by Jim Bainbridge
By Roy Graber/for Kansas’ Largest Night Rodeo committee
PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. – It has been four years since Jerrad Hofstetter’s name has appeared near the top of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s world standings. But that has been purely his choice.
Competing July 16 at Kansas’ Largest Night Rodeo in Pretty Prairie, Hofstetter proved he is still one of the premiere tie-down ropers in the world. There, he moved to the lead of his event with a 9.4 clocking in a run he admitted could have gone better.
“I had a good calf,” Hofstetter said. “My hand kind of slipped off of the flank and I should have been a little faster, but it still worked out.”
Hofstetter, who finished among the top 15 tie-down ropers in the world and qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2008, 2010 and 2011, cut back his rodeo schedule so he could put family first.
“I’ve been home. My wife (Brittany Hofstetter, a 2007 WNFR qualifier in barrel racing) went to nursing school, and we’ve got a little boy, and we just got tired of being on the road all of the time,” said Hofstetter, a resident of Shallow Water, Texas.
So now, rather than traveling the country going from rodeo to rodeo, he is more selective about where he competes. He had heard of the large rodeo in a small town of less than 700 people, but until 2015, had never been to Pretty Prairie.
“I’m pretty impressed with this rodeo out here in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “It’s a packed house and a nice place. When I pulled in, I said ‘They have this good of a rodeo here?’ Sure enough, they do.”
In bull riding action, Rorey Maier, of Timber Lake, S.D., jumped to the lead with an 87-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Lovin’ the Business.
“I’ve been on that bull before,” said Maier. “I knew I had the bull to win it on, but also I knew I was going to have to bear down to get him ridden. The first jump out of the chute, he was hard to get by, but after that, it felt pretty good.”
Maier is one of three brothers who ride bulls in the PRCA. Ardie Maier is a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and Corey Maier, who also competed July 16 at Pretty Prairie, is a fixture in the PRCA’s top 50, having finished 16th in the world standings in 2012 – one spot out of a Wrangler NFR qualification.
Rorey, whose best year to date was in 2013 when he finished 26th in world standings, knows he will have to continue to put together solid rides like the one in Pretty Prairie if he wants to crack the top 15.
“I don’t really look at the standings much,” said Maier. “I’m not anywhere close to where I want to be, that’s all I know. I’m working on changing that. I’m just trying to move up one rodeo at a time.”
After leaving Pretty Prairie, Rorey and Corey Maier will go north to Mitchell, S.D., then head over to Cheyenne.
Treyson Antonick, Overton, Texas, took over the top spot in the saddle bronc riding with an 83-point ride aboard Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Red Wings. In steer wrestling, Jon Herl, Goodland, moved into a tie for first place with Logan Rudd, Chelsea, Okla., who stopped the clock in 5.0 on July 15.
There were no leaderboard changes in the bareback riding or the barrel racing. David Peebles, Redmond, Ore., held onto his top spot in the bareback riding with an 82-point score posted Wednesday evening, while Kim Couch, Rattan, Okla., still leads the barrel racing with a 17.25 clocking.
The team roping competition at Pretty Prairie is divided into two go-rounds, with the second round beginning on July 16. The duo of Brock Demaree and Kraig VonAhn, both of Sallisaw, Okla., jumped to the lead in the second go with a 6.3 clocking. Demaree and VonAhn also lead the average with an aggregate time of 14.8 on two head.
The rodeo continues through July 18.
Courtesy of PRCA