Badlands Circuit champions crowned
MINOT -- Former Dickinson State cowboy Ty Thompson won both the year-end title and the average title for the first time at the Badlands Circuit Finals this weekend.
Thompson is the first new name to win the titles in four years, a place that's been held by either the Elshere family of Cole, Ryan and JJ.
The circuit champions from the seven events receive a spot at the National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City next spring.
Beau Franzen entered the Badlands Circuit in eighth place but tied or won in three of four rounds to take the steer wrestling title. It is the second year the Sidney, Mont., native has competed in the Badlands Circuit.
J.B. Lord of Sturgis, S.D., was crowned the year-end winner in the steer wrestling.
Going in, Mac Erickson of Sundance, Wyo., was the favorite to win the bareback riding and didn't disappoint. He placed in the first and second rounds. The average title went to Joe Gunderson of Agar, S.D.
Jeff Johnston and Levi Tyan won the team roping year-end title. Paul David Tierney and Jared Bilby won the average title with a time of 22.2 seconds on four runs.
Lisa Lockhart took the year-end title in the barrel racing despite tipping a barrel in the second round after losing a stirrup. Nikki Steffes won the average title by five-hundredths of a second over Solen's Brittany Fleck. On her four combines runs, Steffes had a time of 55.27 while Fleck's was 55.32.
Justin Schofield won his fifth title in the tie-down roping, taking both the year-end and average titles. Schofield came into the finals trailing his competitors by $1,600. But due to disqualifications and mistakes by the other ropers, he walked away Sunday as the champion.
Bull rider Jeff Bertus finished the finals as the average winner with 323 points, while Taygen Schuelke won the year-end title.
Bertus and Schuelke were the only riders who rode all four bulls.