Where's the beef? The answer to the proverbial question was easily answered on Friday night: at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s Barnett Arena as Rodeo Rapid City, sponsored by Sutton Rodeo.
The PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour kicked off the 2018 edition with an opening night performance with non-stop action.
As always, the event featured plenty of beef, brawn and a boatload of brazenness as 35 of the PRCA’s top bull riders squared off against some of the rankest bulls in professional rodeo.
The bulls easily topped the beef and brawn categories, but the cowboys had the best of it, an easy choice given the bravado necessary to risk life and limb by climbing on the back of a 1,500- to 2,000-pound, bad-tempered animal.
Canadian cowboy Jordan Hansen has the brio on Friday night, turning a spinning ride into an 87.5-point ride to best the quality field.
“I didn’t really know that bull at all. I heard a couple of good things about him, and fortunately it worked out for me,” Hansen said. “He kind of bucked a little bit when I nodded, but came out of the chute clean and went spinning to the right the whole time ,and I was able to stay in the middle, so I was very happy with the effort."
The 24 year-old Ponoka, Alberta, bull rider is coming off his first National Finals Rodeo appearance last season and hopes to follow up in 2018.
“I’ve been thrown off a couple so far this year, so this is just what I needed to turn things around and get back on the winning side,” Hansen added.
A Wyoming cowboy, three-time NFR qualifier Clayton Savage, claimed second with an 83.5 ride, just nipping De Smet's Andy Coughlin (83). Killdeer, North Dakota’s Riley Blankenship finished fourth (82).
For Coughlin, who turned in the first qualified ride of the night and carried the lead into the third of the four sessions, the chance to climb atop a bull might be considered a breeze since healso competes in full fighting events.
“It (bull riding) doesn’t last as long,” Coughlin said with a chuckle. “Actually, I’ve been doing the bull fighting for 20 years and I love it. I had a chance to play Division I football and I chose rodeo and don’t have any regrets.”
Rapid City’s own Tanner Bothwell, fresh off a round win at the National Western Stock Show in Denver earlier in the month, opened the proceedings, though the Sturgis High School graduate got sideways out of the chute and exited quickly.
South Dakota bull riders Dakota Rice (Hermosa), Corey Maier (Timberlake), Tyson Donovan (Sturgis) and Jade Nixon (Belle Fourche) met similar fates.
Chutes open on the second and final performance of the Rodeo Rapid City Xtreme Bulls Tour performance tonight at 7:30 p.m. Earlier in the day (1:30 p.m.) the first performance of the PRCA rodeo takes to the Barnett Arena center ring.