South Dakota’s Shantell Brewer takes INFR All-Around Title

South Dakota and surrounding states had a strong showing at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Indian National Finals Rodeo, with several world champions and top-10 finishers.

Shantell Brewer of Dupree, South Dakota was crowned the INFR World Champion All-Around Cowgirl.

Competing in two events for the first time in the senior division, Brewer handled the pressure skillfully. Solid times in the first three rounds of barrel racing landed her in the top-12 in the average and qualified her for the short round. In the breakaway roping, quick times in the first round and third rounds also allowed her to advance to the short round.

The short round Saturday night lights in Vegas were good to Brewer. “They take top 12 back on Saturday night and I made it back in both. I knew I wasn’t in the average because I missed my second calf, but I just knew I had to go for the go-round. I went for it and ended up winning the short go with 2.2,” she said. “That kind of set up for my barrel run because I’d been nervous about barrels. We’ve been all over this year. We came back and had a decent run, but it was a little wild. It placed us in the average. I placed in both and ended up winning the all-around by quite a bit.”

A senior at Dupree High School, Brewer traveled home Sunday, safely pulling into the ranch at 2 am, and returned to school Monday morning. Her parents, Jess and Fanny Brewer, are the athlete’s main supporters. She said, “If I’m ever getting down on myself, they’re there to pick me back up. They pretty much take me everywhere. They don’t like me to go alone, which is fine. They support me 100%, no matter what. Half the credit goes to them.” Brewer is also involved in cross country, basketball, FFA, 4-H, student council, and National Honor Society.

Brewer was quick to give credit to the two mares who helped her bring a national title back to South Dakota. “I love my mares. They have more heart than my geldings, I always think,” she said. Chic, a 9-year old sorrel has been her partner for a little over a year. “She started out as a reiner, but she didn’t like to stop. I just started slowly working with her and then my good horse got hurt. Last year when I won the junior barrels was the first summer I actually rode her hard. She just caught on ever since. She loves indoor arenas and I couldn’t be more happy with how she’s been.” Chic and Brewer were also INFR champions last year in the junior division and also qualified to the National High School Finals Rodeo this past summer. On the other end of the arena, Brewer’s palomino “Busy” was essential in earning all-around points. “We actually bought her to be a barrel horse. She didn’t like barrels too much, so me and my dad started training her. My breakaway horse ended up dying my freshman year. I had to start using her pretty early on. I can’t really take credit for training her because she’s pretty much done it all on her own. She’s awesome,” she said.

Brewer is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, who has sponsored her trips to National Junior High Finals Rodeo, National High School Finals Rodeo, and the INFR. “They just honored me this past year for winning the junior barrel racing. They’re just super great about everything. They just try to support the people that are going and doing something and try and make a role model out of them. I think they do a really good job. I couldn’t be more happy with the tribe I belong to. I’m very proud to be who I am,” she said.

The Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association includes South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska and is the region through which Brewer qualified to the INFR. Cowboys and cowgirls may qualify through ten regions nationwide. Brewer’s favorite Indian rodeo is Rosebud. “They put on a really nice rodeo and they have really good cattle. I just like how it’s ran there,” she said. Carole Hollers, Jackie Crawford, and Charmayne James are Brewer’s role models in the arena.

World championships were a trend among local rodeo athletes. Cole Elshere of Faith, South Dakota won the saddle bronc riding, while Bart Ness of Kennebec snagged three quick calves for the Senior Breakaway Roping title. Several others were reserve world champions, including Brent Belkham, tie down roping; Jacque Peterson, breakaway roping; Jesse Wilson, bronc riding; and Preston Louis, bull riding. Complete area results below.

Bareback Riding:

2nd: Buck Lunak, Missoula, MT

3rd: Nolan Conway, Cut Bank, MT

9th: TJ Heinert: Mission, SD


2nd: Jacquelyn Peterson, Isabel, SD

6th: Amber Crowley, Poplar, MT

7th: Heidi Cuny, Buffalo Gap, SD

9th: Shantell Brewer, Dupree, SD

Saddle Bronc:

1st: Cole Elshere, Faith, SD

2nd: Jesse Wilson, Martin, SD

3rd: Kash Deal, Dupree, SD

4th: Kaden Deal, Eagle Butte, SD

6th: Jeremy Meeks, Scenic, SD

7th: Cash Wilson, Wall, SD

Tie-Down Roping:

2nd: Brent Belkham, Blunt, SD

5th: JC Guardipee, Cut Bank, MT

6th: Ty Allen Fischer, Ashland, MT

Team Roping:

6th: Jeremy Ferguson, Martin, SD & Eliot Gourneau, Lower Brule, SD

Barrel Racing:

10th: Shantell Brewer, Dupree, SD

Bull Riding

2nd: Preston Louis, Browning, MT

3rd: Slick Phelps, Porcupine, SD

7th: Casey Fredericks, Busby, MT

Senior Breakaway:

1st: Bart Ness, Kennebec, SD