Buckle Down; Nebraska Cowboy Grits Through Tough Ride, Leads Bareback Riding

Garrett Shadbolt might be adding to his wardrobe after the third night of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte. The Merriman, Neb. cowboy took the lead in the bareback riding, and if his score holds at the top after the June 18 night of competition, he’ll win a second buckle, to match the one he won last year. But it didn’t come without a fight. He was 85.5 points on the Beutler and Son horse Forward Motion, a seventeen-year-old mare that “has probably been to more rodeos than I have,” he laughed. But with age comes smarts, and Forward Motion knows how to mess with bareback riders’ minds. “She knows that if you’re a right-handed rider, she can lean on the right side of the chute, which doesn’t give a guy enough clearance to get your hand in your riggin,” Shadbolt said.

And when the horse left the chute, she left tail-end first, which is an automatic reride, if the cowboy wants it. But there was no need for a reride with the score Shadbolt earned; “It was wild and western, and she was really good.” Last year was Shadbolt’s first year to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he finished the season in fifth place in the world. A potential win in North Platte would help him get to a second National Finals. “I had the best winter of my life,” he said. “I was fifth after the winter run and had a lot of money won.” But after competing at the California rodeos, he slid from fifth to tenth place in the PRCA world standings.

Things are looking up; he won first place in Ponca City, Okla., second in Woodward, Okla., and split a second-place title in Fallon, Nev. And on June 18, he’s headed to Newtown, North Dakota, where he has a good horse drawn. Rodeo and life have similarities, he said. “You have your ups and downs. That’s how rodeo is, and that’s how life is. If you’re up and down, you’re going to be teeter tottering all the time. You just have to stay up, stay after it, stay on the grind, your luck will turn around, and you’ll be winning.” And a second Buffalo Bill Rodeo buckle would be great. “I wear the (Buffalo Bill Rodeo) buckle everywhere,” he said. “It’s probably one of the nicest buckles I have, and I feel bad wearing it to rodeos, but at the same time it’s one of the nicest buckles I have. It sure is cool.”

A back-to-back win in North Platte “would be OK,” he grinned. He set a new arena record last year with a score of 90 points. Other fast times and high scores from the Friday evening performance include steer wrestler Blair Jones, Colby, Kan. (5.5 seconds); tie-down roper Zaine Mikita, Byers, Colo. (9.1 seconds); saddle bronc rider Jake Burwash, Nanton, Alb. (85.5 points); breakaway roper Linsay Rosser Sumpter, Fowler, Colo. (2.9 seconds); team ropers Kyon Kreuzter and Clancey Kreutzer, both of Lake Creek, Texas (11.0 seconds); and bull rider Koby Radley, Montpelier, La. (83 points). Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, took the lead in the barrel racing (17.44 seconds); she is the 2017 North Platte champion.

Sailors from the USS Nebraska submarine were on hand to greet the crowd. The annual tradition of inviting members of the submarine, stationed on the West Coast, continues; they will stay for several days of NebraskalandDays activities. The fourth and final night of the of action at the Buffalo Bill rodeo takes place Saturday, June 18 starting at 8 pm. NebraskalandDays activities continue through June 25.

Results, 3rd performance, June 17, 2022

North Platte, Nebraska – Buffalo Bill Rodeo

Bareback riding

  1. Garrett Shadbolt, Merriman, Neb. 85.5 points on #1518 Forward Motion; 2. Blaine Kaufman, Pretty Prairie, Kan. 85; 3. Riggen Hughes, Kemper, Texas 79

Steer wrestling

  1. Blair Jones, Colby, Kan. 5.5 seconds; 2. Sam Goings, Fallon, Nev. 6.6; 3. Shane Frey, Duncan, Okla. 8.3; 4. Denver Berry, Checotah, Okla. 9.2.

Tie-down roping

  1. Zaine Mikita, Byers, Colo. 9.1 seconds; 2. Jake Harris, Canyon, Texas 9.4; 3. Luke Meier, Limon, Colo. 9.5; 4. Colby Anders, Bayard, Neb. 10.5.

Saddle bronc riding

  1. Jake Burwash, Nanton, Alberta 85.5 points on #9 Four Aces; 2. Lefty Holman, Visalia, Calif. 83.5; 3. Jake Clark, Crane, Ore. 80; 4. Taygen Schuelke, Newell, S.D. 78.

Breakaway roping

  1. Linsay Rosser Sumpter, Fowler, Colo. 2.9 seconds; 2. Katie Dent, Mullen, Neb. 3.9; 3. Jenna Adams, Weatherford, Okla. 4.1; 4. Amanda Simonson, Ault, Colo. 5.5.

Team roping

  1. Kyon Kreutzer, Lake Creek, Texas/Clancey Kreutzer, Lake Creek, Texas 11.0 seconds; 2. Clayton Van Aken, Yoder, Wyo./Jayden Joohnson, Casper, Wyo. 14.2; 3. Cameron Irwin, Buffalo, Wyo./Cash Hetzel, Lemmon, S.D. 15.5; no other qualified runs.

Barrel racing

  1. Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas 17.44 seconds; 2. Emily Beisel, Weatherford, Okla. 17.51; 3. Ivy Hurst, Springer, Okla. 17.69; 4. Ivay Saebens, Nowata, Okla. 17.70.

Bull riding

  1. Koby Radley, Montpelier, La. 83 points on #Z69 Hot Spot; 2. Riggen Hughes, Kemper, Texas 79; no other qualified rides.

** All results are unofficial.