DODGE CITY, Kan. – The trophies are unique in sports, even in rodeo.
They are the Dodge City Roundup buckles awarded champions in each event each year. They are some of the most respected and prestigious awards in professional rodeo. Cowboys have placed winning in this western Kansas community atop their priority lists.
Hundreds of them will return for this year’s Roundup Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3-Sunday, Aug. 7, at Roundup Arena; Dodge City Xtreme Bulls is set for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2. Even if they’ve won the title before, cowboys and cowgirls can’t have enough of those glistening and distinguishable buckles, courtesy of Western Beverage.
“My traveling partner won this title in 2018, and he wears his buckle all the time,” 2021 saddle bronc riding champion Lefty Holman said. “It’s got the Budweiser logo on it, which sets it apart. It’s a cool buckle. I’ll definitely be wearing it.”
Holman, of Visalia, California, qualified for the 2020 National Finals Rodeo. Injuries slowed him a bit last season, yet he still finished the year 18th, just three spots from the magical top 15 that earn their qualifications to ProRodeo’s grand championship.
Travis Rogers grew up just a few hours from Dodge City in Tuttle, Oklahoma. He won the Prairie Circuit’s tie-down roping title last year, thanks in large part to the money he earned in western Kansas.
“Dodge City has always been my favorite rodeo, so to win it is pretty sweet,” he said.
After his winning ride in the championship round last year, bull rider Dustin Boquet of Bourg, Louisiana, just took a long look at the silver buckle with the star and beer logo and knew exactly what he was going to do.
“My dad always wanted a belt buckle from here because he’s a Budweiser man,” he said. “I’d made up my mind that I was going to give it to him.
“I’m pretty fired up to win that for him.”
Sometimes the best trophies are ones that can be admired from anywhere, but the highlights of last year are ones that can be memorialized by the folks who won the titles. Take barrel racer Jordon Briggs of Tolar, Texas, for example. She utilized the momentum she gained at Roundup to carry her to her second NFR; more importantly, she built upon it and won her first world title.
Bareback rider Cole Franks of Clarendon, Texas, won both the first round and the final round with 90-point-plus rides, setting a Roundup Arena record with a 93-point ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Gun Fire in the championship round. Team ropers Clay Smith and Jade Corkill added another Roundup buckle to their trophy cases with their win.
Steer wrestler Tucker Allen pointed to his win in Ford County as a major milestone in his season, while team roping-heeler Paden Bray of Stephenville, Texas, took advantage of the busy week to add some dollars in tie-down roping to win the all-around title.
They all left Dodge City with some big-time money and some special hardware.