Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo kicks off at Horseman's Sports ArenaCowboys used to be able to get by with a bad draw on a horse or bull. But with the competition improving throughout the years, a good draw could cost a cowboy a good score.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
By JUSTIN RUST
The Daily Republic
Cowboys used to be able to get by with a bad draw on a horse or bull.
But with the competition improving throughout the years, a good draw could cost a cowboy a good score.
“When I first started riding, you could get by on a weaker horse,” said J.T. Hitch, of Stilesville, Ind., a saddle bronc rider. “But nowadays, the competition has gotten so stiff that it’s real important.
“A lot of times you can do little things that can help you out, but you can’t do a whole lot. It’s all luck of the draw.”
Lady Luck was on Hitch’s side, though, on Thursday night at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo.
Hitch drew Ruby, a horse that was supposedly going to be retired a year ago. Instead of being put to pasture, Ruby helped Hitch score a 78 on the first night of saddle bronc riding — which puts him in second-place in the event.
“I was fortunate; that was a really good horse, and I would like to have her everywhere,” Hitch said. “She was a really nice horse … it’s kind of nice getting on an older one since I have been around a while, too.”
Whether it is a good draw or a bad draw, Hitch tries to do the same thing with every horse he rides.
“I just try to ride them all the same,” he said. “I try not to think about it too much.”
Hitch, 36, has been competing professionally since 1992, but this is his first trip to the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo.
“We were actually in Hampton, Iowa, last night,” he said. “I am traveling with some other guys, and this is where they said we were going. I like this rodeo.”
Hitch said he has competed in about 10 to 15 rodeos so far this year. Today, he will be at a rodeo in Wapello, Iowa, and then he will travel with his group to a rodeo in Pennsylvania.
A good draw does not always guarantee a good ride, though.
Jeremy Meeks, of Belle Fourche, drew the horse Deadwood for the saddle bronc, but Meeks said he did not ride to his full potential Thursday.
“It was all right, but I could’ve rode him better; I kind of messed him up a bit,” he said. “I felt like I was a little slow, and it felt like I kept wanting to run out the back of my saddle. I just wasn’t getting hold of my spurs I guess.”
Despite thinking he could have had a better ride, Meeks scored an 84, which puts him in first place.
“It worked I guess,” he said.
This is Meeks “eighth or ninth” time at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo and he has won the event before.
“It’s a good rodeo and I like coming here,” said Meeks, who has been to about 30 to 40 rodeos so far this year.
In tie down roping, Plankinton’s Owen Fagerhaug took an early lead with a time of 9.9 seconds. Troy Wilcox, of Red Owl, is in second place with a time an 11.3.
“The calf was good, I guess, I scored sharp and it was a good, solid run,” he said. “We got to tie that calf last night and she took the tie well, so I had hopes of chasing her tonight.”
Fagerhaug’s dad is a member of the Kyle Evans Band, which used to play at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, so Fagerhaug has been coming to the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo since he “was old enough to walk, pretty much.”
Fagerhaug, 34, is on track to compete in about 50 to 70 rodeos this year, which he said is a normal year for him. He was also the tie down champion in high school.
So far this year, Fagerhaug has enjoyed some success.
“I’m not lighting the world on fire, but I am placing and paying my way,” he said.
The attendance on the opening night of the 41st annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo was 2,399.
“It’s up just a little bit from last year so we’re excited for a good start to the weekend,” said Jim Miskimins, the rodeo’s chairman.
Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo
Thursday Night Results
Bareback Riding, Go-round 1
1. Dan Miller, Raleigh, N.D. 76; 2. Don Miller, Raleigh, N.D. 75.
Steer Wrestling, Go-round 1
1. Rollie Wilson, Buffalo, 6.2; 2. Tyler Judd Harris, Cole Camp, Mo., 6.4; 3. Casey Cronin, Gettysburg, 7.9; 4. Chason Floyd, Ludlow, 8.0; 5. Allen Good, Long Valley, 12.9; 6. Trevor Haake, Grand Island, Neb., 14.7.
Saddle Bronc Riding, Go-round 1
1. Jeremy Meeks, Belle Fourche, 84; 2. J.T. Hitch, Stilesville, Ind., 78; 3. Kaden Deal, Cherry Creek, 74; 4. Kirk Nelson, Branson, Mo., 73; 5. Travis Nelson, Philip, 70; 6. Cody Rud, Greenfield, Wis., 69; 7. Bryon Gilliland, Trempealeau, Wis., 67.
Tie Down Roping, Go-round 1
1. Owen Fagerhaug, Plankinton, 9.9; 2. Troy Wilcox, Red Owl, 11.3; 3. Mikey Loiseau, Egan, 12.9; 4. Jason Schaffer, Broadus, Mont., 13.0; 5. Joe Schmidt, Belfield, N.D., 15.2; 6. Curt Mosley, Dalton, Ga., 19.0.
Team Roping, Go-round 1
1. Jason Thorstenson, Rapid City/Paul Tierney, Oral, 7.7; 2. Colby Todd Porch, Wanblee/Mikey Loiseau, Egan, 10.9; 3. Jake Nelson, Creighton/Jeff Nelson, Philip, 11.0; 4. Troy Wilcox, Red Owl/Dalton Richter, Quinn 12.4.
Barrel Racing, Go-round 1
1. Mackenzie Benson, New Rockford, N.D., 15.40; 2. Kelly Carr, Madison, Ind., 15.64; 3. Alisha Madison, Oelrichs, 15.78; 4. Twyla Kite, Oxford, Wis., 15.80; 5. Cody Holmes, Valentine, Neb., 16.66; 6. Jolene Konechne, Jefferson, 16.71; 7. Bobbi Grann, Sheyenne, N.D., 20.51; 8. Sami Ross, Maple Grove, Min., 20.86; 9. Jennilee Thompson, Wessington, 20.96; 10. Justine Botner, Fergus Falls, Min., 21.07; 11. T.J. Kropp, Lyndon Station, Wis., 21.44.
Bull Riding, Go-round 1
1. Jake Weber, Barron, Wis., 87; 2. Jobie Dryden, Oelrichs, 86; 3. Justin Kennedy, La Porte City, Iowa, 85; 4. Tater Hins, Huron, 82.