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Full house treated to Western fun and competition at Ute Mountain rodeo

Tyler Beebe of Bayfield competes in the saddle bronc competition at the Ute Mountain Roundup, held at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds in Cortez. (Courtesy of Jessica Potter/JR Photography)
Locals compete in team roping and saddle bronc; rodeo continues Saturday with Mancos pro Tanner Lockhart

A full house Friday at the Ute Mountain Roundup rodeo in Cortez enjoyed a night of action and entertainment as arena records fell and new competitors rose to the leaderboard.

And to top it off, the crowd witnessed a marriage engagement.

Louisiana cowboy Isaac Richard took the lead in saddle bronc riding and set a Ute Mountain Roundup record with his 87-point ride aboard Powder River Rodeo’s horse Good Lord Lori.

If Richard’s ride holds through Saturday, it would be one of the biggest rodeos he has won since his start in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2019.

Steer wrestler Logan Kenline recently turned pro and made the leaderboard on his run Friday night. His 4.8-second run tied him for second and third place with fellow competitor Jace Logan of Yampa.

“I started chute dogging when I was in junior high,” said Kenline, 22, in a rodeo news release. “It has always been a goal to compete in the PRCA, and hopefully I can qualify for the Mountain States Circuit Finals this year.”

If Richard’s ride holds through Saturday, it would be one of the biggest rodeos he has won since his start in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2019.

Steer wrestler Logan Kenline recently turned pro and made the leaderboard on his run Friday night. His 4.8-second run tied him for second and third place with fellow competitor Jace Logan.

“I started chute dogging when I was in junior high,” said Kenline, 22, in a rodeo news release. “It has always been a goal to compete in the PRCA, and hopefully I can qualify for the Mountain States Circuit Finals this year.”

Earnings from the UMR will count toward his circuit standings. His fast run was no easy task because the steers have been breaking and running hard so far in the rodeo.

Q Taylor of Casper, Wyoming, competed in the saddle bronc event Friday at the Ute Mountain Roundup at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Brothers Chance and Bodie Hine of Ignacio competed in the team roping event at the Ute Mountain Rodeo Roundup Friday night. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Elsie Rose Campbell of Riverton, Wyoming, prepares to enter the breakaway roping event with her horse, Madonna. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller and Bri Suckla chat before Friday night's opening ceremony at the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
The couple on the left became engaged to be married Friday at the Ute Mountain Roundup. (Courtesy Madelaine Gaskey)
Bobby Kerr entertains the crowd on Thursday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Children compete in mutton bustin on Thursday night during the Ute Mountain Roundup rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Employees from Blondie's served up drinks during the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Team roping had some well-known names, including Navajo cowboy and nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Derrick Begay and two-time WNFR qualifier Trey Yates, who stopped the clock at 5.9 seconds, moving them to second place on the leaderboard.

But perhaps the real star of the show was Begay’s fiance, Justine Doka.

A multievent cowgirl, she stole the show in breakaway roping, roping her calf in 2.1 seconds. This is the second year for breakaway roping in PRCA events, and Doka is working her way to qualifying for the WNFR. She is the 2011 Indian National Finals world champion breakaway roper.

Several local cowboys competed in the event, which is sanctioned by the PRCA and held at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds.

Tyler Beebe of Bayfield rode in the saddle bronc competition. He scored a 79 and tied for fifth place with Creighton Curley and Q Taylor.

Beebe learned to saddle bronc during his senior year in high school, and this is his second year as a professional. This year, he has competed in 15 events, including five PRCA rodeos and is ranked 30th.

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Ute Mountain Rodeo kicks off at Montezuma County Fairgrounds this week

“My goal is to make it to the rookie top five to qualify for the permit finals in Las Vegas in December,” he said in an interview Friday with The Journal. “The permit finals are for the new professionals working their way up.”

Beebe said the competition at the Ute Mountain Rodeo is tough.

“You got some top guys in the world. The tough competition pushes me to go for it even more, let it all hang out and hope it turns out,” Beebe said.

Before he gets on a bucking horse, he talks with the stock contractor about how that horse performs, whether it bucks left or right or swoops, and how much rein it takes.

Veterans help out the rookies too, Beebe said, letting new guys know how a specific horse will buck. A rider must stay on for at least eight seconds, and the judges rate competitors based on the rider’s technique and how high and consistent the horse bucks. A score of 100 is the highest, and top scores are typically in the high 80s and low 90s. Beebe’s best score is in the low 80s.

So, why one someone want to ride a wild horse intent on bucking them off?

Chasing the perfect saddle bronc ride is the attraction, Beebe said.

“When you and the horse have the perfect timing, it is the best time ever – classic,” he said. “It looks great when done right, and really rough when things go wrong.”

Beebe, 25, hopes to rodeo full time. If not, he can continue to work in logging or in agriculture on his family ranch. He went to Otero College on a rodeo scholarship and studied livestock production and welding.

Ignacio brothers Chance and Bodie Hine competed in team roping at the rodeo.

In the timed event, a young steer is let loose ahead of two horsemen. The first cowboy, the header, lassos it around the horns or neck then pulls away to allow the second cowboy, the heeler, to lasso the hind legs of the steer.

The complex timing and skills require a lot of practice, the Hines said. They have been rodeoing most of their lives, and just turned professional.

They attend rodeos every week. Their goal is to make the Mountain States Circuit Finals in Loveland, Colorado.

In their first professional rodeo last week in Moab, they won third place and earned prize money.

But Friday night, they were penalized 10 seconds for “breaking the barrier,” meaning the steer was chased too soon on its head start. The roping appeared to be spot-on.

Despite the disappointment, a record of 1-1 is a decent professional debut.

Bodie Hine, 18, is soaking up the experience of the pro circuit.

“I’m learning to rope faster, use my horse better, taking care of my horse and equipment better,” he said. “Another thing is to not get too pressured up before the run, just be confident all your hard work will pay off with a win.”

Chance Hine, 25, said practice and having good horses is the key to beating the best team ropers.

“We have an arena at home and practice every day. This will hopefully be our career,” he said.

Their dad taught them the fundamentals of team roping, and they pick up tips from the veterans of the sport.

The rodeo continues Saturday at 7 p.m. The band Sitton Shotgun will perform afterward.

Pro rodeo saddle bronc rider Tanner Lockhart of Mancos will compete in that event.

So far in 2022 PRCA rodeo events, Lockhart won the event in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, and took second in the Turquoise Circuit Finals. He also placed in the event in several Texas rodeos, including in Levelland, Nacogdoches, Bryan and Odessa.

Lockhart graduated from Dolores High School in 2014 and competed in the Colorado High School Rodeo Association.

He received a full rodeo scholarship to attend Western State College in Snyder, Texas. He competed in college for three years and graduated with a degree in petroleum technology.

He currently lives in Des Moines, New Mexico, where he works on a cattle ranch and operates his leather shop.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com