Best in the Badlands


Pro Rodeo circuit rodeo determines champions in North, South Dakota

MINOT, N.D. (October 9, 2016) – The best of the best cowboys and cowgirls converged on Minot this weekend to duke it out, determing the Badlands Circuit champions.

The Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association designates the pro rodeos in North Dakota and South Dakota as the Badlands Circuit, and rodeo contestants who had won the most money after the season came to the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo for four performances October 5-8. The top two champs in each event, the year-end and average champions, qualify to compete at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, held in Kissimmee, Fla. April 5-8, 2018, where $1 million is up for grabs.

It came down to the last rides and runs in most events, with just a few points or seconds making the difference between champ and second place.

It was the last two rides in the bareback riding that determined the year end and average (the most points on four rides combined) champions, and Ty Breuer squeaked past Shane O’Connell by $810 and two points in the average. It was a close race from the start. “Before the last couple of rodeos,” Breuer said, “I was looking at the standings and Shane had quite a bit of a jump on me.” Breuer, of Mandan, N.D., estimates that if a cowboy is within $1,000 of the next cowboy before circuit finals, he has a chance of catching up and overtaking him at circuit finals.

“I got lucky and got within $900 before circuit finals,” he said. With each round paying $4,193, split between first through fourth places, and the average paying $8,386, split between first and fourth, there’s plenty of money up for grabs at the rodeo.

Only two points separated the two bareback riders for the average win. Breuer had 324 points on two head and O’Connell of Wall, S.D. had 322. Breuer appreciated O’Connell’s talent. “Shane rides great,” Breuer said. “It was hard to get the win against him. He’s a good rider and a good guy.” O’Connell appreciated that the victory came down to the last ride. “That’s the way it should be,” he said.

Breuer also won both the year-end and average titles at last year’s circuit finals.

The steer wrestling average title went to Cameron Morman of Glen Ullin, N.D.

The race was between Morman, Chason Floyd and Beau Franzen, but Franzen had a 5.1 second time during Sunday’s rodeo, and Floyd missed his steer, leaving the door open for Morman to walk through. He scored a time of 4.9 seconds to take the average title (18.3 seconds on four head).

“I needed to get out of the barrier and catch four steers,” he said. “That’s what I kept thinking the whole time. That’s always been the key” at circuit finals. He finished first place in the first round (4.2 seconds) and fourth place in the second round (4.4 seconds). Morman, Floyd, of Buffalo, S.D., and Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., rode Rinehart’s horse Rio, who also won the Badlands Circuit Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. “I was very fortunate Jake brought his horse and let me ride. Rio is an outstanding horse.”

This will be Morman’s second trip to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo; he qualified in 2015. The steer wrestling year-end title went to Floyd.

In the saddle bronc riding, veteran bronc rider JJ Elshere had the year-end award sewn up from the beginning.

The Hereford, S.D. man won big over July fourth rodeos and came into the circuit finals with a comfortable lead of over $8,000 over the number two cowboy, Shorty Garrett.

Elshere placed in every round, winning first in rounds one and two and fourth in rounds three and four to also win the average with a score of 321.5 points on four head.

The Badlands Circuit Finals might be considered “JJ’s house.”  “I’ve done well here,” Elshere said. “Every now and then you have a good year, and fortunately, I’ve had a couple.”

The rodeo fits him well, he said. “It’s just a great atmosphere here. It’s always fun when you get to come and hang out with everybody. It’s a pretty relaxed situation. I like that.”

The thirty-seven year old cowboy has made every circuit finals since 2003 except for two, and won the year-end title in 2006, 2007 and 2015. He has more good years in him, he hopes. He and his wife Lindsay have five sons, ages 15, twelve, eight, seven, and five, and he’d like to compete for another fifteen years, so he can ride against the youngest one. Age is just a number, Elshere said. “It feels old only if you’re counting the years. I feel like I’m still kicking.”

