Philip's Second Annual Invitational Matched Bronc Ride another success

The big rodeo event that was held in conjunction with Philip's Centennial last year, held its own this year. The second annual Invitational Matched Bronc Ride on Friday, June 20, in the Philip Roping Arena was a sold-out, standing-room-only success.

The promise of a good show had a build up of a buffalo burger feed offered by the Philip Chamber of Commerce and other sponsors. Audience members also received free posters, or could use their programs, to get autographs of many of the famous bronc riders.

Six chutes and a trained crew of arena workers helped the between-ride action go smoothly. Though there were more bleachers set up than last year, many of the audience preferred to stand, either in the back rows of the bleachers or right up against the fence.

After the dust settled from round one, 12 of the 25 bronc riders remained in the competition. The riding was spectacular, with the Gifford ranch winning the livestock contractors' $1,000 prize for the best performing horses. There were five contractors with five horses each, but only one winner. Which cowboy would ride which horse in round one had not been determined until just three evenings before. Each round's winners earned prize money.

Matt Hebert of Hyannis, NE, won the first round by riding the Gifford bronc Kitten Got Claws. Chad Ferley of Oelrichs, SD, rode Morrison's Preacher's Wife to go on to the second round. JJ Elshere of Quinn, SD, stayed on the Longbrake bronc Witches Ladder for eight seconds and a good show. Jeff Willert of Belvidere, SD, scored well on Clear The Deck from the Gifford stock.

Tyler Corington of Hastings, WY, stayed on Cruella Deville of the Longbrake brand. Philip's own Zach West rode the Longbrake bronc Smitty. Another Philip legend, Ty Kennedy, earned the right to move up with his ride atop Larsen's Side Show. Dean Wadsworth from Ozona, TX, stayed with Larsen's Bad River.

Ryan Elshere of Elm Springs, SD, stayed in the saddle of Wilson, a Meeks bronc. OJ Heidler, who hails from Faith, SD, survived the Morrison bronc Hammer Down. Also from Faith, seasoned cowboy Red Lemmel outrode Gifford's Out And About. Rounding out the top 12 was Hugh Connely from Golden Valley, ND, who gave a show for the audience from on top of Gifford's Sleepy Cat.

The other cowboys entertained the audience with excellent attempts or with rides that in most other competitions would have been in the money. Those famous names included Jeremey Meeks (Interior, SD), Ty Thompson (Wanblee, SD), Branden West (Philip, SD), Jake Costello (Newell, SD), DJ Martin (Faith, SD), Eric Addison (Midland, SD), Wade Yost (Ree Heights, SD), Cole Elshere (Faith, SD), Kaden Deal (Eagle Butte, SD), Cole Hindman (Kadoka, SD), Rollie Wilson (Wasta, SD), Jamie Willert (Kadoka, SD) and Cody Angland (Queensland, Australia).

The Progressive Round saw livestock from the Wild Ride Pen of the world-famous T.J. Korkow Rodeo Company. When the audience finally took a breath from cheering, the top six cowboys had not only stayed in the saddle, but had impressed the judges and the audience.

Ferley rode the up-and-coming bronc Rose Bush to earn a spot in the third and final Short Round. JJ Elshere stayed in the saddle of Sunday Feathers. Ryan Elshere could not be thrown by Arikara. Willert scored well in his ride on top of the bronc Danni. Heidler stayed atop Angel Eyes and Corington stayed in the saddle of Cherry Velvet.

The Short Round pitted the six top riders so far against six PRCA National Finals Rodeo Korkow broncs. Heidler earned the lowest score, though still a very impressive 83.5 points, atop Free Sample to earn sixth place. Corington stayed with River Rat to receive 84 points and fifth place. R. Elshere rode Bob for an impressive 84.5, while JJ Elshere got 87 points for his staying on Carnival Ride. Second place went to Ferley, who stayed aboard the world champion Queenie and was given 89 points by the judges. Last year, Ferley had tied for top money in the final go-round with Zach West. This year, taking top honors for earning 89.5 points while riding the world champion bronc Vidalia, was Willert.