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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Kristi Steffes of Vale, S.D., competes in the ladies breakaway during the Medora Badlands Rodeo on Friday at Ranch-O-Rama Arena. Steffes won the event with a time of 2.6 seconds.

Starting out strong: Cowboys, cowgirls begin Medora Badlands Rodeo with solid scores, times

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With just one rider left in the ladies breakaway event, Joey Painter from Buffalo S.D., looked as if she was going to take the top spot for the night with a time of 2.7 seconds.

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As the final rider, Kristi Steffes of Vale, S.D., bolted out of the gate and immediately roped her calf, beating out Painter by one tenth of a second for the top spot during the first day of the Medora Badlands Rodeo at the Ranch-O-Rama Arena.

Steffes, who competes in rodeo at Gillette College (Wyo.), has been trying to improve her breakaway performances and was pleased with her time.

“It was awesome, I’ve been really trying to work on my breakaway roping and I made the college hunt I was in the barrel racing so I’ve been really trying to step up my breakaway roping for next year,” Steffes said.

The South Dakota native is a newcomer to the Medora rodeo and hasn’t hit many North Dakota rodeos in general. Despite the unfamiliarity, she said she enjoys competing in them and feels they are very well run.

Like most riders, Steffes, along with her sister Nikki — who finished top five with a time of 15.642 seconds in barrel racing — won’t stick around and are on to the next event. The Steffes sisters will compete in barrel racing today in Montana and Sunday in Elgin. Kristi said after a rough fall, starting off the NDRA rodeos with a top score helps with her mentality moving forward.

“I kind of had a bad fall in my college rodeo, so it’s really kind of been a confidence booster,” Kristi said. “I’ve been to a few of these amateur rodeos and done well. It’s really helping my confidence a lot because it wasn’t looking really good for a while.”

With the recent poor weather in the area, ropers and riders have found it tough to practice before rodeos.

Despite the lack of team time, Joe Painter and Casey Holmes came out victorious in team roping with a time of 8.1 seconds. They beat Watford City’s Bill Jorgenson and Marshalls’ Brad Gjermundson — a four-time saddle bronc champion — time (9.2) by more than a second.

“We try to practice as much as we can all year sure nice to get a few practices in before we go to a rodeo but you can rope the dummy and do what you can to mentally prepare yourself,” Holmes said, who is Painter’s son-in-law.

The duo have been roping on and off together for the past four or five years but try to rope as a team whenever they get a chance, especially events close to their home in Buffalo. Last year Holmes competed in Medora and said he likes the scenery of the Badlands along with the location. Painter couldn’t have agreed more.

“It’s fun to be in Medora. Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful setting for a rodeo,” Painter said with a smile. “It’s just so nice and really nice to be up here. Nice night, no dust, perfect.”

Sometimes a little time off can be good. After a poor finish at last year’ s rodeo, Golden Valley’s Coleman Entze broke Friday’s streak of scoreless riders in bull riding with a 75, which was also good for the top score of the night.

“It feels good after being off for two months,” Entze said. “Sometimes some time off does a guy good, get your head back right. But sometimes you’re rusty and you don’t do good either but went the other way for me tonight.”

Right from the get go, Entze’s ride kept close to the chutes and was strong the whole eight seconds, and then was bucked off. Sitting comfortably in the top spot — the only other rider to pick up a score in that was Nolan Hall of Timber Lake, S.D., with a 71 — Entze’s opening NDRA performance will give him a boost of confidence going into the rest of the weekend rodeos. He will compete today in Sturgis, S.D., and Sunday in Elgin.

“It helped a lot, I’ll be good for the rest of the weekend feeling good about myself,” Entze said.

The final day of the rodeo continues today starting with the slack at 8 a.m. and the afternoon session at 1 p.m.

Medora Badlands Rodeo

At Ranch-O-Rama Arena

Bareback riding: 1, Logan Berg, Mandan, 74.

Barrel racing: 1, Jessica Holmes, Buffalo, S.D., 15.472. 2, Cydney Peterson, Minot, 15.496. 3, Kristy Steffes, Vale, S.D., 15.515. 4, Maddi Huber, Mandan, 15.607. 5, Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 15.642. 6, Teddi Schwagler, Mandan, 16.033. 7, Dawn Carson, Killdeer, 15.872. 8, Lindsey Goulet, Watford City, 16.079. 9, Kennedi Kautzman, Mandan, 16.106. 10, Keely Klevan, 16.177.

Bull riding: 1, Coleman Entze, Golden Valley, 75. 2, Nolan Hall, Timber Lake, S.D., 71.

Ladies breakaway roping: 1, Kristi Steffes, Vale, S.D., 2.6. 2, Joey Painter, Buffalo, S.D., 2.7. 3, Dawn Carson, Killdeer, 3.6. 4, Teddi Schwagler, Mandan, 13.2.

Saddle bronc: 1, Sutton Sandquist, Trail City, 68. 2, Devon Burghart, Mandan, 67. 3, Taylen Nelson, Sentinel Butte, 65. 4, Eric Gewecke, Red Owl, S.D., 47.

Senior men’s breakaway: 1, Jeff Barlow, St. George, Utah, 3.3. 2, Dan Frank, Mandan, 3.8. 3, Bill Jorgenson, Watford City, 12.77. 4, Brad Gjermundson, Marshall, 12.8.

Steer wrestling: 1, Ben Grann, Bismarck, 4.4. 2, Cameron Moreman, Glen Ullin, 5.5. 3, Austin Maier, Elgin, 5.6. 4, Lane Rossow, Herreid, S.D., 14.4. 5, Del Pete Day, Bismarck, 15.1. 6, Cody Nichols, Sidney, Mont., 15.7.

Team roping: 1, Casey Holmes, Buffalo, and Joe Painter, Buffalo, 8.1. 2, Brad Gjermundson, Marshall, and Louise Field, 9.2. 3, Derek Flemming, Worden, Mont., and Brett Flemming, Worden Mont., 16.2 4, Clint Gorrel, Beach, and Levi O’Keefe, Mohall, 22.2.

Tie-down roping: 1, Justin Skofield, Flandreau, S.D., 9.3. 2, Ben GRann, Bismarck, 11.6. 3, Turner Harris, Killdeer, 11.7. 4, Garrett Peterson, Minot, 12.5. 5, Austin Visser, Scranton, 13.1. 6, Broden Porter, Dickinson, 13.3. 7, Lane Rossow Herreid S.D., 13.4. 8, Wyatt Bice, Killdeer, 13.6. 9, Dustin Entzel, Killdeer, 13.8. 10, Wyatt Rising, Wibaux, Mont., 15.0.

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Meaghan MacDonald
Meaghan is the sports reporter for the Dickinson Press, focusing primarily on Dickinson State athletics and rodeo. After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism. 
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