Collecting victories: Many contestants grab wins during NDRA season opener
MEDORA — Chasen Cole spent the entire spring knocking off preseason rust as part of the Chadron (Neb.) State College rodeo team.
Despite not qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo, Cole said Saturday’s win at the Ranch-O-Rama Arena eased the pain a bit.
“This makes up for it a little, but not quite all of it,” said Cole, who won with a score of 75.
No bull rider finished with a qualified ride on Friday. That changed after CJ Pesicka of Timber Lake, S.D., supplied a 72 on Saturday.
Cole followed with his 75-point ride three competitors later.
“It’s always just a mental game,” Cole said. “There are days you are feeling good and you know you can ride the bull. There are other days when you aren’t feeling the best or your mental game isn’t there. It makes a little bit harder.”
The bulls weren’t the other event to pitch a shutout the first day. Steer wrestlers came up empty on Friday.
Four wrestlers posted times, but the best time didn’t come until the final competitor. Bronc Pippert of Squaw Gap was the final cowboy to compete in the event and he supplied the winning time of 6.6 seconds.
“All you can do is try to do the best you can do and not mess up,” Pippert said. “The more you think, the more you (mess) up.”
Though the Medora Badlands Rodeo opens the North Dakota Rodeo Association season, Pippert took a two-year break from steer wrestling.
Needless to say, Pippert couldn’t have asked for a better performance.
“This is the first time I’ve bulldogged in two years,” he said. “This the first time I’ve rode my mare in two years. We couldn’t have done any better.”
Bull riding, steer wrestling and bareback riding each crowned overall winners on Saturday. Britt Luger, who is from Fort Yates, tied for the lead with Andrew Evjene during saddle bronc riding. Luger and Evjene each supplied a 77-point ride.
“The horses were great here and it was just what I wanted to have,” Luger said. “It jumped and kicked and everything I needed.”
Thomas Kronberg of Forbes won bareback riding with a score of 78.
“I was a little weak at the end, but I haven’t been on anything in quite a while,” Kronberg said. “I just have to keep practicing.”
The overall winners that competed on Friday included Justin Scofield in tie-down roping (10.7 seconds), Rudie Hepper during ladies barrel racing (17.833 seconds), Steve Klien from Sioux Falls, S.D., in senior men’s breakaway (2.8 seconds). Samantha Jorgenson earned first in the ladies breakaway with a time of 3.1 seconds, while Drew Gartner and Beau Franzen claimed a win during team roping (5.5 seconds).