Dent making most of 2019

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Steven Dent rides Cervi's Fire's Easy for 83 points to share the bareback riding lead at Rooftop Rodeo after Monday's first performance. (PHOTO BY GREG WESTFALL)

Veteran cowboy shares bareback riding lead at Rooftop Rodeo with Lamb

ESTES PARK, Colo. – Rodeo cowboys don’t really retire; they slow down their travel and re-prioritize their lives a bit from the rodeo trail.

Steven Dent is planning on 2019 being his last to really chase qualifications to the National Finals Rodeo, where only the top 15 cowboys in each event advance at the conclusion of the regular season. But as the sport has evolved, the Nebraska cowboy may not need to be on the road nearly as much and earn a significant living.

“The money is so much better than it used to be, and I thought it was good,” said Dent, 33, of Mullen, Nebraska. “I was young and didn’t have a lot of expenses, but now guys can make a living rodeoing. I’m going to pick the 40 best rodeos with the best stock and see what happens.”

When he first cracked out in ProRodeo in 2006, he’d hit even the smallest of rodeos in order to collect enough money to make it to Las Vegas in December. His mindset has changed, and that comes through the experience and the reality that money has improved greatly in the sport.

On Monday night during the opening performance of Rooftop Rodeo, Dent matched moves with Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s Fire’s Easy for 83 points to move into a share of the bareback riding lead with Kody Lamb, who rode Cervi’s Last Pet. They have five more performances to find out how they’ll finish, but they like their chances to make good money in Estes Park.

“Now, I try not to enter anything unless it adds $10,000, and that’s pretty good,” he said, referring to “added money,” which is committee dollars that are mixed with contestants’ entry fees to make up the total purse in each event.

“I love this week of rodeos. I turned down going to a pretty big rodeo to come to these. I’ve always had good luck at them. After the Fourth (of July), you’re in riding shape and feel like if you’re on a roll, it can carry right into the next week and the week after that. A lot of people put a lot of weight into the rodeos that are on the Fourth, but the next three weeks after the Fourth are bigger.”

Dent sits 13th in the bareback riding money list and wants to stay in that rhythm through the remainder of the regular season in order to advance to the NFR for the 10th time in his career. Deep down, he’d love to make it to Vegas in saddle bronc riding, an event he’s always loved but hasn’t seen as much success as bareback riding.

“I’ve always wanted to qualify in bronc riding,” said Dent, who sits third at Rooftop Rodeo after a 79-point ride Monday. “I’ve got a long way to go, but if you can get on a roll this month, anything’s possible. I feel like I’m riding good in both events.”

Lamb’s rodeo focus has been on rodeo, but he’s also a rising country artist and songwriter. His ride in Estes Park is a big way to help him in his best season ever.

“I’d like to get a good check here, but there are a lot of good guys coming here, and they’ve drawn good horses,” said Lamb of Sherwood Park, Alberta. “I did my job, and I’m happy with it.

“I actually live about five hours from the mountains on the prairie in Alberta, so it’s nice to get to come here. I’ve placed here in the past.”

But this year is where it counts, and he’s always excited to compete in Estes Park.

“This is a great committee, and they treat us well,” he said. “The scenery is picturesque. I don’t have any complaints about coming to Estes Park any year, but I’m having a career year. I’ve had season-ending injuries in July two years in a row, so it’s nice that I’m still going.”

It’s a great way to kick off one of the 2019 edition of Rooftop Rodeo.

Rooftop Rodeo
Estes Park, Colo.
July 8-13, 2018
Leaders through first performance
Bareback riding:
1. (tie) Steven Dent, on Cervi Brother Rodeo’s Fire’s Easy, and Kody Lamb, on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Last Pet, 83 points; 3. Casey Colletti, 82; 4. Will Martin, 80.5; 5. (tie) Wyatt Bloom and Justin Pollmiller, 78; 7. Leighton Berry, 71.5; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: 1. Jacob Edler, 4.4 seconds; 2. (tie) Blake Mindemann and tuff Gibson, 6.4; 4. Cutter DeHhaeret, 6.8; 5. (tie) Sterling Cowdrey and Talon Sterkel, 7.8; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: 1. Kal Fuller/Kasper Roy, 9.9 seconds; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Parker Kempfer, 82 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Roller Coaster; 2. Jake Finlay, 79.5; 3. Steven Dent, 79; 4. Colton Miller, 78.5; 5. Wyatt Hageman, 76; 6. Treyson Antonick, 72; 7. Josh Davison, 67; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping: 1. Garrett Busby, 8.9 seconds; 2. Colt Papy, 10.4; 3. Tyler Boxleitner, 12.9; 4. Todd Brown, 14.4; 5. Randall Carlisle, 14.8; 6. Ike Fontenot, 22.6; 7. Blake Ash, 30.0; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing: 1. Sara Cheeney, 16.70 seconds; 2. Ashley Castleberry, 17.13; 3. Skyla Whitters, 17.53; 4. Callie Colden, 17.54; 5. Callie Gray, 17.58; 6. Jessi Fish, 22.18; 7. Maddy Dickens, 22.29; 8. Rachel Spight, 24.01.

Bull riding: 1. Josh Frost, 86.5 points on Lyndell Hurst’s Peacemaker; 2. Parker Cole McCown, 80; 3. Eli Vastbinder, 74.5; no other qualified rides.


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