Bareback riding champion– Steven Peebles
The 2013 North Platte rodeo contributed to the best rodeo season Steven Peebles has ever had. The 24 year old cowboy, the 2013 Buffalo Bill Bareback Riding champion, spent four months of 2013 on the bench after hip surgery, and didn’t kick off his rodeo season till May.”I spent a lot of time on the sidelines, and I guess I was craving it a lot,” he said of his strong year. The hip surgery was due to wear and tear from riding barebacks. He had a bone spur that caught hold of the cartilage and caused a tear. Peebles rode the Beutler and Son horse Hollywood Hills for 88 points, and he was complimentary of the horse. “That’s a great horse of Bennie’s (Beutler). I’d never really heard of that horse, but she went out there and bucked. I knew if I did my part, everything would work out, and it did.” He’s qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo five times, including last year, where he finished as reserve champion. When he’s not on the rodeo trail, the Redmond, Ore. man loves to train, stay in shape, and hunt and fish. He’s fished for salmon and sturgeon, hunted ducks, geese, elk, and deer, and killed a big brown bear in northern California.
Peebles won $2394 for his first place finish.
Saddle Bronc – Jesse Bail
Jesse Bail won the Saddle Bronc Riding title at the 2013 Buffalo Bill Rodeo. The Camp Crook, S.D. cowboy rode the Beutler and Son horse Eskimo for 84 points and a check for $2,428, but he didn’t draw that horse. “I actually was supposed to have a (different) one, but he got crippled. I got on Eskimo, and he turned back and really bucked. He was pretty rank, actually. I was just happy to get by him. (The ride) turned out pretty good.” The all-around hand grew up the son of rodeo parents, competing in high school and college rodeo and finishing as 1998 National High School Finals Saddle Bronc Riding Champion and the 2000 National Inter-Collegiate Rodeo Association, All-Around, representing Oklahoma Panhandle State in Goodwell. He has qualified for the National Finals twelve times combined in the saddle bronc riding and bull riding. He quit riding bulls about four years ago after a bulged disk in his neck caused him to lose muscle power in his riding arm. Jesse, who joined the PRCA in 1997, rodeos less than he used to. He bought his grandmother’s ranch and runs commercial black Angus cattle with his wife, Kimberly, and daughter, Kenzlee, who was born in 2013. The little girl has stolen her daddy’s heart. “She makes it a lot harder to leave to go rodeoing, I know that,” he said. Jesse was the 2000-2001 Linderman Award winner.
He has competed in North Platte nearly every year in his sixteen year career.
Bull riding champion –Tyler Smith
Tyler Smith is good with any bull named Brush Hog. The Fruita, Colo. bull rider rode the original Brush Hog bull in North Platte several years ago to win third place, and in 2013, rode Brush Hog II for an 88 point ride and a first place finish. “If you get Brush Hog in North Platte, you’ve got good luck,” he joked. Smith got his start riding bulls when he was team roping with his dad. “I started riding roping steers growing up, and then fell in love with it.” During his senior year of high school, he and his buddies would hurry over to his house during lunch time. Tyler’s dad would have the steers ready, and the boys would ride steers before they headed back to afternoon classes. “We loved it.” He competed in high school rodeo, qualifying for the National High School Finals three times (but only competing twice due to a broken hand one year), and became a Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association member when he turned 18. Tyler took off two years of PRCA competition to ride in the PBR, making the PBR Finals in 2007. Then he returned to the PRCA. Like any bull rider, he’s had his share of injuries. “I’ve broken about every bone in the right side of my body, I’ve torn ACLs and MCLs, and I’ve sat out (of riding) for two years. Last year (2013) was my first full year back in a long time.” He qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2010 and 2013, finishing in third place in the world last year. When he’s not riding bulls, he loves to team rope, and if he’s not roping or riding, he’s on a wakeboard at Highland Lake in Fruita. Someday, when his bull riding career is over, he hopes to team rope professionally. In 2013, he got to rope with the governor of Idaho for an exhibition run. “It was cool.”
