August rodeo season comes with higher stakes, bigger dollars |

August rodeo season comes with higher stakes, bigger dollars

Micky Downare, of Hartsel, leads the pack in bareback riding this season by a large margin at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. This weekend marks the August stretch of competition, where point values are doubled and bigger money is up for grabs.
Ben Ingersoll

— Things may be winding down as the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series heads into its final three-weekend stretch at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena starting Friday night, but the August stakes will pick up in hopes of attracting more competitors looking to make a last-minute push.

As has been the case for decades, the Pro Rodeo Series will be tallying points that go toward season champions in their respective competitions. Through the weekend of Aug. 15, bigger cash payouts are up for grabs in some events as well as bumps in series points toward championship buckles.

“To encourage continued participation, we’ve named a season champion,” Pro Rodeo Series Board President John Shipley said. “That’s a motivation to a certain level to contestants, so they keep coming to win the buckle. The buckle is kind of coveted, and the bragging rights that come with it.”

Since the beginning of the 2014 summer series in June through all competitions in July, competitors were awarded one point for every dollar won.

Through all six nights in August, two points are granted for every dollar earned, making the series’ final stretch as critical as ever with a handful of narrow gaps in a few events.

In bull riding, a $1,000 bonus was awarded for the top rider in June, a $1,500 bonus for July and a $2,000 check upcoming for August’s champion. The bonuses are funded by Booco’s Contract Service out of Hayden.

But it can be a hit-or-miss system, Shipley said. Most years, June and July are heavy with contestants because there are fewer rodeo options early in the season and riders are healthy and good to go. But come August, he said, more county fair rodeos are on the docket, low money winners have to bow out, and sometimes injuries linger too long to compete late.

The 2014 season end is nearing, but Shipley and fellow board member Laura Sankey said the rodeo is in good shape with plenty of competition still to go.

With three weekends left, Micky Downare is leading the bareback riding by a wide margin over Craig Wisehart. Both will compete this Friday night.

RayTom Meiers and Cody Martin are neck-and-neck for the saddleback bronc riding championship.

In bull riding, August is shaping up to be a close race between Clayton Savage — a three-time national qualifier — and the new kid on the block, Elijah Mora. Jake Booco, of Hayden, also is in the running when August bonus points are factored in.

Texan Don Coffell, who has competed in Steamboat every week this summer, leads the tie-down roping with Mitch McAdow on his tail. Cutter DeHart placed five of the first seven weeks in steer wrestling and leads the 2014 pack.

Cole Cooper and Tyler Schnaufer are the team roping leaders, just ahead of Ty Blasingame and J.W. Borrego, who will compete in Steamboat this weekend.

Wendy McKee, of Craig, has a good lead in the cowgirls barrel racing, and Eric Bell is fairing well in the regional roping. Juniors Avery May and Lacey Sherrod are in a close competition in their barrel racing, and pee wees Jacey Matt and Addison Romick are leading the pack.

This year, there also is a winner-take-all showdown in the Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Riding competition with the top six riders from this summer on the final day of the season. Up for grabs is $2,000, a rifle and added points.

It’s a tight race in the all-around cowboy award between Calvin Brevik, last year’s champion, and Cole Dorenkamp, of Lamar.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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