‘Work horse’ wins second round for barrel racer; South Dakota saddle bronc rider takes a second check
MINOT — Amanda Welsh is on a special horse, and she knows it.
The Gillette, Wyo. cowgirl won her second first-place check of the 2020 RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo with a 13.50 second run in round number two.
It was aboard Frenchman Firefly, “Firefly,” a ten-year-old sorrel gelding her dad trained. Welsh has ridden him the last five years, three times at the circuit finals, in 2017, 2019, and this year. Last year, Firefly carried Welsh to a Badlands circuit year-end championship, and he’s qualified her for her fourth American Rodeo qualification this year.
The gelding loves small indoor arenas like the North Dakota State Fairgrounds, Welsh said, and “is all business,” but at times can be worrisome. “He can be a little fretty sometimes, so he’s always got to have a buddy.”
Firefly takes care of business, Welsh said. “He’s just been really confident in himself, so I let him take over. I’m just along for the ride.”
A mere half-second was the difference between Welsh (13.51 seconds) and third place, Jessica Routier, who was 13.56 seconds. Lisa Lockhart won second place (13.54 seconds).
The saddle bronc riding saw another repeat winner.
Chuck Schmidt tied for first last night, in the first round, and won Saturday night’s round, with 81 points on the Sutton Rodeo horse Pickle Juice.
The veteran bronc rider was humble about his ride. “I felt like I got a good mark out and kept up with him,” he said. “He got me popped out of my swells a little bit at the end so I just had to keep hustling, keep setting my feet. It worked out.”
The Keldron, S.D. cowboy, in his twelfth year of pro rodeo competition, leads the average with a score of 164 points on two head, eight points ahead of Jade Blackwell, Cole Elshere, and Jacob Kammerer. Schmidt isn’t able to overcome Kammerer for the year-end title; Kammerer has a lead of $4,000. But he’s got a chance to win the finals.
After twelve years in the pro rodeo world, he’s experienced about everything. His career has been “a series of hills and valleys,” he said. He’s qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times (2011, 2015-16), but rodeo is a mental game that can be tough. His highs and lows, “are pretty dramatic,” he said. “I’m either up there, doing good, making the (National) Finals, or I’m down there where I can’t ride a stick horse to water.”
After the rodeo, he’ll relax with his and wife Hanna’s two daughters, ages three and one. “My kids are going to be screaming or wanting to play and roughhouse. They’ll keep my mind off rodeo for a while.”
Other second go-round winners are bareback rider Jordan Pelton, who won the first round as well (87 points);steer wrestler Jason Reiss, Manning, S.D. (4.4 seconds); team ropers Brent McInerney and Tanner McInerny, both of Alzada, Mont. (4.8 seconds); breakaway roper Kirby Eppert, Seneca, Neb. (2.7 seconds); tie-down roper Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. (8.0 seconds); and bull rider Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D. (86 points).
During the rodeo, the 2020 roughstock awards were given. The Badlands Bareback Horse of the Year award went to Colorado Bull Dog, owned by Fettig Pro Rodeo. The Badlands Saddle Bronc of the Year was given to Onion Ring, of Korkow Rodeo. The Badlands Bull of the Year went to The Preacher, a bull owned by Bailey Pro Rodeo.
The third and final round of the Badlands Circuit Finals takes place Sunday, Oct. 11 with a 1:30 pm matinee. Champions will be awarded, to determine what Badlands Circuit contestants will compete at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, to be held next spring in Kissimmee, Florida. For more information on the rodeo, visit the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo page on Facebook.
For full results from this night’s rodeo, visit ProRodeo.com.
1. Jordan Pelton, Halliday, N.D. 87 points on Championship Rodeo’s River Bugs; 2. (tie) Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D. and Jamie Howlett, Rapid City, S.D. 83 each; 4. Clay Jorgenson, Watford City, N.D. 79.
1. Jason Reiss, Manning, S.D. 4.4 seconds; 2. (tie) Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. and Joe Nelson, Watford City, N.D. 5.0; 4. Scott Kleeman, Killdeer, N.D. 5.5.
1. Brent McInerney, Alzada, Mont./Tanner McInerney, Alzada, Mont. 4.8 seconds; 2. Cooper White, Hershey, Neb./Tucker White, Hershey, Neb. 5.1; 3. Jason Schaffer, Broadus, Mont./Cole Robinson, Moorcroft, Wyo. 5.7; 4. Cameron Irwin, Buffalo, Wyo./Rory Brown, Edgemont, S.D. 5.9.
Saddle bronc riding
1. Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D. 81 points on Sutton Rodeo’s Pickle Juice; 2. Ty Manke, Rapid City, S.D. 80.5; 3. Jacob Kammerer, Philip, S.D. 79; 4. Jade Blackwell, Rapid City, S.D. 78.
1. Amanda Welsh, Gillette, Wyo. 13.51 seconds; 2. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. 13.54; 3. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D. 13.56; 4. Heidi Gunderson, Murdock, Minn. 13.70.
Women’s Breakaway roping
1. Kirby Eppert, Seneca, Neb. 2.7 seconds; 2. Samantha Fulton, Watford City, N.D. 3.0; 3. (tie) Katie Mundorf, Mullen, Neb. and Brenda White, Oelrichs, S.D. 3.4 each.
1. Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. 8.0 seconds; 2. Cody Rood, Bengough, Sask. 9.3; 3. JT Adamson, Cody, Neb. 9.8; 4. Dustin Entzel, Killdeer, N.D. 10.2.
1. Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D. 86 points on Mosbrucker Rodeo’s Undertaker; 2. TJ Schmidt, Belle Fourche, S.D. 75; no other qualified rides.