SENTINEL BUTTE — Chuck Schmidt found a place among his heroes Saturday afternoon at the 56th annual Champions Ride Saddle Bronc Match at Home on the Range.
A National Finals Rodeo qualifier last season, the 24-year-old cowboy from just across the state line in Keldron, S.D., won the first Champions Ride of his career — and he did so in dominant fashion.
Schmidt led the long round with an 88-point ride on Power House and pulled off an 87 on Sweatin’ Bullets to win the Jim and Tom Tescher Championship Round. Event officials said it is likely the first time a cowboy has won both the long and short rounds of the match since the format was introduced.
“A lot of my heroes used to win this,” Schmidt said. “Marty Jandreau, Brad Gjermundson, Jesse Bail — all the guys I grew up idolizing. To win this just like they did, it means a lot to me.”
Schmidt, who won more than $12,000 for his efforts, didn’t seem to have any problems in the saddle.
He set the pace early in the long round and gave himself the opportunity at the first draw in the championship round.
That played to Schmidt’s advantage more than he even hoped when he drew the exact horse he wanted.
“When I was waiting to draw my short-round horse that was the one I wanted,” he said. “When I drew him I was like, ‘I can’t believe it.’”
Isaac Diaz of Desdemona, Texas, looked to give Schmidt a run for his money with the final ride of the championship round. But, judges gave Diaz an 85 on Bugs Bunny, perhaps the toughest in a corral full of J-Bar-J broncs at the match.
Troy Crowser of Whitewood, S.D., had an 84, Andy Clarys of Mandan an 82 and Dickinson’s Dusty Hausauer scored an 81 to round out the top five.
Most of the cowboys sprinted from the match to charter planes waiting to take them to their next rodeo.
Hausauer, who flew to a rodeo in Canada immediately after the match, had a 77 on Scarecrow in the long round and rode Strokers Ace in the short round.
“They definitely didn’t short me any,” he said. “That horse was really good. I could have rode a lot better. Any horse in the finals, a guy gets a little nervous when you’re drawing because every one of them has been to the NFR.”
Hausauer, who hasn’t been back to the NFR since his lone appearance in 2008, said he is having a strong season free of injuries that had hindered him in recent years.
“I’ve been placing quite a bit,” he said. “I’ve just been getting back from having a bad last two years, being hurt. So it’s been going good.”
— Brothers Cody and Rhys Angland of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, each reached the championship round. Rhys got there on a 81-point re-ride while Cody had a 78. Rhys had a 78 in the short round while Cody got bucked.
— Two young area Champions Ride rookies had mixed results. Richardton’s Dalton Rixen, a recent high school graduate, scored a 72 while Belfield’s Ian Fugere, just one year removed from high school was bucked off Gringo, a NFR bronc.
Champions Ride Saddle Bronc Match
At Home on the Range, Sentinel Butte
Long round (top 12 advance to short round)
1, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., 88. 2, Andy Clarys, Mandan, 83. 3, Rhys Angland, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia. 4, Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D., 80. 5, Kaleb Asay, Powell, Wyo., 79. 6 (tie), Cody Angland, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, 78; J.J. Elshere, Hereford, S.D., 78; Tyrel Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 78; Ty Thompson, Wanblee, S.D., 78. 10, Dusty Hausauer, Dickinson, 77. 11, Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas, 75. 12, Ty Manke, Rapid City, S.D., 74.
13 (tie), Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., 72; Brett Burman, Glendive, Mont., 72; Jake Costello, Newell, S.D., 72; Dalton Rixen, Richardton, 72; Jamie Willert, Kadoka, S.D., 72. 19, Lane Stirling, Newell, S.D., 71. 20, Adam Gilchrist, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, 69. 21 (tie), Hugh Connolly, Golden Valley, 68; Chase Kukuchka, Dickinson, 68; Travis Escott, Faith, S.D., 68. 24, Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 58. 25, Sandy Bobb Forbes, Kaycee, Wyo., 51.
No scores: Chad Braden, Hays, Kan.; Louis Brunson, Interior, S.D.; Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D.; Ian Fugere, Belfield; Clay Gruel, Great Falls, Mont.; Clay Schaeffer, Dickinson; Wace Snook, Hulett, Wyo.
Jim and Tom Tescher Championship Round
1, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., 87, $10,000. 2, Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas, 85, $5,000. 3, Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D., 84, $2,500. 4, Andy Clarys, Mandan, 82, $2,000. 5, Dusty Hausauer, Dickinson, 81, $1,500. 6, Tyrel Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 79, $1,000. 7, Rhys Angland, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, 78, $500. 8, Kaleb Asay, Powell, Wyo., 72, $500.
No scores: Cody Angland, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia; J.J. Elshere, Hereford, S.D.; Ty Manke, Rapid City, S.D., Ty Thompson, Wanblee, S.D.Talk about it