Steer wrestling average champions–tie –Reed Petersek and Nick Guy
Reed Petersek and Nick Guy both had a time of 7.8 seconds on two head to share the steer wrestling title at the 2013 Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
Petersek, who lives in Colome, S.D. hadn’t had a chance to get horses in shape to rodeo yet, so he rode a different horse in each go-round. “I’m kind of a circuit guy, so I didn’t have my horses legged up yet,” he said. “I got on a yellow horse of Cole Fulton’s for the first go, a horse I’d rode before. In the second round, we drew up a little different, so I had to get on Brady Hageman’s horse. I hadn’t rode his horse, but I’d seen him plenty enough to know it was sure enough one a guy could win on. “I drew the right steer, had a good haze from Jeff Johnston, it all came together good, and I took advantage of it.” Winning North Platte was special for Reed. “Everybody talks about how North Platte is a prestigious rodeo, and it is. It’s a good rodeo, a good atmosphere. The people who work it know rodeo, and they’re friendly people. I enjoy it.” Reed is part of the Raven Angus Ranch with his dad and brother. They run Angus cattle and have an annual bull sale. Rodeo, for Reed, is a sideline thing instead of his livelihood. “If I can to go to rodeos in the winter when we’re not calving, I go. In the summertime, I have a chance to get away.” He is married to Erin, who competed in high school and college rodeo and now helps out when Reed is gone. “She’s one of the reasons that has kept me able to rodeo. She stays home and takes care of things while I’m gone. She’s my anchor that allows me” to rodeo.
Sparta, Wisc. cowboy Nick Guy turned in a time of 7.8 seconds on two head to split the first place finish in the steer wrestling. The “cheesehead” loves to come to North Platte. He’s competed there at least five times, and has won a check nearly every year, including his gold buckle finish in 2013, which came with a $1,593 check. And last year was extra special for him: he won the Melvin-Swanson Memorial Steer Wrestling in Sutherland the day before. “”North Platte was especially good to me this year,” he said. He rode his seventeen year old gelding named Tucker, who carried him to the Wrangler National Finals in 2010. Nick bought him from Ryan and Jane Melby when he was still in college, and he also roped calves off Tucker. “He’s kind of an all-around horse, and an easy keeper. It doesn’t take much to keep him full.” The rodeo road is hard on horses, Nick said. “They get a lot of miles, and it wears them down during the summer, but he stays full.” After the rodeo season is over each fall, Nick enjoys bow hunting whitetail deer. He takes an annual fishing trip to Canada, fishing for walleye, northern pike, bass, trout, “whatever bites, I guess.” Wisconsin isn’t generally recognized as rodeo country, but it has plenty of rodeos. “There are a lot of good rodeos there,” he said. He competes at many of the Great Lakes Circuit events. He graduated from National American University in Rapid City, S.D. in 2008 with a business administration degree.
Team roping champions – Ty Blasingame and Matt Zancanella
Ty Blasingame and Matt Zancanella are the 2013 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Team Roping Champions. Their 5.1 second run won them $1,743 each, and the gold buckle. Ty remembers the run. “We had a pretty good steer. He ran off to the right a little bit. I reached a ways and roped him around the neck. Matt did a really good job of heeling him by two feet, and we made a really good run.” Blasingame, the header, lives in Ramah, Colo., and has had his PRCA card since he was 18 years old. The 2013 rodeo year was a decent one for the 29 year old cowboy. “We had a chance to make the (National) Finals (Rodeo) all the way to the end, and had a couple of bad breaks. We ended up in the top 25. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good enough to get to the Finals.” He qualified for the NFR in 2010. He enjoyed roping with Matt. “There’s always an adventure around the corner. He’s a good guy. He never gets mad about much.” This year, the two will rope with different partners. When it works, Ty’s wife and daughters, ages five and one, come on the road with him. They love it, and Ty loves having them with him. “It’s a good environment to raise kids in,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of families that go together, and a lot of other kids. The cowboy life is a great way to grow up. They have a good time.” For Ty, it was the fourth time he had competed in North Platte and the second time he’d won the team roping title. He won it in 2010 (with heeler Josh Fillmore), and he’ll be back for this year’s rodeo. “It’s a good rodeo, and it’s not too far from home. They do a good job and they’re a good committee.”
