DUNCAN, Okla. – Justin Pollmiller has had a singular focus on the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo: Win the three-round average.
“That was definitely my goal when I got here,” said Pollmiller, who won Friday’s second go-round of bareback riding with an 81-point ride on New Frontier Rodeo’s Elvis and owns the lead in the average with a two-ride cumulative score of 160.5 points.
Not only do the earnings add up, but the average champion qualifies to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla., where he will be joined by the year-end winner. Since Frank Morton of Wright, Kan., has clinched the year-end, all that’s left is to decide the average winner.
“I want to go to Kissimmee,” said Pollmiller, a three-time circuit finals qualifier originally from Littleton, Colo., now living in Weatherford, Okla. “I’ve been telling everybody since I got here that I’m going to Florida. I’m going to go all out and try to win every round.”
He’s come close. He started the finale with a 79.5-point ride in Round 1 to finish second, then did one better Friday on a horse he knows pretty well.
“He’s old, has been around forever and he’s just as nice as can be,” he said. “I actually got on him earlier this year and messed him up a little bit. I was happy to have another shot at him, and if you’re going to get a rematch, this is the place to do it. He’s just awesome; he’s a sweetheart.
“He’s really fast and pretty small, and I’m pretty tall and have real long legs. It’s tough, because my spurs hit a few inches in front of his neck, so it makes my timing a little goofy. I just tried to keep my feet flying, and the judges seemed to like it.”
Pollmiller likes it, too. Though he’s qualified for the circuit finals each of the past three years, he was unable to complete last October because of injury; he tore a biceps last June and had to sit out six months of the season. Now he’s just trying to take the steps necessary to become one of the elite bareback riders in the game.
“I’m getting really close,” he said. “This year I was able to get on some really good horses and ended up winning quite a bit of money. From a riding standpoint, I’ve been feeling awesome and feel like I’m competitive just about everywhere I’ve been.”
Each step he walks in the game puts him closer to his destination. He hopes this weekend’s festivities serve as the perfect catapult to a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification.
“My big goal for next year is I want to be in the top 15,” Pollmiller said matter-of-factly.
He’s well on his way.
Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Bareback riding: 1. Justin Pollmiller, 81 points on New Frontier Rodeo’s Elvis, $1,783; 2. Caine Riddle, 79, $1,337; 3. Connor Hamilton, 78, $892; 4. Logan Glendy, 77.5, $446.
Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) J.D. Struxness and Dean Gorsuch, 4.2 seconds, $1,560 each; 3. Jake Johnson, 4.4, $892; 4. Riley Duvall, 4.5, $446.
Team roping: 1. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.7 seconds, $1,783; 2. Jesse Stipes/Buddy Hawkins, 5.2, $1,337; 3. Brett Christensen/Dawson McMaster, 6.2, $892; 4. Casey Hicks/Braden Harmon, 7.1, $445.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Hardy Braden, 78 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Summer Wages, $1,783; 2. Jesse James Kirby, 77, $1,337; 3. Ryan Bestol, 74.5, $892; 4. Cole Pacheco, 73, $446.
Tie-down roping: 1. Lane Jeffrey, 8.6 seconds, $1,783; 2. Caddo Lewallen, 8.7, $1,337; 3. (tie) Trent Creager, Jerome Schneeberger and Trell Etbauer, 446 each.
Barrel racing: 1. Tracy Nowlin, 16.03 seconds, $1,805; 2. Emily Miller, 16.13, $1,354; 3. Shy-Anne Jarrett, 16.38, $903; 4. (tie) Jeanne Anderson and Mary Burger, 16.39, $226.
Bull riding: 1. Laramie Mosley, 84 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Levi the Boss, $1,783; 2. Jeston Mead, 80, $1,337; 3. Wyatt Rogers, 79, $892; 4. Colten Jesse, 77, $446.