CHEYENNE, Wyo. – July 25, 2016 – Zeke Thurston had a lot to smile about after the third performance of the 120th annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.
Thurston, from Big Valley, Alberta, took the lead in the first round of saddle bronc riding with an impressive 84-point ride on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s horse named LuLu. Thurston is following in the footsteps of his father, Skeeter Thurston, who was the rookie saddle bronc riding champion here in 1982. Zeke Thurston qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) last year and is on pace for another trip to Las Vegas next December.
He finished last season in 11th place and is hoping to improve that position this year. Like any other cowboy, getting to the NFR and earning a gold buckle is his ultimate goal. He is currently ranked 10th in the world standings and needs to remain among the top 15 through the end of September to earn his second NFR qualification.
Thurston is coming off of one of the biggest wins of his career in his home country. Just over a week ago, he won the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and the $100,000 bonus that goes with it. Remarkably, this is the second time he has earned that title and while it doesn’t count towards the world standings, it certainly counts in his bank account.
At 22, Thurston is in the early stages of his career. He is traveling with Taos Muncy, who won this rodeo in 2007 when he was just 20 years old. That same year, he went on to win his first of two world titles. Muncy, from Corona, N.M., was also successful here on Monday with a 77.5-point ride. He will need a good score here on Tuesday to have an opportunity to advance to the finals. On the other hand, Thurston will just need a solid effort to take the overall lead which is currently held by Ben Londo. Londo, from San Luis Obispo, Calif., took the lead in the overall standings with a total of 159.5 points on two head. He had his second round horse on Monday because he rode in the finals at the California Rodeo Salinas on Sunday when he was originally scheduled to compete here.
Tyler Wallace is making a bid for his third consecutive NFR qualification in the bull riding. The Collbran, Colo., resident helped his cause significantly on Monday when he scored 87 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Captain Crunch. All he needs is another eight-second ride on Tuesday and he will be making plans to be back here for the finals next weekend.
Wallace is currently 13th in the world standings and no matter what happens on Tuesday, his ride on Monday should get him a good check from the first round of competition.
There was a big lead change in the steer wrestling during Monday morning slack. Billy Bugenig, from Ferndale, Calif., nodded his head, let the steer amble out in front of him for 30 feet, rode alongside the steer and did everything just right to stop the clock in 5.9 seconds. The former NFR qualifier was so excited he threw his hat in the air. The arena record here is 5.1 seconds, set by Rick Myhre in 2004.
Lisa Lockhart, last year’s champion here, is the new overall leader in the barrel racing after taking her horse Louie around the pattern in 17.72 seconds. That probably won’t place in the second round, but, because of her first round performance, she moved to the top of the board with a total time of 35.43 seconds.
The fourth performance of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo starts at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday where all of the contestants will be competing in the second round.
The following are leaders at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo after the second performance.
Bareback Riding: (first round) 1, Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 87 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Black Tie. 2, Wyatt Denny, Minden, Nev., 84. 3, Grant Denny, Minden, Nev., 83. 4, J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 82.5. 5, Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 81.5. 6, (tie) Wyatt Bloom, Bend, Ore., and Craig Wisehart, Kersey, Colo., 80. 8, (tie) Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., and Troy Vaira, Richey, Mont., 78. (second round) 1, Larsen, 82 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s 9 Moons. 2, Denny, 81. 3, (tie) Cody Kiser, Carson City, Nev., and Justin Pollmiller, Weatherford, Okla., 78. 5, (tie) Connor Hamilton, Weatherford, Okla., and R.C. Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif., 77. 7, Mason Clements, Sandy, Utah, 75. 8, Wyatt Bloom, Bend, Ore., 74. (total on two) 1, Larsen, 169. 2, Denny, 164. 3, J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 155.5. 4, Wyatt Bloom, Bend Ore., 154. 5, Pollmiller, 149. 6, (tie) Cody Kiser and Landingham, 148. 8, Mason Clements, Sandy, Utah, 145.
Steer Wrestling: (first round) 1, Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 5.9 seconds. 2, Will Stovall, Roberts, Mont., 7.1. 3, J.D. Struxness, Appleton, Minn., 8.9. 4, Josh Boka, Dillon, Mont., 9.6. 5, Forest Sainsbury, Camp Crook, S.D. 6, Rowdy Parrott, Mamou, La., 9.9. 7, Chason Floyd, Buffalo, S.D., 10.9. 8, Ty Lang, Montrose, Colo., 11.1. (second round) 1, Struxness, 8.7. 2, Riley Butler, Blackfoot, Idaho, 10.3. 3, Weston Taylor, Perryton, Texas, 10.8. 4, Cameron Morman, Glenullin, N.D., 11.1. 5, Trever Nelson, Coleman, Okla., 18.8. 6, Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 19.1. 7, Tanner Brunner, Ramona, Kan., 20.0. 8, Jesse Jolly, Agate, Colo., 26.3. (total on two) 1, Struxness, 17.6. 2, Morman, 30.5. 3, Riley Butler, Blackfoot, Idaho, 32.0. 4, Nelson, 37.2. 5, Jolly, 43.0. 6, Weston Taylor, Perryton, Texas, 44.9. 7, Seth Schafer, Yoder, Wyo., 58.0. (on one) 8, Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 5.9.
