NEBRASKAland DAYS’ rodeo was a big hit
Photos Courtesy of George Hipple
The Buffalo Bill Rodeo, held during NEBRASKAland DAYS at the Wild West Arena, is one of the oldest rodeos in existence. The four-day rodeo featured some of the best PRCA riders and ropers, as well as local bull fighters and tough roughstock.
The saddle bronc champion was Cole Elshere of Faith, S.D., who posted a score of 84 points on Beutler and Son Rodeo Company’s 518 Dipsy Doodle. “She was a bareback horse and this was one of the first times she’s bucked in the bronc riding. She kind of came out (of the chute), took a little scoot, was real wild, and then got really nice. She was a good horse. Now guys will be wanting to get on her because we’ve seen how good she is,” he said.
The bareback riding champion was Tom McFarland of Bowie, Texas, with a score of 88. “I’ve had a slow year, but we’re entered up about every day until dang near July 7, so we’ll be getting after it. We enter here every year. Besides the nostalgia of this being an old-time rodeo, it’s Bennie Beutler’s horses, and he brings buckers. We’re bareback riders, and we feed off getting scared. Bennie’s got some big, scary (horses), and we love coming to his rodeos,” McFarland told the North Platte Telegraph.
The steer wrestling average winner was Stockton Graves of Newkirk, Okla., who posted a time of 8.3 seconds on two head. The team roping title was split between two teams: Garrett Nokes of McCook, Neb., and Matt Wilkens of Smithfield, Neb., and Scott White of Oelrichs, S.D. and Jade Nelson of Midland, S.D., who both posted times of 5.4 seconds.
The tie-down roping average winner was Cody Quaney of Cheney, Kan., who tied his calf in 20.4 seconds on two head, and the barrel racing title was won by Randa Kellogg of Point, Texas, who ran the pattern in 17.23 seconds. The bull riding had a tie between Shawn Coleman of Springfield, S.D., and Wes Wahlert of Galeton, Colo., who each scored 79 points.
North Platte resident Dustin Elliott was one of only five cowboys all week to make a qualified ride. He scored 77 points to win third place. Elliott, who is the 2004 PRCA World Champion, has won the title twice at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
The bull fighters for the event included North Platte native Quirt Hunt and newcomer Wacey Munsell, who is from Ulysses, Kan.
“The word bullfighter is a misnomer for the job these fearless men do in the arena. They do not fight bulls, as it is perceived in the Spanish world of matadors. Their job is to distract the bull, after each eight-second ride, to give the bull rider time to scramble to the fence. And, in the instance that a wreck happens, the bullfighter steps in to protect the rider,” said Ruth Nicolaus, who worked the public relations for the event.
Hunt is working the rodeo for the second year in a row. He works both PRCA and PBR events, and is a bullfighter for 50-100 rodeos each year, including National Western Stock Show, the Justin Boots Championship and the PBR World Cup.
Munsell feels honored to work the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. “It’s a historic rodeo. It draws good contestants, and they have awesome crowds. It doesn’t get any better than working with (announcers) Hadley (Barrett) and Randy (Corley),” he said.
The roughstock was provided by Rhett and Bennie Beutler of Beutler and Son Rodeo Company, located in Elk City, Okla. The business has been in existence since 1929, and is in its 64th year of providing livestock for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
A fifth wheel wagon hitch, provided and driven by Lynn Meyer, was part of the entertainment during the last two nights of the rodeo. Meyer, who is from Maxwell, Neb., has been driving the hitch at the rodeo for the last 20 years.
The fifth wheel hitch wagon that Meyer uses to carry the USS Nebraska sailors, who are guests of NEBRASKAland DAYS each year, is about 100 years old. He found it near Bridgeport, Neb. with original hardware, rebuilt the wheels and put on a new wooden box and chrome rails.
