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Strong showing for Bertus brothers

Rosewood, Australia native Tim Hammond rides in the saddle bronc event at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Thursday at Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)1 / 2
Will James Smith, of Gordon, Neb., flips a calf to the ground at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Thursday at Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)2 / 2

The 44th Annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo's first night ended with a pair of bullriders from Avon putting on a show Thursday at the Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell.

Brothers Jeff and Joe Bertus each stayed on for the full 8 seconds to score in the bull riding event at the close of the first night's performance, which saw a paid attendance for 2,334 fans.

"After you see someone ride and see someone score, you know you have to stay on or you aren't going to get paid," Joe said about seeing his brother score before he took his turn.

Jeff finished with a score of 76 to set the pace for the bullriders. Joe followed with a 77 to take the top spot on the leaderboard temporarily.

"It felt great out there and I had a really good bull," said Jeff, who competed at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo for the third time. "This is an awesome rodeo and the stands are always packed. It's always great to perform with your brother and it gets you pumped up to do well."

Dalton James Votaw, of Liberty, Texas, ended the night on the top of the bull riding standings with a score of 80, joining the Bertus brothers as the only three cowboys to stay on the bull and score.

In team roping, header Rex Heely, of Hecla, and healer Tel Schaack, of Watertown, were the only pair to score Thursday. They finished with a time of 15.7 seconds.

A pair of cowboys tied for first place in the tie down roping event. Jared Kempker, of Eugene, Mo., and Boe Brown, of Valentine, Neb., each finished in 9 seconds to share first place.

J.B. Lord, of Sturgis, came away with a narrow victory in the steer wrestling competition with a score of 5.1 seconds. He finished just ahead of Buffalo's Colt Floyd, who finished second with a time of 5.2 seconds.

Kaylee Gallino, of Wasta, took the women's barrel racing event with a time of 15.41 seconds, beating Kristine Knauf, of Chilton, Wis., who finished in a time of 15.45 seconds.

Jeremy Means, of Eagle Butte, finished first in the saddle bronc event with a score of 76.

The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo continues tonight at 8 p.m. and runs each night through Sunday.

2014 Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo

Thursday night results

Steer wrestling: 1. J.B. Lord, Sturgis, 5.1; 2. Colt Floyd, Buffalo, 5.2; 3. Forest Sainsbury, Camp Crook, 5.6; 4. Taz Olson, Prairie City, 8.9.

Tie down roping: T-1. Jared Kempker, Eugene, Mo., 9.0; T-1. Boe Brown, Valentine, Neb., 9.0; 3. Tom Potter, Marion, Kent., 13.4; 4. Will James Smith, Gordon, Neb., 15.2.

Team roping: 1. Rex Treeby, Hecla, and Tel Schaack, Watertown, 15.7.

Barrel racing: 1. Kaylee Gallino, Wasta, 15.41; 2. Kristine Knauf, Chilton, Wis., 15.45; 3. Shari Taggart, Fort Pierre, 15.87; 4. Heidi Schmidt, Belfield, N.D., 15.99.

Bull riding: 1. Dalton James Votaw, Liberty, Tex., 80; 2. Joe Bertus, Avon, 77; 3. Jeff Bertus, Avon, 76.

Saddle bronc: 1. Jeremy Means, Eagle Butte, 76; T-2. Jeremy Meeks, Belle Fourche, 74; T-2. Dawson Jandreau, Kennebec, 74; T-4. K.C. Longbrake, Eagle Butte, 73; T-4. Cody Rud, Greenfield, Wis., 73; 6. Ty Thompson, Wanblee, 72.