MANDAN, N.D. – Garrett Tonozzi of Fruita, Colo., likes competing at the Mandan Rodeo. Last year he and partner Matt Kasner won their event here with a time of 5.4 seconds and each earned more than $2,500. This year Tonozzi has been roping with young gun Wyatt Cox of Arroyo Grande, Ariz. The pair has been roping well, winning the team roping at the Reno Rodeo in June.
At Mandan the fastest time during the first performance was 5.1, Tonozzi and Cox knew they needed a quick run to take the lead. The rodeo was delayed after only three teams had roped, because a severe thunderstorm blew through the area. After the skies dumped more than an inch of rain in less than 30 minutes, arena conditions changed from dry to muddy. Tonozzi and Cox came back into the arena and roped their steer in 4.9 seconds to take the lead and win the $100 fastest time of the night bonus.
Mickey Andrews of Weatherford, Okla., made a splash in his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) debut. The 23-year-old bull rider is the only one to make a qualified ride after two nights of competition. He scored 79 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Super Cella.
Andrews graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in May with a bachelor of science in exercise science. While in college he concentrated on college rodeo and the Championship Bull Riders tour, earning success in both. He won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s (NIRA) Central Plains region bull riding championship three years running and qualified for the College Finals Rodeo three times.
The Mandan rodeo, presented by Dakota Community Bank & Trust, is part of the PRCA’s Cowboy Christmas schedule of rodeos across North America during the week of Independence Day.
The July 3 performance is always Patriot Night at Mandan with special fund-raising activities for veterans’ charities. Rodeo clown Matt Merritt challenged announcer Tim Fuller to jump in a big, watery mud hole in the middle of the arena. Fuller told the crowd that if they donated $1,000 to K9s for Warriors he would jump in the mud at the end of the bull riding.
The crowd, most of whom sat through the thunderstorm or returned to watch when it had passed, raised $2,200 and Fuller’s splash in the mud was a highlight of the night.
Mandan Rodeo Days is a community-wide celebration held annually July 2-4. North Dakota’s largest Independence Day Parade kicks off July 4 and the rodeo continues at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The state’s largest fireworks display follows the rodeo.
Unofficial leaders following Sunday night’s competition at the 137th annual Mandan Rodeo Days in Mandan, N.D.:
Bareback Riding: 1. (tie) Troy Vaira, Richey, Mont., on Dakota Rodeo’s Bartender and Devan Reilly, Sheridan, Wyo., on Sankey Rodeo’s Fun Haver, 82.5 points each. 3. Zach Hibler, Wheeler, Texas, 80. 4. Jake Smith, Rapid City, S.D., 76.5.
Steer Wrestling: 1. Rowdy Parrott, Mamou, La., 3.6 seconds. 2. Kyle Callaway, Blue Creek, Mont., 3.8. 3. (tie) Brad Johnson, Reva, S.D.; Rowdy Benson, Morristown, S.D., and Gabe Taylor, Valentine, Neb., 4.0 seconds.
Team Roping: 1. Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo., and Wyatt Cox, Arroyo Grande, Ariz., 4.9 seconds. 2. Casey Gattis, Junction, Texas, and Kirt Jones, Hobbs, N.M., 5.1. 3. Dustin Equsquiza, Mariana, Fla., and Clint Summers, Lake City, Fla., 5.4. 4. (tie) Gene and Clint Harry, Nixon, Nev., and Nathan McWhorter, Telephone, Texas, and Dustin Davis, Terrell, Texas, 5.6.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1. (tie) Taygen Schuelke, Newell, S.D., on Dakota Rodeo’s Dunn Gone, and Ty Manke, Hermosa, S.D., on Dakota Rodeo’s Pinto Bob, 81 points. 3. J.J. Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 80. 4. James Greeson, Okeechobee, Fla., 79.5.
Tie-down Roping: 1. Matt Peters, Hot Springs, S.D., 8.6 seconds. 2. Trinton Downing, Troy, Texas, 9.7. 3. (tie) Justin Scofield, Wessington Spring, S.D., Ross Tucker, Archer City, Texas, and Brent Belkham, Blunt, S.D., 10.0.
Barrel Racing: 1. Jana Griemsman, Piedmont, S.D., 14.65 seconds. 2. Tillar Murray, Fort Worth, Texas, 14.75. 3, Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 14.88. 4, Lorie Manning, Myakka City, Fla., 14.89.
Bull Riding: first round (one ride) 1. Mickey Andrews, Weatherford, Okla., 79 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Super Cella, $3,133.