Sitting Bull Stampede has plenty of star power

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By Bruce Brekke, Jay Davis

With 500 cowboys and cowgirls rolling into the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo for the Fourth of July celebration, there will be several recognizable names including pro rodeo greats like: Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Paul Tierney; world champion team roping heeler, Bobby Harris; two-time world calf roping champion Troy Pruitt; two-time world champion barrel racer Kelly Kaminski; NFR barrel racing average champion, Jill Moody; and five-time NFR qualifier, six-time Badlands Circuit Finals barrel racing champion Lisa Lockhart.
They will be joined by the 2012 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo all-around champion Clay Cowan, and six-time PRCA Linderman Award winner and 11-time Dodge National Circuit Finals qualifier Kyle Whitaker, who has won the Dodge National Circuit Finals all-around title twice.
Current Badlands Circuit event leaders include: all-around, Seth Murphy; steer wrestling, Brent Sutton; team roping header, Dusty Forre and heeler, Troy Hermelbracht; Amanda Richardson in barrels; and Garrett Vig in bull riding.
Past Badlands Circuit champions include: bareback, Casey Breuer and Sam Nordick; calf roping, Jay Matteson; saddle bronc, Clay Schaefer; steer wrestling, Allen Good; team roping, Shaw Loiseau and Paul Griemsman; barrel racing champion and NFR qualifier Brittney Fleck; and bull rider Shawn Coleman.
Sutton Rodeos of Onida will provide the rodeo livestock. The Suttons, who have been in the rodeo business for more than 85 years, have had livestock selected for all but two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos. The Suttons raise more than 90 percent of their bucking horses, which over the years have included Deep Water (1979 PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year), and Tombstone (1985 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year). Sutton Rodeos swept the livestock awards at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot, N.D., in 2011, winning Bareback of the Year with Crystalyx, Saddle Bronc of the Year with Chuckulator, and Bull of the Year with Crystal Springs Peach. They are featured on the Sutton Rodeo website.
Top bucking stock Crystalyx, Chuckulator and Crystal Springs Peach will be featured in a performance along with other top stock including: bulls, Cage Fighter and Black Powder; bareback horses Lady Gaga and Campfire; saddle bronc horses, Full Metal Jacket, Time Rental, Campfire and Ruby; and upcoming stars bareback horse, Redneck, saddle bronc horse, South Point, and bull, Sandman.
This week is called Cowboy Christmas not because it is the busiest week of the rodeo season – there are a few weeks that have more events – but because the Fourth of July week offers the most money in the shortest span of time during the regular season.
This time around there will be 31 rodeos that begin and/or end during the week of July 1 through 7 with total prize money in the (ritzy) neighborhood of $3.3 million. Cowboys trying to work their way to the year-end Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will crisscross the western United States trying to compete in as many as nine rodeos and improve their standing.

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