Stars returning ‘home’ for rodeo

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GUYMON, Okla. – World championships are the most coveted honors in all sports, and rodeo is no different. Men and women battle all year to claim those cherished Montana Silversmiths gold buckles.

There is no greater reward, especially in a sport that features so many challenges: all-night drives, competing on little to no sleep, not drawing the right animal to win on and just bad luck. It can be ruthless, which makes any success that much sweeter.

Josh Frost is an Oklahoma Panhandle State University alumnus who, over the last three years, has been closer than anyone who has not yet claimed rodeo’s gold. He’s a three-time reserve world champ in bull riding, just whiskers away from the top prize. Over that stretch, he has pocketed just shy of $1.2 million riding bulls.

He’s more than a bull rider, though; he’s a true hand. While Stetson Wright is laying claim to the greatest all-around cowboy of this generation because he has excelled in both bull riding and saddle bronc riding, Frost takes to the all-around a little differently. He also competes in team roping, tie-down roping and steer wrestling when his schedule allows, which is why he’s a four-time winner of the Linderman Award, the honor given to the top cowboy that competes in roughstock and timed events.

It goes back to his college days in Goodwell, when he entered most of the men’s events at every rodeo he could in the Central Plains Region. He’ll get a chance to relive his time in the Oklahoma Panhandle during this year’s Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5.

Frost is one of several cowboys from the area who played on rodeo’s biggest stage this past December. He finished the year with $400,766 in bull riding and is one of five Panhandle State cowboys to compete at either the National Finals Rodeo or the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.

The most decorated is steer roper Rocky Patterson, a four-time world champion who won his third NFSR average championship last November. He finished the year fifth in the world standings with $101,329. Fellow steer roper Mike Chase competed at his ninth finale and placed in two rounds.

Saddle bronc rider Dawson Hay, a four-time NFR qualifier, placed in four rounds, won more than $45,000 and finished 11th in the world standings. Bareback rider Orin Larsen, who was at the championship for the ninth straight year, placed in one round and finished 14th on the money list.

Cody Devers, a steer wrestler from Perryton, Texas, competing in Las Vegas for the second time in three years, won the ninth round and left Sin City with nearly $41,000. Wyatt Casper, a bronc buster who grew up in Balko, Oklahoma, placed in five rounds at his fourth straight NFR to collect $63,241; he finished 10th in the world standings with $205,662.

“Between OPSU and this region, we’ve got a lot of great talent,” said Ken Stonecipher, chairman of Pioneer Days Rodeo. “It’s awesome that we get to see them on TV when they are in Vegas, but it’s better that they’re going to be in Guymon this spring.”


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