Champs crowned at Badlands Circuit Finals | TSLN.com

Champs crowned at Badlands Circuit Finals

Joe Gunderson is the 2012 Badlands Circuit Year End Bareback Champion. The Agar, SD cowboy won the title for the third time. Photo courtesy Cowboy Images

The winning cowboys and cowgirls from the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo held in Minot, ND, will represent North and South Dakota April 4-7, 2013, at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, OK.

Year-end winners who won the most money throughout the season, as well as average winners – those who earned the most points or had the fastest times in Minot – will compete at the RNCFR.

Bareback riding

Jet Price, average champion, dominated the bareback riding. The Buffalo, SD, cowboy won more money at the Circuit Finals than any other cowboy.

nt The winning cowboys and cowgirls from the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo held in Minot, ND, will represent North and South Dakota April 4-7, 2013, at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, OK.

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Joe Gunderson, Agar, SD, won the year end title for the third time.

Steer Wrestling

Jason Reiss, Dickinson, ND, won money in three of four rounds to win the average.

He's riding a young horse that he just started hauling to rodeos this January. Scooter, a seven year old, is from the race track and Reiss used him for ranch work and team roping before switching him over to steer wrestling.

The year-end steer wrestling title went to a first time qualifier. Forest Sainsbury, Camp Crook, SD, came into the Finals in second place behind Sheldon Portwine. But Portwine missed his first three steers. Sainsbury almost had the same problem. In the second go-round, "the steer got out in front of me and we had to run to the bucking chutes" where he finally turfed him to stay in the average.

This is Sainsbury's first year as a permit holder in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, so it was his first trip to the Finals, and he was excited about his win. "It's pretty wild, pretty surreal."

Team roping

Jay Mattson, Deadwood, SD, and his heeler Matt Kasner, Cody, NE, won the average with 30.1 seconds on four runs.

Mattson, who also competes as a tie-down roper and steer roper, estimates he has qualified for the Finals 45 times among his three events.

Repeating as Badlands Circuit year-end champions are Preston Billadeau, Parshall, ND, and Jared Bilby, Bridgeport, NE, Billadeau and Bilby were each more than $2,500 ahead of the number two header and heeler going into the Finals.

Saddle bronc riding

The Elshere family: brothers Ryan and JJ and cousin Cole have dominated the saddle bronc riding for the past six years, and this year, Cole made sure the family was still well represented. With a lead of $5,400, he had the year end title sewn up before the Finals even started.

As the thirteenth saddle bronc rider in the world standings, Cole will qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December.

In the past six years, Cole has won the year end title three times, JJ twice, and Ryan once.

The average title went to Troy Crowser, who won't complain about taking a trip to Oklahoma City. For the past two years, Crowser, from Whitewood, SD, has finished the season in nineteenth place in the world, only four holes out of going to the National Finals Rodeo. But Oklahoma will suffice. "It's something I've always wanted to do." A "messed up" rotator cuff has hampered the 24-year-old, and Sunday's ride didn't help. "That horse was throwing her head back at me, and I couldn't pick up on my rein enough. I barely stayed in the saddle."

Barrel Racing

Both the average and the year-end title in the barrel racing went to Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, She won $13,000 more than Jessica Routier, Buffalo, SD, who will qualify for Oklahoma City since Lockhart won both titles.

Lockhart's mount, Louie, helped her make four runs with a time of 53.47 seconds combined. "He's the best model of consistency that I've ever ridden. He just gives 100 percent every time."

The 46 year old cowgirl never gets tired of competing. "We're adrenaline junkies. I could never get sick of it."

Tie-down roping

Justin Scofield, Volga, SD, won the year-end title for the fourth time. Scofield, Dane Kissack, and Seth Murphy were within 2.5 seconds of each other for the average, and when Murphy missed his calf on Sunday, it opened the door for Scofield and Kissack. For Scofield, pressure situations are good "It's more fun to do when it's that close. You can't really back off. You have to take care of business."

Kissack, Spearfish, SD, made the most of his third trip to Circuit Finals. His combined time of 27.1 seconds on four head secured the average championship. A student at Gillette (WY) College, Kissak missed a college rodeo for Minot but it was worth it.

Bull riding

Abe Dillman, Grassy Butte, ND, is the year end bull riding champion for the second time.

In the average, Jeff Bertus, Avon, SD, was one of only four bull riders to ride two bulls, and his combined score of 162 points on two head earned him the average title. This was his first qualification to Circuit Finals.

All-around honors went to JB Lord, Sturgis, SD, who competed in the team roping and the steer wrestling.

Prior to the rodeo, Krystal Carlascio, Jamestown, ND, was crowned 2013 Miss Rodeo North Dakota.

The Minot Y's Men's Rodeo is a not-for-profit venture by the YMCA Men of Minot, ND. Proceeds from each year's rodeo benefit the Triangle Y Camp at Lake Sakakawea, near Garrison, ND.

-Minot Y's Men's Rodeo