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Hooper and Thurston Advance to Semifinals at Cheyenne Frontier Days

By: Susan Kanode

Tilden Hooper finished second at the 2021 edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days and is looking for redemption. He won Quarter Finals 1 at Frontier Park with an 88-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s horse Knight Mare. He advances to the Semifinals next weekend. PRCA photo by Jackie Jensen.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The action at the 126th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) was fierce from the first crack of the chute gates at Saturday’s opening performance. A roaring crowd cheered as Tilden Hooper won the bareback riding Quarter Finals with a score of 88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s bucking horse Knight Mare. The Texas cowboy finished as CFD reserve champion last year and took the next step in his quest to earn his first title at Frontier Park.

The eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) bareback rider is currently ranked 17th. He needs to be among the top 15 at the end of the season to make a 9th trip to Las Vegas. Hooper will advance to the Semifinals next weekend along with two-time CFD and three-time world champion Tim O’Connell, newly crowned college champion Ty Pope and rookie leader Rocker Steiner.

Two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston won Quarter Finals 1 at Cheyenne Frontier Days with an 87-point ride on Andrew Rodeo’s Cracker Jack. He will advance to next weekend’s Semifinals at the “Daddy of ‘em All.” CFD photo by Steven Girt.

Two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, Canada, is another veteran cowboy looking for his first CFD championship. Like Hooper, his quest is off to a good start after Thurston won Saturday’s Quarter Finals. He scored 87 points on Andrews Rodeo’s horse Cracker Jack to win the day by 3.5 points.

Leslie Smalygo kicked off the barrel racing Saturday at Cheyenne Frontier Days by winning Quarter Finals 1 with a 17.38 on her horse Justaheartbeattafame, nicknamed “Gus.” She will be advancing to next weekend’s Semifinals. PRCA photo by Click Thompson.

Oklahoma cowgirl Leslie Smalygo is having her best season in pro rodeo this year. She is ranked 15th in the world standings and seeking her first trip to the WNFR in barrel racing. Riding her 12-year-old sorrel horse named Justaheartbeattafame that she calls Gus, she bested 11 other women with a time of 17.38 seconds. That guaranteed her a spot in the Semifinals.

Smalygo won nearly $14,000 over the July 4 “Cowboy Christmas” run of rodeos. Her success this season has her friends telling her she’s “on fire.” That prompted the barrel racer to dye her hair the colors of fire – mixing pink, orange and red with her blonde locks.

Bull riders at the “Daddy of ‘em All” compete on consecutive days and have two opportunities to advance to the Semifinals. The same 18 bull riders will return to compete tomorrow.

The second Quarter Finals begins at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 24.


The following are unofficial results from Quarter Finals 1 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Saturday, July 23. Payoff subject to change.

Bareback Riding: 1, Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, 88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Knight Mare, $2,447. 2, Ty Pope, Marshall, Mo., 86, $1,835. 3, (tie) Tim O’ Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, and Rocker Steiner, Weatherford, Texas, 84.5, $917 each.

Breakaway Roping: 1, Angie Green, Huntsville, Texas, 3.9 seconds, $2,951. 2. Rheagan Cotton, Fairfield, Texas, 4.3, $2,213. 3, (tie) Sierra Galusha, Warrensburg, N.Y., and Alli Masters, Leon, Iowa, 4.8, $1,106 each.

Tie Down Roping: Blake Ash, Aurora, Mo., 12.9 seconds, $2,000. 2, Kase Bacque, Huntsville, Texas, 13.3, $1,500. 3, Kalai Nobriga, Kealakekua, Hawaii, 13.6, $1,000. 4, Jade Lyon, Meadow, S.D., 13.7, $500.

Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding: Results Pending

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 87 points on Andrew Rodeo’s Cracker Jack, $2,345. 2, (tie) Tanner Butner, Daniel, Wyo., and Q Taylor, Casper, Wyo., 83.5, $1,47 each. 4, Kolby Wanchuck, Sherwood Park, Alberta, 82.5, $294.

Team Roping: 1, Rio Nutter, Rapid City, S.D., and Daine A McNenny, Hereford, S.D., 10.4 seconds, $2,000 each. 2, Jon Peterson, and Levi O’ Keeffe, Belle Fourche, S.D., 10.7, $1,500 each. 3, Britt Williams, Hammond, Mont., and Cayden Cox, Arroyo, Ariz., 11.6, $1,000 each. 4, Brayden Parker and Dustin Searcy, Scottsdale, Ariz., 13.0, $500 each.

Steer Wrestling: 1, Denard Butler, Checotah, Okla., 6.5, $2,000. 2, Walt Arnold, Coleman, Texas, 6.7, $1,500. 3, Colten Leech, 6.8, $1,000. 4, Emmett Edler, State Center, Iowa, 7.0, $500.

Barrel Racing: 1, Leslie Smalygo, Skiatook, Okla., 17.38 seconds, $2,353. 2, Paige Jones, Wayne, Okla., 17.50, $1,765. 3, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 17.67, $1,176. 4, Michelle Merrick, Las Vegas, Nev., 17.82, $588.

Bull Riding: 1, Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas, 87.5 points on Smith Pro Rodeo’s Roullette, $2,397. 2, Colton Kelly, Rhome, Texas, 87, $1,797. 3, Garrett Smith, Rexburg, Idaho, 86.5, $1,797. 4, Keith Gleaves, Amarillo, Texas, 85, $599.

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