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Lisa Lockhart with her young mare Rosa are the 2018 Badlands Circuit year-end and average champions. The Oelrichs, S.D. cowgirl is a perennial favorite at the circuit finals.
Photo by Cowboy Images/Peggy Gander
Lisa Lockhart with her young mare Rosa are the 2018 Badlands Circuit year-end and average champions. The Oelrichs, S.D. cowgirl is a perennial favorite at the circuit finals.

Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo determines champions in North, South Dakota


News Release - October 8, 2018

MINOT, N.D. – It came down to the wire for cowboys and cowgirls in Minot at this weekend’s RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

After four performances of the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo, which hosts the circuit finals, year end (based on the amount of money won throughout the season) and average (based on combined points or times at the circuit finals rodeo) champions were determined in each of seven events.

Those two champions per event will go on to qualify for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR) in Kissimmee, Florida, in March of next year, where $1 million is up for grabs.

Monies won at this year’s circuit finals and the RNCFR counts towards the world standings, for those contestants who choose to rodeo full time and try to qualify for the world championships, determined at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR).

The only race that was determined before the circuit finals started was in the bareback riding.

Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., had the year-end title sewn up before he got to town, because of his large lead.

And when the four performances were over, he also had won the average title, the most points on four rides (321). He won first place in two rounds and second and fourth place in the other two rounds. “I was lucky to place in every round and get on good horses,” he said. “It was fun.” Breuer is ranked the number twelve bareback rider in the world standings and will compete at his fourth WNFR in December.

It came down to the last run in the steer wrestling.

Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D., held off the other eleven steer wrestlers to finish as the 2018 Badlands year end and average champion.

He won money in three of the four rounds to have a total of 17.2 seconds on four head. In his final run on Sunday, he had the best steer in the herd. “I missed the barrier a little bit, and Billy (Boldon, the hazer) did a good job of putting him in my office. I almost screwed up (the run) but it worked out and it was fast enough to stay in the average.”

The circuit finals might be over, but Morman, a 2016 Dickinson (N.D.) State University graduate, isn’t slowing down. “I have to keep it rolling going into 2019. Tomorrow we leave for the All-American Finals (Rodeo) in Waco, Texas, and we’ll stay pretty busy from here on out.” In the world standings, he finished 2018 in eighteenth place. “I finished too close in 2018 to not go (rodeo) in 2019.”

Morman won the average title last year and the year-end title in 2015.

In the last dozen years, no one has won more Badlands Circuit saddle bronc riding titles than J.J. Elshere.

Elshere, of Hereford, S.D., kept the streak going by winning the year-end title again this year.

He chased a WNFR qualification nation-wide this year and came into the circuit finals in second place behind Ty Manke. He won the first, second and fourth rounds but got bucked off in the third round, allowing Jade Blackwell to win the average with 302.5 points on four head.

The 39 year old cowboy is one of the veterans in the circuit and thought the judges might have known that as well. “A couple of those rides, it felt like they gave me some old-man-points, maybe. ‘Thanks for coming, here’s a couple extra (points.)’” This year’s year-end title was his fifth; he’s won the average three times. “I’m pretty fortunate just to get to come here and get on good horses. I’m actually pretty blessed.”

Blackwell’s circuit finals didn’t start as well as he’d have liked. For the first two rounds, he made qualified rides but they weren’t good enough to earn him checks. In the third round on Saturday night, when Blackwell won second place, eight of the twelve cowboys did not make qualified rides. Blackwell, along with Dickinson, N.D.’s Dusty Hausauer, were the only two cowboys who made qualified rides on all four horses.  Hausauer finished with 298 points on four head.

There was a new face in the barrel racing, and it wasn’t a human.

For the first time in a dozen years, Lisa Lockhart was aboard a different horse at the Badlands Circuit Finals.

The Oelrichs, S.D. cowgirl won both the year-end and average titles aboard her eight-year-old mare, Rosa.

