Skelton breaks arena record

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Rainey Skelton set a new Granny Mae Arena record by rounding the cloverleaf pattern in 16.21 seconds during Wednesday’s first performance of Rooftop Rodeo.

ESTES PARK, Colo. – The opening night of Rooftop Rodeo featured a shutout by the bulls, an Australian taking the bareback riding lead and a Granny May Arena record in barrel racing.

Rainey Skelton may be best known as the daughter of eight-time world champion heeler, but she’s making quite a name for herself at a young age. In 2021 at the age of 17, she won the Women’s Rodeo World Championship barrel racing title.

On Wednesday night, she and her horse rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 16.21 seconds to set a new arena record, a feat that was just established a season ago with a 16.36-second run by Tarryn Lee. Skelton was the first barrel racer of the six-day rodeo, and she posted a time that will be tough to beat.

The high-marked ride came in saddle bronc riding, when 25-year-old Sam Martin of Goodwell, Oklahoma, rode Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Scarlette for 84 points. He outlasted three other bronc busters, Californian Lefty Holman (82.5), New Mexican Leon Fountain (82) and Wyoming hand Brody Cress (81.5) to the top during the first performance.

“This is a great rodeo,” said Martin, who attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University, best known as the Bronc Rider U. “It has a lot of money up for grabs, and it’s beautiful up here.”

 While he’s following in the footsteps of Panhandle State standouts like Robert and Dan Etbauer, Craig Latham, Tom Reeves, Jeffrey Willert and Taos Muncy, Martin is hoping to establish himself in their likeness. All have been to ProRodeo’s mountaintop, the National Finals Rodeo, and a handful of them own world championships.

Sam Martin rides Cervi’s Scarlette for 84 points to take the saddle bronc riding lead at Rooftop Rodeo.

“Right now I’m trying to get my qualifications up so I can hopefully make a run at the NFR next year,” he said.

Strawbs Jones, a cowboy originally from Clermont, Australia, but now living in Alberta, took the lead in bareback riding with a 78-point marking on Cervi’s Fire’s Easy. He said he likes riding bareback horses because of its aggressive nature.

“It’s like a fistfight every time you nod your head,” he said.

Steer wrestler Jace Land of Paradise, Texas, turned in the fastest time of the night with a 5.3-second run. He will make his second-round run Monday during the final performance of Rooftop Rodeo. The men’s timed events – steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping – feature two go-rounds, while the other events are just one.

All that makes the remaining five nights of Estes Park’s rodeo all important. This rodeo will pay out more than $100,000 over six nights, so it’s a valuable piece of the puzzle for cowboys and cowgirls who rely on their winnings.

Rooftop Rodeo
July 5-10
Bareback riding:
1. Strawbs Jones, 78 points on Cervi Brothers’ Fire Easy; Kory Hart, 72; no other qualified rides.  

Steer wrestling: 1. Jace Land, 5.3 seconds; 2. Yazzie Rooster, 7.4; 3. Clay Reiner, 14.1; 4. Blare Romsa, 17.7; no other qualified runs.

Team roping: 1. Rowdy Jones/Jeffrey Williams, 5.5 seconds; 2. Zane Murphy/Dustin Taylor, 5.8; 3. Eric Martin/Ryon Tittel, 5.9; 4. Teagan Hunter Karlson, 6.5; 5. Garrett Busby/Jay McClain, 6.7; 6. Todd Drommond/Jason DeVore, 7.3; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Sam Martin, 84 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Scarlette; 2. Lefty Holman, 82.5; 3. Leon Fountain, 82; 4. Brody Cress, 81.5; 5. Bryan Tyler Huey, 79; 6. (tie) Cleve Griffin and Trent Burd, 74 points each; 8. Ross Griffin, 71.5.

Tie-down roping: 1. Zaine Mikita, 12.9 seconds; 2. Kail Lee Mayfield, 19.0; 3. Clay Reiner, 20.8; 4. Roan Eugene Hudson, 24.6; no other qualified runs.

Barrel racing: 1. Rainey Skelton, 16.21 seconds; 2. Natalie Bland, 16.44; 3. Donna Tippen, 16.74; Loralee Ward, 16.76; 5. Amanda Welsh, 17.08; 6. Lacee Phelps, 17.09; 7. Anna Stark, 17.16; 8. Chris Gibson, 17.23; 9. Brittany Fellows, 17.25; 10. Jill Markelle, 17.39; 11. Gracen Pomroy, 17.53; 12. Shelly Lilly, 17.69; no other qualified runs.

Bull riding: No qualified rides.


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