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Ferley and West tie for top honors at Matched Bronc Ride

The much anticipated Match-ed Bronc Ride lived up to and surpassed all expectations Thursday night, June 14.

Twenty-five top quality saddle bronc riders were pitted against some very young and inexperience broncs in the first two gos. While those rides made for some great photos the scores were on the low side. Eight of the 25 lost the match to their rides. Another two riders failed to break a score of sixty and seven didn't break 70.

Making it to the second go were Jeff Willert, Belvidere, with 80 points on Carnival Ride; Branden West, Philip, 80, Repeat Offender; Jamie Willert, Kadoka, 75, Awesome Moon; Jeremy Meeks, Interior, 74, Mo Jo; Ty Kennedy, Philip, 74, War Wagon; Ryan Elshere, Elm Springs, 72, Moon Motion; Chad Ferley, Olerichs, 71, Moon Shine; Red Lemmel, Faith, 70, Fully Charged; Ty Manke, Hermosa, 68, Surprise; Marty Heeb, Eagle Butte, 68, Road Trip; Zach West, Philip, 67, Neon Moon and Jake Costello, Newell, 67, Moon Cat.

The second round had been set up for 12 riders but with the second to last place 3-way tie and tie for last, 13 riders advanced.

All but one rider, Jamie Willert, scored on their rides. Willert's luck of the draw was not good that night. He had two horses go down on him in the second round and he opted not to try for a third.

Going into the final round were Lemmel, 82 on Baldie; Ferley, 79, Pocohantas; B. West, 78, Shotgun; Z. West, 76, Slinkey; Jeremy Meeks, 74, Juke Box; and Elshere, 73, Road Rage.

The final go was reserved for the horses that have made the trip to the National Finals Rodeo. These are the horses where a rider can score high, if the rider stays with him.

Tying for the top with scores of 86 were Ferley and West. Ferley and West rode Big Ugly and Queenie, respectively to the top of the third go.

The lowest scoring ride, which in many places would have won some money, was brought in by Meeks with an 80 on Free Sample. Fifth place went to B. West with an 83 on River Rat. He was beat out by one point by Elshere on Vidalia. The third spot went to the old man of the bunch, Lemmel with an 84 on Deadman's Hand.

Lemmel, at 44-years-of-age, doesn't see himself quitting yet. "I feel good and I'm not hurting," he said. This from a man that is competing with men half his age and still staying in the top of the game.

Branden West, who coordinated the Matched Bronc Ride, reported that the total payout for prize money was $4,500. Each round's winners received a pay check with the big money being paid in the final go.

More than 1,400 adults and children enjoyed the night's events. An entire buffalo was consumed by the crowd within four hours. The buffalo was made into burgers, brats and ground meat made into sloppy joes that was donated by Prairie Moon Tannery and the 73- Saloon.