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Courtesy Ruth Nicolaus
91ST Annual Kansas Biggest Rodeo crowns champs, awards buckles
Phillipsburg, Kans. (August 1, 2020) – A home state cowboy came to Phillipsburg to ride and left with a gold buckle.
Bareback rider Jesse Pope, Waverly, Kan., rode the Beutler and Son Rodeo horse Anything Goes for 89.5 points to best the field by three points more than the number two man, Tilden Hooper.
Pope loved his draw. “Man, that horse is really, really strong, and just bucks. That’s what I enjoy getting on, just buckers.” He likens bareback riding to a fist fight. “I tell myself, before I get on, if you start the fight, you better finish it. And that’s what (the ride) was the whole time, a fist fight.”
Pope, who will be a junior at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., this fall, has never lost a regular season college rodeo, winning twenty consecutive rodeos. He’s a two-time Ozark Region collegiate champion (2018-2019) who is majoring in public relations.
Last year in the second week of August, he tore his hamstring at a rodeo in Lovington, N.M., taking him out of competition for ten weeks and dashing his dreams of a trip to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. This year, he’s ready. He’s ranked fourteenth in the world standings. “That’s the plan,” he said, of a Wrangler NFR trip.
The horse, Anything Goes, was the same mount that the 2019 bareback champ, Shane O’Connell, rode last year to win the rodeo.
Sterling Crawley already owns a piece of Phillipsburg rodeo hardware, and he’s taking home another one.
The saddle bronc rider scored 84.5 points on No Show Jones to be the top score for the weekend, to win the three-piece gold buckle. He won his first Phillipsburg title in 2014.
The Huntsville, Texas cowboy has made good use of his time, since COVID-19 canceled nearly three months of rodeo. He worked on his and fiancée Hanna Rose’s house, preparing for their November wedding. “I did a lot of honey-dos I’ve never gotten to in past years,” he said. “I redid the entire porch on the house, which we bought a year and a half ago. And I got more land cleared on the skid steer than I thought I’d get done in two calendar years. It’s been really good to catch up on things.”
Crawley didn’t get rusty while out of pro rodeo competition. A group of Texas stock contractors held informal buck-outs, for cowboys to stay fresh. “They bucked hard enough to show a guy where there are chinks in his armor,” Crawley said. “We got to hone things.”
Crawley has competed at six Wrangler National Finals Rodeos and is headed to his seventh, as he is ranked sixth in the world standings.
A special mare carried her barrel racer to the win for the 91st annual Kansas Biggest Rodeo.
Shelley Morgan, Eustace, Texas, rode her mare, Kiss, to make a 16.76 second run around the cloverleaf pattern.
It’s unusual for a six-year-old horse to be doing so well on the pro rodeo world, but Eustace and her husband, Rex, knew she was good. “We knew she had it in her,” she said.
Kiss, whose registered name is HR Fameskissandtell, is “all woman,” Morgan said. “She loves people, and always has. The more they pet her, the better she likes it.” But she’s also grouchy, too. “She knows she’s somebody. She knows she’s the queen of the place.”
Morgan is ranked as the number five barrel racer in the WPRA standings right now, thanks to Kiss. “She’s making this summer really fun,” Morgan said. “I’m really, really blessed and thankful and appreciative to be her person. I definitely do not take her for granted.”
Morgan’s husband, Rex, travels with her. “He drives me everywhere. He’s definitely my moral support and keeps me grounded. And I think he enjoys it as much as I do.” They have been married 28 years.
Other champions from this year’s rodeo include steer wrestlers Taz Olson, Prairie City, S.D., Clayton Hass, Weatherford, Texas and Maverick Harper, Iowa, La. (3.5 seconds each); team ropers Jeff Flenniken, Caldwell, Idaho/Tyler Worley, Berryville, Ark. (4.8 seconds); tie-down ropers Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., Justin Smith, Leesville, La., Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas (8.4 seconds each); and bull rider Shad Winn, Nephi, Utah (84.5 seconds).
The rodeo saw the most contestants it had seen in years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because more than 350 PRCA rodeos have been cancelled, remaining rodeos are seeing higher contestant numbers as contestants rodeo to make a living and qualify for the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. More than 700 cowboys and cowgirls came through the gate at Kansas Biggest Rodeo, and among them, many world champions and those in the top fifteen of the world standings.
For more information and complete rodeo results, visit www.kansasbiggestrodeo.com.
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Jesse Pope, Waverly, Kan., poses with the buckle he won as 2020 bareback riding champion at Kansas Biggest Rodeo in Phillipsburg.
It’s the second time for Sterling Crawley to win a Phillipsburg rodeo buckle. The saddle bronc rider from Huntsville, Texas won his event with an 84.5 point ride.
Final results, Kansas Biggest Rodeo, Phillipsburg, Kansas – July 30-August 1, 2020
All-around co-champions: Clayton Hass and Maverick Harper
Saddle Bronc Riding
Tie Down Roping
1.Shad Winn, Nephi, Utah 84.5 points on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s 014 Make My Day; 2. Ky Hamilton, Mackay, Australia 84; 3. Levi Gray, Klamath Falls, Ore. 83.5; 4. Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, Idaho 79; 5. Parker Cole McCown, Montgomery, Texas 78.5; 6. (tie) Brady Portenier, Caldwell, Idaho and Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla. 76 each; 8. Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, Utah 70.
** All results are unofficial. For complete results, visit www.prorodeo.com. For more information, visit www.KansasBiggestRodeo.com.
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