DODGE CITY, Kan. – What began more than three decades ago in the southwest Plains of Nebraska continues this weekend at Dodge City Roundup Arena.
Garrett and Justen Nokes were raised on rodeo near McCook, Neb. They’ve competed together and against one another all their lives, and both bring a championship pedigree to the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association Finals.
“It’s awesome to be able to compete alongside your brother; competing against him is even more fun,” said Garrett Nokes, who roped and tied his calf in 8.8 seconds to win the second round in tie-down roping Saturday night. “It’s really fun to see him winning. It’s a family affair for us. Our parents are up in the stands, and we have a bunch of family and friends up there, too.
“We’re 40 years old, and they’re still following us.”
Justen Nokes downed his steer in 4.7 seconds to share the round-winning time with Gary Collins of Sharon Springs, Kan. Later that night, the Brothers Nokes celebrated by each earning a go-round trophy buckle for their work inside the arena.
Now they have some clean-up work to do during Sunday’s third round to see if they can each win the year-end championships. It won’t be easy for either cowboy, though, as others are higher in the standings heading into the final day of the season. For example, Cody Devers of Perryton, Texas, owns just a $100 lead over Justen Nokes in the bulldogging standings, but Devers has the lead in the average, which will pay out a considerable bonus when the third round ends.
“Cody has done a great job all year,” said Justen Nokes, who failed to score a time in the opening round and likely won’t collect a check in the average. “It’s going to come down to one steer tomorrow, and I’m going to have to put the heat on him. It’s going to be a fun third round, and whoever does better wins.”
Garrett Nokes entered the finale fifth in the year-end standings, about $1,800 behind leader Nick Becker of Garden City, Kan. He knows he is a long-shot to earn another KPRA championship.
“I’m just trying to make runs without making mistakes, win as much money as I can and go home with money in my pocket,” he said. “If the (year-end trophy) saddle falls my way, then that’s awesome.”
He knows what it means to win. Over his career, he’s held many titles, including nearly a dozen KPRA titles.
“I’ve had a title in every one of the last three decades,” Garrett Nokes said. “I won my first KPRA championship in 1995 in steer wrestling and the all-around; I did it in the 2000s, and now I’m doing it in the teens.”
Both men are coaching intercollegiate programs – Justen at Hastings (Neb.) College and Garrett at Mid-Plains (Neb.) Community College. They are passing along their knowledge of the game and their passion for it to another generation, including those that are part of the KPRA finale in Dodge City.
“Dodge City Roundup is doing an outstanding job hosting this finals,” Garrett Nokes said. “This is the most professionally run amateur finals that I’ve ever been to. This is an outstanding facility, they’ve brought in amazing stock and they’re doing their best to put it on for us. It’s phenomenal for us to have this deal here.”
Kansas Press Association Finals
Dodge City, Kan.
Bareback riding: 1. Jake Stemo, 82 points, $490; 2. Wesley Cole, 77, $368; 3. DillonTiede, 74, $245; 4. Logan Patterson, 72, $123.
Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Justen Nokes and Gary Collins, 4.7 seconds, $1,006 each; 3. Brandon Volker, 5.2, $575; 4. Cody Devers, 5.3, $288.
Ranch bronc riding: 1. Reid Green, 79 points, $700; 2. Weston Price, 75, $525; 3. Clay Vigil, 72, $350; 4. Monte Winkler, 70, $175.
Tie-down roping: 1. Garrett Nokes, 8.8 seconds, $952; 2. (tie) Cody Rieker and Bryce Loyd, 9.5, $595 each; 4. Kyle Winslow, 9.7, $238.
Breakaway roping: 1. (tie) Shelby Hinkle, Justice Green and Teddi Winslow, 2.7 seconds, $1,072 each; 4. Ashley Sherman, 3.1, $357.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Shane Hand, 81, $703; 2. Wyatt Barstow, 78, $527; 3. (tie) Tex Benfer and Ben Engelman, 76, $264 each.
Open team roping: 1. Brian Dunning/Derrick Jantzen, 5.5 seconds, $1,068; 2. Kyle Winslow/Kingston Chang, 6.2, $801; 3. Nick Becker/Toby Mentzer, 6.7, $534; 4. Ben Johnsrud/Nate Johnsrud, 7.4, $267.
40-40 team roping: 1. Brian Padilla/Mike Weir, 6.7 seconds, $941; 2. Beau Blue/Ben Blue, 7.3, $706; 3. Justin Crist/Brian Crist, 7.6, $471; 4. Gene Jett/Tom Peterson, 10.4, $235.
Barrel racing: 1. Lorie Diodosio, 17.30 seconds, $1,356; 2. Diane Martin, 17.49, $1,017; 3. Amy Prather, 17.53, $678; 4. Ellie Kravig, 17.57, $339.
Bull riding: 1. Jacob Marcel, 86 points, $961; 2. Colton Lewis, 81, $721; 3. Kane Larsen, 74, $480; 4. Dakota Cator, 72, $240.