Melvin-Swanson-Halligan Nebraska Steer Wrestling Memorial
2nd--- Quade Potter
3rd--- Riley Reiss
1st and 2nd--- Denell Henderson and JD Struxness
3rd and 4th--- Tyler Pearson and Jace Melvin
5th--- Kyle Irwin
1st--- Kyle Irwin
2nd and 3rd--- Tyler Waguespack and Dick Tavenner
4th, 5th, and 6th--- Ben Robinson, Riley Duvall and JD Struxness
1st--- Trevor Nelson
2nd--- Sam Goings
3rd and 4th--- Richard Coats and Tyler Pearson
Average Winners of the Open
1st--- JD Struxness
2nd--- Tyler Pearson
3rd--- Richard Coats
4th--- Trevor Nelson
5th--- Kyle Irwin
6th--- Sam Goings
7th--- Eli Lord
8th--- Cody Devers
June 11th 2019 marked the 13th annual steer wrestling event, held in Sutherland, Nebraska. The event always coincides with Nebraskaland Days in nearby North Platte, so many of the top names in the PRCA are already competing in the area and this gives them a shot a more prize money.
The families of Nebraskans Wayne Melvin of Tryon, Swede Swanson of Hershey, and Harrison Halligan of North Platte, Nebraska put on the event to celebrate their lives and honor their legacies. The men influenced and mentored many young rodeo athletes not just in the sport of steer wrestling, but in rodeo and in life. For the third year the event is also an Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling Qualifier Event. The event has been held in Sutherland since 2008 and in 2009 they added “chute doggin” for younger kids. There is payout for all three rounds, plus the average winners and prizes for round winners and average winners.
“It’s a good day to have fun for everyone,” said Dru Melvin, steer wrestler and producer. “The only ones who make money are the winners. It’s a free event for folks to come watch.”
“Our first year, we held the jackpot at the Lincoln County fairgrounds, it was a great spot. Our families had a long standing relationship with Sutherland, so we moved it to that arena. Butler and Sons provide our steers which are the same ones used at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. We get them lined out and the guys like seeing them early,” Melvin said.
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“We couldn’t do it without all the volunteers; they won’t even let us buy them lunch. We have a bunch of sponsors from national companies right down to ranches and are always looking for new avenues and sponsors. We are learning and growing, but still have the same core group every year.” Melvin said. “There aren’t many straight steer wrestling matches this far north. We have always had some kind of match, in the beginning it was a traveling buckle, if you won you had to come back.”
Rod Boots and Charlie Mueller announced the event, 19 kids entered in the Ote Berry qualifier, with 60 bulldoggers in the open. This year they started something new by having a championship match between 2018 Jackpot winner, Brody Cleveland, 2018 Match champion, Stan Branco, two time Jackpot champions, Sean Mulligan and Nick Guy and two time world champion, Tyler Waguespack. They matched their skills and endurance on five head, with Nick Guy winning.
“It was a lot of fun; it’s a fun way of competing, kind of an old school way of competing, but fun to compete against the world champion. It’s not every day I get to go against someone of that caliber,” Sean Mulligan said. “It’s a neat deal and a cool event, the guys we are remembering are legends of the sport. I looked up to all those guys and it means a lot to me. I was glad to see the turn out this year; there were a lot of contestants.”
Winners of the 19 and under and Ote Berry’s Junior World Finals Qualifier. F
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