The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series returned on Friday, June 24, for the first of its 11 competitions this summer.
Several local cowboys and cowgirls came to compete including Yampa’s Jace Logan, Craig’s Kasen Brennise and Wyatt Uptain, and Steamboat Springs’ Alayna Kidd all fighting for a piece of the $8,000 purse.
Brennise competed in tie-down roping and despite a slower time than expected, he was proud to be back at Romick Arena where he had grown his love for rodeos.
“This is a place I got to grow up and rodeo and come here every week and a lot of people used to come here that I used to look up to and now I get to come here and compete, so it’s awesome” Brennise said.
Regardless of his performance, Brennise received a massive ovation from the crowd when he heard his name through the speakers. He plans to dust off some of the rust and come primed for his next rodeo.
Possibly the most familiar face of all, the legendary John Shipley returned behind the mic in the press box. Shipley, along with the “Coppertown Clown”, Bert Davis, kept the audience entertained all night with their clever jokes and amusing rodeo terminology.
Shipley was pleased with the crowd turnout, and is excited for the summer ahead.
“Glad to be back,” Shipley said. “We had a good crowd especially on top of the free concert, the [Avalanche game] and the rainstorm earlier, so we got things we’ll work on tomorrow and we’ll have a well-oiled machine again by next weekend.”
The crowd roared all night for incredible performances including Cole McNamee’s 5.3 second time in steer wrestling, Shawnee Williams’ 17.84 second barrel race and Danny Cassidy’s 73-point saddle bronc ride.
Cassidy dazzled the crowd with his initial run of the night, but he was offered a re-ride by the judges.
In roughstock events, the cowboy is scored out of 100 points. The two judges each score 0-25 on the performance of the rider and 0-25 on the buck of the horse or bull.
The judges felt that Cassidy’s horse did not buck to performance specifications, so they granted him the opportunity to boost his score with a second run.
His re-ride was even more dominant and became the highlight of the rodeo as his score of 73 solidified his first-place standing by the end of Friday.
The lone disappointment of the night was the inability for a bull rider to stay on their bull for a full 8 seconds. It is the most exciting way to end a rodeo, but seven tried and seven failed.
Shipley was more-than satisfied with how the first night of the rodeo season went, but ensures that it will only get better from here.
“Well, we got through the first performance and we’re glad to be back rodeoing,” Shipley said. “It’s been nine months since we did one. Everyone kind of picked up where we left off. It’s almost kind of a test flight before the big Fourth of July run.”
In honor of the Fourth of July, there will be two full rodeos and four performances that weekend, running from Friday, July 1 to July 4.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.