2015 Champions

Kenny Haworth, Bareback Riding Champion

SBKenny Haworth is a goal setting kind of guy, and he attained one of his goals at the 2015 Buffalo Bill Rodeo.  The 21 year old cowboy rode Beutler and Son Rodeo Co.’s bareback horse Black Cat for 84 points to win the championship and a check for $2572. He’d heard of the horse, but had never ridden him. “I was pretty excited to have him,” he said.  “I’d seen him before, and everyone said he was a handful, but he fit my riding style. It was a blessing to ride him.”  But whatever horse he drew in North Platte, he’d have been happy with. “I really enjoy all of Beutler’s horses, actually, so it really doesn’t matter.” It was the first time he’d ridden at North Platte, and he’ll be back. “Everyone said North Platte was a good rodeo, so we went there, and it ended up working out great for me. It was a big win, and set me up for the summer run. Financially, it gave me something to keep going through the summer, to get me to the next one.”

The Orofino, Idaho cowboy has another goal outside of rodeo: get his associate’s degree. After he started college in Texas and then and quit, he’s gone back, this time to Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. He is competing collegiately and pursing an associate’s degree in livestock production, with the intent of, after his bareback riding days are over, owning a stock contracting company.

Kenny had surgery in the fall of 2015, and returned to rodeo in early spring. A chunk of bone was floating in his pelvis, causing pain, and it was removed. The bone was from a previous bareback injury, when a horse flipped over on him in the chute. He has been careful to fully rehab the injury so that another piece of calcified bone doesn’t grow back and break off again.

He’ll be back to North Platte to defend his title, he said. “I’ll definitely be back. It’s a good time, and it’s a good rodeo.”

 

Nick Guy, Steer Wrestling Champion

SW (1)Nick Guy was seeing double at the 2015 Buffalo Bill Rodeo. The steer wrestling champ won the first round in 3.6 seconds, and then, fifteen minutes later, made a second run, also in 3.6 seconds, to win the rodeo with a time of 7.2 on two head. “I’ll always remember those two runs,” he said. “I’ve never been 3.6 and 3.6 at the same rodeo, and that’s the fastest I’ve ever been on two steers.”

He rode his old faithful horse Tucker at North Platte. The twenty-year- old chestnut has been his mount of choice for many years. Guy bought Tucker from Ryan and Jane Melby as a tie-down horse when he was a sophomore in college eleven years ago. Ryan had jumped a few steers on Tucker, and when Nick bulldogged on him at amateur rodeos, he realized Tucker’s gift. “He’s what’s gotten me from the college level to the pro level,” Nick said of Tucker, who he also rode at the Wrangler National Finals in 2010 and 2015. “He’s a horse that has helped me through my career.” Tucker is showing his age now, so Nick is more careful about when and where he rides him. “I try to pick and choose where I use him,” he said. “If I use him all the time, he gets a little tired and goes a little wide. If I use him sparingly, he works really good.”  He plans on keeping Tucker forever. “He’s a horse that I will have until he dies,” Nick said. “He changed the game for me. I give a lot of credit to him for helping me get started, and learning how to win. He made it simple for me.”

Last year wasn’t the only year Nick has done well in North Platte. He has won go-rounds and the average there before, and split the win in 2013. He’s also done well at the Melvin-Swanson-Halligan Memorial Steer Wrestling in Sutherland, held the week of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.  Nick grew up in Sparta, Wisc. He and his fiancée Erin Ferries live near Denver.

 

Riley Pruitt, Tie-Down Roping Champion

IMG_2397The 2015 Buffalo Bill Rodeo Tie-Down Roping Champion is Riley Pruitt. His win, 17 seconds on two head, was especially sweet for the Cornhusker cowboy, who lives in Gering, Neb. and competed in front of his dad, Troy Pruitt, the 1990 World Champion. Troy doesn’t get to many of Riley’s rodeos, so this one was special.

Riley rode a fifteen year old buckskin gelding, Chip, for his runs in North Platte. He bought Chip in the spring of 2015, hauling him to a few rodeos before he tried him out at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. “He worked great for me there,” Riley said, “and I rode him all year because of it.” Chip is pretty laid back, ornery, and a “neat horse. He did pretty well for me last year.”

Being the son of a world champion comes with some great expectations and “a tremendous amount of pressure,” Riley said. The event has changed since his dad’s era, Riley says, with smaller calves and better horses, and “everybody looks to you to fill his shoes. It’s tough, very tough to do.”

The 24-year- old cowboy has competed at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo the past four years, and prior to that, at the same arena for Nebraska High School Rodeos. He was a high school rodeo standout, winning the state tie-down roping title in 2008 and 2010.

 

Chet Johnson, Saddle Bronc Riding Champion

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Chet Johnson got a bit of revenge at the 2015 Buffalo Bill Rodeo. The 35 year old saddle bronc rider was rematched with the Beutler and Son horse Black Gold for a second time, and this time he made it count. He rodehim for 86 points and the 2015 Saddle Bronc Riding title. Johnson had ridden the horse during the finals in Tucson, Ariz., seven or eight years ago, buthadn’t rode him well. “I’d seen him a lot,”hesaidof the veteran bucking horse. In North Platte, “He ended up being outstanding that day. He rared out, didn’t cover much ground, jumped way high, and I felt like I made a good ride on a great horse.”

