Jason Reiss knew his time after his run in the third go-round of steer wrestling at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo on Saturday.
He realized he successfully took his steer down to the ground in 4.3 seconds. He just wasn't aware it was good enough for victory at All Seasons Arena.
"I had no idea we had even won the round until we were walking back to the trailer," Reiss said. "I knew it said four-three but I didn't listen to everybody else's times. I didn't know until I asked my traveling partner and 'Yeah, you won the round.' "
Dickinson native Jason Reiss lands on his steer during the third go-round of steer wrestling at All Seasons Arena on Saturday.
The sport of steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, involves four elements. First the bulldogger must allow the steer to get a head start, in this case six feet. Then he must catch up to the steer on his horse before jumping off the horse and grabbing the steer by the horns. Finally the bulldogger has to flip the steer over so that all four legs are in the air before the clock stops.
The toughest part might be allowing the steer to get its head start. If the horse breaks the rope barrier before the steer reaches six feet, 10 seconds are added to the bulldogger's time, effectively taking him out of the competition.
"In this barn, with these steers, the score has been the toughest part this week," South Heart cowboy Seth Murphy said. "Letting those steers the allotted amount out before you go to break that barrier. They've been a little bit different each night. You sorta gotta go on a gut feeling of what you think they're gonna do."
The best part?
"The part I enjoy most is winning the check," Reiss said.
Reiss entered the Minot rodeo in 14th place in the Badlands standings, helplessly out of the race to finish as year-end champion. But with one more successful run, the 40-year-old Dickinson native could clinch the average - the lowest combined time for all four runs - and a spot in nationals in Oklahoma City.
Reiss leads Sturgis, S.D., bulldogger J.B. Lord by 1.7 seconds and Murphy by 2.7 seconds entering today's final go-round.
"I'm pumped," Reiss said. "I'm ready for tomorrow night."
The first four bulldoggers were disqualified after letting the steer get away or failing to jump off the horse. Brent Sutton, an Onida, S.D., native, was the only cowboy of the first six to go that recorded a time. He finished in 5.2 seconds, good for third place. Lord finished second in five seconds. Murphy had a six-second time.
Action resumes today at 1 p.m.