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Welcoming return: After a month hiatus, Dinwoodie places twice in Medora Badlands Classic

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Brady Dinwoodie leaves the chute during the first round of saddle bronc riding during the Medora Badlands Classic on Saturday at Ranch-O-Rama Arena in Medora.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dani Hamilton rides her horse Rondo in barrel racing during the Medora Badlands Classic on Saturday at Ranch-O-Rama Arena in Medora.2 / 2

MEDORA — Due to a knee injury Brady Dinwoodie spent the last month watching his younger brother — Brodie — compete in saddle bronc riding.

Those days of watching are over.

Brady Dinwoodie return to saddle bronc with a pair of top four finishes — including a first-section win — during the Medora Badlands Classic on Saturday at the Ranch-O-Rama Arena.

“That was my first horse in a month, because I tore my knee in June,” he said about posting a first-section best score of 74. “It felt really good. I thought I messed her up, but she was pretty good.”

The Dinwoodies live in Las Vegas, N.M., which is more than a 900-mile drive to Medora.

They made the trip worth the miles. Brady won the first section and finished in tie with Leroy Eash for runner-up in the second section (60). Brodie placed took fourth in the first section (54).

Not only have the two been traveling across the country together, but they both went to the same college New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.

However, their college careers at New Mexico Highlands University were cut short there after the university dropped the rodeo program.

Nonetheless, the brothers are continuing their collegiate rodeo careers at different universities. Brady will be going to Laramie, Wyo., in the fall, while Brodie is attending Goodwill, Okla.

“We won’t be together next year,” Brady Dinwoodie said with a smile.

Other winners included Richardton’s and Dickinson State cowboy Dalton Rixen won the third-round of saddle bronc with a 78. Jace Blackwell of Rapid City, S.D., won the second round with a 72.

The Medora Badlands Classic highlights one event in particular — saddle bronc riding. That event holds a special place in Brad Gjermundson’s heart.

Gjermundson — a Pro Rodeo and North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Famer — was a four-time saddle bronc world champion including a three straight titles from 1983-85.

“They bring 13 contractors and it’s a team deal as far as the horses,” said Gjermundson, who helped open chutes during the rodeo. “I thought they had a lot of good horses and some of the horse haven’t had a lot of trips, so most of them are pretty unpredictable. There are some really good horses in the bunch.”

Bob Pecora, who is an executive director for the World Class Bucking Horse Association, said this events helps showcase younger broncs which will quickly become mainstays at some of the top rodeos in the country including the National Finals Rodeo.

“It’s getting those horses to come out of the woodwork,” he said. “There are a lot of horses that are back in people’s pastures and through the futurity system it gives them the opportunity to come and compete. We are seeing the cream of the crop.”

The Dinwoodie brothers trek across the Upper Midwest isn’t over. The two are competing in Canada and then returning to North Dakota.

“We are going to go back to Canada for a rodeo (today),” Brady Dinwoodie said. “We’ll be back down in North Dakota for a rodeo next weekend.”

Yet, not every cowboy and cowgirl at the Medora Badlands Classic made the same trek as the Dinwoodies.

Killdeer’s Dani Hamilton only needed to drive 70 miles to pick up a first-place victory on her horse Rondo in barrel racing.

“She’s had a little bit of a rough streak, but today she ran really well,” Hamilton said about her time of 17.315 seconds.

Hamilton edged Mattea Hecker, who finished runner-up with a time 17.428 seconds. There were 10 cowgirls to finish with a time less than 18 seconds.

The Killdeer cowgirl enjoys rodeos like the Medora Badlands Classic, where there are only two events.

“Obviously, I really love the rodeo setting with a full rodeo, but this is really nice, because you don’t have to wait as long,” Hamilton said. “It’s really fast paced and it’s really good.”

Medora Badlands Classic

Ranch-O-Rama Arena in Medora

Saddle Bronc riding

First section: 1, Brady Dinwoodie, 74. 2, Chase Kukuchka, 70. 3, Jace Blackwell, 62. 4, Brodie Dinwoodie, 54.

Second section: 1, Jace Blackwell, 72. 2 (tie), Brady Dinwoodie, 60; Leroy Eash, 60. 4, Will Bagley, 46.

Third section: 1, Dalton Rixen, 78. 2, Will Bagley, 72. 3, Leroy Eash, 70. 4, Matt Costello, 66.

Contractors (unofficial)

1, Kling Rodeo, 238.5. 2, Frank Wyzykoski, 232. 3, Wildman Rodeo, 225.5. 4, Fettig Rodeo Broncos, 221.5.

Barrel racing

1, Dani Hamilton, 17.315. 2, Mattea Hecker, 17.428. 3, Renae Smith, 17.551. 4, Sara Tjelde, 17.561. 5, Linda Vigen, 17.717. 6, Susan Hannah, 17.775. 7, Vickie Brimer, 17,781. 8, Sara Tjelde, 17.813. 9, Jen Obrigewitch, 17.905. 10, Mardee Clark, 17.920.