Cover: TJ Watts

Happy Trails With Dawni O'Bryan: Mountain States Circuit Finals

By Dawni O'Bryan

2021-11-10 09:04:09

The Mountains States Circuit Finals were held in Loveland at The Ranch Events Complex October 22nd and 23rd. To qualify for these finals the contestants have to be in the top 12 of their declared circuit. The Mountain States includes Wyoming and Colorado. Only the money won at the rodeos within this circuit count towards the standings and year-end awards. Winners qualify for the million-dollar NFR Open (formerly known as the National Circuit Finals Rodeo). This will be held in July of 2022 in Colorado Springs.

Shali and CeCe

Local cowgirl, Shali Lord (pictured), was first in the standings of the barrel race going into the finals. With her A-string horse “Can Man” being sidelined due to an injury in the final weeks of the regular rodeo season, her gray mare, “CeCe” got the call. This 11-year old barrel horse registered as “Frosted in Fame” was incredible in the MAC Equipment Inc. Arena. Lord and CeCe won the first round with the fastest time of the rodeo 15.48 seconds and $1821. She didn’t place in round 2, but was 4th in round 3 with a time of 15.64 seconds and $455. This placed her first in the average with 46.97 seconds on three runs and $2731. She was crowned the Finals Champion and the Year-End Champion Barrel Racer with her winnings in the circuit totaling $25,383.

Local cowboy and Lamar Community College Rodeo Coach, TJ Watts (pictured), struck in the team roping with his heading partner, Garrett Tonozzi. In the first round, they won 3rd with a run of 6.1 seconds and $910 each. In round 2, they were 2nd with a run of 6.0 seconds and $1365 each. They failed to place in round 3 or the average, but when the dust had settled, they were the Year-End Team Roping Champions.

Logan Patterson of Kim won third in the 1st round of the bareback riding with a score of 85 and $891. In round 3, he won 1st with a score of 88 and $1783. In the average or aggregate he won 3rd with a score of 249.5 on 3 head and $1337. Logan Vick won 2 rounds in the tie down roping of 8.6 seconds and 7.9 seconds. Ryan Belew was 2nd in round 3 with 8.5 seconds.

The circuit rodeo system was set up for cowboys and cowgirls that held down regular jobs during the week and then went like crazy to rodeos on the weekends. These contestants were not your “full time” rodeo cowboys that focused on one thing of being a professional cowboy. Some of these “only-rodeo professionals” do attend these rodeos, but that is why a lot of the winners at the circuit rodeos don’t make the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. They just don’t go as hard or to as many, or they have other irons in the fire.

There is a little lull in the action right now, before the NFR in December. The indoor barns start up shortly after that with the Denver Stock Show, Ft. Worth, and Houston. I encourage you to either go to Las Vegas and experience the Finals, as my family has several times, or settle in to watch on the Cowboy Channel. Coming soon, the Super Bowl of Rodeo, the World Series of Rodeo, and the Stanley Cup of Rodeo.

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction. Happy Trails.

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