ESTES PARK, Colo. – For a good portion of the ProRodeo season, Colt Gordon was one of the best saddle bronc riders in the game.
He was among the top 15 in the world standings and was making a name for himself.
“I was having really good luck for a while, but then I had some saddle troubles,” said Gordon of Comanche, Okla. “I just got a good saddle, and it’s starting to click again. I’m chasing and trying to get caught back up in the top 15.”
He might just be making that move after Thursday night’s opening performance of the Rooftop Rodeo. Gordon rode Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix The Natural for 81.5 points to take the early lead. Now he’s hoping that momentum will carry him through the final three months of the regular season.
“I knew he was supposed to be a good horse, because they took him to Waco (Texas) for the All American Finals,” he said. “He was really good.”
And it proved that Gordon’s saddle was in good shape. Having saddle issues is a problem in most rodeo events, but especially bronc riding. Cowboys ride a specially designed saddle with the stirrups set forward to allow the classic spurring motion from the front of the horse’s shoulders, sweeping down and back to the cantle of the saddle.
Then they must do that in rhythm with the horse’s bucking motion, so having solid equipment is imperative.
“Confidence is everything,” he said. “That was a big confidence builder, getting on a horse like that and being able to put on a good ride. Going through those saddle troubles, it sure helps to have a good ride like that.”
Gordon sits 21st in the world standings with a little more than $27,000 in season earnings. Finishing among the top 15 when the regular season concludes, though, would be a dream come true; only the top 15 contestants in each event advance to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“I’d like to go to the finals this year, or at least give it a good shot at making the finals,” he said. “I need to be more consistent to do that, though. I’m hoping this is what I need to get back on that track.”
Of course, doing well in Estes Park has its benefits. Last year’s bronc riding champion earned more than $5,300 for his work in this Colorado mountain resort town. Rooftop Rodeo has been named Rodeo of the Year six times in its nine decades of existence.
“It’s beautiful around here, and it’s a sweet rodeo,” Gordon said. “You don’t get to rodeo in this kind of weather, especially in Oklahoma. It’s 122 degrees at my house right now, so this is cool and wonderful.
“The hospitality is awesome, and Estes Park is one of the best rodeos as far as hospitality that there is.”
Estes Park, Colo.
July 5-10, 2018
Leaders through first performance
Bareback riding:1. Tilmon Moore, 75 points on Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Avalene; 2. Bryton John Byert, 71; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds; 2. Will Lummus, 3.8; 3. Laine Herl, 4.2, 4.2; 4. (tie) Tom Littell and Cody Devers, 4.3; 6. (tie) Trever Nelson and Gary Gilbert, 4.4; 8. Logan McDonald, 4.5. Second round: 1. Cole McNamee, 4.0 seconds; 2. Heath Thompson, 4.9; 3. Joe Buffington, 6.1; 4. Wyatt Johnson, 9.0; 5. Logan McDonald, 10.8; 6. Dane Browning, 13.7; 7. Darrel Petry, 14.7; no other qualified runs. Average: 1. Logan McDonald, 15.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Darrel Petry, 26.0; 3. Sam Williams, 3.6 seconds on one run; 4. Will Lummus, 3.8; 5. Cole McNamee, 4.0; 6. Laine Herl, 4.2; 7. Tim Littell, 4.3.
Team roping: 1. Jake Barnes/Rich Skelton, 4.6 seconds; 2. Paul Beckett/Chad Wahlert, 4.7; 3. Cole Cooper/J.C. Flake, 5.9; 4. Jake Campbell/Luke Baumann, 17.6; no other qualified runs.
Saddle bronc riding 1. Colt Gordon, 81.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix The Natural; 2. Spencer Wright, 77; 3. Dawson Hay, 71; 4. Toby Collins, 70; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping: 1. Reno Gonzales, 8.4 seconds; 2. Jesse Clark, 9.4; 3. Scott Kormos, 10.2; 4. Anthony Jordan, 10.6; 5. Joey Dickents, 10.78; 6. Caleb Smidt, 10.9; 7. Cimarron Boardman, 11.4; 8. Bryson Sechrist, 11.6.
Barrel racing: 1. (tie) Callie Colten and Paige Wiseman, 18.15 seconds; 3. Amy Smith, 18.19; 4. Ann Peterson, 19.88; 5. Skyla Whitters, 22.89; 6. Kate Spauer, 23.55; no other qualified runs.
Bull riding: 1. Kyle Gardner, 85 points on Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Birthday Suit; 2. Jimy Marten, 82.5; 3. Moody McCoy, 77; 4. Colten Fritzian, 75.5; 5. Toby Collins, 72; no other qualified rides.