GUNNISON, Colo. – In the world of rodeo, many cowboys – especially those that ride bucking horses and bulls – will travel together to help keep the costs down and to provide a bit of a team atmosphere.
Jake Clark has some good ones, and they’re always helping each other. Between Clark, Wyatt Casper, Brody Cress and Lefty Holman, the foursome has some handy credentials and some bronc savvy. It all comes into play in one way or another.
Only one of the four made his way to Gunnison for the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo; Casper is at home for a couple weeks with an injury, while Holman and Cress are competing this week at the Calgary Stampede, an invitation-only event that features a $1.5 million purse.
Clark made the most of his opportunity, riding New Star Pro Rodeo’s Southpoint Buckle for 85.5 points to take the saddle bronc riding lead.
“I saw a couple of videos of him at Fort Worth (Texas from earlier this year),” said Clark of Crane, Oregon. “He’s always been a nice horse. He’s a pretty young one, but he’s really good.”
Stace Smith Pro Rodeos is the stock contractor of record at Cattlemen’s Days, but the company oftentimes brings multiple contractors to Gunnison to ensure the competition is as even as possible.
“Stace tries to get the best stock at all of his rodeos,” Clark said. “We normally have a chance to win every time we nod out head. All the horses that were out tonight were the good ones.”
Clark was also wearing a pink shirt, which helped him earn a $1,000 provided from the Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign and other sponsors that helped come up with the money. Only the contestants with the top score or the fastest time in each event that were wearing pink were eligible for the bonus.
“Wyatt Casper called me right as I got here, and he told me about the bonus,” he said. “I got ahold of a friend that lives here, and his cousin got me a pink shirt. I put it on right before I crawled on.”
With fuel being around $5 a gallon, every dollar helps for contestants who make a living competing one rodeo at a time. He appreciates the Gunnison rodeo because of the crowd and the committee’s dedication to breast cancer awareness, but he also appreciates being able to travel the rodeo trail with some of the best in the game.
Cress is a five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier who has won the NFR three times; he’s also third in the world standings. Casper is a two-time NFR qualifier who is fourth on the money list, while Holman qualified for the finale in 2020 and is 11th in the standings.
“It’s great traveling with them,” Clark said. “Every time I get off a horse, they better me. They’re the best going, hands down, and they’ve helped me more than anything. They changed my bronc riding.”
Bareback riding: 1. Jayco Roper, 79.5 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Enough Said; 2. Kade Berry, 77; 3. Quentin Holcomb, 75; 4. Will Lowe, 74.5; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: 1. Justin Shaffer, 3.8 seconds; 2. Ty everson, 4.0; 3. Cole Trainor, 4.1; 4. Tucker Allen, 4.5; 5. Hadley Jackson, 4.7; 6. Kodie Jang, 5.0; 7. Cody Pratt, 5.1; 8. Brock Powell, 5.2.
Team roping: 1. Kyon Kreutzer/Clancey Kreutzer, 4.5 seconds; 2. Kolby Krieger/Cutter Thomison, 4.7; 3. Chad Masters/Paul Eaves, 4.8; 4. Clayton Van Aken/Jayden Johnson, 4.9; 5. Chance Hine/Bodie Hine, 5.0; 6. Braden Pirrung/Coley Nicholls, 5.3; 7. Blaine Redhorse/Justin Borrego, 6.2; 8. Payton Norell/Jace Norell, 6.3.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Jake Clark, 85.5 points on New Star Pro Rodeo’s Southpoint Buckle; 2. Cree Minkoff, 82.5; 3. Statler Wright, 91; 4. Jake Watson, 80; 5. Zac Dallas, 76; 6. Jesse James Kirby, 73; 7. Brody Wells, 70; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping: 1. Chase Webster, 9.2 seconds; 2. Cody Darnell, 9.6; 3. Cole Ford, 9.7; 4. Westyn Hughes, 10.1; 5. James Kolacek, 10.2; 6. Wade Hatch, 10.4; 7. (tie) Logan Vick and Sy Felton, 11.7.
Barrel racing: 1. Kelly Yates, 18.31 seconds; 2. Brooke McGehee, 18.32; 3. Carly Longo, 18.45; 4. Jenna Ppruitt, 18.47; 5. Wendy McKee, 18.48; 6. Shali Lord, 18.55; 7. Kelcey McNamee, 18.52; 8. Sarah Rose Waguespack, 18.66; 9. Kathryn Varian, 18.82; 10. Kaylee Barker, 19.00.
Bull riding: 1. Jeff Askey, 88.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos’ Big Country; no other qualified rides.