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South Dakota riders hit high marks

On the opening night of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, it was two South Dakota riders who took center stage on Thursday. Shane O'Connell and Chuck Schmidt both recorded high-point rides during the first rodeo performance at the Horseman's Sports...

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Shane O'Connell, of Rapid City, rides Rocky Road in the bareback riding competition during the first night of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo on Thursday night at the Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

On the opening night of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, it was two South Dakota riders who took center stage on Thursday.

Shane O'Connell and Chuck Schmidt both recorded high-point rides during the first rodeo performance at the Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell.

O'Connell, of Rapid City, topped the horse Rocky Road with an 82 to score the high-point ride in the bareback riding.

"It was a really good horse," O'Connell said. "The first three or four jumps I could really feel 'er. She was really bucking and she leveled off a little bit there toward the end, but I kept going and ended up with an 82. It felt really good."

O'Connell said Rocky Road was the biggest horse he's gotten on in a few weeks. It was also the first time he's rode in South Dakota in about a month.

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He felt right at home on Thursday.

"Shoot, I know just about everybody here," O'Connell said about riding in South Dakota. "This is a backyard kind of deal. It made me feel really good."

Schmidt, of Keldron, continued his hot streak on Thursday. Schmidt leads the Badlands Circuit standings in the saddle bronc riding with $13,342 entering Thursday night.

He should add to that after his 77.5 high-point ride on Coast Kitty.

"I just talked to one of my buddies (Joe Gunderson) that works with and is partners with
(stock provider) Sutton Rodeos and he told me about the horse," Schmidt said. "She is just a colt and hasn't been out very much, but he told me give 'er a lot of rein and she is pretty fun if she does her job."

Schmidt has been doing plenty of that this season. He is currently 12th in the PRCA World Standings.

"I have been consistent enough and good enough to stay with the pack really," Schmidt said about his season.

Onida's Sutton Rodeos' rough stock has gotten a pretty strong reputation, something that's not lost on the riders. The family produces rough stock for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo every year.

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"The bulls buck," bull rider Tyler Stoltz said about the stock. "Sutton always has a good pen of bulls. We like coming to them and that is why, because they buck."

Stoltz, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of only two bull riders to score a qualified ride on Thursday. He mastered the bull Daniel Son with an 85, even though it looked like he was for sure bucked off after the first jump.

"I just kept trying," Stoltz said. "It is all guts and I just don't quit."

Stoltz regrouped after the first couple jumps and was able to hang for the high-point ride.

"It feels great," Stoltz added. "It feels good to ride a good bucker and ride one in the circuit. I don't have much circuit money won and that is my goal is to get some circuit money so I can get to the circuit finals again this year."

Dalan Duncan, of Ballard, Utah, had the other qualified bull ride with a 79 on Mighty Mouse.

The rodeo will continue at 8 p.m. tonight at Horseman's Sports Arena.

Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo

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Thursday at the Horseman's Sports Arena, Mitchell

(Qualifying rides listed)

Bareback riding

82, Shane O'Connell, Rapid City; 72, Tyler Berghuis, Stephenville, Texas; 70, Logan Patterson, Goodwell, Okla.; 69, Zach Hibler, Wheeler, Texas; 40, Hunter Carter, Huntsville, Texas.

Steer wrestling

8.9, Evan Entze, Golden Valley, N.D.; 9.0, Evan Thyberg, Hartford.

Saddle bronc riding

77.5, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron; 72, Jake Finlay, Goodwell, Okla.; 72, Troy Crowser, Whitewood; 71, Tyrell Smith, Goodwell, Okla.; 70, Dalton Rixen, Richardton, N.D.; 67, Triston Eklund, Valentine, Neb.; 67, Tate Thybo, Belle Fourche.

Tie-down roping

9.6, Trey McKinsey III, Clinton, Okla.

Team roping

5.2, Payden Emmett, Ponca, Ark./Justin Pruitt, Victoria, Texas; 11.4, Casey Gattis, Junction, Texas/Kirt Jones, Hobbs, New Mexico.

Barrel racing

14.81, Hallie Fulton, Miller; 15.14, Jordan Moore, Mauston, Wis.; 15.17, Ahna Peterson, Velva, N.D.; 15.18, Amy Wheeler, Chetek, Wis.; 15.22, Cheyenne Schnelle, Golden City, Mo.; 15.53, Maquel Fleming, Killdeer, N.D.; 15.68, 15.71, Amber West, New Underwood; 20.37, Rachel Tiedeman, Rio.

Bull riding

85, Tyler Stoltz, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; 79, Dalan Duncan, Ballard, Utah.

2676425+071516.S.DR_.RODEO4_.jpg
Bowyn Allemand, of Irene, rides Momma's Boy in the bull riding competition during the first night of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo on Thursday night at the Horseman's Sports Arena in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

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