More than 47,000 people flock to St. Paul to witness the towns annual rodeo competition

by: PHOTO BY GARY ALLEN - The Bareback Riding competition (above) provided the St. Paul Rodeos biggest payout this year. Cody DeMers of Kimberly, Idaho won the event for the second time in the past three years after scoring 86 points on Growney Bros. Rodeos Bittersweet to earn $10,465. DeMers was one of 10 champions named at this years rodeo.Cody DeMers got a second chance in St. Paul, and it was worth it.

The first horse the 2013 St. Paul Rodeo Bareback Riding champion got on didn’t buck well enough to give the cowboy a chance to show his best, so the judges determined that DeMers should get a re-ride — a second horse — and DeMers took that option.

It happened a lot quicker than the cowboy from Kimberly, Idaho expected. Protocol is that the re-ride is usually given in the next event, but DeMers had to be ready sooner.

He told the livestock crew, “I promise I’ll be ready if you run (the horse) into the chutes now, and I only had two horses to get ready. I was going 100 miles per hour to get my rigging on him.”

DeMers scored 86 points on Bittersweet, a horse from the Growney Bros. Rodeo Co. that he was not sure of until he got on, he said in a press release. “They threw a number (the brand) at me, and I was in a hurry. I knew I recognized that horse, but I couldn’t place him,” he said.

It wasn’t until Growney Bros. hand Tim Bridwell told him it was Bittersweet that he recognized the horse.

“I knew I had a pretty good shot (at a good score.) That’s a pretty nice horse.”

DeMers was one of 10 champions at the St. Paul Rodeo last week. Just behind the four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo veteran was Jake Wright, who took home the Saddle Bronc championship with 84 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s “Lucky You.” Wright was one of five brothers — along with Cody, Alex, Jesse and Spencer — who entered in this year’s rodeo.

“That’s just really rare,” said Kevin Smith, St. Paul Rodeo committee secretary of the five brothers. “I doubt that’s ever happened.”

Rounding out the roughstock events was Shane Proctor in Bull Riding, who won $9,411 on a score of 88 points on Flying Diamond Rodeo’s “Fudge.” Proctor also won the All-Around Cowboy award. No rider won any money in two different events, so the All-Around award was given to the highest earner out of any competitors who was in two events.

In the timed events, Brittany Pozzi continued a reign of success that has lasted nearly a decade. The barrel racer from Victoria, Texas, won her fifth championship in the past eight years at St. Paul after claiming the WPRA Barrel Race title with a time of 17.14 seconds.

In Tie-down Roping, Nate Baldwin took home the championship with a combined time of 17.6 seconds on two runs. Jake Rinehart had the top time in Steer Wrestling to win the event with a combined time of 7.5 seconds.

The final timed event went to Team Roping champions Tate Kirchenschlager and Will Woodfin, who finished with a combined time of 10.1 seconds to take the top spot.

In the Professional Bull Riding event on July 2, Cody Tyler White took home $4,718 after placing fourth in the long go-around and first in the short go-around for a combined score of 173 points.

White originally wasn’t going to participate in the rodeo. The Choctaw, Okla. bull rider was an alternate on the list of PBR bull riders for the event in St. Paul tonight, and when there were some no-shows, there was a spot for him.

So he got on — and ended up winning the entire event. Out of 35 bull riders, he was the only man to ride both bulls.

In his first go-round, White scored 82.5 points on Corey & Lange’s “Tornado Alley,” placing him fourth overall. In the second, White drew Kish Bucking Bulls’ “Blue Light Special” and placed first with a score of 90.5.

Overall, Smith was satisfied with the attendance at this year’s rodeo.

“We’re pretty pleased with the weather man,” said Smith. “The break in the weather made a huge difference here.”

Although temperatures topped 90 degrees throughout the first few days of the event, the thermostat began to drop toward the weekend when the busiest crowds arrived.

Smith estimates roughly 47,000 people saw a performance during the week, putting the event’s attendance numbers in the top three since the rodeo started in 1936.

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