Bulls, broncs bring bewilderment

Unhinged: Bull and Ranch Bronc Riding entertains NDSF crowd

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Charge Hebb, of Dupree, South Dakota, participates in the Ranch Bronc portion of the event. Hebb posted a score of 71 points at All Seasons Arena.

Cody and Caden McCarthy brought an old-fashioned sibling rivalry to the North Dakota State Fair. The brothers from Bridger, Montana, made a bet. Whoever finished with a higher score in last night’s Ranch Bronc Riding competition wouldn’t just receive bragging rights. The winner would also snag another hefty prize: $100 from his brother.

Caden, 18, and his ranch bronc “Something Bad” put up a good fight, but 27-year-old big brother Cody went home with the cash. Cody finished seven points ahead of his younger brother.

“The adrenaline rush of riding ranch broncs is a good place to be,” said Caden, a fourth-year-rider. “You can’t even explain it, it’s kind of a haze. Everything goes fast, but when you’re in the moment, it’s really slow. It’s better than anything I’ve ever felt before.”

Competitors participated in both the NPRA Ranch Bronc and Bull Riding competitions at All Seasons Arena this year at the NDSF. The sanctioned event brought in riders from six different states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada) and from Canada (Alberta, Saskatchewan).

None of the first-round Bull Riding contestants posted a score.

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN "Backflip" Johnny Dudley laughs during a break in the action during the NDSF Bull and Bronc Riding event. Dudley, an ex-Marine, served as the rodeo clown during the event.

Ty Fencher, of Hyannis, Nebraska, earned the highest Ranch Bronc Riding score with 80 points. Cinch Hebb, a Dupree, South Dakota native, slid into second place with 76.

Mosbrucker bulls bucked off several more riders in the second round, but a North Dakota competitor brought the crowd to its feet. Cameron Dacoteau of Twin Buttes broke the scoring drought and didn’t look back.

After Dacoteau nabbed the top spot with 81, Valley City’s Trenton Koch recorded a 77. Dacoteau’s results held, and he grabbed first place in Bull Riding, the evening’s main event.

The night kicked off with flag carriers riding horses throughout the arena. Flasher native Callie Jo Schmidt displayed several colorful flags as the Star-Spangled Banner blared in the stadium.

“I love everything about it,” Schmidt said. “It’s a great getaway. You get peace of mind, and you disappear for a little bit. You’re just flying on there.”

Hundreds of fans, both national and international, attended the event. Public address announcer Randy Taylor urged the crowd to give a warm “North Dakota welcome” to the riders.

“These guys back here, they’re really talented,” Schmidt said. “They are incredible athletes.”

“Backflip” Johnny Dudley, the official Rodeo Clown, brought his own personal flair to the fair. Dudley proved to be a crowd-pleaser, engaging with fans by asking them questions and inviting them to participate in different games.

Dudley, an ex-Marine from Texas, implored children to show off their best “Floss” dance and discovered fans from South Africa in the audience.

The fan-favorite festivities at All Seasons Arena will continue tonight at 7 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to watch even more bulls and broncs take the stage.

NDSF will also host the Enduro Race tonight and the Outlaw Enduro Race tomorrow night, as well as Ranch Rodeo action Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.