By Chuck Coon
The rodeo arena in Casper was filled with true rodeo fans last weekend starting with morning slack Friday. Slack is a time to allow the large number of timed event contestants the same chance at winning as those who are drawn into the regular performance. We caught up with a couple of Wyoming steer wrestlers, Les Shepperson and Jason Miller, there and the relaxed atmosphere of slack is why to me it is one of the best ways there is to learn about, and enjoy, rodeo. Both Les and Jason have been hobbled by injuries the last couple of years and they are feeling much better for 2011. Shepperson says he is all the way back to his best and he was in the money after slack was finished. Jason still has to work on his considerable strength but expects to be at 100 percent by January.
Another Team Wyoming poke, Jhett Johnson, provided steers at the Casper event. And his team roping student – Kelly Timberman, gave it a toss but came away with no time. Kelly Timberman a team roper, you say? Well, yes Kelly is actually learning two timed events. He was also out in steer wrestling and turned one down in a respectable 8.1 seconds. Not bad for a fellow who is stretched to be 5’8” and has recently lost thirteen pounds from his muscular frame that is now carrying fewer than 150.
The 2004 world champion bareback rider from Mills, WY was on his true calling Saturday night and rode to a winning score of 86 points for a share of his third title at the LeDoux rodeo. We visited with Timberman afterward when an introduction to his new rigging, strapped for a maiden voyage, was also forthcoming:
Savage Tops Bulls
“We got them in without anybody getting hurt,” said a relieved Hal Burns after prepping for the last section of bull riding Saturday night. The Burns Rodeo Co. of Laramie’s boss brought a bunch of 3-year-olds in for the event and he described bucking bulls of that age as much more than unruly. They are also unpredictable, petulant, and can be downright wild.
Clayton Savage of Casper sat on one of those critters and brought the crowd to its feet at the Ledoux Tribute Rodeo. He stayed through the eight-second gong and left the arena with the night’s high score, 83 points. Savage says he’s grown “wiser” in recent months and is now among the growing number of pro bull riders who wear helmet protection. He knew what to expect in preparation for his winning spin Saturday night:
Savage is a proud member of the Team Wyoming cadre of bull riders that also includes Seth Glause of Rock Springs, Bobby Welsh of Gillette and Kanin Asay from Powell – a threesome that will compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas next month.
The Tuckness Tango
Bullfighter Dusty Tuckness was sore on Sunday. He was knocked around and “took a hookin’” enough Saturday night at the Casper rodeo to qualify for a pro rodeo version of a Purple Heart. (By the way, our thoughts and thanks go out to all Vets as we remember their service officially tomorrow.) This bout which left a Casper bull rider immobile for a time could have been much more hurtful to the rider if not for Dusty and partner Jess Griffin: