Rookie makes statement at Nothin’ But Try Steer Wrestling Jackpot
Written by: Susan Kanode< Back to Articles
Coleman, Oklahoma (May 14, 2019) — The sixth annual Nothin’ But Try Steer Wrestling jackpot saw a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rookie contender finish as the champion.
Denell Henderson from Damascus, Arkansas won the event with a time of 14.3 seconds on three steers earning $2,784. Henderson is leading the race for this year’s PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year in steer wrestling. He finished ahead of several Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifiers and the 2017 world champion Tyler Pearson at the jackpot on May 11th.
It was the first time that Henderson has competed here, but it probably won’t be the last. Henderson stopped the clock in 4.2 seconds to finish second in the first round. He was solid in the second round and entered the finals in a three-way tie for first place with 9.5 seconds. Then he dropped his final steer in 4.8 seconds to win the title. Along with a nice check, he also got a Nothin’ But Try championship buckle that features Levi Wisness’s brand.
The event was held at the U-Cross Arena in Coleman and was organized by NFR qualifier Sean Mulligan. Mulligan started the jackpot in 2014 to honor his friend and fellow steer wrestler Levi Wisness. A Nothin But Try scholarship had been started in his name in 2009. The jackpot has raised over $20,000 for the scholarship.
“Levi was important to college rodeo and no one ever doubted that he would be competing at the NFR one day,” Mulligan said. “He was proud of his education and success in college and was one of the top steer wrestlers in the PRCA before the cancer. It made sense that we would put together an event that covered all of those bases.”
Wisness was the 2003 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association champion steer wrestler. He also was a student director for the Central Rocky Mountain Region. He graduated from the University of Wyoming, which is also Mulligan’s alma mater.
After treatment and surgery for a brain tumor he was making his competition comeback. The rodeo world was devastated to learn of his unexpected passing in 2008.
This year, a team roping and cornhole tournament were added to the activities. Tyler Pearson, the 2017 world champion steer wrestler and former NFR qualifier Dane Hanna won that event and over $800. Pearson also was part of the winning team in the cornhole tournament, so he got the all-around trophy, a custom coat rack.
Custom shaving kits th donated by Martin Saddlery were given to the first and second round winners in the steer wrestling. Plenty of food was available thanks to current world champion saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell who roasted a pig. Donations were taken and added to the fund.
When it was all said and done, $4,500 was added to the scholarship fund. More importantly, the participants all had a good time.
“This was a blast,” Dennell said. “This is one of the better jackpots that I’ve ever been too. It was fun to come hang out with everybody. I’ve been staying at Sean’s all week helping him get ready, so to finish this way was awesome. It means a lot.”
Henderson played basketball in college and could possibly have played in the pros. He chose a different lifestyle and this summer will be traveling with Mulligan and working towards a Resistol Rookie of the Year title. He was the champion last December at the PRCA Permit Member of the Year Challenge and is looking forward to another trip to Las Vegas to compete at the NFR.
“I think this event was the best we’ve had yet,” Mulligan added. “We couldn’t do it without sponsors and help and we get a lot of help. But as long as everybody has fun and people want to contribute, we will keep it going. It’s a great way to remember Levi.”
Cinch Jeans and Shirts as well as the Mitchell family; Cosequin Equine; the SportZone; Groveton Insurance; Zesterra Animal Health; and Flying C Rodeo have supported the event from the beginning. Other supporters include Chugwater Chili; Blue Bunny Ice Cream; Sundell Performance Horses; Martin Saddlery; Tres Rios Buckles; U-Cross Arena; The Corner Market; Cow Horse Supply and the Wisness family.