A popular addition to last year’s Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, the Saddle Bronc Futurity returns to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center's Barnett Arena for encore performance Monday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m.
And even though drawing South Dakotans to a saddle-bronc event is seldom difficult, the inaugural performance of the futurity last year seems to have struck a particularly responsive chord with rodeo fans.
“Everywhere I went last summer, people were talking about our first stock-show futurity,” Steve Sutton of Sutton Rodeo, the event organizer said. “We were able to hit a home run on our very first time out which usually doesn’t happen.
"We had world champions and one whale of a pen of bucking horses, young superstars that are just coming up, and the format worked for everyone and we look forward to doing it again.”
The invitational format matches 30 of the best bronc riders in professional rodeo up against a young crop of bucking horses brought in by top stock contractors in a unique format in which the bronc riders will compete on stock contractor teams for $13,000 dollars in prize money in a long-go, short-go format — the top 1- from first round advance to final round.
Included in the field will be former world champions Cody Wright, Taos Muncy, Jesse Kruse, and a host of National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, including Newell’s Cody Taton and J.J. Elshere.
Also expected to compete, depending upon his draw at the Southwest Stock Show and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas, will be 2013 PRCA world champion Chad Ferley, the pride of Oelrichs.
“From the cowboy side of it, the turnout problem has always been an issue in PRCA rodeo,” Sutton said. “If the cowboys didn’t draw well and couldn’t win, it’s pretty hard to buy a plane ticket. But with this format, they now come to Rapid without knowing the horses since this is bucking-horse country, and they know they will get a good horse that they can win some money on.”
And for rodeo cowboys, the chance to come into Rapid City and compete in the multiple events on this year’s Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo calendar is a huge plus, indeed.
“I will be able to come in and ride three times that week and you can’t beat that,” said Cort Sheer, an Elsmere, Neb., native who won the Professional Roughstock series world title in 2013 and finished fifth in PRCA world standings as well. “I love the futurity because you have contractors bringing in their very best horses, since they aren’t going to bring in a horse they don’t believe in, so that attracts the best guys, too.
In a truly win-win format, stock contractors will get a piece of the pie as well as they will be competing for a $30,000 purse awarded to the top-performing bucking horses, and as an added incentive to rodeo fans who may wish to make a small wager on their favorite bronc riders, the 7:30 p.m. bronc riding will be preceded by a 5:00 p.m. Calcutta, during which the 30 contestants will be auctioned off to interested buyers, while the 10 bronc riders advancing to the short-go will be sold during the event.