Craig cowboy wins bull riding as locals rejoice over rodeo’s return

Craig native Garrett Uptain won bull riding with a score of 86.5. at Friday night's Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

Craig cowboy Garrett Uptain didn’t have to do much to earn money at Friday night’s Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo. With just two other riders with a score, all he had to do was ride eight seconds on the back of a bull. Of course, as anyone who has even heard of rodeo knows, that’s easier said than done.

Uptain had a gameplan, though, which he executed perfectly, clinging on for eight long seconds to earn an 86.5, winning the bull riding event Friday night.

“Just watch my hips and keep a hold with my feet. I know that bull spins so fast; he wants to make a guy lose his feet and pull you down on his head,” Uptain said. “I wanted to avoid that.”

Steamboat wasn’t Uptain’s first rodeo of the year. He started down south in Texas, while there was still snow on the ground in Colorado. As rodeo season got into full swing, he started traveling to Wyoming and Nebraska. He’s so happy to have the opportunity to compete closer to home now that the Steamboat Rodeo is back after taking 2020 off due to the pandemic.

“It’s awesome being able to rodeo, again,” he said. “This year, everyone is healthy and feeling good. It’s so awesome to get back after it and get on the road.”

Uptain, 23, hardly competed last year since there were few rodeos, and they had competitive entry fees. At first, he thought the ample down time was hurting him. He definitely showed some rust in his first events back. He’s realized that the time allowed him to heal and go into the season rested and with fewer aches and pains.

Uptain was one of a rare few cowboys competing in multiple events Friday. In addition to bull riding, he competed in saddle bronc riding. He had a fair run but didn’t earn a score high enough to win money.

He hangs his hat on riding two animals in one night.

Craig native Garrett Uptain had a solid saddle bronc ride at Friday night's Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series but fell short of winning money. He made up for it with a win in bull riding later in the night. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“There’s not many guys left that do roughstock events and do multiple roughstock events,” he said. “I kind of pride myself on doing both still.”

Yampa native Jace Logan didn’t win any money at Friday night’s Steamboat Pro Rodeo, but the atmosphere alone was enough to bring a smile to his face after his go at steer wrestling. Logan will compete at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo all summer, with many other rodeos packing the days between shows at Brent Romick Arena.

“Pulling up today and seeing the new crows nest — the arena looks so good,” Logan said. “The crowd’s here. The energy is here. It’s exciting. Everybody likes it, all the cowboys.”

Logan had a tough time to beat on the board in front of him: 3.7 seconds. That’s a short amount of time to get going, slide off his horse and on top of the steer then wrench it’s horns sideways and to the ground.

No matter the time ahead of him, Logan had the same mindset.

“Steer wrestling is an event where it’s 100 every time,” Logan said. “You don’t have 80%. You can’t go at a run like that if it’s not 100% every time. … You’re not competing against the clock. You’re competing against the steer really.”

His steer was zippy out of the gate, breaking ahead of Logan’s horse. While some riders could immediately fall onto their steers, Logan had to catch up to his first. He still put up a 6-second time but fell just shy of taking home a check.

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