SILVERTON, Texas – Cooper Kanngiesser knows a lot about bucking bulls.
Not only has the one-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier ridden the beasts much of his life, but Kanngiesser raises the animals, too. In fact, he sold several of his up-and-coming superstars just a few weeks ago to Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo. Some of those athletic bulls were part of the action at the Buck Wild Days Rodeo from Aug. 18-20, and Kanngiesser and his traveling partners made their way to the Texas Panhandle community for the chance to compete.
“We came here because we had good bulls,” said Brad Harris of Udall, Kan., who scored 86 points on Carr’s Rock Star, a 3-year-old bull that two months ago was grazing in pastureland near Kanngiesser’s home in Zenda, Kan. “I’d seen that bull before, but I’d never been on him. He’s pretty good, and he’s got some growing to do.”
Rodeo’s rising stars come in all shapes and sizes. For Harris, a 23-year-old rookie in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he stands about 5-foot-8 and weighs about 150 pounds. Rock Star weighs about 1,600 pounds, can leap high and is athletic. Everybody in the bull riding game expects both to be around a long time.
Harris shared the Silverton victory with one of his traveling partners, Cole Echols of Elm Grove, La., who rode Carr’s Synergy for 86 points. Both cowboys earned $1,131.
“It’s pretty good coming here,” Echols said. “It worked out for me.”
Synergy has been one of Carr’s top bulls, and cowboys who ride the athletic beast for the qualifying eight seconds tend to score well. Big points and big dollars are important for any bull rider, but Echols needs every ounce of help he can get after struggling early in the rodeo season.
“I didn’t get a good start, so I’m trying to get myself into the top 50 in the standings at the end of this season so I can ride in them buildings next winter,” said Echols, referring to qualifying for big winter rodeos in places like Fort Worth, Texas; San Antonio; and Denver. “If I can get in those, I can make a run at the finals.”
Echols and Harris are just two of several top hands who were crowned champions at this year’s Buck Wild Days Rodeo. Shon Gibson of Taylor, Ariz., and Evan Jayne of Marseille, France, scored 80 points each to win a tough bareback riding, where several cowboys found the true power of some of Carr’s horses. Jayne rode Carr’s Sierra Madre on Saturday night, while Gibson rode Carr’s Island Girl on Friday night to share the title.
Regional cowboy T.J. Bohlender of Canyon, Texas, won the all-around and steer wrestling titles. Bohlender, who also competed in team roping, dropped his steer to the ground in 4.7 seconds to earn $1,157. Other winners were tie-down roper Justin Maass of Giddings, Texas, 9.1 seconds, $1,591; steer roper Cody Lee of Gatesville, Texas, 35.5 seconds on three runs, $3,004; team ropers Cody Tew and Boogie Ray, 5.1 seconds, $1,736 each; barrel racer Tonya Parrish, 17.76 seconds, $976; and saddle bronc rider Cody Anthony, 78 points on Carr’s Sweet Emotion, $1,373.
“It was a really good rodeo, and it’s just going to keep growing,” said Carr, noting that the 2011 campaign was just the second year the Silverton rodeo was part of the PRCA. “The people in this town work really hard to make it successful, and that word’s going to spread around ProRodeo.”