by Tracy Renck
CODY, Wyo. – This is a Fourth of July Joel Schlegel will not soon forget.
The Burns, Colo., cowboy had a career-best performance, winning the Cody Stampede with an 87-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s highly-decorated horse Full Baggage.
“This is just awesome,” said Schlegel, 27. “You draw one like Full Baggage, all the opportunity is there, and you just have to capitalize on it. That’s what I was able to do.”
Full Baggage has been named Top Bareback Horse of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times (2010, 2012 and 2015). The horse also won the 2013 Pendleton Whisky “Let ‘er Buck” Bucking Stock of the Year award in the bareback category.
“I was excited and nervous when I saw I drew Full Baggage,” Schlegel said. “That’s a great bucking horse, and he will give you a chance to win first every time. I knew I had the chance to win the rodeo, but I could just as easily stub my toe and he would buck me off.”
Schlegel acknowledged he had plenty of tense moments before he made the eight-second whistle at Stampede Park.
“The ride felt pretty touch-and-go the whole time,” Schlegel said. “He made a big ol’ move back to the left, and he kind of got me raised up there for a couple of jumps. I just kept going at him, and I was able to ride him. He and I had a good day.”
For his inaugural ride on Full Baggage, Schlegel was awarded a $10,540 check. He edged Jessy Davis and Caleb Bennett, who tied for second place with 85-point rides.
“That’s the most money I’ve ever won at rodeo,” Schlegel said. “I’ve been trying to go full time the last couple of years in the PRCA. I go as much as I can, but if things don’t work out well I have to go back to work. This year, I feel like I’m riding better than I ever have, and I just want to keep this momentum going.”
When Schlegel isn’t rodeoing, he works on his uncle Rod Schlegel’s ranch in Burns.
Other winners at the $348,848 rodeo were all-around cowboy Clayton Hass ($9,091 in steer wrestling and team roping), steer wrestler Clayton Hass (3.4 seconds), team ropers Luke Brown and Jake Long (4.2 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jake Wright (88 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop), tie-down roper Clint Nyegaard (8.0 seconds), barrel racer Taylor Jacob (16.92 seconds) and bull rider Cody Rostockyj (86.5 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Dark Denim).
For more coverage of the Cody Rodeo, check out the July 15 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA