Northern plains well-represented at 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
The northern plains Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) contestants will be heading to Las Vegas, NV for the Dec.1-10 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). The race is on, once there, for go-round money and the ultimate prize, a gold buckle.
In the saddle broncs, five contestants from the region will vie for paychecks on great horses at the Finals. In third place for the year is Boxholm, IA’s Wade Sundell. The 26-year-old, single cowboy has been to the Finals in 2009 and 2010 as well. The former bull rider decided to focus on saddle broncs in 2007 and joined the PRCA the same year. Highlights of 2011 include winning the Justin Boots Championship in Omaha,NE.
Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, SD, comes into the Finals in seventh place. This is his sixth year to make the WNFR in saddle broncs, plus he’s been to the finals in bull riding another five times. Bail, 32, also is a PRCA steer wrestler. The single rancher has been a PRCA member since 1997 and his big win for 2011 was Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Going to the WNFR for his fifth time is Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, SD. Ferley, 31, joined the PRCA in 2001 and is tenth in the standings. He and his wife ranch with his folks, plus he works as an electrician. Big wins for 2011 include the Beef Empire Days Rodeo in Kansas.
Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, SD, is going to the WNFR for his first trip. The 23-year-old is single and joined the PRCA in 2008 and is 13th in the standings. The Four States Fair and Rodeo, Texarkana, AR win was a highlight of 2011.
In 15th place is Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, MT. This is his third Finals, and the 25-year-old father of one joined the PRCA in 2007. Jesse won the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, Rapid City, SD in 2011.
The only bareback rider representing the northern plains is Steven Dent, Mullen, NE. Dent, 25, also competes in the saddle broncs, and this will be his fourth Finals. He and his wife ranch with his folks. He was Co-Champion in the barebacks at the Justin Boots Championship, Omaha, NE, and also won the Pendleton Roundup in 2011. He joined the PRCA in 2006.
In the big man’s event, steer wrestling, there are five contestants from the region. In first place is Dean Gorsuch, Gering, NE. The 32-year-old has been World Champion twice (2006 and 2010) and this will be his sixth WNFR. He joined the PRCA in 2002. Dean is married and has two sons. He won the Black Hills Stock Show in 2011.
In fourth place is Jason Miller, Lance Creek, WY. Miller, 37, is single and ranches with his family. He joined the PRCA in 1993 and this will be his fourth WNFR. He was World Champion in 2007. He won the Justin Boots Playoff at Puyallup, WA in 2011.
Todd Suhn, Hermosa, SD, will be going to his 15th WNFR in eighth place and joined the PRCA in 1994. Todd is married and has two sons. He also competes in tie-down roping. His big wins for 2011 include Reno, Ellensburg, WA, and Spanish Forks (UT) Fiesta Days.
Suhn’s cousin, Jake Rinehart, Highmore, SD, is heading to his third WNFR in 12th place. The 29-year-old, single rancher joined the PRCA in 2005. His biggest wins for 2011 include Days of ’47 (Salt Lake City, UT), Red Bluff (CA), and Pasadena (TX) Livestock Show and Rodeo.
In 13th place is Seth Brockman, Wheatland, WY. This will be his first WNFR. The 28-year-old joined the PRCA in 2005. He won the Wild Wild West Prorodeo at Silver City, NM in 2011. Seth is single.
In the team roping, two brothers made it to the Finals on the heading end of the steer. In second place is Clay Tryan, Billings, MT. The 32-year-old joined the PRCA in 1998 and is married and has two sons. His brothers are Brady and Travis. This will be his ninth WNFR and he was World Champion in 2005. Roping with Travis Graves, he won Denver, Ellensburg and Red Bluff in 2011.
Brady Tryan, Huntley, MT, is going into his second WNFR in eighth place with his partner Jake Long. Brady, 22, is single and joined the PRCA in 2008.
On the heeling end, Jhett Johnson, Casper, WY, with partner Turtle Powell, is going into his fifth WNFR in 12th place. Johnson, 40, is married, has three sons, and joined the PRCA in 1992. His big wins for 2011 include Reno and Walla Walla (WA).
Four bull riders will be headed to Las Vegas from the region. In eighth place is Seth Glause, Cheyenne, WY. Glause, 23, is going into his third WNFR. He joined the PRCA in 2007 and is single. He also competes in saddle broncs and won over $24,000 in the All-Around. His big wins for 2011 include Lawton and Guymon, OK, and the All-Around at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo at Colorado Springs, CO.
Bobby Welsh, Gillette, WY, is going into his seventh WNFR in ninth place. Welsh, 27, joined the PRCA in 2003. He’s married and has four children. His big wins for 2011 include Ellensburgh (WA), Rodeo Austin (TX), and Co-Champion at Ram Mountain States Circuit Finals.
In 11th place is WNFR first timer, Tyler Willis, Wheatland, WY. Tyler is 21, single, and also rides saddle broncs. He joined the PRCA in 2009. His 2011 big wins include Co-Champion (with Bobby Welsh) at the Ram Mountain States Circuit Finals, Amarillo, and the Silver State Stampede (NM).
Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, WY, is going to his second WNFR in 13th place. Clayton is single, 25, and joined the PRCA in 2007. His biggest win in 2011 was Forth Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
In the barrel racing, four talented ladies represent the region. In sixth place is Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD. Going into her fifth consecutive WNFR, Lockhart, 46, joined the WPRA in 2000. She’s married to a PRCA tie-down roper and they have three kids. Lockhart won the Badlands Circuit Finals year-end (for the sixth year) and average titles, plus won the Range Days (Rapid City, SD) rodeo and was second at Rodeo Houston in 2011.
Jane Melby, Backus, MN, will be making her debut at the WNFR in 11th place. Melby, 44, joined the WPRA in 2002 and is married with two kids. Her biggest wins of 2011 include being second in the average at the Pendleton Roundup.
Also going to her first WNFR is Britany Fleck, Bismarck, ND, in 12th place. Fleck, 28, joined the WPRA in 2008 and is the first barrel racer from North Dakota to qualify for the WNFR. She’s single and travels with Lisa Lockhart. She won the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo by one cent over Jill Moody and counts that as one of the big wins of 2011.
In 14th place is Jill Moody, Letcher, SD. Moody, 46, will be going to her fourth WNFR. The married step-mom of two kids joined the WPRA in 1995. She counts her win at the American Royal (KS) as a highlight of 2011.
No tie-down ropers from the northern plains region qualified for the WNFR.
The northern plains region rodeo fans are proud of the contestants going to the WNFR and will no doubt be watching every ride and every run on television if they can’t be there in person.
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