Saddle bronc tradition: Badlands Circuit Finals has three top 10 riders in field
The Dakotas have a rich tradition in producing saddle bronc riding world champions, starting with the first, Earl Thode in 1929, the best of them all, Casey Tibbs, and four of the last seven gold buckle winners.
It will be the featured event once again when the Dodge Badlands Circuit Finals get under way, Oct. 9-12 in Minot, ND, with the field featuring three competitors among the top 10 in the Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings.
Chad Ferley, the 2006 world champion and winner of the recent Ariat Playoffs event in Omaha will be going head-to-head with Badlands Circuit Finals defending champion J.J. Elshere and Bryce Miller for a berth in next spring’s Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, ID.
Ferley is third in the world standings, trailing only Cody Wright and South Dakota native Billy Etbauer while Ferley is sixth and Miller, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is 10th.
Elshere is already assured of a spot in the field at Pocatello as the regular season Badlands Circuit champion. With winnings of $13,384, he had a margin of more than $3,500 over closest pursuers Chuck Schmidt and Ty Manke. Also in the field are Elshere’s older brother, Ryan, and Kane Gjermundson, the son of four-time world champion Brad Gjermundson of Marshall, ND.
In te bareback riding, four-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Scott Montague of Rapid City, SD, will have his hands full battling with Dustin Reeves of Owanka, SD for the Badlands title. Reeves was the 2004 and 2005 Dodge Badlands Circuit Finals champion and he won the regular season title this year.
Reeves’ $18,018 was not only nearly twice the amount earned by Montague as the bareback riding runner-up, it was also the highest amount earned by any contestant in the Badlands Circuit by nearly $3,000; Charles Zoss banked $15,024 as the bull riding champion.
The returning Dodge Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo champions are team ropers J.B. Lord of Piedmont, SD and Matt Zancanella of Aurora, SD, steer wrestler Matt Gilbert of Camp Crook, SD, and tie-down roper Tyler Fagerhaug of Wessington Springs, SD.
The Lord/Zancanella pairing finished second during the regular season to Shaw Loiseau of Coleman, SD and Tommy Crane of Whitewood, SD. Gilbert enters the rodeo fourth in the circuit standings and Fageraug was the regular season champion in a close fight with Jess Tierney of Hermosa, SD.
Tierney, the son of ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee Paul Tierney, was the circuit all-around champion. He will be competing both in the steer wrestling and the team roping at the Minot Y Men’s Rodeo.