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Bull Riders Keep Dream Alive in St. Paul

by Jim Bainbridge | Jul 03, 2015

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the St. Paul Rodeo committee

ST. PAUL, Ore. – A 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bull rider and one hoping for his first appearance on rodeo’s biggest stage, came to the St. Paul Rodeo during its second performance on July 2 and left sharing the bull riding lead and dreams of heading to the WNFR.

Bull riders Brennon Eldred, of Sulphur, Okla., and Ty Pozzobon, of Merritt, British Columbia, are leading the bull riding pack at St. Paul, with scores of 86 points each.

The number three bull rider in the world, Eldred, moved a step closer to his second Wrangler NFR with his 86-point ride aboard the Corey and Lange bull, Totally Annoying.

Last year, the second year of his PRCA membership, he rodeoed hard. “I busted my tail and went to 100 rodeos,” and qualified for the Wrangler NFR, pro rodeo’s world championship. “I made a good winter run (to the big winter rodeos), and got a good start.”

He’s won in Odessa, Texas, this year, in Redding, Calif., last year and this year, and placed second in the average in Reno, Nev. in June.

It’s always been his dream to ride bulls professionally. He grew up the son of a team roper, but one day, at the age of six, he rode a calf, and his bull riding career began. His mother knew nothing about it.

“My mom didn’t know I was getting on that day, and when she found out, she wasn’t happy,” Eldred said. “But there wasn’t anything she could do about it. I had my mind set.”

His parents are the first ones who get a phone call after a rodeo. “I call my folks, and check in with them, every day,” he said. After his 86 point ride July 2, he called his mom. “She’s pumped,” he said.

Pozzobon isn’t as close as Eldred to the bright lights of Las Vegas, the home of the Wrangler NFR, but his ride in St. Paul got him a bit closer. He had seen videos of the bull he rode, Chucky, of the Corey and Lange Rodeo Company, and he liked what he saw. The rider in the video was bucked “but it could have been a 91 or 92 point ride,” Pozzobon said. “I wasn’t quite that score, but it felt like a good ride, and I did my job.”

Pozzobon wasn’t able to “do his job” – ride bucking bulls – for several months, up to May of this year. He suffered two serious concussions last year, both of which knocked him out for 20 minutes. The neurologist who cleared him to ride wasn’t really enthused about it. “His advice was different than my view,” Pozzobon said. “He advised me to get a different hobby.”
Since May, Pozzobon has finished in 10th place at the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede, and tied for third place at the Aidrie (Alberta) Pro Rodeo, and the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo. “I’ve had a good run going, and I want to keep it rolling.”

Other high scores and fast times from the July 2 competition at the St. Paul Rodeo were posted by bareback rider Zack Brown, Red Bluff, Calif. (83), steer wrestlers Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore., and Cole Edge, Durant, Okla. (5.0 each) in the first round and Jacob Shofner, Huntsville, Texas in the second round (4.1); saddle bronc rider Samuel Kelts, Millarville, Alb. (83), and tie-down ropers Jake Pratt, Ellensburg, Wash. (8.4) in the first go-round and Blair Burk, Durant, Okla., (8.4) in the second round. Team ropers Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas, and Kollin Von Ahn, Blanchard, Okla., lead the second round with a time of 4.2 seconds, and barrel racer Callie DuPerier, Boerne, Texas, leads her event (16.38).

The July 3 performance is at 7:30 p.m., with the final performances on July 4 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and range in price from $16 to $28 and are available online at www.StPaulRodeo.com and at the ticket office on the rodeo grounds. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website or call the rodeo office at 800.237.5920.

Courtesy of PRCA