The team roping titles went to the duo of Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D., and Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. Olson, the header and Kasner, the heeler, won money in every round to win the year-end and the average title (22.4 seconds on four head).

The Badlands Circuit year end barrel racing winner was Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. She led the pack coming into the circuit finals aboard her six-year-old palomino, Missy. Routier never planned on trying to make the circuit finals but Missy did better than expected, handling new situations and arena conditions like a veteran horse. “She’s very smart,” Routier said. “The crowd, the noise, the commotion, nothing bothers her one bit.” Missy, whose registered name is Fiery Miss West, is owned by Gary Westergren and won the Badlands Circuit Barrel Horse of the Year.

Nikki Hansen, Dickinson, N.D. won the average title with a time of 55.09 seconds. Less than a second separated the top four cowgirls’ average times: Hansen’s 55.09, Kristi Steffes’ time of 55.41, Routier’s time of 55.55, and Erin Williams’ 55.96. Barrel racing competition in the Badlands Circuit is tough, Routier said. “The group of horses that are here this year, I think they could win anywhere across the country, every one of them. They’re really tough horses and really tough riders.”

In the bull riding, no cowboy rode all four bulls, and only one rode three. Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D., won the average title with a score of 207 points on three. He also won the year-end title. In 2014, Bertus won both titles, and in 2012-2013, he won the average.

Tie-down roping titles went to Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. for the year-end and Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D. for the average.

The Rookie of the Year was awarded to Tucker White, Hershey, Neb., and the all-around went to Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D.

Awards were also given to the Badlands bareback horse, saddle bronc, and bull of the finals and the year. Chuckulator won Bareback Horse of the Finals, West Coast Kitty won Saddle Bronc of the Finals, and the bull High Roller won Bull of the Finals. All three are owned by Sutton Rodeo, Onida, S.D.

For the year-end awards, the Bareback Horse of the Year went to Hard Hat, Sutton Rodeo. The Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year was won by Spider, Bailey Rodeo, and the Bull of the Year was tied between Candy Crush and Judas, both owned by Sutton Rodeo.

The 2018 Miss Rodeo North Dakota was crowned. Hope Ebel, the former Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo queen, won the title. The nineteen year old, a resident of Zeeland, N.D., is a student at North Dakota State University, majoring in animal science. She hopes to study to be a veterinarian after she serves as Miss Rodeo North Dakota.

The Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo is a not-for-profit venture by the YMCA Men of Minot, N.D. Proceeds from each year’s rodeo benefit the Triangle Y Camp at Lake Sakakawea, near Garrison, N.D. Next year’s Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo will be October 4-7, 2018. Hess and 4- Bears Casino & Lodge are proud sponsors of the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo. National sponsors include Wrangler, Justin Boots, Las Vegas, Experience Kissimmee, Ram, and Montana Silversmiths.


– ### –

Bull rider Jeff Bertus was the only cowboy to make three qualified rides at the 2017 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot. The Avon, S.D. cowboy won the year-end and average titles and will represent the Badlands Circuit at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Florida next year. Photo by Peggy Gander.
JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D., won the saddle bronc riding year-end and average titles at the 2017 Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot. Elshere has qualified for the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo at least a dozen times, and has won several titles at it. Photo by Peggy Gander.


Ram Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, Minot, ND

4th performance October 8, 2017

Year end and average winners for the Badlands Circuit


All-around Champion:  Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D.

All-around champion for the Finals: Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D.


Bareback riding

Bareback Riding Year End Champion: Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.

Bareback Riding Average Champion: Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.


4th go round results:

  1. Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D. 80.5 points on Korkow’s Gun It; 2. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 78.5; 3. Joe Gunderson, Gettysburg, S.D., 75; 4. Steven DeWolfe-Shadeed, Buffalo Gap, S.D., 71.


Average results:

  1. Ty Breuer, Mandan, ND. 324 points on 4 head; 2. Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, S.D. 322; 3. Joe Gunderson, Gettysburg, S.D. 298.5; 4. Nick Schwedhelm, Sioux Falls, S.D. 286


Steer Wrestling

Steer Wrestling Year End Champion:  Chason Floyd, Buffalo, S.D.

