Mountain States Young Guns Finals
The 2009 Mountain States Young Guns Finals were held Dec. 18-19 at the Island Grove Livestock building in Greeley, Colo. The event, sponsored by Poudre Valley Co-Op and GLH Construction, LLC, featured youth bull riders between ages 4 and 19 competing for the titles of finals and year-end champion of the association. The year-end champs in each age group took home a trophy saddle and belt buckle, while year-end reserve champs and finals average winners in each event were awarded buckles. In addition to the these prizes, first- and second-place season winners in each division earned the right to represent Colorado and Wyoming at the prestigious Youth Bull Riders (YBR) World Finals event in Fort Worth, Texas, later this year.
Guests attending this years finals included PRCA cowboy Jed Moore, PBR hand Josh Koschel and 2009 PBR World Champion Bull Rider Kody Lostroh. Courtney Odell, daughter of MSYG board member Dwayne Odell, sang the National Anthem, while Larimer County Fair and Rodeo Queen Lillie May Parker and Lady-in-Waiting Kodi Lane Younghein carried the flags during opening ceremonies.
Rounds one and two followed the regular format this year but round three included a new feature. A “bull draft” was added for this year’s final round and allowed competitors at the Young Guns, Junior and Senior Bulls levels to choose the bull they would ride according to their position in the finals average. This feature, patterned after the PBR process for the final round of each event, proved popular with the competitors and exciting for fans. It was during this round that Jarrett Folger and Wild West Cattle Company’s bull No. 613 teamed up for a 92-point score which was the highest of the weekend.
When the dust settled Saturday night, the following riders were recognized as the 2009 MSYG Finals Champions:
Mutton bustin’ Gatlin Carrasco; calf riding Ethan Malovich; rough riders (steer riding) Eric Smith; young guns Blake Firchau; junior bulls Jake Smith and senior bulls Travis Jackson.
Year-end champions and reserve champions were also crowned after the Saturday evening performance. These young men have each qualified to attend the YBR World Finals in August: mutton bustin’: Aidan Malovich, champion, Gatlin Carrasco, reserve champion; calf riding: Ethan Malovich, champion, Randy Starks, reserve champion; rough riders (steer riding): Eric Smith champion, Tommy Patrick, reserve champion; young guns: Jake Smith, champion, Blake Firchau, reserve champion; junior bulls: Jake Smith, champion, Colt Jones, reserve champion; senior bulls: Travis Jackson, champion, Ezekial Mora, reserve champion.
When asked how it felt to a champion, mutton bustin’ champion, Aidan Malovich simply said, “Good.” Veteran rodeo hand, and older to brother to Aidan, Ethan Molovich credited his dad for helping him win the calf riding title this year.
Rough riders 2009 year-end champion Eric Smith is looking forward to 2010. A man of few words, the highly decorated cowboy described his season win as “Cool.”
Jake Smith, older brother to Eric, continued his winning ways with year-end champion saddles in both the young guns and junior bulls divisions. When asked how he prepares for a ride, he explained, “I try to go through the same routine each time. I stretch out and try to get things right in the chute, then just ride.”
Senior bulls year-end champion Travis Jackson competes in the MSYG, Little Britches and National High School Rodeo associations. He is headed to Otero Junior College in La Junta next fall as a top recruit for what will be head coach Linsay Rosser-Sumpter’s second year program.
The MSYG winners and runners-up were appreciative of the awards they received and deserving of the recognition bestowed on them. After the year long season, the champions had all of 11 days to sit back and enjoy their accomplishments.