Rodeo contestants turned up the heat at Lincoln Championship PRCA rodeo |

Rodeo contestants turned up the heat at Lincoln Championship PRCA rodeo

Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, Neb., performing Saturday night at the Lincoln PRCA Championship rodeo.

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Rodeo contestants took over downtown Lincoln, Neb., during the Championship PRCA rodeo held at the Pershing Center January 27-28. Pickups and trailers with license plates from across the nation packed the one way streets that the city of Lincoln had blocked off anticipating the event. Large crowds attended both performances, and even the slack had a good showing of spectators. The rodeo weekend was full of more good thrills than bad spills as the contestants turned up the heat during the last weekend in January.

Working behind the scenes to keep the rodeo running smoothly were the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Rodeo club and team members. Student members helped set up the arena, hang sponsorship banners, rake the ground and push calves and steers. Rodeo contestant Connie Doble of Woodman Wis., said Lincoln was one of the more professionally run rodeos she had been to recently and contributed that to all the extra help.

Miss Rodeo Nebraska, Sierra Peterson of Ashland, Neb., was on hand during each performance to present the flag during the National Anthem, clear cattle from the arena and pick the mutton busters out of the dirt. Peterson will be competing for the Miss Rodeo America title this December at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Friday night performance was the “Wrangler National Patriot” night. Through the Lincoln Community Foundation’s Military Support Fund, a portion of the rodeo proceeds went to local military families. Contestants and spectators were encouraged to wear red, white or blue to the rodeo performance to celebrate the local military members.

Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, Neb., was the feature cowboy Saturday night. Whitaker is a six time winner of the prestigious Linderman Award. Those who win the award are the cowboys who emphasize versatility and are considered the greatest all-round hands in ProRodeo. In order to receive the award, a cowboy must compete in three events including at least one roughstock and one timed event. He must then also earn at least $1,000 per event. In 2011 Whitaker competed in steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping, in which he earned more than $4,500 per event. Whitaker has qualified for the award every year since 1997, and by winning the award six times, he holds the record number of wins. Whitaker took second place overall in the steer wrestling at Lincoln.

Mosbrucker Rodeos Inc. was the contractor providing stock for the performances Friday and Saturday night, and the slack Saturday morning. They brought hard running calves, hefty steers, bulls and of course great bucking horses to challenge the cowboys as the contestants fought to bring home some cash. The event paid out nearly $30,000 in winnings and several cowboys and cowgirls left Lincoln, Neb., with a little extra padding in their wallets.

Team ropers Cody Graham and Derrick Peterson took home the largest check of the weekend by winning the team roping with a 4.0 second run, earning them $1,136 each. Buck Moon put together an 86 point ride on Mosbrucker Rodeos’ bull Rewind earning $1,129 and first place. Also earning first place in their events were: Mark Kenyon with a 77 point ride on Mosbrucker Rodeos’ bareback horse Moon Burst for $794; Brady Hagerman threw his steer in 3.8 seconds in the steer wrestling for $978; and Townsend Prince scored 81 points on Mosbrucker Rodeos’ saddle bronc Red Cloud for $1,037. Justin Zweifel’s check of $882 for winning the tie-down calf roping allowed him to claim the All-Around Cowboy title since he competed in the steer wrestling as well.

The barrel racing event may have had some of the toughest competition as four previous National Finals Rodeo (NFR) contestants were entered, including Jeanne Anderson of White City, Kan., Tana Poppino of Big Cabin, Okla., June Holeman of Arcadia, Neb., and Jill Moody of Letcher, S.D. Of the four, Nebraska’s June Holeman had the best luck, clenching a third place finish in the ladies barrel racing with a run of 11.26. Texas cowgirl Robin Montague took home the win with a smoking fast run of 11.06, earning her a $1,031 check and an unofficial arena record.

Many of the cowboys and cowgirls loaded up their pickups and trailers and headed off to the next rodeo. However, after working with a great crew in Lincoln, it is safe to bet many will plan to return again next year to compete at the Lincoln PRCA Championship Rodeo.

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