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MINOT, N.D. (October 9, 2016) –A lucky few in Minot, N.D. this weekend have won themselves a trip to Kissimmee, Florida next year.
The winning cowboys and cowgirls in each of seven events at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo, will go on to represent North Dakota and South Dakota next spring at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR) in Kissimmee April 6-9, 2017.
For a few cowboys, their ticket was punched well before they came to Minot. For others, it came down to the final performance on Sunday, October 9. Year-end winners who won the most money throughout the season, and average winners, those who earned the most points or had the fastest times throughout the four performances in Minot, will compete at the RNCFR.
He has a busy fall and winter ahead of him; he gets married to fiancée Kelli Nutter in two weeks, then has qualified to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in early December. This will be his second time to compete at the Wrangler NFR.
However, the neighborhood connection is only a part of what makes Wayne, a 10-year old, dapple gray quarter horse, and Ruby Trahan O’Connor a champion barrel racing team. O’Connor says she’s fortunate to have a great teacher too, Wayne’s owner, Judy Myllymaki.
O’Connor who cares for Myllymaki’s horses on her ranch said she was encouraged to ride Wayne to keep him fit and on top of his game.
“She likes to watch him run,” O’Connor said.
Myllymaki, who is in her 70s competed since she was a young girl and only dismounted the saddle a bit more than a year ago to recover from an injury.
O’Connor said Judy watched her ride and told her she knew she had what it takes to become a championship caliber barrel racer.
O’Connor competed in rodeos more than 10 years ago, but had to stop due to the cost of travel and completion but the biggest reason was family-related — the birth of her first child.
However, O’Connor did not leave the world of riding and tending to horses. She helps Myllymaki take care of the ranch and now practices at there.
That’s as high as you can be and you get to do it 10 nights in a row. That has helped compel me to want to get back,’ she said. ‘The pressure is different because last year my main goal was winning Rookie of the Year. After that, the next thing is to win the world and it’s a different pressure.
‘This year, I’ve got the WNFR made and it’s striving to win a gold buckle.’
Ganter made her first rodeo appearance in her hometown since winning the rookie title on Thursday at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo.
After the inconsistencies of her rookie season, Ganter has implemented a lot of what she learned as a rookie to help avoid the dreaded ‘sophomore slump.’
arleton State University’s Rodeo Hall of Fame celebrates the induction of five new members during the sixth annual steak dinner and auction Saturday, Nov. 12, at the City Hall venue at City Limits.
Inductees are Richard “Tooter” Waites, Ronnie Ray, Levi Garcia, Kurt Kiehne and Debbie Garison.
The annual steak dinner and auction, which benefits the Tarleton Rodeo Program’s scholarship fund, begins at 6 p.m. with an auction reception and preview mixer at the City Hall venue, followed by the Rodeo Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 7 p.m., dinner and a live auction.
Admission to the event is $40 per person and includes dinner. Tickets are available for purchase through the day of the induction ceremony and auction, or by contacting the Office of Rodeo Activities at 254-968-9344 or 254-968-9187.
She currently sits in second place in the national standings with winnings of $113,333 but trails Mary Burger of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, by nearly $75,000. The winner receives a golden belt buckle — a motivator that has Ganter working hard to improve on last season’s performance.
‘Last year was my first year and I didn’t really know any of the arenas,’ Ganter said. ‘I kind of learned which horses ran well at different places, and this year I knew the arenas so it wasn’t a shock when I got to them.’
She ran Thursday night at the Taylor County Coliseum after having been in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the previous night. It was her first time to be home since early May, Ganter said.
Ganter had a home-field advantage of sorts being from Abilene and having experience both as a high schooler and a professional running on the dirt that is used at the venue.
‘There are some things that I know since I live here that other people don’t,’ Ganter said. ‘One of those is that the ground gets faster as the week goes on and stuff like that which could potentially help me.’
She didn’t have the run she had hoped for on Thursday, knocking over one of three barrels to incur a five-second penalty. It came aboard Guys French Jet, which Ganter rode at the WNFR last year.