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Reed Kraeger
photo by Peggy Gander
Reed Kraeger

Badlands Circuit Championship begins; North Dakota cowboy wins bareback riding

Sports Release - October 5, 2018

MINOT, N.D. – After the curtain came down on the first round of competition at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo, a North Dakota man was on top in the bareback riding.

Blake Smith, Zap, N.D., scored 84 points on the Korkow Rodeos horse Matrix to win the first round.

It was the third time he’d ridden the horse, after having won the Aberdeen, S.D. rodeo on her a few years ago, and placing fourth in Garden City, Kan. this year, and he called her “awesome.” When she comes out of the chute, “she takes a little scoot, and when she breaks, she’s electric and just really nice to ride. She gets in the air and really kicks.”

Smith, ranked the number two man in the Badlands Circuit, is more than $10,000 behind the leader, Ty Breuer, and even if he would win every round in Minot, it wouldn’t be enough to take the lead from Breuer and win the year-end title. So Smith’s strategy is to go for the average win – the most points for all four rounds of the rodeo. It’s a strategy that works in his favor. “I kind of like (being in second place), because I have to try to play catch up. I’d rather play catch up than be in front.”

He also knows he’s among some very good bareback riders in the circuit. “All the competition is so good, you really have to make great rides. And the horses are so even (in ability) that you have to outride everybody.”

This is the third time for the 26 year old cowboy to compete at the Badlands Circuit Finals.

In the steer wrestling, a Nebraska man made his mark.

Reed Kraeger, Elwood, Neb., turned in a time of 4.3 seconds to win the first round and jump from ninth place to third place in the year-end standings. The steer wrestling is the tightest race among the seven events at this year’s circuit finals; only $1780 separates the number one man, Cameron Morman, from the number six man, Tee Burress.

Kraeger, a high school agriculture teacher in Elwood, is the son of a former steer wrestler. This is his first time to qualify for the Badlands Circuit Finals.

Fan favorite Lisa Lockhart won the first round in the barrels.

The Oelrichs, S.D. woman had a time of 13.94 seconds on her buckskin horse.

But this horse isn’t her well-known mount, Louie. It’s her eight-year-old mare Rosa, who looks very similar to Louie, and the easiest way for fans to know which horse Lockhart is on is that she takes Rosa to the left barrel first, instead of the right, which is Louie’s pattern.

This is Rosa’s first trip to the circuit finals, and Lockhart was nervous about it. Rosa is “super sensitive, super reactive, and therefore, I prayed a lot,” she said. “I was worried about it.” The mare’s performance didn’t surprise her rider, though. “I give her all the credit. She’s an amazing athlete. I have no reason to doubt her. I’m so extremely proud of her.”

With her first round win, Lockhart moves into first place in the year-end race, only $150 ahead of the number two cowgirl, Jessica Routier.

Lockhart has won either the year-end or the average championship at the Badlands Circuit Finals at least 18 times. She is ranked third in the world standings and will compete at her twelfth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this December.

Other first go-round winners were saddle bronc rider J.J. Elshere, Hereford, S.D. (81 points), team ropers Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D. and Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. (4.6 seconds); and tie-down roper Clint Kindred, Oral, S.D. (10.2 seconds). There were no qualified rides in the bull riding.

Before the rodeo started, a big check made out for $38,361 was presented to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign. That amount recognizes the monies raised for this year of the campaign, with all funds going to the Trinity Health Cancer Exercise Rehab Center. Myron Feist, a cancer survivor and a member of the Minot Y’s Men, presented the check to Russell Gust, exercise physiologist for the Exercise Rehab Center and Dr. RaNelle O’Keeffe, manager of Trinity Health’s Cancer Care Radiation Oncology. SRT, a corporate sponsor of Tough Enough to Wear Pink, WGO, the Zoo and Sunny 101.9 radio stations, and Trinity Health are also corporate sponsors. Since the Y’s Men began the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign in 2007, $719,065 has been raised. 

The second, third and fourth rounds of the Circuit Finals continue Oct. 6-7. Two performances take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1 pm and 7 pm, with a chili cook-off, activities, and a trade show during the day. The final round of the rodeo is Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1:30 pm. For more information on the rodeo, visit MinotYsMensRodeo.com. For full results from this night’s rodeo, visit ProRodeo.com.


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Cutline: Blake Smith rides the Korkow Rodeos horse Matrix for 84 points to win the first round of the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot October 5. Three more rodeo competitions continue October 5-6. Photo by Cowboy Images/Peggy Gander.


Cutline: Nebraska cowboy Reed Kraeger won the steer wrestling in the first round of competition at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo. He had a time of 4.3 seconds. Photo by Cowboy Images/Peggy Gander.


Results, 1st Go-Round Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo

October 5, 2018


Bareback Riding

Bareback riding

1. Blake Smith, Zap, N.D., on Korkow’s Matrix , 84 points; 2. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 81.5; 3. Nick Schwedhelm, Fort Calhoun, Neb. 77; 4. Nate S McFadden, Elsmere, N.D., 76.


Steer Wrestling

1. Reed Kraeger, Elwood, Neb. 4.3 seconds; 2. Sheldon Portwine, Dickinson, N.D. 4.4; 3. (tie) Brad Johnson, Reva, S.D. and Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D. 4.5.


Team Roping

1. Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D./Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. 4.6 seconds; 2. Tyrell Moody, Letcher, S.D./Rory Brown Edgemont, S.D. 5.4; 3. Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D./Levi Lord, Sturgis, N.D. 5.5; 4. Wyatt Bice, Killdeer, N.D./Tel Schaack, Edgement, S.D. with 6.0.


Saddle bronc riding

1. JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D., on Korkow’s Wiggle Worm 81; 2. Dawson  Jandreau, Kennebec, S.D., 79; 3. Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D., 77.5; 4. Taygen Shuelke, Newell, S.D., 77.


Barrel racing

1. Lisa Lockhart,Oelrichs, S.D. 13.94 seconds; 2. Bobbi Grann, Sheyenne, N.D. 13.98; 3. Nikki Hansen, Dickinson, N.D. 14.10; 4. Kaylee Gallino, Wasta, S.D. 14.13.


Tie-down Roping

1. Clint Kindred, Oral, S.D. 10.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Blake Eggl, Minot, N.D. and Tyler Thiel, Belle Fourche, S.D., 10.3 each; 4. Tanner Wznick, Cavalier, N.D., 11.2. 


Bull Riding

No qualified rides.

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