Meyer loves hauling the sailors. “It’s quite an honor for us to haul them,” he said. “I’ve always felt real privileged to get the job of hauling them.” Meyer said the North Platte people love recognizing the sailors. “This area is especially patriotic. North Platte takes good care of them, and the crowd sure seems to enjoy seeing the sailors.”
The barrelman for the rodeo was Mark Swingler of Austin, Texas. This is his second time at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, and his tour this year is called “Needin Readin’ Glasses.” He loves to entertain rodeo fans and brings a variety of acts with him: his 1927 Model T with a YMCA Act; the original moonwalk; UPS delivery man, and hot dog vendor.
No matter what act he’s doing, he loves to make people laugh. “I enjoy the fans, watching people kick back for a couple of hours, letting their worries go away, and having fun. That keeps me going.”
Swingler’s last visit was five years ago, and he was excited to work the rodeo again this year. “I enjoy coming back. It’s always fun to come back to different parts of the country and watch people have a good time,” he said.
• Bareback Riding: 1.) Tom McFarland, Bowie, Texas, 88 points on 550 Empty Pockets; 2.) Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas 87; 3.) Joe Gunderson, Agar, S.D., 86; 4.) Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas 85.
• Steer Wrestling – 1st Go Round: 1.) Ryan Swayze, Freedom, OK 3.9; 2.) Trevor Cox, Purdum, NE 4.0; 3.) Jake Rinehart, Highmore, SD 4.1; 4.) Carver Abbot, Gordon, NE 4.2.
• Steer Wrestling -2nd Go Round: 1.) Tie Beau Clark, Belgrade, Neb., 3.7 and Bray Armes, Gruver, Colo. 3.7; 3.) Tie Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 3.8 and Chad Van Campen, Granada, Colo., 3.8.
• Steer wrestling average: 1.) Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 8.3 on 2 head; 2.) Beau Clark, Belgrade, Neb., 8.8; 3.) Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 9.1; 4.) Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., 9.2.
• Team Roping: 1.) Tie Garrett Nokes, McCook, Neb. and Matt Wilken, Smithfield, Neb. 5.4 seconds and Scott White, Oelrichs, S.D, and Jade Nelson, Midland, S.D., 5.4; 3.) Tie Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla., and Kollin VonAhn, Durant, Okla., 5.5; and Ryan VonAhn, Sac City, Iowa and Derrick Peterson, Overland Park, Kan. 5.5.
• Saddle Bronc Riding: 1.) Cole Elshere, 84 points on -518 Dipsy Doodle; 2.) Jesse James Kirby, 83; 3.) Cody Taton, 81; 4.) Wade Sundell, 79.
• Tie Down Roping 1st Go Round: 1.) Tie Jerrad Hofstetter, Portales, NM, 9.5 and Cody Quaney, Cheney, KS 9.5; 3.) Cory Solomon, Prairie View, TX 10.0; 4.) Joey Dickens, Loveland, CO 10.5.
• Tie-down Roping 2nd Round: 1.) Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 9.4; 2.) Tie Jayce Johnson, Hemingford, Neb. 9.6; and Bryson Sechrist, Apache, Okla. 9.6; 4.) Justin Scofield, Volga, S.D. 9.7.
• Tie-down Roping Average: 1.) Cody Quaney, Cheney, Kan., 20.4 on 2 head; 2.) Boe Brown, Harrold, S.D.; 22.1; 3.) Justin Scofield, Volga, S.D., 22.8; 4.) Chris Neal, Muldrow, Okla., 23.6.
• Barrel Racing: 1.) Randa Kellog, Point, Texas 17.23; 2.) Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla. 17.46; 3.) Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas 17.52; 4.) Toni Hardin, Wetmore, Colo. 17.57.
• Bull Riding: 1.) Tie Shawn Coleman, Springfield, S.D. 79 points on 827 and Wes Wahlert, Galeton, Colo. 79 on 652 Sunset; 3 Dustin Elliott, North Platte, NE 77; 4.) Trey Kerner, Sutherland, Neb., 65; 5.) Kris Newman, Casper, Wyo. 50.