Heeler Matt Zancanella was on the heeling end of the championship team. The Aurora, S.D. cowboy was glad to win the rodeo. “I have always wanted to win in North Platte, and finally had a chance. We had a good steer, a little black and white steer. Ty reached at him, set him up, let me come in and catch him, and we won.” Matt has competed at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo at least five times, as it’s the unofficial beginning of rodeo season. “It kicks off the summer run. We always hit it on the way to Reno (Nevada, rodeo.)” He has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times, in 2002-2004, but this year won’t rodeo as hard because of commitments at home. “I need to be home more to be more involved (with his businesses). I’ll stay closer around the house.” Matt sells equine and cattle supplements and is involved with an internet search engine. He has three children, sons ages 17 and two, and a daughter, age seven, who travel with him in the summers, along with his wife, Kristen. Matt gives credit to Kristen for keeping everything going: “She’s the backbone of my operation. When I leave to go rodeoing, she stays home and takes care of horses, the kids, and she never complains about me being gone.” He rides a thirteen year old dun named Popper, who he bought in 2011.
Tie-down roping average champion – Cory Solomon
Cory Solomon is the 2013 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Tie-down Roping Average Champion. The 23 year old Prairie View, Texas man had a time of 20.3 seconds on two runs to win the buckle. It was his second trip to the North Platte rodeo, and he had a game plan. “Every time we come there, it seems like there are usually bigger calves. You just make the best runs you can. I usually focus on that when I am there, and it worked out this year.” He rode a 14 year old horse named Spook who was purchased from Monty Lewis prior to the 2012 National Finals Rodeo. Spook was his back up horse after his primary horse got hurt, but he did a good job for Cory. “My other horse ended up getting hurt, so (Spook) was the only one I had all summer. My summer would have been a lot different if I’d have had two of him.” Cory likes to leave a horse in the north part of the country to use at rodeos there, and another horse in the south. In 2014, Spook will be the “north” horse and, barring injury, the one Cory will ride at North Platte again. Cory went to the NFR in 2012, but missed qualifying last year by a mere $1300, finishing in sixteenth place in the world. His last few weeks of rodeo didn’t go well. “I had
five calves kick the tie in the last two weeks. It was a tough experience (missing the Finals), but everything happens for a reason.” And it increases his motivation for an NFR qualification this year. “It gives me the incentive that every calf counts. It doesn’t matter if it’s one little go-round or a short-go. Anywhere it is, every calf counts. It doesn’t matter if it’s $1000 or $500, every calf is like my last one, in my head. You look back, and it’s the fourth rodeo, or the 32nd rodeo, but every calf I run this year, I want it to count like everything depends on that calf.” Cory has a four year old daughter living in Prairie View.
Barrel racing champion – Brittany Pozzi
The 2013 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Barrel Racing Champion is Brittany Pozzi. In addition to winning in North Platte, the Victoria, Texas cowgirl won rodeos in Gooding, Idaho, Salinas, Calif., St. Paul, Ore., Ft. Smith, Ark., Drummond, Mont., Elizabeth, Colo., and, for the second straight year, won the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. She has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo ten times, including last year, and has won the world twice, in 2007 and 2009. Pozzi has several different horses, including her current horse, Duke, a ten year old palomino gelding, and Teddy, a six year old mare. Duke was promoted to her number one horse in 2010, when she sold Stitch, a horse that had won the AQHA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year award in 2007 and was runner-up in 2006. In high school, Britttany was the 2002 Texas High School Finals barrel racing champion and the National High School Rodeo Association champion the same year. She won the College Southern Region title in 2003. The Victoria, Texas cowgirl rounded the barrels in 17.40 seconds in North Platte.