LAS VEGAS — The process of becoming a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) starts when a contestant buys their permit.
Those rising stars were celebrated on Dec. 1, at the Permit Member Challenge of the Year rodeo at the South Point Equestrian Center. Competition was held in all of the PRCA’s standard events, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and bull riding. Contestants qualified to compete here with the top five permit holders for the year making the cut.
There were two repeat champions, Wyatt Bloom in the bareback riding and Jesse Brown in the steer wrestling. Both have put their professional rodeo aspirations on hold while they have been in college and were rodeo team mates at Montana State University in Bozeman.
Bloom, from Bend, Ore., recently graduated and is fulfilling a promise he made to his grandfather.
“My grandpa wanted me to rodeo on my permit for four years and wait to get my card until I graduated from college,” he said. “He died when I was a sophomore, but I made a promise to him and I kept it.”
Bloom won his first Permit Challenge buckle in 2014. He qualified to compete again last year but injuries kept him on the sideline. He competed at his fourth College National Finals Rodeo last June and is now ready to take his career and riding to the next level. He will be competing for the Resistol Rookie of the Year award in 2017.
Each contestant had two opportunities to compete. Times and scores were added together and the contestant with the best total won the championship and buckle to go with it. Bloom had a total score of 160 to earn the title.
Brown won his first title here last year and had so much fun he came back again to defend it. He ran his first steer a little bit down the pen and stopped the clock in 7.8 seconds. He came back and won the second round with a 4.5 and had the fastest total at 12.3.
The team roping champions hadn’t met until they were in the warm up arena. The PRCA contacted them and said they had each qualified but not with their regular partners. So, they texted back and forth, met after they got here and went out and did their jobs aboard borrowed horses. Jordan Tye from Canby, Ore., did the heeling for Ty Arnold from Midway, Texas. Both are juniors in college and are planning to finish their degrees.
The contestants were each given a package for qualifying and competing and got to wear a custom back number. They had VIP treatment at the South Point and got a taste of competing in Las Vegas.
Clay Stremler who is a native Nevadan was excited to win the saddle bronc riding in his home state. He had a total score of 145.5 points to earn the championship.
“This really means a lot,” he said. “It’s a big accomplishment and honor to be here and really cool to ride in Vegas.
The Permit Challenge has been held in conjunction with the NFR for eight years. Many of the winners come back to Vegas to compete at the NFR the next year. Clayton Biglow won the bareback riding at the South Point last year and is competing at the Thomas and Mack this year. The list also includes saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright and world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey.
It is held in cooperation with Benny Binion’s World Famous Bucking Horse & Bull Sale, which raises money for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs.
2016 PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge Champions
Bareback Riding – Wyatt Bloom, Bend, Oregon
Steer Wrestling – Jesse Brown, Baker City, Oregon
Team Roping – Jordan Tye, Canby, Oregon, and Ty Arnold, Midway, Texas
Saddle Bronc Riding – Clay Stremler, Fallon, Nevada
Tie-Down Roping – John Douch, Okeechobee, Fla.
Bull Riding – Aaron Williams, Norco, Calif.
The following are results from the PRCA Permit Holder of the Year Challenge held at the South Point Equestrian Center.
Bareback Riding: (first round) 1, Wyatt Bloom, Bend, Ore., 82, $376. 2, Tyler Berghuis, Stephenville, Texas, 74.5, $282. 3, Tanner Phipps, Dalton, Ga., 74, $188. 4, Cole Picton, Marshall, Mo., 74, $94. (second round) 1, Bloom, 78, $376. 2, (tie) Zach Hibler, Wheeler, Texas, and Tyler Berghuis, 76 and $235 each. 4, Cole Picton, 74, $94. (total on two) 1, Bloom, 160, $376. 2, Berghuis, 150.5, $282. 3, Hibler, 147.5, $188. 4, Phipps, 147, $94.
Steer Wrestling: (first round, three times) 1, Fenton Nelson, Iowa Falls, Iowa, 4.1 seconds, $322. 2, Jesse Brown, Baker City, Ore., 7.8, $242. 3, Wyatt Jurney, Las Cruces, N.M., 12.0. (second round) 1, Brown, 4.5, $322. 2, Joby Allen, Alva, Okla., 4.7, $242. 3, Ringo Robinson, Caldwell, Idaho, 4.8, $161. 4, Nelson, 13.5, $81. (total on two) 1, Brown, 12.3, $483. 2, Nelson, 17.6, $363. (on one) 3, Allen, 4.7, $242. 4, Robinson, 4.8, $121.
Team Roping: (first round) 1, Jordan Tye, Canby, Ore., and Ty Arnold, Midway, Texas, 4.9 seconds, $322. 2, Steven Duby, Melba, Idaho and Dayton Stafford, Prineville, Ore., 5.0, $242. 3, Gene Harry, Nixon, Nev., and Cody Hogan, Athens, Texas, 6.0, $161. 4, Cole Wheeler, Flint, Texas, and Brady Norman, Springer, Okla., 7.5, $81. (second round) 1, Nelson Wyatt, Clanton, Ala., and Jace Harris, Viloria, Ark., 4.8, $233. 2, Tye and Arnold, 5.6, $242. 3, Harry and Hogan, 7.1, $161. 4, Wheeler and Norman, 19.4, $81. (total on two) 1, Tye and Arnold, 10.5, $483. 2, Harry and Hogan, 13.1, $263. 3, Wheeler and Norman, 26.9, $242. (on one) 4, Wyatt and Harris, 4.8, $121.
Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round, three rides) 1, Clay Stremler, Fallon, Nev., 70.5, $376. 2, Cameron Messler, Odessa, Texas, 69.5, $282. 3, Jace Lane, Leedey, Okla., 63, $188. (second round – three rides) 1, Shade Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 80, $376. 2, Stremler, 75, $282. 3, Messler, 72, $188. (total on two) 1, Stremler, 145.5, $376. 2, Messler, 141.5, $282. (on one) 3, Etbauer, 80, $188. 4, Lane, 63, $94.
Tie Down Roping: (first round) 1, John Douch, Okeechobee, Fla., 8.7, $322. 2, Matt Peters, Oral, S.D., 9.5, $242. 3, (tie) Cody Craig, Wendell, Idaho and Zac Wilson, Billingsley, Ala., 11.1 and $121 each. (second round) 1, Tyler Milligan, Pawhuska, Okla., 8.5, $322. 2, Douch, 9.1, $242. 3, Peters, 14.8, $161. 4, Wilson, 17.8, $81. (total on two) 1, Douch, 17.8, $483. 2, Peters, 24.1, $363. 3, Milligan, 28.3, $242. 4, Wilson, 28.9, $121.
Bull Riding: (first round – two rides) 1, Aaron Williams, Norco, Calif., 78.5 points, $376. 2, Will Centoni, Hollister, Calif., 74.5, $282. (second round) 1, Williams, 81.5, $376. 2, Shad Heiner, Morgan, Utah, 77, $282. (total on two) 1, Williams, 160, $376. (on one) 2, Heiner, 77, $282. 3, Centoni, 74.5, $188.
Courtesy of PRCA