Bull run: Hayden cowboy wins big in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — Kaiden Decker doesn’t work for the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association, but he’s quick to point out that there’s something special about Steamboat Springs.
The town has certainly been good to the Hayden cowboy this summer.
Decker corralled both his bulls Sunday to win the annual Rocky Mountain Bull Bash at Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat.
“It means a lot, because it’s my hometown rodeo,” Decker said. “I’ve been watching it ever since I was a little kid. It was pretty cool.”
Decker prevailed on a night when the bulls simply didn’t want to be tamed.
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OK, they never do, but Sunday proved an exception. A bull broke free from a holding pen early in the three-flight round and escaped the arena entirely, rumbling up the trails on Emerald Mountain. Two cowboys galloped after him and, about 20 minutes later, returned with a one-ton runaway in tow.
Another bull leapt into the arena late in the event while being transferred between bucking chutes.
Decker’s bulls behaved much better, or at least enough better to allow him to rack up two big scores.
He rode his first bull, Red Revolver, for 81.5 points. That was easily enough to allow him to make the cut for the short round, where he faced off against the night’s 11 other best riders.
There, he did it again, riding his bull for a score of 86.25.
“He was out and around to the right, and he was just really nice,” Decker said. “He had a lot of timing and felt good. He was a good bull to get on.”
Decker himself came away a bit stunned and with an ear-to-ear grin.
“I don’t know. I guess I had everything out together tonight,” he said.
It’s been that kind of summer for the 20-year old, a 2014 graduate from Hayden High School. Steamboat’s been particularly kind.
He rode hard in the 10-week Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series. He missed two weeks after being stepped on by a bull and breaking a rib, but he was back riding to finish off the season as the champion of permit bull riding division.
That meant he earned his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card and that bigger things could await in summers ahead.
That’s the plan, anyway. For now, Decker is working on a ranch near Hayden and riding whenever he can.
He hopes days like Sunday can become more regular and that this one was just the start.
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