Saturday meant names on paychecks as the 2020 edition of the Rodeo Rapid City PRCA rodeo drew to a close with matinee and evening performances.
Adding an extra element of excitement to the final day of rodeo action was the possibility of seeing some winning efforts in the rough stock events as the top scores from the earlier four performances appeared vulnerable.
Vulnerable they were, as the bronc and bull riders were up to the challenge.
The rough stock leaderboard assault started in the afternoon performance with an 87-point bull trip by Hawk Whitt (Thermopolis, Wyo.), aboard Sutton Rodeo’s Pepper Lewis.
“He moved around quite a bit and loosened me up quite a few times, but I just had to grit my teeth and keep going at him,” Whitt said. “I saw a little bit of him the other day, so I knew he was a good bull and just had to do my job.”
Though the ride was world class, the dismount was anything but, a nose-grinder that resulted in a possible broken nose.
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“Yeah, it was kind of bad get-off. You not supposed to land on your head like that, but I’ll feel better tomorrow,” said Whitt, who had put up big numbers in Denver (National Western) and in Fort Worth the past month. “It’s been hit and miss here and there, but I’m not letting them get me down and working hard and it’s been working out pretty well in the end.”
The run to the front of pay line continued in the first event on the evening slate as Chadron State College senior Kyle Bloomquist turned a jarring, back-bounding bareback ride on Burch Rodeo’s Fire Fly into an 87-point score, easily the best of the rodeo, to claim top money.
“I’d seen him a couple times in Denver, and I knew I had a good chance to make a good run, and he came out and stayed real close (to the chute) and let me do my stuff,” said Bloomquist, who currently leads the college Plains Region in the bareback event. “To win here helps a lot. This will light my fire for the rest of the season and help me in my career. Because of my schooling, my winter run is kind of limited so I will finish up my education and then next year buy my (PRCA) card.”
Shorty Garrett completed the rough stock charge on the leaderboard as the Eagle Butte saddle bronc rider fashioned an outstanding 90.5-point ride aboard Sutton Rodeo’s standout bucking horse, South Point, to move past the 86-point effort of traveling partner Isaac Diaz recorded minutes earlier.
“You couldn’t ask for a better horse, a great feeling horse. It was a little work to get out on but it was dang sure worth it after,” Garrett said. “I’ve wanted that horse for a long time and it was a lot of fun to finally draw him and have it work out great.”
Though his progression as a quality bronc rider has been steady the last few years, the 2020 season had the look of a breakthrough season as Garrett currently stands third in PRCA world standings.
“It’s definitely the best winter I’ve ever had,” Garrett said. “Last year I tore a hamstring and didn’t get to go to a lot of the bigger ones and better shows, but I’m healthy now and maybe craving it a little more, maybe. Looking at it that way and treating it like a job and not a hobby.”
On the timed event end of the arena, Canadian tie down roper Ben Robinson recorded the one leaderboard change of the day with an 8.6-second catch and half hitch.