GREELEY, Colo. – Mose Fleming’s first trip to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo was supposed to be a short walk. Basically, crossing the street to compete at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Fla.
But COVID-19 had other ideas.
So Fleming’s first RAM NCFR appearance would take place in Greeley, Colo.
It wasn’t the only first for the steer wrestler. The Kissimmee resident arrived in Colorado on Monday, Sept. 7 to temperatures in the 90s. Not a problem for a Florida boy. Then came Tuesday.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen snow fall,” said Fleming, who turns 24 later this month. “They were calling it a summer snow.”
Fleming heated up the arena on Thursday night, making his first RAM NCFR qualification one to remember. Fleming stopped the clock in 4.2 seconds to take the lead in the first round of the circuit finals.
“It feels good to come all this way and make it worthwhile,” he said.
He’ll come back on Saturday in hopes of cracking the top eight in the average to make Sunday’s semifinals.
Fleming rode his horse Beton, 7. Fleming credited his horse and his hazing horse to his grandmother, Se’belle Dymmek, who gave him the horses.
Fleming’s round was all the more impressive when looking at some of his competition. Among those he beat out were PRCA | RAM World Standings leader Matt Reeves and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Curtis Cassidy, Stetson Jorgensen and Tanner Brunner.
Fleming downplayed the run, knowing he has more work to do to make it to Sunday’s semifinals.
“This is good, hopefully I’ll come back in the average,” he said. “It (the run) felt good. The start was kind of tricky, but I made it work, I guess.”
The trip wasn’t the first one to Greeley for Fleming. Several years prior he’d competed at the Greeley Stampede, which usually runs in July but was canceled this season because of the pandemic. The RAM NCFR is scheduled to return to Fleming’s hometown of Kissimmee in April, and that will be just fine with him.
“This rodeo’s supposed to be across the street from my house,” he laughed. “It’s definitely different to go from 110 degrees and humidity and come out here and it’s snowing. … I don’t like rodeoing in the cold.”
In the Elements
Thursday’s opening edition of the 2020 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo was the first in the history of the NCFR to be held outside. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rodeo moved to Greeley, Colo., for this season.
From 1987-2010, the finals were held at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho. For the next three years, the finals moved to Oklahoma City, Okla., (Jim Norick Arena). After making a brief stop at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., in 2014, the RAM NCFR moved to Kissimmee, Fla., where its been since (2015-19) at the Silver Spurs Arena.
While the rodeo had a limited crowd because of the pandemic and temperatures touched the low 50s, bareback rider Trenten Montero hardly noticed.
“The stands may not be full, but the vibe makes it feel full and the atmosphere is great and feels like a championship event,” said Montero, who split the win with Ty Fast Taypotat. Both riders notched 80-point rides.
The rodeo runs through Sunday. For tickets, call 970.356.7787.
Jake Pratt makes successful return to arena
Tie-down ropers Jesse Popescul and Jake Pratt tied for the win Thursday with 9.2-second runs.
Thursday night was the first time Pratt had roped since the Sikeston (Mo.) Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo the first week of August.
Pratt, who qualified for the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, took some time off to rest a nagging injury in his roping (right) shoulder.
“I got lined up with a really good physical therapist and my shoulder feels good,” said Pratt, of Ellensburg, Wash. “It was great to be out here rodeoing.”
Courtesy of PRCA