknowledge.

“It is great to know that the top professional cowboys (come) to Greeley every summer to participate in the Greeley Stampede,” said Justin Watada, Director of Marketing for the Greeley Stampede. “We try hard to put on a great show for the guests and cowboys. The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest weekends in the sport of rodeo and it is nice to know that every cowboy wants to be here for the finals.”

When asked about his thoughts about the Stampede occurring during the busy July 4 holiday schedule, Watada’s reply was definitive.

“We are extremely proud of our tagline, The World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo and Western Celebration,” he answered. “We work hard to put on a great celebration for Northern Colorado to enjoy and experience. It wouldn’t be the same around here if we didn’t host a huge parade, rodeo, concert and fireworks on the Fourth of July.”

The 87th Annual Greeley Stampede bucked its way into town for 11 days over the Independence Day holiday, providing rodeo fans a look at the best cowboys in the PRCA. The large event with its 9,500-seat arena and its $400,000-plus purse is an attractive lure for competitors looking to bank a check and climb the standings. According to some of the top names in the rodeo profession, no cowboy wants to miss it.

“Greeley is one of the most prestigious rodeos over the Fourth of July,” said Bobby Mote, a 2-time World Champion bareback rider from Culver, Oregon. Mote put up 89 points in the final to win the round and the average at Greeley, which also helped him pocket almost $30,000 during the hectic late June/early July rodeo schedule nicknamed “Cowboy Christmas.”

“It’s a big rodeo (and) it’s tough competition with great horses,” Mote continued about Greeley. “So to be in the mix to win anything there is really an honor and to win it is pretty tremendous.”

Speaking of tremendous, the lineup of top-ranked cowboys in the final round read like a who’s who in rodeo. Asked how it felt to compete against such a tough draw, Mote had nothing but praise for the field of bareback riders that thrilled the crowd and started the competition off with a bang (including Ryan Gray, Royce Ford and Cimmaron Gerke).

“That’s why I like doing this,” Mote said with enthusiasm. “I thrive on getting to compete with that caliber of guys. You’re getting on the best horses against the best guys (and) that’s really a chance to kind of see what you’re made of. That’s a big reason of why I enjoy rodeoing is because I get to rodeo at this level.”

Another former champ pocketing money in Greeley was saddle bronc rider Billy Etbauer. A 5-time World Champion and 20-time NFR qualifier with almost $3,000,000 in career earnings, you might think the Stampede would be no big deal to Etbauer, but the veteran performer’s reduced schedule makes him happy to do well wherever he enters.

“I just feel blessed to be able to be back to (Greeley). I guess it’s been a year or two since I’ve even been to the rodeo and then to be able to make the short round it’s been quite a few years,” Etbauer revealed a few days later via telephone. “I was glad to be able to be back in the short round. I drew a good horse and was tickled to death that I rode one. The horse was really good and I’m just glad it all worked out.”

Asked regarding his successful career and his fresh victory in Greeley, the humble Oklahoma cowboy gave all the credit to God.

“I thank God for all the abilities that He’s given me and all the people that He’s sent my way,” said Etbauer with a soft voice and firm conviction. (My faith) is everything to my rodeo career. I can’t control anything. It’s going to come down the pike the way it’s going to come down,” he added. “I’m going to try my best to do what I can do, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll just pray that we can stay healthy and just try to keep riding better.”

Riding better was the name of the game for every contestant in the final round, despite the threat of poor weather throughout the day. After every bareback cowboy turned in a successful ride, the steer wrestlers kept the crowd going as five in a row notched runs of 5.4 seconds or faster. Following the big cowboys stopping steers, Etbauer wowed the crowd with his 86-point ride and a reminder of how world champions rise to the occasion.

As the skies turned dark and a steady rain began to fall, almost all the tie-down ropers made successful turns inside the large arena. Local Greeley cowboy Chase Johnston had a nice run of 10.00 seconds to brighten the bad weather, but Idahoan Nate Baldwin saved his best for last when he nailed down the victory with a very wet and very quick 8.7 seconds.

Showing World Champions are successful for a reason, Trevor Brazile and team roping partner Patrick Smith took home the buckle with 15.8 seconds on three head, the last one in rain and wind. Once the rain stopped and the sun made another appearance, the Barrel Racers entertained the crowd with fast times; but none faster than Shelley Morgan, who blew away the competition with an untouchable 17.18 seconds in the final. Last but not least, four Bull Riders were successful in the final round; with Marcus Michaelis taking the buckle home after his 86-point ride beat former world champ Dustin Elliott in Elliott’s recent return to PRCA action.

“This is my first year again rodeoing (in the PRCA),” said Elliott after a few years concentrating solely on the PBR. “I bought my card back and (Greeley) is the first big rodeo I’ve been to, so it felt real good to make the short round.”

When asked about his feelings after a second place finish in the Stampede, Elliott was happy to share his satisfaction.

“When you win a big check, it always feels good to go into the bank on Monday morning and be putting that in there,” he said with a big laugh, before revealing a new goal for the 2009 season. “I didn’t expect to maybe even try to make a run at the NFR this year, but the way things have been going with what I won there at Greeley, it’s definitely not out of the question, now,” added Elliott. “I’ve been riding really good, so Greeley has definitely kind of made my mind up that I might be trying to make a run at the NFR now. The NFR can make or break a season, so with a good check at Greeley, that kind of puts me into the run of things.”

The high profile and large purse make a big impact on any cowboy who makes the final round at the Greeley Stampede, a fact event officials are proud to acknowledge.

“It is great to know that the top professional cowboys (come) to Greeley every summer to participate in the Greeley Stampede,” said Justin Watada, Director of Marketing for the Greeley Stampede. “We try hard to put on a great show for the guests and cowboys. The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest weekends in the sport of rodeo and it is nice to know that every cowboy wants to be here for the finals.”

When asked about his thoughts about the Stampede occurring during the busy July 4 holiday schedule, Watada’s reply was definitive.

“We are extremely proud of our tagline, The World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo and Western Celebration,” he answered. “We work hard to put on a great celebration for Northern Colorado to enjoy and experience. It wouldn’t be the same around here if we didn’t host a huge parade, rodeo, concert and fireworks on the Fourth of July.”


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