THRILL OF THE CHASE: American Qualifier event a success with big payout |

THRILL OF THE CHASE: American Qualifier event a success with big payout

Ten steer wrestlers qualified for the "American" semi-finals at Rapid City's qualifier - the richest one held to date. Standing (L-R): Riley Lambert, American Rodeo Rep.; Charlie King; Wyatt Johnson; Gabe Taylor; Randy Suhn; Ryan Richardson; Allen Good, producer. Kneeling (L-R): Cameron Morman; Jake Rinehart; Kyle Whitaker; Jason Reiss.

“American” Steer wrestling semi-finals qualifiers

Jason Reiss, Dickinson, North Dakota

Randy Suhn, Riverton, Wyoming

Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Nebraska

Charlie King, Virden, Manitoba

Wyatt Johnson, Hoyt, Colorado

Gabe Taylor, Valentine, Nebraska

Jake Rinehart, Highmore, South Dakota

Ryan Richardson, Long Valley, South Dakota

Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, North Dakota

Miles Spickelmier, Imperial, Nebraska

With next year’s event already tentatively scheduled, the Rapid City, South Dakota, 2014 “American” steer wrestling qualifier was an apparent success.

Dickinson, North Dakota, steer wrestler Jason Reiss walked away with the biggest check and the quickest time on 3. He and nine more cowboys made good on their plans to forge ahead on the “road to the American,” the self-proclaimed richest one-day rodeo.

At the RFD-TV American rodeo, March 1, 2015, in Arlington, Texas,, $2 million will be paid and over a half million dollars in prizes given out, says the website.

Organizer of the Rapid City “American” qualifier, Allen Good said his event gave bulldoggers in the northern part of the country an opportunity to compete without traveling thousands of miles.

Several of the ten steer wrestling qualifying events are held in Texas and the next closest one was in Kansas, so his event drew contestants from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado and Canada, said Good.

After receiving word from the “American” rodeo representative that he was approved to host a qualifier, Good, of Long Valley, South Dakota, had just over three weeks to produce the event. “That date was the only one available at the Richard Kjerstad Event Center,” he explained. The indoor arena at the Central States Fairground provided a pleasant experience, with stalls, concessions, seating and more, he said.

Being “computer illiterate,” Good called steer wrestlers from neighboring states and asked them to spread the word, plus he said the “American” representative posted information on facebook, twitter and their facebook within 15 minutes of the plans being finalized.

Word traveled fast and 99 competitors, including seven former WNFR contestants entered for the chance at the, $5,500 added money plus the chance to compete in the semi-finals and they hope, the finals, for the “million dollar rodeo.”

While there have already been several steer wrestling qualifiers, Good’s was the first to offer an added purse. “The representative for the ‘American’ rodeo was pleased. It was the largest number of contestants and largest payout they’d had,” he said.

Good had originally hoped to host the event during the Black Hills Stock Show, but his Dec. 20, date turned out for the best, as a number of college students were home from school and able to participate, he said.

The representatives from the “American” were “really good to work with,” said Good, who provided the steers for the competition. “I had a lot of leeway. I set my own barrier,” he said, adding that the fastest 20 average times on two steers returned to the short go, then the top ten in the three-head average qualified to go to the next level.

Cowboys can enter twice – 19 of them did in this case – and can qualify twice, at different qualifiers. For example, Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, Nebraska, had already qualified at an earlier event, then qualified for the second time at Good’s competition. Whitaker will compete twice in the Forth Worth semi-finals, set for Feb. 20-21.

Those headed to the semi-finals have already paid their entry fees, as a portion of each competitor’s entry fees were reserved by the “American” organization to pay the top cowboys in the semis and the finals.

“The neat part about it is its open to anybody,” Good said. Membership to any rodeo association is not required – just entry fees. Good’s 16-year-old son, as well as 54-year-old J.B. Lord from Sturgis, S.D., went head-to-head with the other steer wrestlers in the “open to the world” format of the “American” rodeo.

Good expects that every one of the ten who qualified will head south to the semi-finals for a chance at the million dollar payout of the “American” rodeo.

A second annual event is tentatively planned for Dec. 19, 2015, at the Richard Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City.

Good appreciates support from sponsors including: Newcastle Motors – Shorty Engessor, Empire Countertops – Mitch Mahoney, Duba Conversions – Brian Duba, Harry Blackwell Dodge – Harry Blackwell, Black Hills Auto Sales – Craig Nelson, DeTye Vet Supply – Dee and Tyler Haugen, Vitalix – Leon Garrett, Four Seasons Sports Center – Bret Meggs, Cain Creek Outfitters – Mike Langbehn.

First go results:

1) Ryan Richardson, 3.5, $786.91

1) Beau Franzen, 3.5, $786.91

1) Miles Spickelmier, 3.5, $786.91

4) Seth Brockman, 3.6, $279.56

5) Clay Schaack, 3.7, $248.50

6) Jason Reiss, 3.9, $54.35

6) Randy Suhn, 3.9, $54.35

6) Casey Olson, 3.9, $54.35

6) Ace Thurston, 3.9, $54.35

Second go results

1) Jake Rinehart, 3.4, $978.46

1) Ty Batie, 3.4, $978.46

3) Ty Talsma, 3.7, $229.86

3) Gabe Taylor, 3.7, $229.86

3) Kyle Whitaker, 3.7, $229.86

3) Charlie King, 3.7, $229.86

3) Wyatt Johnson, 3.7, $229.86

Short go results

1) Jason Reiss, 3.1, $400

2) Gabe Taylor, 3.5, $300

3) Randy Suhn, 3.8, $200

4) Kyle Whitaker, 4.0, $100

Average on three head:

1) Jason Reiss, 11.1, $4,051.75

2) Randy Suhn, 11.9, $2,665.62

3) Kyle Whitaker, 12.1, $1,386.12

4) Charlie King, 12.9, $906.31

4) Wyatt Johnson, 12.9, $906.31

6) Gabe Taylor, 13.0, $746.37

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