Birkeland still tying tuff
September 15, 2016
The fourth annual Ty Tuff Challenge drew goat tiers from across the region.
The 4D style goat tying showcases a unique format, not often seen outside barrel racings. The fastest run of the round sets the pace for the 1st division and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th divisions are marked at a second slower than the fast time. This set-up pays out to a broader set of contestants and encourages all ages and skill levels to enter and compete. It even brought a familiar name out of 'retirement.'
Just when goat tiers in the amateur ranks thought they were safe, the relentless Kristi Birkeland decided to enter again, this time around with a partner in crime. Kristi and her 14-year-old daughter Sidni were the only mother/daughter duo entered in the Ty Tuff Goat Tying Challenge in Bowman, N.D., July 30. The format of the event and the ability to place on different paced runs is what interested Kristi. "Sidni got to rope in the jackpot that morning and she entered the goat tying, so I figured what the heck." The pair shared Sidni's nine-year-old goat horse that the two found this spring. The Ty Tuff Challenge was Kristi and Sidni's debut entering up together, it was actually Kristi's first time entering herself in three years.
"The week before I stepped off the horse twice, then the night before I stepped five or six times. I had to know if I could do it, I needed to know if my legs were going to work."
Saturday's showing proved that Kristi still has some of the fastest legs around, her 7.7 second run placed her in the 2nd round 2D, after struggling a bit with the goat the first round. Sidni placed in the Junior High division, however it is yet to be decided if the check she won was better than tying faster than Mom in round one.
While Kristi is trying to teach Sidni by example and taking her to practice with others, she admits her own start lacked finesse. "There weren't schools and clinics when I started, I just went at it for so long and if I wanted win I just had to go fast. There is not a lot of technique to what I do, I just wanted to get to the pay window, get out of the hayfield" laughs Kristi. The 'no-brakes' style of goat tying that has been Kristi's for many years has definitely taken her to the pay window.
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The last few years have seen Kristi step away from rodeo herself, but she's still very much involved. Sidni and her three younger brothers have started to enter their own events. It's quite possible that the chasing of triplet boys has been what's kept Kristi's goat tying speed up to snuff. The whole crew works together on the family ranch by Dupree, South Dakota.
After their big debut at the Ty Tuff in Bowman, Sidni headed to Kadoka, South Dakota for more rodeo at the annual Rodeo Bible Camp. Kristi contemplated entering more rodeos, at least for the length of the trip home; then she headed back to the hayfield.
Whether she is doing the entering, or entering herself it looks like Kristi will continue to influence another generation of goat tiers. Sidni's tie smooth style is reminiscent of her mother's and it's clear that both girls enter to win.
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