Medora Badlands Rodeo begins with standout performances
MEDORA — While other cowboys might have been shaking off the dust, Cameron Morman looked as seasoned as ever.
A Glen Ullin native and Dickinson State senior, Morman carried over the success from the college rodeo season to Friday evening at the Ranch-O-Rama Arena, where he led the field in steer wrestling in 5.1 seconds on the first day of the Medora Badlands Rodeo.
Morman edged Tyler Thorson of Towner in the event by .2 seconds. Whether or not that time holds up in first place will depend on the success of today’s riders — a 7 a.m. slack is scheduled, followed by a 1 p.m. performance — but Morman was thrilled with his ride nonetheless.
“My steer wrestling go was outstanding,” he said. “I went last weekend to some rodeos and didn’t have much luck, and I’m riding a pretty green horse. He worked really well tonight, so it’s just one rodeo at a time with him.”
Morman was thankful for the assistance of hazer Scott Kleemann, a rancher from north of Killdeer, who helped Morman to a standout ride.
“Scott did a really good job hazing him to me. That steer really tried Scott, and he did a heck of a job walling him off and letting me catch him,” Morman said. “He hazes for me a lot of the time. I’ve bought horses from him, and I go up and ride as much as I can with him. He’s really handy.”
Morman continued his success from the last couple months, a stretch that saw him become a collegiate national champion steer wrestler for DSU, a Badlands Circuit Finals champion and a National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier.
Over time, he’s gotten accustomed to the process that goes into a strong run.
“It’s really important to get a good head catch out of the saddle, get those steers put away and their head turned,” he said. “When you feel that steer break, that’s when you jump up and grab that nose and use as much of the steer’s momentum as you can, so it’s not as much work.”
Morman later joined forces with DSU teammate Chance Glass to clock in at 12.1 seconds in team roping. The duo was assessed a 5-second penalty, but their original time of 7.1 seconds would have placed second behind Turner Harris and Ross Carson, both of Killdeer, who lead at 6.1 seconds. Instead, Morman and Glass sit fourth after the first day.
The Medora Badlands Rodeo serves as the North Dakota Rodeo Association’s first event of the season, so participants were thankful just for some smooth rides.
Dalton Rixen of Richardton recorded a 76 for his saddle bronc ride, keeping him in first as the only rider to break 70 on the evening. Rhett Fox of Redig, S.D., and Logan Nielson of Beach each followed with 69 points.
“You can’t take it for granted if I’m going to win or place,” Rixen said. “There’s a bunch of good riders. … It feels good (for the first rodeo). (It) kind of gets your confidence back. I’ve got more rodeos to go to this weekend, so it gets myself feeling good. It means a lot running to another rodeo.”
In the calf roping, Marshall’s Kane Gjermundson set the bar early at 12.9 seconds, but Solen’s Cole Hatzenbuhler overtook him by clocking in at 11.1 in the final go of the day.
“It’s not quite the run I wanted to make, but it was good enough to take the lead today,” Hatzenbuhler said. “Everybody’s kind of rusty and getting going, but I’m sure happy I’m in the lead right now.”
In the ladies breakaway, Jodi Bubel of Dickinson leads a tight race at 2.8 seconds, and Jeff Schaffer of Des Lacs leads the senior men’s breakaway at 2.7 seconds.
Lindsey O’Keeffe of Mohall timed in at 14.424 seconds in the barrel racing, followed by Killdeer’s Dawn Carson at 17.550. Dickinson’s Annie Praus sits fourth at 17.628 seconds.
No riders were successful in Friday’s bull riding, an event delayed for several minutes at the end of the night after one bull managed to escape out of the enclosure and wander through the parking lot and near Interstate 94.
Bareback riding: Clay Jorgenson 74; Mike Fred 74; Nick Harmon 73; Tate Schwagler 66, Dude Koester 63.
Calf roping: Cole Hatzenbuhler 11.1; Kane Gjermundson 12.9; Rylie Reiss 16.6; Dillon Wickup 18.9; Chance Glass 24.3.
Ladies breakaway: Jodi Bubel 2.8; Kathy Kautzman 4.1; Jordan Schaffer 4.3; Kaden Schulte 5.0; Shelby Schields 12.7.
Saddle bronc: Dalton Rixen 76; Rhett Fox 69; Logan Nielson 69; Jake Foster 61; Wyatt Neidhardt 59; Taylor Tupper 56.
Steer wrestling: Cameron Morman 5.1; Tyler Thorson 5.3; Rylie Reiss 9.4; Todd Suhn 15.8; Garrett Peterson 16.5.
Team roping: Turner Harris/Ross Carson 6.1; Jeff Schaffer/Jordan Schaffer 8.3; Seth Peterson/Robert Murphy 12.0; Cameron Morman/Chance Glass 12.1; Cole Hatzenbuhler/TJ Kraft 12.4; Chris Arnold/Parker Murnion 13.9; Wyatt Bice/Derick Flemming 17.6; Levi O’Keeffe/Cotey Hanson 20.5.
Ladies barrel racing: Lindsey O’Keeffe 17.424; Dawn Carson 17.550; Hali Gjermundson 17.612; Annie Praus 17.628; Bailee Murnion 17.663; Lakken Bice 17.752; Abby Hepper 17.841; Rudie Hepper 17.918; Jori Gjermundson 17.989; Jordan Hagedorn 22.418; Courtney Dobson 22.780; Shausta Blodgett 23.031.
Senior men’s breakaway: Jeff Schaffer 2.7; Kelly Eggl 2.8; Dan Frank 13.2.
Bull riding: No finishers.