Lockhart has ridden her buckskin Louie for years, and fans are familiar with the gelding.

But Louie stayed home this weekend and Rosa made the trip to Minot.

Lockhart was unsure of how her mare would perform. “I hadn’t run her a whole lot inside, and I’d not run her in multiple runs. It was all to gain, nothing to lose by bringing her here. Sometimes you have to do those things to adapt.”

Lockhart won first place in the first and third rounds and second place in the second and fourth rounds to finish with a time of 55.09 seconds on four runs.

“We just climbed Mt. Everest, as far as I’m concerned,” Lockhart said, regarding her wins with Rosa. She chose to take a chance on Rosa at the circuit finals. “I really thought about bringing Louie, but it’s always the bigger picture. I need to advance Rosa.”

Lockhart rides Rosa differently than she rides Louie. Rosa “really likes to turn, and so does Louie, but the difference is everything she does is more theatrical. She’s wired pretty tight, and therefore she’s more difficult to ride.”

She is ranked fourth in the world standings and will compete at her twelfth WNFR this December. In the last dozen years, she has won the Badlands Circuit year-end or average title ten times.

Tie-down roper Clint Kindred is headed back for his second RNCFR.

The Oral, S.D. cowboy won both the year-end and average titles in Minot.

He came into the circuit finals in third place, behind Dane Kissack and Joe Schmidt, and won money in every round but the fourth one, finishing with an average time of 38.6 seconds on four runs.

“I got off to a good start and drew good calves,” he said. “It all fell together for me, really.”

His fourth round run nearly ended in catastrophe. He stumbled after dismounting from his horse, but was able to make a 9.9 second run. It didn’t earn him money, but was fast enough to win the average.

It was adrenaline that got him through the stumble. “After I fell down, it was straight panic mode.”

Kindred won the 2016 RNCFR and plans on rodeoing full time next year.

The team roping year end winners were Tyrell Moody, Letcher, S.D. (header) and Levi Lord, Sturgis, S.D. (heeler). Average winners were Turner Harris, Killdeer, N.D. (header) and Ross Carson, Grassy Butte, N.D. (heeler.)

For the second consecutive year, both bull riding titles went to Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D.

The Rookie of the Year was awarded to Chance Rosencrans, Jamestown, N.D., and the all-around went to Riley Wakefield, O’Neill, Neb.

Awards were also given to the Badlands bareback horse, saddle bronc, and bull of the year. Yankee Rose of the Sutton Rodeo Co. won Bareback Horse of the Year; South Point of Suttons won the Saddle Bronc of the Year. The bull Cougar, owned by Bailey Pro Rodeos, won Bull of the Year.

For the finals awards, the Bareback Horse of the Badlands Circuit Finals went to Onion Ring, Korkow Rodeos. The Saddle Bronc Horse of the Finals was won by Bad Onion, Korkow Rodeos, and the Bull of the Circuit Finals went to Ace High, Bailey Pro Rodeo.

During the Sunday rodeo, the 2019 Miss Rodeo North Dakota was crowned, and Kara Berntson, Kulm, N.D., won the title. She is a recent graduate of North Dakota State University where she earned a bachelor degree in animal science with a minor in equine science. She served as the 2017 Miss North Dakota Winter Show Rodeo Queen. She is the daughter of Neal and Marla Berntson.

The Minot Y's Men's Rodeo is a not-for-profit venture by the YMCA Men of Minot, N.D. Proceeds from each year’s rodeo benefit the Triangle Y Camp at Lake Sakakawea, near Garrison, N.D. Next year’s Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo will be October 4-6, 2019. Hess and 4- Bears Casino & Lodge are proud sponsors of the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo. National sponsors include the PRCA, WPRA, RAM, Cinch, Justin Boots, Pendleton, Montana Silversmith, American Quarter Horse Association, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Only Vegas and Experience Kissimmee.



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