Bareback Riding – Tom McFarland
Tom McFarland was proud to be the 2012 Bareback Riding titlist for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. The Bowie, Texas man has placed second twice in North Platte but last year got his first buckle and win with his 88 point ride aboard the Beutler horse Empty Pockets.
Tom likes competing at rodeos where Bennie and Rhett Beutler provide the bucking horses. “We’re bareback riders, and we feed off getting scared. Bennie’s got some big scary horses, and we love coming to his rodeos.”
He and his wife have three daughters, ages twelve, nine and four, and they are on the road with him as much as possible. “We have a little fifth wheel, and my traveling partners bring their wives and kids, and we’ll take our wives to one place, say, Ogden (Utah), and go to four or five rodeos from there, then take our wives to Cheyenne, and rodeo out of there. We all stay on the road and rodeo all summer. The girls get to do a lot of fishing.”
He’s been a PRCA member since 2001, and loves that he won North Platte last year. “It’s been one I’ve dang sure wanted to win. Besides it being a rank rodeo, because Bennie’s (Beutler) known for having rank horses, it’s on the list of historical rodeos that a guy wants to get won. I was tickled to death” to win it.
Saddle Bronc Riding – Cole Elshere
Cole Elshere is the 2012 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Saddle Bronc Riding champion. Last year was the 23 year old cowboy’s best rodeo year so far. He qualified for his first ever National Finals Rodeo, finishing 2012 in seventh place in the world. Winning a buckle in North Platte helped. Mid-June was “a good time to pull a good check and keep myself in the standings. It helped me stay confident right before the Fourth” of July run, he said.
He scored 84 points on a Beutler and Son horse, Dipsy Doodle. Dipsy Doodle was a bareback horse, but he bucked in the saddle bronc riding that night. “I didn’t know much about him when I got on, and he ended up being a really nice horse and it worked out really good.”
The Faith, S.D. cowboy ranches with his family when he’s not on the rodeo road. He competes at about 100 rodeos a year.
Bull Riding – tie – Shawn Coleman and Wes Wahlert
The Springfield, S.D. man scored 79 points on the bull branded 827, one of the younger ones from Beutler and Son Rodeo. “He was a pretty nice bull to have. He turned back into my hand. I was needing the win. It was a nice springboard to start the summer.”
Coleman, who is 27, graduated from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis with a degree in agricultural business and has been a Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association member for ten years.
For fun, he team ropes and raises bucking bulls with his dad. They buck them at open bull ridings, and for the last fifteen years, the Coleman has hosted a bull riding at their arena on July third.
Wes Wahlert tied with Coleman for the 2012 bull riding title.
His ride on the bull Sunset scored him 79 points, and a check for $2,694. He’s competed in North Platte three or four times, and likes the rodeo. “It’s quite a bit of fun. The committee is great and helps the cowboys as much as they can. They have great hospitality.”
Another reason Wahlert competes at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo is because one of his traveling
partners, Dustin Elliott, is a North Platte resident. Dustin, the 2004 PRCA World Champion, is a good friend of Wes’s. “Dustin’s been a big help to me. He’s a world champion and he knows the ropes pretty good. It always helps to have a guy who’s been a world champion to help you out when you struggle.”
The Galeton, Colo. cowboy loves riding bulls. “I get to travel the country with some of my best friends. Bull riding can dang sure get frustrating at times, but when you’re winning, there’s nothing like it.”
Team roping – tie – Garrett Nokes/Matt Wilken and Scott White/Jade Nelson
Garrett Nokes and Matt Wilken are co-champions of the team roping at the 2012 Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
For Nokes, it’s nearly a hometown event. He lives in McCook, 70 miles south of North Platte and has competed at the rodeo every year but one since 1996, when he first got his PRCA permit.
And 2012 was special, because it made for a “trifecta” of sorts: Nokes has won all three timed events in North Platte, including the tie-down roping in 1997 and the steer wrestling in 1999. Actually, he’s nearly always placed when he competes in North Platte.
In addition to rodeo, he owns a crop insurance company in McCook and provides cattle for high school, college and pro rodeos. He and his wife have two sons, ages eight and four.
Matt Wilken heeled for Garrett Nokes and is the 2012 team roping co-champion.