Steer Wrestling Average Champion: Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D.


4th go round results:

  1. (tie) Jake Kraupie, Bridgeport, Neb., and Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. 3.7 seconds each; 3. Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., 3.8; 4. Taz Olson, Prairie City, S.D., 4.1.


Average results:

  1. Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D. 18.3 seconds on 4 head; 2. Beau Franzen, Sidney, Mont. 20.3; 3. Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. 22.3; 4. Forest Sainsbury, Camp Crook, S.D. 24.3.



Team Roping

Team Roping Year End Champion Header:   Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D.

Heeler:  Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb.

Team Roping Average Champion Header: Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D.

Heeler:   Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb.


4th go round results:

  1. Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D./ Jade Nelson, Midland, S.D., 4.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyrell Moody, Edgemont, S.D./ Elliott Gourneau, Kennebec, S.D., and Cooper White, Hershey, Neb./ Tucker White, Hershey, Neb. 5.7 each; 4. Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D./ Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. 6.8.


Average results:

  1. Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D./Matt Kasner, Cody, Neb. 22.4 on 4 head; 2. Jason Thorstenson, Rapid City, S.D./J.D. Gerard, Kennebec, S.D. 35.5; 3. Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D./Jade Nelson, Midland, S.D. 21.3; 4. Wyatt Bice, Killdeer, N.D./Derick Fleming, Killdeer, N.D. 28.0.


Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle Bronc Year End Champion: JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D.

Saddle Bronc Average Champion:  JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D.


4th go round results:

  1. Ty Manke, Hermosa, S.D. 84.5 on Korkow’s Duck Butter; 2. Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D., 82; 3. (tie) JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D., and Jade Blackwell, Rapid City, S.D., 79 each.


Average results:

  1. JJ Elshere, Hereford, S.D. 321.5 on 4 head; 2. Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D. 316.5; 3. Ty Manke, Hermosa, S.D. 311.5; 4. Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D. 302.5.



Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing Year End Champion: Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D.

Barrel Racing Average Champion:  Nikki Hansen, Dickinson, N.D.


4th go round results:

  1. Nikki Hansen, Dickinson, N.D. 13.70 seconds; 2. Kristi Steffes, Vale, S.D. 13.77; 3. Jackie Schau, Almont, N.D. 13.84; 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D. 13.86.


Average results:

  1. Nikki Hansen, Dickinson, N.D. 55.09 seconds on 4 runs; 2. Kristi Steffes, Vale, S.D. 55.41; 3. Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. 55.55; 4. Erin Williams, Dickinson, N.D. 55.96.


Tie-down Roping

Tie Down Roping Year End Champion: Trey Young, Dupree, S.D.

Tie Down Roping Average Champion: Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D.


4th go round results:

  1. Cole W Hatzenbuehler, Solen, N.D. 8.5 seconds; 2. Jess Woodward, Dupree, S.D. 8.7; 3. Riley Wakefield, O’Neill, Neb. 8.9; 4. Justin Scofield, Wessington Springs, S.D. 9.0.



Average results:

  1. Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D. 36.9 seconds on 4 runs; 2. Jess Woodward, Dupree, S.D. 40.4; 3. Trey Young, Dupree, S.D. 43.2; 4. Cole Hatzenbuehler, Solen, N.D. 66.4.


Bull Riding

Bull Riding Year End Champion: Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D.

Bull Riding Average Champion:  Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D.


4th go round results:

  1. Riley Blankenship, Killdeer, N.D. 77.5 points on Bailey Pro Rodeo’s Say When; 2. Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D., 46; no other qualified rides.


Average results:

  1. Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D 207 points on 3 head; 2. Tate Smith, Litchville, N.D. 170 on 2 head; 3. Taylor Miller, Faith, S.D. 145.5; 4. Tyler Viers, Comstock, Neb. 82.5 on 1 head.


** All results are unofficial.  For more information, visit and

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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