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Price, Kempker Excel on Final Night in Mandan

by Jim Bainbridge | Jul 05, 2015

By Johnna Craven/for the Mandan Rodeo committee

MANDAN, N.D. – At the final performance of the 136th Mandan Rodeo July 4, Taylor Price and Jeremy Kempker were the only two cowboys to top the rest of the field and win the overall championship in their events.

Price, who lives in Huntsville, Texas, drew Sankey Rodeo’s 9 Moons in the bareback riding. The 23-year-old cowboy had torn his meniscus at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede last week, but rode with his left knee taped for 85 points, first place overall and a $2,710 paycheck.

He recently graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. When his rodeo career ends, Price plans to work for Homeland Security, but the way he’s been riding bareback horses, a homeland security career will have to wait.

Jeremy Kempker of Eugene, Mo., was the only tie-down roper with a time under nine seconds throughout the three rodeo performances. His 8.3-second run earned him $2,464. He rode a 16-year-old bay mare named Sweetie Pie owned by his father, who purchased the horse for Jeremy and his brother to ride.

Kempker was the fourth cowboy to rope on Saturday and had to watch several top hands try to beat his time, including four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualifier Cade Swor of Winnie, Texas, who clocked a 10.1, and former World Champion Stran Smith of Childress, Texas, who roped his calf in a blistering 7.8 seconds, but was penalized 10 seconds for leaving the chute too quickly.

The biggest money winner of the weekend was bull rider Jimmy Maten of Donahue, Iowa, who scored 80 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Rock River Red Thursday night. Of 43 cowboys who tried, he was the only one to make a qualified ride on one of Chad Berger’s Dakota Rodeo bulls. Maten took home $12,746, of which $3,823 counted toward the world championship standings.

Former WNFR steer wrestler Les Shepperson took first in the steer wrestling with a time of 3.7 seconds and won $2,875. Other event winners were Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo., and Matt Kasner, Cody, Wyo., in team roping (5.4 seconds), and Taygen Schuelke, Newell, S.D., who scored 81 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Smoke Cloud to win the saddle bronc riding.

The 136th annual Mandan Rodeo Days Celebration is North Dakota’s largest regular season rodeo, offering more than $100,000 prize money.

Courtesy of PRCA