GUNNISON, Colo. – Jace Melvin has grand plans to return to the National Finals Rodeo for the second straight year.
He’s going to do anything and everything possible to make it happen. Over the last few weeks, he’s ridden all sorts of horses, and it seems to be working. On Friday night during the second performance of the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, he grappled his animal to the ground in 3.5 seconds to take the steer wrestling lead with one night remaining in this year’s rodeo.
“I’ve been riding her all this week, and I rode her a little bit last week,” Melvin said of Monroe, owned by fellow bulldogger Ringo Robinson of Huston, Idaho. “She’s a phenomenal horse, and Mike McGinn’s been doing the hazing. They’ve just got good bulldogging horses, and they’re bulldogging great.”
Just a couple months ago, he was still looking to cash in, struggling to make anything work. So, he changed his game plan and started doing whatever it was going to take. He finished the 2020 campaign 10th in the final world standings. Heading into the final two and a half months of the ProRodeo season, he sits 38th – only the top 15 on the money list earn a spot at the NFR, the sport’s grand finale where world champions care crowned.
“I don’t know where I am in the standings, but I know I’ve got a lot of money to win to get to where I want to go,” said Melvin, 29, of Fort Pierre, South Dakota. “My goal is to make the NFR, so I’ve got a lot of winning to do.”
He’s having the kind of week that will make a big difference. He’s doing well at nearly every rodeo in which he’s competing, and he will ride for the championship Saturday night in Casper, Wyoming. He will ride Monroe again, but that could change next week. He is leaning on the help of friends and fellow bulldoggers to make it all happen.
In addition to Robinson, he’s “mounted” horses owned by Tyler Pearson, Curtis Cassidy, Trell Etbauer, Eli Lord, Sterling Lambert and Dirk Tavenner.
“I’ve been super blessed to ride good horses and have good hazes everywhere I’ve went,” he said.
This marks the second straight year he’s competed at Cattlemen’s Days. He first arrived in 2020, when the crowd was limited to just a handful of people because of COVID restrictions. He liked what he saw, and he opted to make it part of his calendar this year.
“This is a great rodeo; I’m glad to be here,” Melvin said. “It’s a good-paying rodeo, adds great money and has a lot of guys here. It just helps toward the end goal. I’m grateful for any check I win at any rodeo.
“This is a neat rodeo up here. You get to drive through good country to come here. It was a great crowd. Standing room only. It was a perfect rodeo.”
Bareback riding: 1. Will Lowe, 88 points on Hurst & TNT’s Casino; 2. Chad Rutherford, 83.5; 3. (tie) Jayco Roper, Tucker Zingg and Tyler Johnson, 82; 6. Trenton Montero, 81.5; 7. Jake Brown, 81; 8. Tristan Hansen, 79.
Steer wrestling: 1. Jace Melvin, 3.5 seconds; 2. Sam Goings, 3.7; 3. Tristan Martin, 3.8; 4. Riley Duvall, 4.0; 5. Payden McIntyre, 4.1; 6. Colt Honey, 4.3; 7. (tie) Mike McGinn, Mike Garcia and Jacob Sterkel, 4.4.
Team roping: 1. Rhett Anderson/Cullen Teller, 4.0 seconds; 2. Tyler Walker/Trey Yates, 4.3; 3. Garrett Tonozzi/T.J. Watts, 4.7; 4. (tie) Jake Orman/Brye Crites and Dylin Ahlstrom/Caleb Hendrix, 4.8; 6. Nick Pullara/Jason Gilchrist, 5.7; 8. Lee Kiehne/Cole Cooper and Clay Norell/Travis Bounds, 6.2; 10. Monty James/Clay Elkington, 8.1.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Tegan Smith, 88 points on Hurst & TNT’s Charlie’s Angels; 2. Mitch Pollock, 83.5; 3. Ryan Sanford, 82; 4. Rowdy Dunklin, 80.5; 5. Mason Laviolette, 78.5; 6. Jack Bentz, 74; 7. Jake Burwash, 73; 8. Brody Wells, 72.
Tie-down roping: 1. (tie) Tyler Milligan and Luke Potter, 8.3 seconds; 3. Thomas Conway, 8.4; 4. Tyler Prcin, 8.5; 5. (tie) King Pickett and Ross McAdow, 8.7; 7. Colton Farquer, 9.1; 8. Tyler Boxleitner, 9.2; 9. (tie) Neil Dove and Kalai Nobriga, 9.3.
Barrel racing: 1. Molly Otto, 17.46 seconds; 2. Lake Mehalic, 17.49; 3. Amanda Welsh, 17.53; 4. Virginya Foran, 17.55; 5. Jimmie Smith, 17.57; 6. Cassidy Champlin, 17.61; 7. Jessi Fish, 17.67; 8. Carly Taylor, 17.73; 9. Kelly Yates, 17.80; 10. Chenae Vest, 17.86; 11. Josey Schomp, 17.93; 12. Kailee Murdock, 17.94.
Bull riding: 1. Ky Hamilton, 83 points on Rafter G’s Johnny Cash; 2. Braden Richardson, 81; no other qualified rides.