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National Western Stock Show Rodeo Gets Off to a Rousing Start

By Susan Kanode
For the National Western Stock Show

DENVER, Colo. – It’s become a tradition to start the National Western Stock Show Rodeo with competition between teams representing rodeos from Colorado and from across the rest of North America.

The history of the event goes back eight years, but in that amount of time, its popularity has grown for both fans and contestants. A near capacity crowd saw competitors in bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding as well as steer wrestling and barrel racing compete for a pair of championship spurs as well as part of the $90,000 purse.

The day started with an 11 a.m. performance featuring all of the contestants on the Cinch Jeans World Team. What started with 10 contestants in each event was quickly narrowed to the best four advancing to Saturday night’s Showdown.

A matinee performance featuring contestants from the Ram Rodeo Colorado Team started at 3:30 p.m. with the same format. Then at 8 p.m. the four contestants that advanced from each team went head-to-head to narrow the field once again in the semifinals. The top score in each event from the two teams advanced again to a winner-take-all final round.

To be part of the World team, contestants were invited to represent rodeos in North Platte, Nebraska.; Guymon, Oklahoma; Rapid City, South Dakota; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Austin, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Calgary, Alberta; Dodge City, Kansas; San Angelo, Texas; and Houston, Texas.

For the Colorado team, three contestants represented the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in each event. Additionally, the following rodeos participated: Loveland; Pueblo, Greeley; Estes Park; Elizabeth; and Colorado Springs. To complete the 10-person roster, a contestant was invited as a wildcard.

There was only one contestant from the Colorado Team that won a championship, and even though his home is in Nanton, Alberta, the cheers from the stands were the loudest when they announced Clay Elliott as the saddle bronc riding champion.

Elliott watched as Ryder Wright rode Vold Rodeo’s Sun Glow for 90 points and knew if he wanted to win, he had his work cut out for him. It was a six-year-old horse named Amazon Hills from Calgary Stampede that Elliott chose to ride. They both did their jobs and when it was all said and done, Elliott also had 90-points beside his name. Because he had the high score in the semifinals, Elliott earned the spurs and the $8,000 check that went to the champion.

Barrel racing couldn’t have been any more exciting or any closer. It was a match-up between Amy Jo Reisdorfer from Cheyenne, Wyoming who was representing her home-town rodeo for the world team and Ari-Anna Flynn who was representing the Roof Top Rodeo at Estes Park for the Colorado Team.

Reisdorfer won the World performance with a time of 15.543 seconds. That was worth $1,000. She earned another $1,000 for her finish in the semifinals where she stopped the clock in 15.553 seconds. She was the first of the two barrel racers to run in the finals and had her fastest run of the day at 15.539.

Flynn also had the fastest of her three runs in the final round stopping the clock in 15.540 seconds. Reisdorfer won the title and the $8,000 by just one thousandth of a second on a horse that they call Blue Duck.

“When I got up this morning, I just wanted to come in here and have consistent, smooth runs,” she said. “My oldest son was coaching me after my second run. I have three boys here with me and they all love Blue Duck. They all rodeo and are part of the team that it takes. I think he runs better when they are here.”

Reisdorfer and her husband have six children between them, and between all of them, Blue Duck gets plenty of treats and attention. After winning the championship here on Saturday, they were planning some extra pampering for the black gelding.

Clayton Sellars made a big statement when he won the bull riding for the World Team. He was the most successful of the 20 competitors by far as the only one to have two qualified rides. He advanced to the semifinals based on the time that he rode during the morning performance, then got an 83-point score Saturday night.

Coy Pollmeier from the Colorado Team also rode in the semifinals scoring 81 points. Sellars got first pick of the bulls in the finals because of his high score. He chose HTTR, a bull owned by 4L and Diamond S Rodeo.

That choice proved fruitful with an 87.5-point ride. Sellars was the only man to ride two bulls in the Denver Coliseum on Saturday.

“I’ve been riding good and have been confident,” Sellars said. He was crowned the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rookie of the Year in the bull riding for the 2018 season. “I’ve been fired up and couldn’t wait to get on here. Now, I’m excited to get back here for the rodeo.” Sellars will compete again at the PRCA rodeo next Saturday.

Other winners were World Team members, Seth Hardwick in the bareback riding and Josh Garner in the steer wrestling.

The 113th National Western Stock show will see a cross-cultural event in the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza in the Denver Coliseum on Sunday. Performances are at 2 and 6:30 p.m.


The following are results from Super Saturday, Colorado Versus the World rodeo, Jan. 12, 2019.

Cinch Jeans World Team Performance – contestant, hometown, rodeo represented

Bareback Riding: 1, (tie) Kash Wilson, Gooding, Idaho, (Rapid City, S.D.) and R.C. Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif., (Calgary), 86 points and $850 each. 3, Seth Hardwick, Ranchester, Wyo., (Dodge City, Kansas), 85, $600. 4, Tyler Nelson, Victor, Idaho, (Austin) 82.5, $500.

