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Dakota domination

Published 6/7/2013 in Beef Empire Days-Sports

Breuers tops in bareback riding; Maier shares lead in bull riding at rodeo.

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

One would not be surprised that the leaders at the end of the opening day of the Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding are either from South Dakota or North Dakota.

After all, the horses and the bulls that were ridden at the Finney County Fairgrounds Arena all come from Korkow Rodeos of Pierre, S.D.

Ty Breuer and Casey Breuer of Mandan, N.D., grabbed the lead in the bareback riding with 83 points, earning their current top spot on Flashcard Champ and Mean Jean. Joe Gunderson, from Agar, S.D., was third with 82 points.

Rorey Maier of Timber Lake, S.D., scored 83 points on Black Velvet to share the lead in bull riding with the only non-Dakotan, Sage Steele Kimzey of Strong City, Okla.

Louie Brunson, of Interior, S.D., rode Cherry Velvet to an 85-point performance, taking a two-point lead over Cole Elshere of Faith, S.D., and Wade Sundell of Boxholm, Iowa.

For Maier, the performance was a good one, having seen Black Velvet at some other rodeos, but never having a chance to ride the bull.

"It's always good to get a first ride in," said Maier, who travels with his two older brothers, Ardie and Corie. "You can't worry about what the other riders do. All you can do is ride your own bull. I've seen him before, and I knew how he'd buck. But, heck, he was a lot bigger than I thought."

Maier, 25, has been riding bulls at the pro level since he was 18 and said he had been riding some of the Korkow bulls since he was a kid in 4-H.

"They've always got good bulls, and I've been around them a lot," Maier said.

Brunson got his leading ride of 85 points on another Velvet, this one Cherry, and it provided him that two-point advantage over Elshere and Sundell.

"He's a nice horse, and the ride felt good," Brunson said. "I'd seen him at the NFR (National Finals Rodeo), and you know you're always gonna have a chance for a good ride."

Brunson, whose best years were 2008 and 2009 when he was in the Top 20 rankings, said the BED rodeo was the start of a busy summer season.

"We drove 10 hours down here just to get a chance to ride some of their (Korkow) horses," Brunson said. "You can tell when you've got a good ride going. You just have to stay aggressive and finish strong."

Taylor Jacob, who competes for Texas A&M's college team and who is headed to Cody, Wyo., for the College National Finals Rodeo, put in a speedy 17.26-second ride to occupy the top spot in the women's barrel racing event. That gave Jacob, of Carmine, Texas, a .32 of a second lead over Brittany Pozzi of Victoria, Texas, currently the No. 13-ranked barrel racer in the world. Pozzi had competed on Thursday morning in the slack portion of the first day while Jacob rode Thursday night.

"It was good, and it's all because, first, I've got a good horse," said Jacob, who indicated the arena conditions were probably better than the morning contestants faced in the aftermath of Tuesday night's rain that left it mucky. "I've had her about a year and a half, and she's fast and smart. It's a lot about knowing your horse."

Jacob is just at the outset of what will be her first year of competing at the professional level on a regular basis.

"I'm just trying to feel my way through," Jacob said. "Others out here are telling me which events are the best ones to go to, so I'm planning my schedule around that."

One other exciting piece of news for Jacob came on Thursday when she was informed that she had been accepted into the Calgary (Canada) Stampede, one of the top rodeos in North America.

"That's really exciting," she said, beaming. "This is the second time I've come to Garden, and it's a nice stopover on the way to the college finals. It really breaks up an otherwise long, long trip."

Other event leaders were Chase Wiley of Charlotte, Texas, and Ace Pearce of Washington, Texas, in the team roping at 4.9 seconds while Travis Tryan of Billings, Mont., and Jake Long of Coffeyville were next at 5.1 seconds. World champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, and Patrick Smith of Lipan, Texas, were ninth at 6.2 seconds.

Cody McCartney of Ottawa Lake, Mich., was atop the leaderboard in the tie-down roping at 9.8 seconds while Reese Riemer of Stinnett, Texas, followed at 10.1 seconds.

In steer wrestling, Justin Smith of Castle, Okla., and Seth Brockman of Wheatland, Wyo., shared the top spot at 4.2 seconds.

The rodeo continues at 7 tonight, and it will be Are You Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, an event that will help raise awareness for breast cancer. The PRCA event concludes at 7 p.m. Saturday, when the nation's military branches and veterans will be honored.

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