It’s no secret that in rodeo, good matchups are essential for award-winning saddle bronc rides. Special occasions when a good cowboy and a top-notch bucking horse pare off creating eight seconds of scintillating rodeo action.
Rodeo fans at Saturday night’s final performance of the 2019 Range Days Rodeo were treated to just such a pairing as South Dakota standout J.J Elshere and dance partner, Burch Rodeo’s Charlotte’s Rocket, thrilled the crowd with an 84.5 performance in what turned out to be a gold buckle winning performance for the Hereford-area cowboy.
“I’ve had her before and got her rode then, too, but it was just an okay ride, but tonight she was really good,” Elshere said. “She had a few little moves to her, but she really bucked through them. I was just tickled pink to get her rode since it’s always nice to do good here at home.”
With the win, and a nice payday at Thursday’s Xtreme Broncs Tour final, Elshere will likely move into the top 15 in PRCA world standings thereby giving the 39-year-old veteran bronc rider, and four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, an opportunity to earn a return appearance at the NFR in Las Vegas for the first time since 2010.
And with the 2019 PRCA rodeo season ending in September, assure that Elshere will spent the better part of the next five weeks traveling from rodeo to rodeo throughout the Great American West.
“For sure. We are going to enter about everything I can get to now and try to get her done.” Elshere said. “We are off to San Juan Capistrano, California (Sunday).”
In addition to Elshere, 12 other South Dakota bronc riders were out on Saturday, and four earned payouts as state cowboys claimed six of the top eight spots in the event.
New Underwood’s Louie Brunson rode Burch Rodeo’s Margarita Maker to a 81.5 point ride to edge ahead of Onida’s Brady Hill (80.5) for second money. Martin’s Jesse Wilson, a multi-time Indian National Finals winner, claimed fourth (80.0), Newell’s Taygen Schuelke, a former college national finals all-around champion, finishedsixth (78) and Rapid City’s Jade Blackwell, who competed in the Xtreme Broncs Final on Thursday night, shared eighth money (77).
In the two Women’s Professional Rodeo Association events being contested— breakaway roping and barrel racing — the only changes at the top of the leaderboard came in the Saturday morning slack as Joey Williams (Volborg, Mont.) and Jessica Holmes (Buffalo) earned a share of first place in breakaway roping by matching JJ Hampton’s 2.2 second run posted on Friday night.
And in barrel racing, Jessica Routier of Buffalo, the 2018 WPRA reserve world champion barrel racer, earned a second-place money with a 17.28 second trip through the cloverleaf.
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2019 RANGE DAYS RODEO WINNERS
Bareback -- (tie) Tim O'Connell (Zwingle, Iowa), on Harper & Morgan Rodeo Co's Grip It 'n Rip It, and Steven Dent (Mullen, Neb.), on Burch Rodeo's Painted Wagon, 83.5 points each
Steer Wrestling -- Cameron Moorman (Glen Ullin, N.D.), 3.8 seconds
Tie-down Roping -- Ty Milleson, 9,1 seconds
Saddle Bronc -- J.J. Elshere, 84.5 points on Burch Rodeo’s Charlotte’s Rocket
Breakaway Roping -- (tie) JJ Hampton (Stephenville, Texas), Joey Williams (Volborg, Mont.), Jessica Holmes (Buffalo), 2.2 seconds each.
Team Roping -- Alfred Hansen/Levi Tyan, 5.5 seconds.
Barrel Racing -- Britany Diaz (Solen, N.D.), 17.20 seconds.
Bull Riding -- Cole Wagner (Valier, Mont.), 81 points on Dakota Rodeo's Midnight Rain.