Young guns are stout at Roundup

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Rookie saddle bronc rider Tegan Smith rides Frontier Rodeo's Bordertown for 87 points Wednesday to take the lead at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. a

DODGE CITY, Kan. – The state of Iowa is becoming a hotbed for cowboys wanting to ride bucking horses for a living.

This past December, two Iowans – saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell and bareback rider Tim O’Connell – earned world championships; it was the first for Sundell and the third straight for O’Connell.

Now cowboys like Tegan Smith and Riggin Smith are hoping to carry on that tradition. Both cowboys attended Clarendon (Texas) College the past two years, and the cousins from Winterset, Iowa, competed at the College National Finals Rodeo this past June – Riggin won the national title, while Tegan finished third.

On Wednesday, Tegan Smith posted an 87-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Bordertown to burst into the saddle bronc riding lead on the opening night of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. That score should be enough to bring him back for Sunday’s championship round.

“I want to finish the year in the top 30 in the world, then I’ve got a good chance at those winter rodeos next year,” said Smith, 21, who is No. 46 in the world standings with $20,772 but sits fourth in the bronc riding rookie race. “After that, then I can make a good run at the (National) Finals.”

He just completed his sophomore season at Clarendon, a college in the Texas Panhandle about four hours south of Dodge City. He decided on the college primarily because of its coach, three-time National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc riding qualifier Bret Franks.

“I knew how to ride broncs, but then he critiqued everything and made it to where I could go out to all these big rodeos and accomplish something,” Smith said. “When we went to the college finals, I felt like I owed Bret something for everything he did for us.

“Bret was the reason I went to Clarendon. I knew he could help me in my career of rodeoing.”

While Smith is in the rookie race this year, bareback rider Zach Hibler earned his rookie title in a runaway last year. Hibler finished the 2018 campaign with nearly $43,000, more than $15,000 ahead of the No. 2 man. He, too, took the lead Wednesday night after an 84-point ride on Frontier’ Ace of Spades.

“That was a little black horse that went straight down the pen and gave me everything I could ask for,” said Hibler of Wheeler, Texas. “You can dang sure mess up a nice one on the first night out, so it’s nice to capitalize on it.”

That score should also allow Hibler to return to Sunday’s short round. If history repeats itself, the final night of bareback riding will feature some of the rankest bucking horses in the business.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Those buckers make you want to bring your “A” game, so it separates the men from the boys.”

He should know; he learned a lot about that last year after earning a spot in the short round. It was a big test in a rookie year that became magical for the Texan.

“Winning the rookie made me feel like I was part of something, that I could compete with these guys that are making the finals each year,” Hibler said. “It just boosted my confidence more than anything.”

