Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo: Round 1 recap | TSLN.com

Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo: Round 1 recap

OKLAHOMA CITY – Stockton Graves is an Oklahoma cowboy who is proud of the state’s rodeo heritage.

He’s also excited to be competing in his capital city for one of the most coveted championships in his sport during the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo at Jim Norick Arena on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. On Thursday night, March 31, during the first of five performances, Graves posted a 3.3-second run to take the lead in steer wrestling.

“I think it’s great being able to compete in Oklahoma City for the national championship,” said Graves, 32, of Newkirk, OK. “I think they’ve done a great job bringing this rodeo back to where the NFR was for so many years. It’s a rodeo state.”

That it is. The State Fair Arena was home of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from 1965-78, though Oklahoma City hosted at the then-named Myriad Arena through 1984, when Las Vegas became the host. So returning this type of championship to central Oklahoma is important for the region and the competitors who are in town competing.

Graves has qualified for the Wrangler NFR six times, and this is his fourth trip to the national circuit finals. He won the DNCFR in 2006, and his hot start gives him an advantage – half of the 24 contestants in each event competed Thursday, and the other competed at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The second round will take place Saturday, with performances scheduled for 1 and 7:30 p.m. The final performance, set for 1 p.m. Sunday, will feature the top eight cowboys and cowgirls from each event and will be pared down to the eventual champions.

“It’s very good to have a good run to start,” Graves said. “It takes some pressure off on the next run. If you don’t place, then you still have a good chance to make it back in the top eight. I always like to do good on my first one, and hopefully it just keeps rolling.”

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That’s what helps champions earn the buckles they crave and the titles for which they battle.

“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden that horse,” he said of Maximus, owned by fellow steer wrestler Todd Suhn of Weatherford, TX. “Horses like Maximus make our jobs easy. You’ve got to ride the best to beat the best.”

Other winners Thursday night were tie-down roper Brett Fleming of Warden, MT (8.2 seconds); bareback rider Kaycee Feild, Payson, UT (84 points on J Bar J’s Freckled Doll); saddle bronc rider J.J. Elshere, Quinn, SD (85 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Firelane); team ropers Charly Crawford, Prineville, OR & Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, OR (5.5 seconds); barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD (15.24 seconds); and bull rider Ryan Shanklin, Rocksprings, TX (86 points on MoBetta Rodeo’s Carter Hou).

OKLAHOMA CITY – Stockton Graves is an Oklahoma cowboy who is proud of the state’s rodeo heritage.

He’s also excited to be competing in his capital city for one of the most coveted championships in his sport during the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo at Jim Norick Arena on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. On Thursday night, March 31, during the first of five performances, Graves posted a 3.3-second run to take the lead in steer wrestling.

“I think it’s great being able to compete in Oklahoma City for the national championship,” said Graves, 32, of Newkirk, OK. “I think they’ve done a great job bringing this rodeo back to where the NFR was for so many years. It’s a rodeo state.”

That it is. The State Fair Arena was home of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from 1965-78, though Oklahoma City hosted at the then-named Myriad Arena through 1984, when Las Vegas became the host. So returning this type of championship to central Oklahoma is important for the region and the competitors who are in town competing.

Graves has qualified for the Wrangler NFR six times, and this is his fourth trip to the national circuit finals. He won the DNCFR in 2006, and his hot start gives him an advantage – half of the 24 contestants in each event competed Thursday, and the other competed at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The second round will take place Saturday, with performances scheduled for 1 and 7:30 p.m. The final performance, set for 1 p.m. Sunday, will feature the top eight cowboys and cowgirls from each event and will be pared down to the eventual champions.

“It’s very good to have a good run to start,” Graves said. “It takes some pressure off on the next run. If you don’t place, then you still have a good chance to make it back in the top eight. I always like to do good on my first one, and hopefully it just keeps rolling.”

That’s what helps champions earn the buckles they crave and the titles for which they battle.

“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden that horse,” he said of Maximus, owned by fellow steer wrestler Todd Suhn of Weatherford, TX. “Horses like Maximus make our jobs easy. You’ve got to ride the best to beat the best.”

Other winners Thursday night were tie-down roper Brett Fleming of Warden, MT (8.2 seconds); bareback rider Kaycee Feild, Payson, UT (84 points on J Bar J’s Freckled Doll); saddle bronc rider J.J. Elshere, Quinn, SD (85 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Firelane); team ropers Charly Crawford, Prineville, OR & Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, OR (5.5 seconds); barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD (15.24 seconds); and bull rider Ryan Shanklin, Rocksprings, TX (86 points on MoBetta Rodeo’s Carter Hou).

OKLAHOMA CITY – Stockton Graves is an Oklahoma cowboy who is proud of the state’s rodeo heritage.

He’s also excited to be competing in his capital city for one of the most coveted championships in his sport during the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo at Jim Norick Arena on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. On Thursday night, March 31, during the first of five performances, Graves posted a 3.3-second run to take the lead in steer wrestling.

“I think it’s great being able to compete in Oklahoma City for the national championship,” said Graves, 32, of Newkirk, OK. “I think they’ve done a great job bringing this rodeo back to where the NFR was for so many years. It’s a rodeo state.”

That it is. The State Fair Arena was home of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from 1965-78, though Oklahoma City hosted at the then-named Myriad Arena through 1984, when Las Vegas became the host. So returning this type of championship to central Oklahoma is important for the region and the competitors who are in town competing.

Graves has qualified for the Wrangler NFR six times, and this is his fourth trip to the national circuit finals. He won the DNCFR in 2006, and his hot start gives him an advantage – half of the 24 contestants in each event competed Thursday, and the other competed at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The second round will take place Saturday, with performances scheduled for 1 and 7:30 p.m. The final performance, set for 1 p.m. Sunday, will feature the top eight cowboys and cowgirls from each event and will be pared down to the eventual champions.

“It’s very good to have a good run to start,” Graves said. “It takes some pressure off on the next run. If you don’t place, then you still have a good chance to make it back in the top eight. I always like to do good on my first one, and hopefully it just keeps rolling.”

That’s what helps champions earn the buckles they crave and the titles for which they battle.

“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden that horse,” he said of Maximus, owned by fellow steer wrestler Todd Suhn of Weatherford, TX. “Horses like Maximus make our jobs easy. You’ve got to ride the best to beat the best.”

Other winners Thursday night were tie-down roper Brett Fleming of Warden, MT (8.2 seconds); bareback rider Kaycee Feild, Payson, UT (84 points on J Bar J’s Freckled Doll); saddle bronc rider J.J. Elshere, Quinn, SD (85 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Firelane); team ropers Charly Crawford, Prineville, OR & Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, OR (5.5 seconds); barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD (15.24 seconds); and bull rider Ryan Shanklin, Rocksprings, TX (86 points on MoBetta Rodeo’s Carter Hou).

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