A South Dakota steer wrestler fresh off his first National Finals Rodeo, and a rodeo legend with a long history of attendance at the Black Hills Stock Show highlighted Friday night’s third performance of the Rodeo Rapid City PRCA rodeo on a night.
All the ingredients are here: a talented field featuring a mix of youth and experience, numerous world champions and a large continent of South Dakota standouts, were on hand for a special night.
Chason Floyd headed up the South Dakota rodeo athlete highlights tracking down and tipping his steer in a very quick 3.7 seconds to move into the lead in steer wrestling.
A win at Rapid City last year helped jump-start the the Buffalo bull-dogger into a big year, culminating in a December trip to Las Vegas and a 11th place spot in the year-end standings.
“I’ve done well here. It’s a great environment, close to home and my dad was able to come down and watch, so it was pretty nice. I got a good start. I rode Jake Reinhart’s horse ,which is one of the best horses going, and Jeff Johnston hazed for me and luck was on my side tonight,” Floyd said before pointing out that he and wife Jesika welcomed a much more precious prize last week. “My wife Jesika had a baby boy last week, so we are pretty excited.”
In the legends category, the husband and wife team of Mike Johnson and Sherrylynn Johnson were in the house on Friday night as well. Mike, the iron man of professional rodeo, is a 23-time NFR qualifier in tie-down roping, while Sherrylynn is a four-time barrel racing qualifier and a longtime Women’s Professional Rodeo Association standout.
Johnson amply demonstrated that at 54 years old, the Henryetta, Oklahoma, cowboy still has what it take to compete with the young guns with a quick catch and hooey on the way to a 9.2 second run to move into second place behind event leader Tyler Milligan (8.5).
For Johnson, a trip to Rapid City has been penciled into his calendar for a long, long time.
“Actually I’ve been here for about 37 years,” Johnson said. “It’s one of my favorite rodeos since the first time I came here. Seeing all the Black Hills Gold and all the exhibits was great, so that it was a just a great indoor rodeo and I’ve been back here every year since. All the top guys come here and at 54 years of age, I’m glad I can still come."
In a sport partnering rodeo athletes with livestock, unpredictability is often the order today. Not true in Rodeo Rapid City in 2018 in the saddle bronc event.
When it comes to bronc riding, the Wright way has often been the right way as the Utah Wright clan has dominated the performances.
On Friday night, Rusty Wright turned in an 80-point effort sharing the night’s best with a couple of South Dakota bronc riders Kaden Deal (Eagle Butte) and Jeremy Meeks (Scenic). Earlier in the week, brother Ryder Wright, the reigning world champion, won the winner take all final in Wednesday’s Xtreme Bronc Match, and Uncle Jesse Wright (the 2012 world champion) grabbed the PRCA rodeo with an 84 trip on Thursday night.
Friday night saw a change at the top of the leaderboard in bareback as well as Canadian cowboy Orin Larsen, who spurred his way to an 84 point ride.
The Rodeo Rapid City PRCA rodeo concludes today with two performances, a 1:30 p.m. matinee featuring freestyle bullfighting and the bull teeter-totter, and the 7:30 p.m. fifth and final performance which will include the freestyle bullfight finals.
Event leaders heading into Saturday’s final two performances: Bareback — Orin Larsen (Inglis, Manitoba) 84 points; Steer Wrestling — Chasen Floyd (Buffalo) 3.7 seconds; Team Roping — Turner Harris (Kildeer, North Dakota) and Ross Carson (Grassy Butte, North Dakota) 5.5 seconds; Saddle Bronc — Jesse Wright (Milford, Utah) 84 points; Tie-Down Roping — Tyler Milligan (Pawhuska, Oklahoma) 8.5 seconds; Barrel Racing — Bobbi Grann (Sheyenne, North Dakota) 12.78 seconds; Bull Riding — Cole Elshere (Faith) 88 points.