North Platte, Neb. (June 15, 2017) – The 2017 Buffalo Bill Rodeo is half over, and the first rounds of the steer wrestling and tie-down roping are complete in North Platte, with the second rounds of those two events having begun.
Steer wrestlers Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala., and Ryan Swayze, Freedom, Okla., tied to win the first round with a time of 4.0 seconds. In the tie-down roping, Dane Kissack, Spearfish, S.D., won the first round with his 9.0 second run.
The steer wrestler leading the second round is a young talented cowboy, Eli Lord. Lord, who is 23 and hails from Sturgis, S.D. turfed his steer in a time of 4.0 seconds to take the lead. He didn’t win a check in the first round, having broken the barrier, which added a ten second penalty to his time of 11 seconds.
Lord competes alongside family at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. His younger brother, Levi, age 21, and his dad, J.B., also competed in North Platte, all three in the team roping and Eli in the steer wrestling. J.B. is a veteran in the rodeo world, having qualified and competed at more than 25 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeos and won the all-around, steer wrestling and team roping titles numerous times.
Eli Lord was humble about his four second run. “This is a great rodeo,” he said. “There’s ninety-some bulldoggers entered, and it’s always tough (competition) here. I was just fortunate enough to make a good run.”
Lord has one more semester of college at Eastern New Mexico State University in Portales and will graduate in December of this year with a degree in elementary education. But before he puts that to use, his ultimate goal is the same as for most every professional rodeo cowboy: be in the top fifteen in the PRCA world standings, in order to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But he’s broken his goals into bite-sized chunks: first, he wants to win the Badlands Circuit, the regional designation for the pro rodeos in the Dakotas, in both the steer wrestling and the team roping. He’s qualified three times for the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, and is ranked in the top ten so far, third in the steer wrestling and ninth in the team roping as a header.
Then he’d like to finish the rodeo season in the top 35 in both events, which would qualify him to compete in the big winter rodeos. The closest he’s been is finishing the 2015 year in the top fifty in the team roping, but horse troubles slowed his rodeo and he’s never been ranked that high since.
Lord usually travels with his brother and dad, but that’s coming to an end, as he competes in two events, which requires three horses: a heading horse for the team roping, a steer wrestling horse, and a hazing horse. Three of his horses, plus at least two more for his brother and dad make the trailer too crowded. Being together so much has its benefits and its disadvantages, Lord said. “It’s like any other family. There’s a lot of arguing that goes on, but it’s great overall. It’s great to do a sport where you can compete against your dad and your brother, as well as rodeo with them. That’s been great.”
He’s following in his dad’s footsteps, but would like to walk out of them. His dad, JB, “has done a lot of the sport, and now I’m trying to not only do as well as him, but surpass him.”
Eli team roped with heeler Tucker White, Hershey, in North Platte. The duo did not make a qualified run. JB and Levi team roped together tonight; their time of 6.8 seconds has them in sixth place so far.
Other leaders from Thursday’s slack and performance are bareback rider Blake Smith, Zap, N.D. (75 points); tie-down roper Cody Quaney, Cheney, Kan. (8.4 seconds), and team ropers Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla. and Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla. (4.8 seconds). Saddle bronc rider Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D., had the high score for the night; his 84 points sits second overall. Barrel racer Jessica Leach, Rockville, Neb. was a 17.85 to be the fast time for the night. There were no qualified rides in the bull riding.
Night number three of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo takes place on Friday, June 16 at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. Tickets are available online at www.NebraskaLandDays.com, at the NLD office or at the gate.
High scores and fast times from the second performance and slack, June 15, 2017
North Platte, Nebraska – Buffalo Bill Rodeo
1. Blake Smith, Zap, N.D. 75 points on Nutrena’s Pebbles; 2. Joel Schlegel, Burns, Colo. 73.5; 3. Jordan Pelton, Halliday, N.D. 72; no other qualified rides.
1st go-round (completed after slack today)
1. (tie) Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala. and Ryan Swayze, Freedom, Okla. 4.0 seconds each; 3. John Franzen, Riverton, Wyo. 4.1; 4. (tie) Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis. and Jake Johnson, Mound City, Kan. 4.3 each; 6. (tie) Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., Mitchell Gardner, Dover, Okla. and Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas 4.4 each.
1. Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. 4.0 seconds; 2. (tie) Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah, Taz Olson, Prairie City, S.D., and Blair Jones, Colby, Kan. 4.1 each; 4. Tanner Brunner, Ramona, Kan. 4.3.
1. Cody Quaney, Cheney, Kan. 8.4 seconds; 2. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla. 9.2; 3. Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas 9.6; 4. (tie) Trevor Thiel, Greeley, Colo. and Ace Slone, Cuero, Texas 10.0 each.
Saddle bronc riding
1. Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D. 84 points on Black Gold; 2. Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alb. 72; 3. Tyler Turco, Franktown, Colo. 69; 4. Landon Mecham, Tropic, Utah, 61.5
1. Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla. 4.8 seconds; 2. Brit Ellerman, Ft Lupton, Colo./TJ Watts, Ft Lupton, Colo. 5.1; 3. Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D./Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. 5.3; 4. Brett Christensen, Alva, Okla./Dawson McMaster, Madison, Kan. 5.8.
1.Jessica Leach, Rockville, Neb. 17.85 seconds; 2. Cheryl Wallace, Broken Bow Neb. 17.87; 3. Holly Wright, Gruver, Texas 17.94; 4. Chandler Markel, Morrill Neb. 17.99.
No qualified rides.
** All results are unofficial.