Steer roping comes to DickinsonSteer-roping events don’t come through North Dakota often. That’s why Vin Fisher Jr. hopes fans turn out to see the third round of the Tri-State Single Steer Roping Series during the Roughrider Days Rodeo on Sunday morning at the Dickinson Outdoor Arena.
Steer-roping events don’t come through North Dakota often.
That’s why Vin Fisher Jr. hopes fans turn out to see the third round of the Tri-State Single Steer Roping Series during the Roughrider Days Rodeo on Sunday morning at the Dickinson Outdoor Arena.
“It’s just great to get into a new area,” said Fisher, who is from Andrews, Texas. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a steer roping (event) in North Dakota.”
Fisher, ranked second in the world standings, is one of several top ropers descending on Dickinson for the three-city series that begins with a two-day event Friday and Saturday in Thermopolis, Wyo., and concludes Tuesday in Belle Fourche, S.D.
Because steer roping isn’t a required event at Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos, ropers are relatively on their own and often attending events like the Tri-State Series.
“I pretty much try to go to every rodeo that has steer roping and (Dickinson’s) got it so I’m coming.”
So is Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., who last weekend overtook Trevor Brazile as the steer roping money leader for the 2009 season. Patterson has earned $23,014 this season and Fisher has $20,141 in winnings.
Six of the top 12 steer ropers in the world standings are on the contestant list for Sunday’s event.
While steer roping is one of rodeo’s most traditional events, some animal rights activists have targeted it in recent years.
SHARK — an acronym for Showing Animals Respect and Kindness — as well as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been the biggest detractors of both rodeo but have put steer roping in their sights because steers are required to be tripped after they are roped.
Since the PRCA doesn’t require steer roping to be held at the same time as the rest of a rodeo, those activists have had fuel for their arguments against event, Fisher said, adding that many cowboys at one time or another have dealt with animal rights activists who find their sport cruel.
“It’s really not something I ever worry about because I think it’s a great sport … it’s a western heritage we’re trying to do,” Fisher said. “… We’re trying to continue a great heritage of rodeo and ranching. I don’t see any type of animal rights issues. Nobody goes out there with malicious intent.”
Cody Lee, the world’s sixth-ranked steer roper, said while the event has a bit of a bad reputation, he believes it is one of rodeo’s most traditional events.
“It’s used on everyday ranches still,” said Lee, who ranches near Gatesville, Texas, and grew up steer roping. “It’s one of the most practical ways of doctoring cattle still.”
Fisher added he hopes more steer roping events expand into the “Cowboy Christmas” portion of the season, especially in the upper Midwest states like North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
“I think maybe Dickinson having it can expand us into other areas up there,” Fisher said. “I’m optimistic that it will.”
Parshall’s Billadeau hopes for continued good luck
Parshall’s Preston Billadeau says he’s had a lucky year so far.
With Cowboy Christmas just around the corner, the PRCA Badlands Circuit all-around money leader hopes that good fortune can continue.
“It’s been pretty good so far,” Billadeau said. “I haven’t really gone to many places yet, but it’s been pretty good since April.”
Billadeau and his team roping heeler Jesse Fredrickson of Upham earned some cash at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho.
Billadeau has earned $2,608 toward the all-around standings this year with $1,633 of that coming from tie-down roping.
While Billadeau is holding onto a slim lead in the all-around — South Dakota cowboys Jay Mattson, Rex Treeby and Scott White are all less than $400 from leapfrogging Billadeau in the standings — he prefers to concentrate on his roping during the summer and chase the all-around title once the Badlands Circuit Finals nears in October.
“I don’t try to worry about that ’til the end of the year,” Billadeau said. “I just try and concentrate on my two events and see how that works out.”
This weekend begins a hectic time for all cowboys and Billadeau is no different. He’ll be at the Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo in Clear Lake, S.D., on Thursday before going to the Days of 56 Rodeo in Ponca, Neb., on Friday.
On Saturday morning, Billadeau will be at an amateur event in Irene, S.D., before going to the Western Fest Stampede Rodeo in Granite Falls, Minn. He heads back west for the Sunday morning slack at the Beaver Valley Horse Club Rodeo in Strasburg and is scheduled to compete in the Sunday evening performance at Dickinson’s Roughrider Days Rodeo.
“I’ll be busy,” Billadeau said. “I stay pretty busy at this time of the year. That’s for sure. Hopefully I have good luck.”
On tap for the weekend:
r The PRCA Roughrider Days Rodeo in Dickinson begins at 6:30 p.m. on both Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There is slack at 9 a.m. Saturday and the Tri-State Single Steer Roping Series at 9 a.m. Sunday.
r The North Dakota Rodeo Association’s McKenzie County Rodeo is at 7 p.m. CDT both Friday and Saturday with slack scheduled for after each performance.
r The Roughrider Rodeo Association’s Carrington Roughrider Rodeo is set for 5 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday with slack scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. All times are Central.
r The Professional Bull Riders Enterprise Tour will be at Binford with an 8 p.m. scheduled start time.