RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rushmore Plaza Civic Center may want to start marketing itself as the building where careers are launched.
One night after Bart Miller won his first Xtreme Bulls Tour title here, 21-year-old Riley Blankenship of Killdeer, N.D., made his big breakthrough by winning the second night of the Rapid City Xtreme Bulls Division 2 series on Jan. 31.
Blankenship’s 85.5-point ride on Brookman-Hyland Rodeo’s Little Chubby allowed him to hold off two-time Xtreme Bulls Tour champion Kanin Asay and Dalton Votaw by 1.5 points and earned him a check for $3,666, the biggest of his career.
“I’ve been on that bull a couple of times before and didn’t have any luck,” Blankenship told the Rapid City Journal. “So tonight I was just happy to get him rode. He came out pretty hard and, fortunately, I was able to stay in the middle. Third time was a charm for me tonight, I guess.”
A former North Dakota high school champion, Blankenship was a PRCA rookie in 2014. He won the Sitting Bull Stampede in Mobridge, S.D., last July and qualified into the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo. His season earnings of $5,640 put him 138th in the world standings.
Asay was the only competitor to each checks both nights of the two stand-alone Xtreme Bulls events here, finishing seventh on Jan. 30 and in that tie for second on Jan. 31 with his 84-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Whiskey Hangover.
“I was kind of expecting him to fake left and go right and that’s what he did last night (when he bucked off Coleman Entze),” Asay said. “But tonight he rolled out there and kicked super hard and went left and stayed left, and I can’t be happier that I was able to hang on him for eight seconds. My wife and her family are from Rapid and so we spend a lot of time here anyway, and I love the mountains, so while it’s not necessarily my hometown rodeo, I claim it to be one.”
The next Xtreme Bulls Tour event is Feb. 5 in Bismarck, N.D.
Courtesy of PRCA