Michelle Darling during the Performance 7 of Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, WY on 7.30.2021. Photo by Christopher Thompson

Michelle Darling and Morning Traffic topped Semifinals One at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo with a 17.49. 

Article and photo courtesy Cheyenne Frontier Days

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 30, 2021) – On a day when a majority of the saddle bronc riders at the 125th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) scored 80-plus points, Ben Anderson managed to best them all.

The Rocky Mountain House, Alberta cowboy recorded an 88.5-point ride on the back of Championship Pro Rodeo’s Damaged Goods to win Friday’s CFD Semi Final round and propel himself into Sunday’s Championship Finals.

Of the nine saddle bronc riders who stayed on for eight seconds, six were 83 points or higher. Anderson held off Milford, Utah’s Stetson Wright (88 points) who put himself in position to be the first of his famous saddle bronc riding family to win a championship in that event since his father Cody Wright started competing here over 20 years ago.

This wasn’t the first time Anderson had been on the back of Damaged Goods as the two met at the Mandan (North Dakota) Rodeo Days earlier in July. Anderson hit the ground in less than two seconds, leading to his moment of revenge on Friday.

“I knew he was good. Actually, my travel partner, Layton Green, got on him the other day and had a really good trip with him. He was 85. He was good with me (the first time), just bucked me off really quick,” Anderson said. He also previously won a qualifying round by posting an 88 in the quarterfinals. “I saved it all for Cheyenne I guess.”

Tight races were the norm during the first Semi Final round at the “Daddy of ’em All”, as bareback riders Tim O’Connell (Zwingle, Iowa) and Tilden Hooper (Carthage, Texas) set the tone in the day’s first event. Both cowboys rode for 86 points to tie for the top spot, keeping the battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 bareback riders in the world extremely close. The gap between the two men in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings is less than $20,000, meaning money in Cheyenne could play a big role in how the season finishes. It took an 80.5-point or better ride just to qualify for Sunday.

Five team roping duos managed to finish their runs in under 12 seconds, with the pairings of Dustin Egusquiza (Marianna, Florida) and Travis Graves (Jay, Oklahoma), and Levi Simpson (Ponoka, Alberta) and Tyler Worley (Berryville, Arkansas) tying for the Semi Final’s top time at 9.5 seconds.

A similar pattern emerged in steer wrestling as five of the six qualifiers finished in under seven seconds, with Hallsville, Texas cowboy Justin Shaffer posting a time of 5.5 seconds.

In women’s breakaway roping, 10 of the 12 competitors recorded a time and everyone went for 6.1 seconds or less, making the race for the top six spots extremely narrow. Stephenville, Texas’ Kayelen Helton edged out Buffalo, South Dakota’s Sawyer Gilbert to win the day. Helton finished in 4.3 seconds, just ahead of Gilbert’s 4.6.

While tight scores among the top six competitors were the norm in most events, bull riding proved to be the exception as the pen turned out to be extremely difficult. Of the 13 cowboys to climb on, only four were able to last eight seconds. Still, it turned into a close competition as Grand Coulee, Washington’s Shane Proctor held off Randlett, Utah’s Josh Frost to win the day. Proctor, who won this rodeo in 2011, was at the top of the leaderboard with an 86.5-point ride on the back of Dakota Rodeo’s Big Red, while Frost was 86 on Stace Smith’s 637D.

The Semi Finals 2 will start at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday at Frontier Park. Six competitors in an event qualify for Championship Sunday from each Semi Final.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 30, 2021) – The following are unofficial results from the Semi Finals One (seventh performance) at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Friday. All money winners advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals. Payoff subject to change.

Bareback Riding: 1, (tie) Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, on Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Prairie Rose, and Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, on Championship Pro Rodeo’s Hooey Rocks, 86 points, $2,780 each. 3, Cole Franks, Clarenden, Texas, 82.5, $1,726. 4, (tie) Caleb Bennett, Corvallis, Mont., and Kaycee Feild, Genola, Utah, 81, $911 each. 6, Bill Tutor, Huntsville, Texas, 80.5, $479.

Breakaway Roping: 1, Kayelen Helton, Stephenville, Texas, 4.3 seconds, $6,088. 2, Sawyer Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D., 4.6, $4,612. 3, Makayla Mack, Hennessey, Okla., 5.1, $3,321. 4, (tie) Tibba Smith, Hobbs, N.M., and Nicole Baggarley, Las Cruces, N.M., 5.2, $1,753. 6, (tie) Bradi Good, Abilene, Texas, and Coralee Spratt, Shoshoni, Wyo., 5.3, $231 each.

