Newspaper correspondent Joe Kavanaugh
Not surprisingly given that rodeo fans’ attention is rapidly gravitating towards bucking chutes, raw stock events were the main attraction at Friday night’s second performance of Rodeo Rapid City at Summit Arena. And while cattle driving, bronc or bull, creates excitement, Friday’s world-class peloton stepped up the action.
Lane McGehee, a 24-year-old bareback rider from Victoria, Texas, excited the crowd early with an 85-point ride aboard Summit Rodeo’s Hillbilly to move into second place overall behind Garrett Shadbolt (Thursday’s 89-point effort night.
“I was on that horse one time in Gooding, Idaho, and she kicked off the fall so hard she kind of hurt herself,” McGehee said. “Man, I was thrilled to have drawn her here at this big rodeo. She came out here and I felt her go after her and I just did what I was preparing for. I’ve had a few wins already this year and I’m making slow progress hoping for the best.
Having recently finished in Fort Worth (and advanced to Wednesday’s Wildcat round), McGehee rushes to see his friend Kaycee Feild (a six-time world champion and possibly bareback GOAT rider) ride in the final.
People also read…
Jayco Roper, Rodeo Rapid City’s bareback champion last year, made a comeback of sorts – last year’s win was in the Barnett Arena next door – in hopes of defending the bareback title won the year last. Amid a long dry spell and unranked in 2022, Roper was hoping to recapture some of the magic from last year. Not so, as the 20-year-old Oklahoma cowboy failed to close the deal aboard New Frontier’s live auction.
The saddle bronc field included five of South Dakota’s top bronc riders and four NFR qualifiers, including Allen Boore, winner of last Saturday’s Xtreme Bronc event, continuing the assault on the standings.
A Canadian cowboy was the best of the lot on Friday night as Kolby Wanchuk (Sherwood Park, Alta.) and climbed to the top of the leaderboard. And rode two bucking horses to make it happen.
Awarded a replay when his first bronc performed poorly, Wanchuk pushed Burch Rodeo’s Holy Moccasin to an 83.5-point run.
“I watched my travel partner, Sage Newman, get on him last year and do a hell of a ride, so I was pretty excited to see what I had for the replay. I didn’t know him very well, but he’s sure he came out and opposed tonight and let me show and have fun,” said Wanchuk who is coming off a big win at the National Western in Denver this month. “Things are going pretty well and I’m getting good draws, so things are going well.”
The Friday night rodeo ended with another big gross and a change in standings as bull riding Garrett Wickett (Battle Creek, Nebraska), the last man to emerge from the chute, closed the performance with a run of 84 points.
“I don’t remember much about it,” Wickett said. “I think he went left. The bull had been at the Prairie Tour Finals in Duncan, Oklahoma and a friend of mine who was here tonight said what he was, and it turned out that it did the opposite of what it was supposed to do. After that I felt great and kept rolling and rolling. I didn’t hear a whistle at all and had the felt like it was eight seconds and tried to let go.
Prior to Wickett’s winning run, the bull had thrown a shutout, including knocking down Josh Frost, the No. 1 ranked bull rider in the 2022 PRCA World Rankings.
Dalton Wright (Keene, ND) raised high expectations, a New Frontier Rodeo rank sire that Jr. Stratford rode to a Barnett Arena record last year, but was unable to cover the big bull of rank.
Raw stock’s assault on a leaderboard at the end of the arena timed event as Dallen McIntire (Thayer, Iowa), emerged as the new tie-down leader. Quick on the ground, McIntire tied up his calf in 8.1 seconds.
The 2022 edition of the Rodeo Rapid City PRCA rodeo ends Saturday with two performances, a matinee at 1:30 p.m. and the final at 7:30 p.m. A free bullfighting follows each performance.