Johnson is one of theolder guys in the sport, which changes how he rodeos. “You have to rodeo smarter when you get older,” he said, “and be a little more picky about what horses you get on. That adds longevity to your career. When you’re young, you rodeo as hard as you can. The older you get, the more injuries you have,and you try to rodeo smart. It’s easier to get burnt out as you get older and cover that many miles for that many years.”

The bronc rider grew up in the Douglas, Wyo., area and spends his summers there. But as soon as it gets cold, he heads to Texas. “I’m not much for the snow or the heat,” he said. His family ranches in Wyoming, so when rodeo retirement beckons, he’ll probably go back to the ranch. North Platte was one of the first rodeos he ventured out to when he first got his PRCA card. “I have good memories of it,” he said. “I have had quite a bit of success at it. It has good crowds, the horses buck, and it’s fun being that close to home.”

 

Rowdy Rieken and Clay Sieber, Team Roping Champions

TRRowdy Rieken teamed up with fellow Texan Clay Sieber to win the team roping at the 2015 Buffalo Bill Rodeo. It was the first time the Arp, Texas header had roped in North Platte. He and Sieber were on their way to the Reno(Nev.) Rodeo and stopped in North Platte for “warm-up runs”, Rieken joked. “We wanted to get some runs in before we went to Reno. Those “warm-ups” turned into winning runs of 11.7 seconds on two head.

Rieken, who roped with Sieber in part of 2014 and all of last year, grew up with Sieber’s dad. He speaks highly of Sieber. “He’s very talented. We had a good partnership.” The 43 year old cowboy sat out of rodeo for four years to focus on his oilfield construction business and his family. He and his wife Sissy often rope together at amateur rodeos, and their son, fourteen year old Riley, ropes as well. They often escape the heat of East Texas and spend their summers in Colorado, where they rope, then return home in time for Riley to go to school. Rieken has competed at the Texas Circuit Finals eight times in his career.

Clay Sieber teamed up with the veteran roper to win the 2015 Team Roping Title at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.  Last year was the Texas cowboy’s permit year in the PRCA, and of the rodeos he won, his check at North Platte for $1,431 was the biggest one of his pro rodeo career, at that point.  He and Rowdy stopped the clock in 11.7 seconds on two head to win the title.  A 2014 graduate of Arp High School, Clay enjoyed roping with Rowdy last year. “He’s a veteran, he’s been there, and done it, and he taught me a lot. It was good to rope with a guy who’s been there and knows the ropes.”

Clay is a student at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, where he competes collegiately. He is pursuing an agricultural business degree. In his spare time, he likes to hunt hogs and has several dogs, both curs and bulldogs, that he uses to hunt with. He is the son of Levi and Amy Sieber.

 

Christy Loflin, Barrel Racing Champion

BarrelFor the second year in a row, the barrel racing champion at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo was Christy Loflin.  The Colorado cowgirl made a 17.49 second run – eight-tenths of a second slower than her 2014 run – to repeat as champion.  The three-time Wrangler National Finals qualifier grew up riding hunter-jumpers and began barrel racing at the age of 25.

Her family includes daughter Randi Timmons, and son Cole Timmons. Randi is also a barrel racer, and Cole enjoys playing hockey.

 

 

Luke Bradley, Bull Riding Champion

Bull2

The Buffalo Bill Rodeo win was the biggest one of Luke Bradley’s young pro rodeo career. The Seligman, Mo. bull rider covered the Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. bull Drop Tine for eight seconds, 84 points and $3347. The bull wasn’t easy to ride, Bradley admitted. “He had me bucked off a couple times, and kept jumping back up underneath me. He changed directions quite a bit and had a lot of kick. He wasn’t the funnest bull to ride but we got it done. He’s a good bull.”

Last year was the twenty-one year old’s first year in the PRCA, but this year he’s focusing on the PBR and the Touring Pro division. He hopes to qualify for the Built Ford Tough Series and someday be a PBR World Champion. “It would mean a lot to me to win the National Finals (Rodeo) someday, but I gotta set my goals and my first goal is to make it on the Built Ford Tough Series,” he said. Bradley believes in setting goals. “That way you can stay focused and take one step at a time, one goal at a time.” He’s even thought a little about life after bull riding. Someday, he’d like to help others. “I’d love to teach others how to ride bulls. That’s my long term goal, to be a world champion and then retire and teach others, give back to the sport that has helped me through life.”

During the winter, when rodeo is slow, he helps out at a feed store. His bosses understand his rodeo schedule. “When I want to go rodeo, they let me off. They’re good people. They’re like family.” Bradley has been married to his wife Kelsey for two years.

 

NEBRASKAland Days June 13-23, 2018