Tie-Down Roping: 1, Trenton Smith, Bigfoot, Texas, 10.4 seconds, $2,328. 2, Ladd King, Kaysville, Utah, 10.5, $1,927. 3, John Douch, Huntsville, Texas, 11.6, $1,525. 4, (tie) Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah, and Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 12.1, $923. 6, Ryan Thibodeaux, Stephenville, Texas, 12.5, $401.

Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Ben Anderson, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, 88.5 points on Championship Pro Rodeo’s Damaged Goods, $3,043. 2, Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah, 88, $2,305. 3, (tie) Kolby Wanchuk, Sherwood Park, Alberta, and Hardy Braden, Welch, Okla., 82, $1,383. 5, Dawson Hay, Wildwood, Alberta, 84, $645. 6, Sterling Crawley, Huntsville, Texas, 83, $461.

Team Roping: 1, (tie) Levi Simpson, Ponoka, Alberta, and Tyler Worley, Berryville, Arkansas; and Dustin Egusquiza, Marianna, Fla., and Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 9.5 seconds, $1,876 each. 3, Jason Stewart, Pendleton, Ore., and Jason Duby, Klamath Falls, Ore., 10.7, $1,484 each. 4, Aaron Tsinigine, Tuba City, Ariz., and Kyle Lockett, Visalia, Calif., 10.8, $1,093 each. 5, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 10.9, $703 each. 6, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif., and Wesley Thorp, Throckmorton, Texas, 20.8, $390 each.

Steer Wrestling: 1, Justin Shaffer, Hallsville, Texas, 5.5 seconds, $2,121. 2, (tie) Brian Snell, Wheatland, Wyo., and Chance Howard, Sadler, Texas,  6.2, $1,574. 4, Kalane Andrews, Bayard, Neb., 6.3, $1,390. 5, Mike McGinn, Haines, Ore., 6.8, $658. 6, Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 7.5, $366.

Barrel Racing: 1, Michelle Darling, Medford, Okla., 17.49, $4,839. 2, Kassie Mowry, Dublin, Texas, 17.64, $4,004. 3, Lindsay Sears, Ropesville, Texas, 17.68, $3170. 4, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 17.69, $$2,336. 5, Jordon Briggs, Chilton, Texas, 17.70, $1,502. 6, Hailey Kinsel, Cotulla, Texas, 17.71, $834.

Bull Riding: (four rides) 1, Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 86.5 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Big Red, $3,098. 2, Josh Frost, Randlett, Utah, 86, $2,347. 3, Dustin Boquet, Bourg, La., 84.5, $1,690. 4, J.C. Mortensen, Paulden, Ariz., 79, $1,127.

*Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding:  First round winners – 1, (tie) Reed Neely, Sanger, Calif., on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s #253, and Garrett Long, Valentine, Neb., on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s #254, 81 points, $1,081 each. 3, Colt Cunningham, Rose, Okla., 80, $671. 4, Jade Taton, Kersey, Colo., 78, $447. 3, Locky Sheppard, Snyder, Texas, 77, $26.. 4, Wyatt Lohman, Weatherford, Okla., 76, $186.

Second round leaders – 1, Triston Eklund, Valentine, Neb., 83 points. 2, Matt Shannon, Prineville, Ore., 75. 3, Bailey Bench, Oakley, Idaho, 71. 4, (tie) Brody Wells, Powell, Wyo.,69. 4, Karson Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif, 68. Total on two: 1, Cunningham, 147.5 points. 2, Wells, 143. 3, Sheppard, 142. 4, Mebane, 138. 5, Lucas Macza, High River, Alberta, 136. 6, Jacob Coates, Aurora, Utah, 134.

*Wild Horse Race: 1, Team Harmon, $782. 2, Team Agin.com, $587. 3, Pierce Trucking, $291. 4, Pat Vargus Team, $196. Overall leaders: 1, 3-N $1,173. 2, (tie) James Federer and Shockers, $978 each. 4, (tie) Butin Pump, Team Harmon, Cowboy Dream, Crazy Rayz, Team Meanus, New Mexico Playboys, $782 each.

Author

Kailey Sullins is editor of Barrel Horse News, and an avid barrel racer and breakaway roper. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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