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Badlands Circuit issues awards to bucking horses, bulls

Submitted Photo Wade Berg, of Chaffee, rides Flanigan, a bull owned by Bailey Pro Rodeo. The bull split the honors of being the 2021 Badlands Bull of the Year with Rock N Roll Fantasy, a bull owned by Sutton Rodeo. Photo courtesy of Alaina Stangle.

The 2021 Badlands Circuit Stock of the Year has been chosen for their abilities in the rodeo arena.

The Bareback Bronc of the Year went to No. 41 Pop A Top, owned by Fettig Pro Rodeo. The Saddle Bronc of the Year was awarded to No. 747 South Point, of Sutton Rodeo Co., and the Bull of the Year honors were split between two animals: No. 86C Rock N Roll Fantasy, Sutton Rodeo Co., and No. 55 Flanigan, of Bailey Pro Rodeo.

Pop A Top is a ranch-raised bay stallion, raised on the Waagen Ranch near Bottineau. The seven-year-old is “a smaller stud, well-built, very stout and real proud,” said Alicia Fettig, owner of Fettig Pro Rodeo in Killdeer.

This year was the stud’s third time to be selected to buck at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo and this December will be his second time to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. At the 2021 Wrangler NFR, Tim O’Connell won the fourth round on him.

“He makes a nice big circle to the left,” Fettig said. Judges often score him 21 or 22 points out of a possible 25. “He’s flashy,” she said. “He’s just a beautiful horse” who makes the same bucking pattern every time.

In the saddle bronc riding, a Sutton horse repeats as a Badlands Circuit award winner. No. 747, South Point, has won the award for the fifth time. The fourteen-year-old gelding, a bay, has carried saddle bronc riders to ninety-plus point rides and wins at Extreme Bronc Matches the last several years.

A former bareback bronc, Steve Sutton, Onida, S.D., said the horse has never had a bad ride. “You wait for a horse to have a bad trip, and we haven’t seen it in fourteen years yet,” he said, of South Point.

Like Pop a Top, South Point is all business and standoffish, Sutton said, although he’s gotten a little better. “There were a couple years where you had to be a really good cowboy to get a halter on him in the bucking chute. There are cowboys who have been on him four or five times and they said they still don’t have a good measurement (on the rein.) He never lets them.”

Meanwhile, two bulls tied for the honor of Badlands Bull of the Year. No. 55 Flanigan, owned by Bailey Pro Rodeo of Karlsruhe, and No. 86C Rock N Roll Fantasy, owned by Sutton Rodeo Co., split the win. Flanigan, a six-year-old red bull, has bucked off all but three bull riders this year, and of those three, two of them won first place on him.

The bull spins to the left every time, and if a cowboy can make the buzzer on him, “they’ll win money on him,” Shane Gunderson, co-owner of Bailey Pro Rodeo, said. The bull isn’t hard to handle in the pens, Gunderson said. “He’s pretty good to be around, and if you have a feed bucket, you can’t keep him out of your pocket.” Flanigan was raised on the Weinberger Ranch near Breien. This was the bull’s second time to be chosen to buck at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Sutton’s Rock N Roll Fantasy was purchased by Steve Sutton at the Benny Binion Bucking Horse and Bull Sale as a three-year-old. Now eight years old, the black bull doesn’t allow a lot of bull riders make qualified rides. “For the last two years, he’s really got him a pattern and he bucks about eighty percent of (the bull riders) off. He’s not a rank one to ride, he’s just quick. If you get behind on him, he’ll buck you off.”

The 2021 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo took place in Minot October 8-10, with Badlands Circuit champions crowned and qualifications for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo were determined. More information can be found online at prorodeo.com.

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