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo
Dodge City, Kan.
July 31-Aug. 4
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Zach Hibler, 84 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Ace of Spades; 2. Paden Hurst, 82; 3. Ethan Crouch, 71; 4. Chance Merrill, 60; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Aaron Vosler, 3.7 seconds; 2. Dakota Eldridge, 3.8; 3. (tie) Clayton Hass, Tyler Waguespack and Nick Guy, 3.9 each; 6. Kyle Irwin, 4.3. Second round leaders: 1. Nick Guy, 3.7 seconds; 2. Dakota Eldridge, 3.9; 3. Tyler Pearson, 4.2; 4. Kalane Anders, 5.3; 5. Kyle Irwin, 5.7; 6. Clayton Hass, 5.8; 7. Riley Krassin, 6.0; 8. Cody Doescher, 8.5; 9. Sam Houston Powers, 14.0; 10. Cutter DeHart, 14.3.  Average leaders: 1. Nick Guy, 7.6 seconds on two runs; 2. Dakota Eldridge, 7.7; 3. Clayton Hass, 9.7; 4. Kyle Irwin, 10.0; 5. Riley Krassin, 15.9; 6. Cody Doescher, 16.5; 7. Aaron Vosler, 3.7 seconds on one run; 8. Tyler Waguespack, 3.9; 9. Tyler Pearson, 4.2; 10. Heath Thomas, 4.8.
Team roping:
First round leaders: 1. Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz, 6.5 seconds; 2. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.6; 3. Clayton Van Aken/Cullen Teller, 6.8; 4. Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin, 9.7; 5. Pace Freed/Dustin Searcy, 10.8; 6. Tyler Wade/Billie Jack Saebens, 11.5. Second round leaders: 1. Clayton Van Aken/Cullen Teller, 5.6 seconds; 2. Chace Thompson/Tyson Thompson, 10.2; no other qualified runs.  Average leaders: 1. Clayton Van Aken/Cullen Teller, 12.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz, 6.5 seconds on one run; 3. J.D. Yates/Trey Yates, 6.6; 4. Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin, 9.7; 5. Chace Thompson/Tyson Thompson, 10.2; 6. Pace Freed/Dustin Searcy, 10.8; 7. Tyler Wade/Billie Jack Saebens, 11.5; 8. Tanner Baldwin/Nano Garza, 11.6; 9. Blake Hughes/Braden Harmon, 14.3; no other qualified times.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Tegan Smith, 87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Bordertown; 2. Wade Sundell, 84.5; 3. Dalton Kingery, 82; 4. Logan Cook, 81; 5. Bradley Harter, 77; 6. Wyatt Casper, 76; 7. Riggin Smith, 68; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Colt Papy, 10.3 seconds; 2. Chase Williams, 11.0; 3. Westyn Hughes, 13.3; 4. Dawson Appleton, 16.0; 5. Clint Cooper, 22.1; 6. Randall Carlisle, 22.7. Second round leaders: 1. Westyn Hughes, 9.6 seconds; 2. Garrett Busby, 10.0; 3. Colt Papy, 10.1; 4. Anthony Jordan, 11.2; 5. Bryce Loyd, 16.9; 6. Tuf Cooper, 20.1. Average leaders: 1. Colt Papy, 20.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Westyn Hughes, 22.9; 3. Garrett Busby, 10.0 seconds on one run; 4. Chase Williams, 11.0; 5. Anthony Jordan, 11.2; 6. Dawson Appleton, 16.0; 7. Bryce Loyd, 16.9; 8. Tuf Cooper, 20.1; 9. Clint Cooper, 22.1; 10. Randall Carlisle, 22.7.
Barrel racing: First round leaders: 1. Michelle Darling, 16.70 seconds; 2. Cindy Smith, 17.24; 3. Jeanne Anderson, 17.32; 4. Maggie Carter, 17.49; 5. Haley Nida, 17.54; 6. Kaylee Gallino, 17.65. Second round leaders: 1. Michelle Darling, 17.29 seconds; 2. Maggie Carter, 17.43; 3. Jeanne Anderson, 17.44; 4. (tie) Sarah Zaleski and Haley Nida, 17.48; 6. Emily Hamrick, 17.52; 7. Jessi Wade, 17.62; 8. Nisa Berry, 17.68; 9. Holly Wright, 17.73; 10. Lindsey McLeod, 17.82. Average leaders: 1. Michelle Darling, 33.99 seconds on two runs; 2. Jeanne Anderson, 34.76; 3. Maggie Carter, 34.92; 4. Haley Nida, 35.02; 5. Jessi Wade, 35.42; 6. Nisa Berry, 35.51; 7. Lindsey McLeod, 35.67; 8. Holly Wright, 35.68; 9. J.J. Baldwin, 36.33; 10. Jesse Jaureguito, 37.28; 11. Cindy Smith, 39.50; 12. Emily Hamrick, 40.09.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Stetson Wright, 86 points on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Last Cigarette; 2. Wyatt Rogers, 85.5; 3. Hayden Harris, 84.5; 4. Eligah Mora, 83; 5. Jeff Askey, 81; 6. Cody Keathley, 80.5; 7. Trevor Reiste, 80; 8. Trey Kimzey, 77.5.

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