ESTES PARK, Colo. – Every young man that grew up in rodeo has had a dream to compete in the sport’s super bowl, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Heeler Dugan Kelly of Paso Robles, Calif., has accomplished that goal six times in a career that began 18 seasons ago. He’s hoping to return to Las Vegas in December with a second-year cowboy, header Cody Snow of Los Olivos, Calif.
“I’ve known him since he was a little kid,” Kelly said of his partner. “I’ve had my eye on him for a while.”
On Friday night during the third performance of the Rooftop Rodeo, the tandem stopped the clock in 4.5 seconds to take the team roping lead with just three days of competition remaining. The veteran and the young gun proved they have a solid partnership.
Snow sits 19th in the world standings with a little more than $26,000 in earnings; Kelly sits 14th on the heeling money list with $30,110. If their time holds up for a solid finish, those figures should increase come Monday when the rodeo concludes.
“He knows where to enter everywhere and knows how to win,” Snow said of the veteran. “That’s good.”
Kelly estimates he’s been to Estes Park’s rodeo every year since 1998. Winning the Rooftop Rodeo title would be a great way to not only pad the pocketbook but also give him a great memory in the sport.
“It’s just a great rodeo and (has) a lot of money,” he said about the purse. “You get a good chance to win some money. The weather is nice; it’s beautiful up here and has great atmosphere around here.”
That combination of a top purse and outstanding accommodations is an attractive feature for ProRodeo’s best. About 800 contestants were scheduled to be part of the six days of competition.
“I’ve struggled this last week,” Kelly said. “It felt good to finally catch one.”
Every catch means an opportunity for team ropers earn their way to the NFR.
“I’ve been to the finals, so, of course, that’s my goal to make it,” he said. “I want to be in the top five going in there and dang sure to be in the top five when it’s over. You just want to have a chance; coming into the ninth and 10th round, your name needs to be in the top.”
It is in Estes Park so far.
Estes Park, Colo.
July 6-11, 2016
Leaders through third performance
Bareback riding: 1. Brian Bain, 84.5 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Sugar Daddy; 2. Joel Schlegel, 83.5; 3. Blaine Kauffman, 82; 4. Bill Tutor, 80.5; 5. Kody Lamb, 80; 6. (tie) Caleb Bennett, Orin Larsen and Tim O’Connell, 79 each.
Steer wrestling: 1. K.C. Jones, 4.4 seconds; 2. Cody Cabral, 4.6; 3. Gabe Taylor. 4.9; 4. Jake Fulton, 5.1; 5. Sean Santucci, 5.3; 6. Ross Mosher, 5.4; 7. Jake Kraupie, 5.5; 8. Rowdy Parrot, 5.6.
Team roping: 1. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.5; 2. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 4.8; 3. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 5.4; 4. Monty Wood/Brandon Gonzales, 5.8; 5. Garrett Grieve/Steven Gaona, 66; no other qualified times.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. CoBurn Bradshaw, 82 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Exploding Springs; 2. Jesse Bail, 81; 3. Landon Mecham, 80; 4. Tyler Corrington, 79.5; 5. Rusty Wright, 79; 6. Ben Londo, 78; 7. (tie) Jake Watson, Taos Muncy and Andy Clarys, 75.
Tie-down roping: 1. Rhen Richard, 9.0 seconds; 2. Marshall Leonard, 9.1; 3. Braxton Laughlin, 9.6; 4. Travis Lewis, 9.8; 5. Justin Brinkerhoff, 10.5; 6. Chad Finley, 10.6; 7. Garret Arnold, 10.9; 8. Stuart Hoar, 11.3.
Barrel racing: 1. Lorie Manning, 17.94 seconds; 2. Sabra O’Quinn, 17.95; 3. Katelyn McLeod, 18.06; 4. (tie) Christine Laughlin and Jenna Waggoner, 18.07; 6. Cayla Melby, 18.16; 7. Paige Willis, 18.25; 8. C.J. Vondette, 18.28; 9. Benette Little, 18.33; 10. Brittany Kelly, 18.43; 11. Kari Hasler, 18.45; 12. Lesley Chester, 18.56; 13. Kasey Hall, 18.68; 14. Charity Hoar, 18.74; 15. Nicole Waggoner, 18.78.
Bull riding: 1. Derek Kolbaba, 79 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Wolf Greeley Hat Works; 2. Dustin Muncy, 78; no other qualified rides.
Courtesy of twisTEDrodeo.com