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Velva native lasts on Velvet Hammer to win Bull Riding finals

After day one of the Western Edge Bull Riding Finals, Zac Peterson sat in first place after earning an event-high mark of 90. With five other riders earning scores on Friday, two in the 80s, Peterson knew a good run would give him a great chance ...

Zac Peterson grips on to Velvet Hammer during his victory-earning ride on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Western Edge Bull Riding Finals at the Dickinson State Indoor Arena. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Zac Peterson grips on to Velvet Hammer during his victory-earning ride on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Western Edge Bull Riding Finals at the Dickinson State Indoor Arena. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

After day one of the Western Edge Bull Riding Finals, Zac Peterson sat in first place after earning an event-high mark of 90. With five other riders earning scores on Friday, two in the 80s, Peterson knew a good run would give him a great chance at the title.

As he mounted his bull, he dialed in.

"I try to space everything out before I nod my head," Peterson said. "Just take big, deep breaths. What you do at home to prepare for events, let your muscle memory take care of that. For one, everything is happening so fast, you can't react that fast. Hopefully your muscle memory reacts faster than you can think."

When he did finally nod, the bull, Velvet Hammer, busted out of the chute, and Peterson rocked with the initial spin and bucks. The crowd cheered, somehow knowing the worst was over and Peterson would stay on the rest of the way.

They were right. When the buzzer sounded, Peterson was still on board and the ride earned him an 81, good for a combined score of 171, and the victory on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Dickinson State Indoor Arena. With the all-around win, Peterson went home with $1,526.50. That didn't come easy, though.

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After a faulty first run on Saturday, Peterson was granted a re-ride. Unfortunately for him, his second chance didn't go well, as he was bucked off in the final second.

"It's disappointing when I (mess) up and don't do my job," Peterson said. "This is how I make a living. You just got to have a short-term memory in this sport."

Coleman Entze of Golden Valley had to have a similar approach, as his first ride was far too short. Entze clung on for the full eight seconds in his second go-round, pumping his fist after bailing off his bull. The ride earned him an 83 and $852, as it was the second highest of the night.

Hailing from Dodge, Jake Benson earned the honor of Saturday's highest-scoring ride. On the first ride of the final round, Benson posted an 87. After scoring a 76 the night before, Benson finished second in the all-around standings with a combined total of 163.

The only other ride to record to scores over the whole weekend was Ryan Walker. An 81 on Friday, combined with a 79 on Saturday added to a total score of 160, and a payout of $994.

Earning his score in the first round, John Jacobs of Aberdeen, S.D., took third on Saturday with an 82. Chaffee native Lane Berg picked up a 78, good for sixth place and $177.50.

Donning vibrant orange chaps, Wyatt Schaff, a New Salem native, rode Red Alert to pick up a score of 77, earning seventh.

On Friday, Williston's own Cody Stowe went home with $852 after earning an 87, while Ammon Barlow, who shares the same hometown, snagged a check for $497 with a fourth-place score of 79. Cameron DeCoteau of Halliday earned a night-low 75, but still finished sixth and won $177.50.

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While that concludes the 2018 season for the Western Edge riders, many, including Peterson, have PBR events lined up in the near future. Peterson says he hopes to carry momentum from his win into his next competition.

"Your mindset and your positive attitude when things are going good, you're feeling good," Peterson said. "When things are going bad, you lose sight of what you're supposed to be doing."

Results Saturday

All-around: 1, Zac Peterson 171. 2, Jake Benson 163. 3, Ryan Walker 160.

Saturday scores: 1, Jake Benson 87. 2, Coleman Entze 83. 3, John Jacobs 82. 4, Zac Peterson 81. 5, Ryan Walker 79. 6, Lane Berg 78. 7, Wyatt Schaff 77.

Friday scores: 1, Zac Peterson 90. 2, Cody Stowe 87. 3, Ryan Walker 81. 4, Ammon Barlow 79. 5, Jake Benson 75. 6, Cameron DeCoteau 75.

Junior bull riders: 1, Carson Houser 71.

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