By Susan Kanode
SAN ANTONIO – Three of the 2018 San Antonio Rodeo champions entered the AT&T Center on Monday night needing to earn money to advance to the semifinals and each one of them pulled enough of the $1.6 million purse to move ahead.
Dakota Eldridge of Elko, Nevada, won the steer wrestling title a year ago. He tied for third in the second round and won $1,000. The top four money earners in each event from the brackets advance to the semifinals. Monday night’s competition was the third and final round of Bracket 2. Eldridge did exactly what he needed to, stopping the clock in 3.8 seconds. That gave him a tie for first, added $2,250 to his earnings and moved him to the top of the standings.
Eldridge has had a lot of changes in his life since he was here a year ago. Last July at Wyoming’s Cheyenne Frontier Days, he tore up his knee, had surgery and missed most of the summer rodeos. That was the first time he wasn’t on the rodeo trail in the summer since he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 2012.
After surgery and rehab, he is good as new even though he is spending a little extra time with the Justin Sportsmedicine Team just to be sure. He missed competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) after five consecutive qualifications. Then in January, he made the biggest change when he got married.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself this past year,” Eldridge said. “I always knew that injuries were part of rodeo, but never really expected it to happen to me. It’s taken a bit, but I feel really good now.”
When the team roping started, Tyler Wade of Terrell, Texas, and Billie jack Saebens, from Mowata, Oklahoma had earned $2,500 for winning the first round. That had them in pretty good shape, but to secure a trip back here they needed to get another check. After Wade caught the steer’s horns, Saebens threw his loop, but when he pulled the slack in the rope, he only had caught one leg. At most rodeo’s that wouldn’t’ get a check, but here on Monday it was good for second place. Saebens won here a year ago heeling for Coleman Proctor.
Ryle Smith from Oakdale, California loves this rodeo and this rodeo loves him. He was the only tie-down roper to place in all three rounds of Bracket 2 and leads the money standings with $4,375. The money he won here last year helped secure his second trip to the NFR to compete in the tie-down roping.
There have already been a lot of great bull riders at this year’s rodeo, but none were more lucrative that Stetson Wright’s 87.5-point effort on Powder river Rodeo’s Audactious on Monday. Wright was the lone rider to be successful, so he got all the prize money – a whopping $6,500. That is likely the biggest win of the 18-year-old’s career. A year ago, he was in high school and just waiting until he turned 18 so he could join the PRCA and start competing. Wright, from Beaver, Utah, rode all three of his bulls and will enter the semifinals with $8,500.
Contestants in the third of five brackets will have their first round of competition at the 70th San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo on Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m.
The following are results after the sixth performance of the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo, the 14-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year.
Bracket 2, round 3 followed by semifinals qualifiers
Bareback Riding: 1, Connor Hamilton, Calgary, Alberta, 83 points on Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Oil Field Hostage, $2,500. 2, Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas, 80, $2,000. 3, clint Laye, Cadodgan, Alberta, 78, $1,250. 4, (tie) Ty Fast Taypotat, Regina, Saskatchewan and Blaine Kaufman, Pretty Prairie, Kan., 77 and $325 each. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Jared Keylon, Uniontown, Kan., $4,125. 2, Hamilton, $3,750. 3, Tutor, $3,625. 4, Zach Hibler, Wheeler, Texas, $2,875.
Steer Wrestling: 1, (tie) 1, Dirk Tavenner, Rigby, Idaho, and Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 3.8 seconds and $3,250 each. 3, (tie) Don Payne, Stephenville, Texas, Sterling Lambert, Fallon, Nev., and Levi Rudd, Chelsea, Okla., 4.0, $666. (semifinals qualifiers) Eldridge, $3,250. 2, (tie) Clayton Hass, Weatherford, Texas, and Cameron Moreman, Glen Ullin, N.D., $2,500. 4, Taz Olson, Prairie City, S.D., 4.6, $2,375.
Team Roping: 1, Dustin Egusquiza, Mariana, Fla., and Kory Koontz, Stephenville, Texas, 4.4, $2,500. 2, Lane Ivy, Dublin, Texas, and Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, Kan., 4.9. 3, tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas, and Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla., 9.1, $1,250. 4, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 9.2, $750. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Smith and Long, $4,000. 2, Wade and Saebens, $3,750. 3, Ivy and Hawkins, $3,250. 4, Spencer Mitchell, Orange Cove, Calif., and Cody Doescher, $2,500.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Jake Watson, Hudsons Hope, British Columbia, 86 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Meat Cracker, $2,500. 2, J.J. Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 85, $2,000. 3, Alex Wright, Milford, Utah, 82, $1,240. 4, Layton Green, Meeting Creek, Alberta, 80, $750. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Watson, $5,000. 2, Jake Finlay, Goondiwindi, Australia, $3,625. 3, (tie) Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., and Wright, $2,500.
Tie-Down Roping: 1, Tyler Milligan, Pawhuska, Okla., 7.5 seconds, $2,500. 2, Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif., 8.2, $2,000. 3, Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 8.6, $1,250. 4, Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah, 9.6, $750. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Smith, $4,375. 2, (tie) Milligan and Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, $2,500. 4, Trent Creager, Stillwater, Okla., $2,250.
Women’s Barrel Race: 1, Sissy Winn, chapman Ranch, Texas, 13.95 seconds, $2,500. 2, Christine Laughlin, Pueblo, Colo., 14.14, $2,000. 3, shali Lord, Lamar, Colo., 14.15, $1,250. 4, (tie) Lacinda Rose, Willard, Mo., and Kathy Grimes, Medical Lake, Wash., 14.19, $375. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Lord, $5,000. 2, Rose, $3,625. 3, Grimes, $2,875. 4, Laughlin, $2,750.
Bull Riding: (one ride) Stetson Wright, Beaver, Utah, 87.5 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Audacious, $6,500. (semifinals qualifiers) 1, Wright, $8,500. 2, Scottie Knapp, Edgewood, N.M., $2,500. 3, (tie) Cole Melancon, Liberty, Texas, and Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont., $2,250.