Steer Wrestling: 1, Bridger Anderson, Alva, Okla., (Dodge City, Kansas) 5.69 seconds, $1,000. 2, Tee Burress, Piedmont, S.D., (Austin) 6.93, $700. 3, Kody Woodward, Alva, Okla., (San Angelo) 7.85, $600. 4, Josh Garner, Live Oak, Calif., (Austin) 9.61, $500.

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah, (Calgary) 87.5 points, $1,000. 2, (tie) Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alberta, (Fort Worth) and Ross Griffin, Tularosa, N.M., (Guymon, Oklahoma) 84.5 and $650 each. 4, (tie) Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., (San Angelo, Texas) and Jade Blackwell, Piedmont, S.D., (North Platte, Nebraska) 82, $350 each. Schmidt advanced based on tie-breaker.

Women’s Barrel Race: 1, Amy Jo Reisdorfer, Cheyenne, Wyoming, (Cheyenne) 15.543 seconds, $1,000. 2, Ashley Day, Volberg, Mont., (Guymon, Okla.) 15.862, $700.3, Kailee Webb, Isabel, S.D., (Calgary) 15.876, $600. 4, Lake Mehalic, Fort Collins, Colo., (North Platte, Neb.) 15.903, $500.

Bull Riding: (no qualified rides – contestants advanced on time ridden) 1, Shane Proctor, Delaware, Okla., (Houston); Clayton Sellars, Stephenville, Texas, (Fort Worth); Jeston Mead, Holcomb, Kan., (North Platte); and Jesse Petri, Palestine, Texas, (Dodge City, Kan.).

RAM Rodeo Colorado Team Performance – contestant, hometown, Colorado rodeo represented

Bareback Riding: 1, Justin Polmiller, Weatherford, Okla. (Pueblo, 85 points, $1,000. 2, Logan Patterson, Kim, Colo., (Loveland) 83.5, $700. 3, (tie) Hunter Brasfield, Delta, Colo., (Elizabeth) and Grant Denny, Minden, Nev., (Denver) 83, $550 each.

Steer Wrestling: 1, Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb., (Pueblo) 4.50 seconds, $1,000. 2, Trell Etabuer, Gruver, Texas, (Loveland) 4.95, $700. 3, Tyler Pearson, Atoka, Okla., (Denver) 5.39, $600. 4, Aaron Vosler, Cheyenne, Wyoming, (Colorado Springs) 5.80, $500.

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta, (Denver) 85 points, $1,000. 2, Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, (Greeley) 84.5, $700. 3, Nat Stratton, Santa Rosa, Calif., (Colorado Springs) 83, $600. 4, Colt Gordon, Comanche, Okla., (Denver) 82.5, $500.

Women’s Barrel Race: 1, Sally Conway, Arvada, Wyo., (Elizabeth) 15.380 seconds, $1,000. 2, Ari-Anna Flynn, Charleston, Ark., (Estes Park) 15.520, $700. 3, Tracy Nowlin, Nowata, Okla., (Greeley) 15.763, $600. 4, Lori Todd, Wilcox, Ariz., (Colorado Springs) 15.812, $500.

Bull Riding: (no qualified rides – contestants advanced on time ridden) 1, Riker Carter, Stone, Idaho, (Wild Card); Coy Pollmeier, Fort Scott, Kan., (Denver); Kyle Zeigler, Atwood, Kan. (Colorado Springs); Laramie Mosley, Santana, Kan., (Elizabeth)

Showdown – Colorado Vs. The World – Contestant, followed by team, score and money.

Bareback Riding: (semifinals) 1, Seth Hardwick, World, 88 points, $1,000. 2, Logan Patterson, Colorado, 85. (Final) 1, Hardwick, 87.5, $8,000. 2, Patterson, 84.

Steer Wrestling: (semifinals) 1, Tyler Pearson, Colorado, 4.06, $1,000. 2, Josh Garner, World, 5.12, $1,000. (Final) 1, Garner, 4.15, $8,000. 2, Pearson, 4.94.

Saddle Bronc Riding: (semifinals) 1, Clay Elliott, Colorado, 88, $1,000. 2, Ryder Wright, 0, $1,000. (final) 1, Elliott, 90, $8,000. 2, Wright, 90. (Elliott won based on tie-breaker)

Women’s Barrel Race: (semifinals) 1, Amy Jo Reisdorfer, World, 15.553, $1,000. 2, Ari-Anna Flynn, Colorado, 16.190, $1,000. (final) 1, Reisdorfer, 15.539, $8,000. 2, Flynn, 15.540.

Bull Riding: (semifinals) 1, Clayton Sellars, World, 83, $1,000. 2, Coy Pollmeier, 81, $1,000. (final) 1, Sellars, 87.5, $8,000. 2, Pollmeier, 0.