It was the second time the Smithfield, Neb. cowboy had competed in North Platte, and the first time he had ever won money there. It was a “snappy run,” he remembered, of his 5.4 second time, and it was an honor to win the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. The rodeo “is a big part of Nebraska tradition.”
He and Garrett have been friends for a long time, and lived together in McCook after college, when Matt worked at a sale barn. They began roping together in the winter of 2011-2012. When he’s not on the rodeo trail, he is a nutrition physiologist and sells feedlot products. Matt will get married in early June of 2013, and has plans to rope in North Platte again. His honeymoon suggestion to his bride was, “shoot, let’s just go to a few rodeos,” and they may be vacationing at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
Scott White/Jade Nelson – Team Roping Co-Champions
Scott White and Jade Nelson also roped their steer in 5.4 seconds to tie as team roping
champions. White, from Oelrichs, S.D., was sure he and Nelson were too slow to have won the rodeo. “I can remember the run pretty distinctly. The steer was stronger and I felt like I was late on the start. I thought we ran him too far to win the rodeo, but Jade finished it up fast and we were 5.4.”
Oelrichs enjoys coming to the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, in part because a college roommate and good friend is on the rodeo committee. And he enjoys the crowd when they make a thundering roar by stomping their feet on the bleachers. “The crowd is great there. I love hearing the Platte Valley Thunder.”
He has competed at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo five times, and ranches with his parents. For Jade Nelson, last year was the first time he had competed at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. He and White entered it because “it was a good rodeo with lots of added money, and it was an All- American rodeo,” Nelson said.
The twenty year old cowboy competed in team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and saddle bronc riding in high school and Little Britches Rodeo, and qualified for his first Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in the fall of 2012.
When he’s not team roping, he ranches with his dad and day works for other ranchers.
Tie-down Roping – Cody Quaney
For the 23 year old cowboy, last year was the first time he had competed in North Platte, but it won’t be the last. The Cheney, Kan. cowboy enjoyed the North Platte rodeo. “I like how they fill the stands,” he said. The big crowd “can get you pumped up.”
He graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford with a degree in accounting, but isn’t ready to sit behind a desk yet and is competing full-time. “When I get my fill of rodeo, then maybe I’ll want to be in an office. I just need to figure out how to work my business on the road.”
He tied two calves in a time of 20.4 seconds, all while accommodating for the larger arena. “It’s a big arena and you have to run them farther than normal.” Cody competed at the 2012 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Okla., finishing the year in second place.
Steer Wrestling – Stockton Graves
Stockton Graves finally struck gold at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
The Alva, Okla. cowboy had won the first go-round steer wrestling five consecutive years, from 2004 to 2008, but had only won the average one time, in 2007. And he wasn’t sure he had won it last year, either. He had made two runs for 8.3 seconds, and for his second run, had drawn a steer that other cowboys had broken the barrier on. “He was good, but they just hadn’t caught him. I was surprised with my run. I didn’t think I’d win the average, but you know, heck.”
Graves is the rodeo coach at his alma mater, Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, and enjoys it. “I have a good group of kids, and I enjoy watching the kids do well.” He works on the mental part of rodeo with them. “Mainly, we try to instill in those kids a winning mentality, and we try to stress the importance of their education.”
He loves coming to North Platte. “They do a great job up there. I have a lot of friends on the
committee. It’s a rodeo I’ve enjoyed going to.” He hasn’t missed competing at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo for the past eleven years.
Barrel Racing – Randa Kellogg
Randa Kellogg is the 2012 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Barrel Racing Champion.
The Point, Texas cowgirl made an “outstanding run” on her seven year old bay, Zaks Okie Ree, “Ree,” to win the rodeo with a 17.23 second run.
The horse is owned by Rick Large, RSL Enterprises, of Pierson, Florida, and has had a
successful futurity career. Last year was her first year of rodeo competition. “She handled it remarkably well. I’m very fortunate to have her.”
Randa works as an equine specialist, and she and her husband Boe have five sons, ages 17, 16, 14, seven and four. “There’s a lot of testosterone and dirt in my house,” she joked.
She had only competed at North Platte one other time, about ten years ago, which was a disaster, she said. But the rodeo was worth entering in 2012. “I knew it was going to pay good, and it was en route for me going to Reno (Nevada, another big rodeo.)”