Tie-Down Roping: (first round) 1, Chase Williams, Stephenville, Texas, 10.3 seconds. 2, Billy Hamilton, Stigler, Okla., 11.0. 3, (tie) Boe Brown, Valentine, Neb.; Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas; and Tyler Thiel, Belle Fourche, S.D., 11.1 each. 6, Jayce Johnson, Hempstead, Texas, 11.3. 7, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbock, Idaho, 11.4. 8, Cody Quaney, Cheney, Kan., 11.6. (second round) 1, Bryson Sechrist, Apache, Okla., 10.3. 2, Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, 11.0. 3, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbock, Idaho, 11.4. 4, Stephen McLauchlin, Rockwall, Texas, 12.2. 5, Blake Ash, Aurora, Mo., 29.7. 6, Lane Jeffrey, Wilburton, Okla., 12.9. 7, (tie) Quay Howard, Canyon, Texas, and Cole Bailey, Okmulgee, Okla., 13.0. (total on two) 1, Matt Shiozawa, Chubbock, Idaho, 22.8. 2, Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 24.9. 3, Josh Jennings, Glendale, Utah, 26.1. 4, Quay Howard, Canyon, Texas, 26.3. 5, Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 26.4. 6, Brice Ingo, Boone, Colo., 26.4. 7, Boe Brown, Valentine, Neb., 26.5. 8, Lane Jeffrey, Wilburton, Okla., 26.6.
Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round) 1, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 84 points on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Lulu. 2, Samuel Kelts, Millarville, Alberta, 82. 3, Ben Londo, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 81. 4, Tyrell Smith, Great Falls, Mont., 80. 5, (tie) Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., and Andy Clarys, Riverton, Wyo., 78. 7, Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 77.5. 8, Justin Caylor, Sulphur Springs, Texas, 77. (second round) 1, Ryan Mackenzie, Homedale, Idaho, on New Frontier Rodeo’s Toy Box and Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., on Dakota Rodeo’s Double Trouble, 80 points.3, Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, 79.5. 4, Ben Londo, 78.5. 5, Zachariah Phillips, Rozet, Wyo., 76. 6, Dean Wadsworth, Ozona, Texas, 75.5. 7, (tie) Roper Kiesner, Ripley, Okla., Landon Mecham, Tropic, Utah, and Chanse Darling, Hyattville, Wyo., 75. (total on two) 1, Londo, 159.5. 2, Boore, 154.5. 3, Bail, 154. 5, Mackenzie, 152. 6, Clarys, 150.5. 7, Caylor, 149. 8, Mecham, 147.
Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round) 1, Rhett Fox, Redig, S.D., 73 points. 2, McKoy Hugh Christiansen, Emery, Utah, 70. 3, Clay Stremler, Fallon, Nev., 68. 4, Triston Eklund, Valentine, Neb., 67. 5, (tie) Tanner Lockhart, Lewis, Colo., and Nick Chew, Maybell, Colo., 60. (second round) 1, Shayde Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla., 76 points. 2, Jeff Cover, Ashby, Neb., 65.5. 3, William Bagley, Baker, Mont., 65. 4, McKoy Hugh Christiansen, Emery, Utah, 59. (total on two) 1. Christiansen, 129. 2, Lockhart, 114.
Team Roping: (first round) 1, Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas, and Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, Texas, 7.2. 2, (tie) Casey Adams, Ault, Colo., and Riley Pedro, Honolulu, Hawaii; Rowdy Rieken, Arp, Texas and Wesley Johnson, Log Cabin, La.; Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz.; Turner Harris and Ross Carson, Killdeer, N.D., 9.3. 6, Calvin Brevik, Durango, Colo., and Cullen Teller, Pierce, Colo., 9.4. 7, Casey Tew, Billings, Mont., and John Robertson, Polson, Mont., 9.8. 8, Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D., and Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 10.1. (second round) 1, Dorenkamp and Fillmore, 10.4. 2, Whinnery and Younger, 14.6. 3, Brit Ellerman, Ft. Lupton, Colo., and T.J. Watts, Hudson, Colo., 17.4. 4, Ken McKibbin, Windsor, Colo., and C.J. Scheller, Ault, Colo., 21.9. 5, Jake Day, Upton, Wyo., and Lance Allen, Orchard, Colo., 23.2. (total on two) 1, Dorenkamp and Fillmore, 22.3. 2, Whinnery and Younger, 34.1. 3, McKibbin and Scheller, 36.3.
Barrel Racing: (second round) 1, Kelly Kennedy-Joseph, Berthoud, Colo., 17.60 seconds. 2, Sara Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 17.64. 3, (tie) Jeni Cerise, Eckert, Colo., and Sharon Harrell, Wickenburg, Ariz., 17.66. 5, (tie) Molly Childers, Mead, Okla., and Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 17.72. 7, Cayla Melby, Burneyville, Okla., 17.75. 8, Kayla Jones, Watkins, Colo., 17.78. (total on two) 1, Lockhart, 35.43. 2, (tie) Kennedy-Joseph and Cayla Melby, 35.61. 4, McDonald, 35.62. 5, Jane Melby, Burneyville, Okla., 35.67. 6, Jones, 35.86. 7, Cerise, 36.08. 8, Brittany Pozzi-Tonnozi, Victoria, Texas, 36.14.
Bull Riding: (first round) 1, Ty Wallace, Collbran, Colo., 87 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Captain Crunch. 2, Trevor Reiste, Linden, Iowa, 86.5. 3, Freeman Yoder, Zearing, Iowa, 84.5. 4, Dallee Mason, Weiser, Idaho, 83. 5, (tie) Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D., Lon Danley, Tularosa, N.M., and Brady Portenier, Caldwell, Idaho, 81. 6, (tie) Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, Idaho, and Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah, 80. (second round) (one ride) 1, Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, Idaho, 85 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Crossfire. (total on two) 1, Jarboe, 165.
Wild Horse Race: No qualified runs.