Roper riding high in Lovington

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Tie-down roper Chance Oftedahl has the aggregate lead after roping two calves in a cumulative time of 18.1 seconds. Oftedahl is riding a nice run into this week of rodeos, and his times in Lovington give the Minnesota cowboy a chance to cash in already. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – The world of professional rodeo can be much like a roller-coaster ride – there are many highs and lows through the season.

Chance Oftedahl has experienced the extremes of both in the last month. On Wednesday night, he showed that he’s riding through the high times during the first performance of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. He roped and tied his calf in 7.9 seconds to move into third place in the second round, but more importantly, he is the No. 1 man in the aggregate with a two-run cumulative time of 18.1 seconds.

“I was here this morning when we tied the calves, and I knew this calf was probably going to run a bit but was going to be outstanding on the ground,” said Oftedahl of Pemberton, Minnesota. “I didn’t get her spun around like I wanted, but it worked out.”

Tie-down roping is always a tough event in this southeastern New Mexico community, but that’s to be expected. The rodeo takes place in Jake McClure Arena, and McClure was a world champion in that event 89 years ago. The arena was also a good place for the Minnesota cowboy to continue his hot streak.

“It’s been pretty slow the last month,” he said, noting that a badly sprained ankle was the cause for some of the problems, even though he continued to compete. “I didn’t stay mentally sharp through that deal. I went three weeks and didn’t win a check in calf roping. Until Dodge City (Kansas last week), I’d won $500 in about a month.

“It’s starting to turn around now. It takes just one rodeo, and you can start drawing a little better and get a feel for the start; then everything starts clicking.”

In fact, he won $6,300 in southwest Kansas and can feel things working in his favor

“My confidence is coming back,” Oftedahl said.

That’s critical, especially now that there are less than two months remaining in the regular season. Only the top 15 in the world standings in each event at the end of September advance to the National Finals Rodeo. It could be a bit of a stretch for Oftedahl to earn that qualification, because he is 47th.

He will continue to compete, though, hoping to finish high enough in the standings to get into some of the bigger winter rodeos. He’ll also make sure he earns a spot at the Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes the top 12 contestants primarily from the Midwestern states.

Of course, it helps to have an outstanding equine partner. In his case, Oftedahl leans on Bullseye, an 11-year-old sorrel gelding.

“This is a horse my dad bought, and he was 4 years old when we bought him,” he said. “I’ve been hauling him since he was 6.

“He’s naturally a free-runner. As soon as you get his motor running, he feels like he’s running off.”

While Minnesota is his home, he’s been living in a horse trailer outfitted with a living quarters. In fact, he’s been home for only a few hours since June and won’t be back until September.

“I just want to keep the momentum going from here,” Oftedahl said. “There are no breaks from here on out.”

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 7-10
Bareback riding leaders:
1. Kyle Charley, 84 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s First Kiss; 2. Paden Hurst, 79; 3. Ethan Crouch 73; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Tyler Pearson, 3.9 seconds; 2. Kalane Anders, 4.0; 3. (tie) Blake Knowles and Miguel Garcia, 4.2; 5. Jace Melvin, 4.4; 6. Riley Krassin, 4.6; 7. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Aaron Vosler, 4.8. Second round leaders: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 3.4 seconds; 2. Nick Guy, 3.5; 3. Tyler Pearson, 3.7; 4. Kalane Anders, 3.8; 5. (tie) Tyler Waguespack and Miguel Garcia, 4.5; 7. Clayton Hass, 4.6; 8. Kyle Irwin, 5.4. Average leaders: 1. Tyler Pearson, 7.6 seconds on two runs; 2. Kalane Anders, 7.8; 3. Dakota Eldridge, 8.3; 4. Miguel Garcia, 8.7; 5. Tyler Waguespack, 9.3; 6. Jace Melvin, 18.6; 7. Aaron Vosler, 18.7; 8. Nick Guy, 3.5 seconds on one run.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Treg Schaack, 8.6 seconds; 2. Marty Yates, 8.8; 3. Michael Otero, 9.1; 4. (tie) Brian Gar and Tyler Prcin, 9.5; 6. Ty Baker, 10.0; 7. Chance Oftedahl, 10.2; 8. Cody Huber, 10.7. Second round leaders: 1. Ty Harris, 7.6 seconds; 2. Tuf Cooper, 7.7; 3. Chance Oftedahl, 7.9; 4.  Randall Carlisle, 8.5; 5. Ty Baker, 8.9; 6. (tie) Tyler Prcin and Cory Solomon, 9.1; 8. Colt Papy, 9.8. Average leaders: 1. Chance Oftedahl, 18.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Tyler Prcin, 18.6; 3. Ty Baker, 18.9; 4. Treg Schaack, 19.2; 5. Cody Huber, 20.9; 6. Colt Papy, 24.1; 7. Ty Harris, 7.6 seconds on one run; 8. Tuf Cooper, 7.7.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Ryder Wright, 85.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Downtown; Joe Harper, 77; no other qualified rides.
Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Shay Good, 10.3 seconds; 2. Billy Good, 13.2; 3. Corey Ross, 22.6; 4. Brian Garr, 23.2; 5. Mark Milner, 23.4; no other qualified runs. Second round leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 11.1 seconds; 2. Billy Good, 11.4; 3. Ryan Willberg, 14.5; 4. Vin Fisher Jr., 16.4; 5. J.D. Barnes, 27.8; no other qualified runs. Third round leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 8.9 seconds; 2. J. Tom Fisher, 10.9; 3. Corey Ross, 12.1; 4. Billy Good, 15.3; no other qualified runs. Average leaders: 1. Billy Good, 39.9 seconds on three runs; 2. Trevor Brazile, 20.0 seconds on two runs; 3. Corey Ross, 34.7; 4. Shay Good, 10.3 seconds on one run; 5. J. Tom Fisher, 10.9; 6. Ryan Willberg, 14.5; 7. Vin Fisher Jr., 16.4; 8. Brian Garr, 23.2.
Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 4.9 seconds; 2. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 5.3; 3. Bubba Buckaloo, 5.5; 4. Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord, 5.6; 5. Jeff Flenniken/Tyler Worley, 5.7; 6. Matt Sherwood/Hunter Koch, 6.0; 7. Chace Thompson/Tyson Thompson, 6.7; 8. Nate Singletary/Tom Bill Johnson, 7.0. Second round leaders: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Patrick Smith, 4.1 seconds; 2. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.4; 3. Kolton Schmidt/Jeremy Buhler, 4.5; 4. Chace Thompson/Tyson Thompson, 5.2; 5. Jeff Flenniken, 5.4; 6. Jesse Clark/Shank Edwards, 5.7; 7. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 8.6; 8. Matt Sherwood/Hunter Koch, 19.3. Average leaders: 1. Jeff Flenniken/Tyler Worley, 11.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Chace Thompson/Tyson Thompson, 11.9; 3. Aaron Tsinigine/Patrick Smith, 13.0; 4. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 13.5; 5. Matt Sherwood/Hunter Koch, 25.3; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 4.4 seconds on one run; 7. Kolton Schmidt/Jeremy Buhler, 4.5; 8. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 5.3.
Barrel racing leaders: 1. Ericka Nelson, 17/50 seconds; 2. Tierra Gray, 17.93; 3. Sharon Harrell, 18.16; 4. Jordan Kircher, 18.60; no other qualified runs.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Daylon Swearingen, 85 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Tumble Weed; 2. Chase Dougherty, 83; 3. Cole Meloncon, 81.5; no other qualified scores.


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