DUNCAN, Okla. – Steer wrestling is nothing new to Blake Mindemann. He grew up in a bulldogging family and took to it in high school in the early 2000s.
Now the 33-year-old cowboy who grew up in nearby Apache, Okla., is heading to the National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his 14-year career. On Thursday night during the first round of the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, he three his steer in 3.8 seconds to win on opening night at Stephens County Arena.
“That steer was good,” said Mindemann of Blanchard, Okla. “I didn’t know much about him, but he looked really good, and he was as good as he looked.”
He earned $1,851 and pushed his circuit earnings to $18,269. That moved him into the lead in the year-end race, just $194 ahead of the defending world champion, Tyler Pearson of Louisville, Miss.
“It would be awesome to win the year-end title,” Mindemann said. “If I could do that, I’d get to go to Kissimmee (Fla.) again.”
He’s talking about the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, and only the year-end and average champions from each circuit advance to the national championship. That event will take place in late March.
“That’s a great rodeo to win a bunch of money. I just need to go knock a couple more down this week and see what happens.”
Money is big in rodeo. Not only does it pay bills, but dollars equal points. Only the top 12 on the money list in each event from rodeos primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska advance to this weekend’s championship, and the highest money winner in each discipline will be crowned year-end titlist.
He has a lot of help, from his black bulldogging horse to his hazer, two-time world champion Hunter Cure.
“Hunter is sure good to have on the other side,” Mindemann said. “The horse actually belongs to Johnny Asher. I’ve had him, hauled him and trained him like he was mine. We’re partners on him, and he’s a good horse.
“Both horses worked good, and Hunter did a great job hazing.”
Having all that in his corner has Mindemann’s confidence at an all-time high.
“Everything feels good, and the horses are clicking,” he said. “I’ve just got to try to make some money and run some steers.
“Winning’s always fun.”
Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo
Bareback riding: First round: 1. Will Martin, 83 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Jason’s Pride, $1,832; 2. Jared Keylon, 81.5, $1,374; 3. Blaine Kaufman, 80, $916; 5. (tie) Garrett Shadbolt and Steven Dent, 77, $229 each.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Blake Mindemann, 3.8 seconds, $1,851; 2. Stockton Graves, 4.4, $1,388; 3. Riley Duvall, 4.7, $925; 4. Jule Hazen, 5.3, $463.
Team roping: First round: 1. Dylan Gordon/Chase Boekhaus, 4.6 seconds, $1,851; 2. (tie) Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward, 5.2, $1,157; 4. Cole Markham/Buddy Hawkins II, 5.6, $463.
Saddle bronc riding: First round: 1. Steven Dent, 80 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Night Latch,l $1,851; 2. Hardy Braden, 78.5, $1,388; 3. Roper Kiesner, 78, $925; 4. (tie) Clint Lindenfeld, Preston Kafka and Dalton Davis, 76, $154 each.
Tie-down roping: First round: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 8.0 seconds, $1,851; 2. Trent Creager, 8.5, $1,388; 3. Tyler Milligan, 8.8, $925; 4. Luke Potter, 9.3, $463.
Barrel racing: First round: 1. Dona Kay Rule, 15.55 seconds, $1,851; 2. Kyle Wast, 15.61, $1,388; 3. Hollie Etbauer, 15.76, $925; 4. Emily Miller, 15.85, $463.
Bull riding: First round: 1. Tyler Hessman, 86.5 points on Big Rafter’s Outback Pharmacy, $1851; 2. Nathan Hatchel, 84, $1,388; 3. Jeston Mead, 82.5, $925; 4. Brett Custer, 82, $463.