Kraupie, Lee succeed on Labor Day |

Kraupie, Lee succeed on Labor Day

Buffalo, South Dakota cowboy Colt Floyd ended up in the top three in the Hackamore Ranch match bulldogging. Photos by Cheyenne Hanson

Many small towns see Labor Day as a final hurrah each summer. A reason to celebrate one last time before fall work begins, snow flies and students head back to the classroom. Buffalo, South Dakota is no exception, where the town does Labor Day in style…tournament style.

Buffalo hosts an SDRA and NRCA sanctioned rodeo every year on the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend. But the signature event small town is becoming known for is Saturday’s ‘Match Day.’ This year’s festivities included a tournament style head-to-head breakaway roping and a tournament style steer wrestling match.

The breakaway ropers started the day with a head to head match roping. The ropers draw for position in a 24-man (ahem, woman) bracket and rope out of two boxes at the same time, going off an announcer’s start. Competitors switch boxes and rope again, the winner of each two head match advancing. The side by side runs make for great watching from the stands. Sierra Lee of Rhame, North Dakota, came out on top this year after a long, tough day of matches. She topped such greats as Ceri McCaffery of Dupree and Jessica Holmes of Buffalo.

The Hackamore Ranch tournament-style bulldogging match rounded out the day. Steer wrestlers are entered in a bracket format and advance based on 2 head matches. Bulldoggers run one steer and then their second run is made on their competitor’s steer. This keeps the livestock from deciding winners and losers. This year’s event was the 24th annual affair.

23 steer wrestlers competed in this year’s tournament. There was a father-son face off, past champions and first timers. Two cowboys have entered every match since the first in 1992 – Jeremy Stadheim and Casey Olson, both of these cowboys claim past match championships. Del Kraupie of Nebraska was the overall champion, making nine great runs through the four rounds. The 2014 champion Tyler Haugen of Sturgis finished second, with Colt Floyd of Buffalo coming in third. Del Kraupie also took home the fast time of the day with a 3.8.

If you ever have the chance to come to Buffalo’s ‘Match Day,’ it is a day fun for competitors and spectators alike. The little town comes to life one last time each summer and it is a weekend not to be missed!

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