2024 WRPR Rodeo wrap up

A bucking bronco accomplishes his mission after he quickly bucks a cowboy out of the saddle. Joseph Frederick photo.

BY TINA L. SCOTT
EDITOR

The Lincoln County Rodeo Association, Inc. (LCRA) wrapped up their 35th season of professional rodeo with the conclusion of their three-day Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo at the Merrill Fair Grounds in Merrill on June 7, 8, and 9, 2024.
Bryan Bloch, President of the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Committee, estimated Friday evening’s rodeo drew 2,300 attendees; Saturday evening drew 2,700 attendees; and Sunday afternoon drew 1,800, for a total of 6,800 attendees at the actual performances. But not everyone came just to watch the rodeo. With food trucks and vendors, Bloch estimated there were between 14,000 and 15,000 people on the grounds who came to eat, enjoy the music, shop, and just look around.
Focused on “a weekend of action-packed western family fun,” the event brought professional cowboys and cowgirls from all over Wisconsin plus Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Michigan, and even Tennessee, Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Arkansas to compete in this Great Lakes Circuit event. What most people don’t know is that the women’s barrel racing event is so popular, they can’t fit all those competitors in within the three scheduled rodeo performances, so the “overflow” competitors (selected by random drawing) competed in the “Slack” competition on Saturday morning before the tractor pull. Thirty-five cowgirls competed in the Slack this season.
Cowboys and girls with local roots were also in this year’s competitive lineup, including Brook Essenberg and Katie VanDerGeest of Merrill. Several other competitors came from nearby – including at least one each from Wausau, Antigo, Mosinee, and Marshfield.
Regardless of which date or time these cowboys and cowgirls compete, they are all in competition with each other for the overall results.
Awards
Clay Clayman won The All Around Cowboy Award and was the recipient of the annual Gary VanDerGeest Memorial Saddle, $1,227, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and team roping.
Rhonda Casey won the Ladies Barrel Racing Saddle Award, $1,559.
Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Permit Section standings
Bareback riding: 1. Drew Lind, 66 points on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s No. U0, $526; no other qualified rides.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Kyle Cavender, 72 points on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s No. P0, $496; 2. Christopher Nelson, 69, $372; 3. Dylan Suhr, 58.5, $248; 4. Mike Berger, 55, $124.
Bull riding: No qualified rides.
Total payoff: $2,294. Stock contractor: Barnes PRCA Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Martha Martin. Officials: Leo Cozzitorto and Jeri Rhine. Timers: Elizabeth Aker and Paige Molburg. Announcer: Kelly Kenney. Specialty act: Ronald Burton. Bullfighters: Luke Moore and Miles Jones. Clown/barrelman: Ronald Burton. Flankmen: Hoss Molburg and Micah Barnes. Chute boss: Marty Barnes. Pickup men: Dan Owens and Jeff Rector. Music director: Mark Evans. Photographer: Doug Jorgensen.
Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo standings
All-around cowboy: Clay Clayman, $1,227, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and team roping.
Bareback riding: 1. (tie) Briar Dittmer, on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s No. J9, and Tanner Fine, on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s No. D6, 78 points, $916 each; 3. Drew Lind, 74, $569; 4. Shannon Warren, 71, $379; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: 1. Clay Clayman, 4.4 seconds, $1,227; 2. Ben Kilburg, 5.0, $1,015; 3. Austin Schneider, 5.3, $804; 4. Jesse Vesperman, 5.6, $592; 5. (tie) Tyler Mann and Cody Metsker, 5.8, $296 each.
Team roping: 1. Henry Dean/J.W. Nelson, 5.5 seconds, $1,738 each; 2. Tye Casey/Justin England, 7.5, $1,438; 3. Chance Oftedahl/Brent Miller, 7.8, $1,139; 4. Judd Grover/Clay Ellis, 12.4, $839; 5. Logan Allen/Jordan Rohlk, 15.8, $539; 6. Ryan Richert/Richard Schlough, 16.6, $300.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Wade Sundell, 81 points on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s Gilbert, $1,173; 2. Trey Watts, 77.5, $888; 3. (tie) Chance Masters and Cash Owens, 72, $533 each; 5. Mike Berger, 67, $249; 6. Christopher Nelson, 66, $178.
Tie-down roping: 1. Cody Huber, 9.1 seconds, $1,329; 2. Kadin Boardman, 9.9, $1,100; 3. Blake Ash, 10.3, $871; 4. Coy Nelson, 10.5, $642; 5. JB Bound, 10.9, $412; 6. Coltin Rauch, 11.3, $229.
Barrel racing: 1. Ronda Casey, 16.46 seconds, $1,559; 2. Lindsey Beech, 16.64, $1,337; 3. Katie Chism, 16.69, $1,114; 4. Jamie Lenzner, 16.70, $965; 5. Lexi Hall, 16.77, $743; 6. Sandi Brandli, 16.80, $594; 7. (tie) Josie Cole and Kari Diedrich, 16.88, $371 each; 9. Codi Harman, 16.90, $223; 10. Jayda Tolle, 16.94, $149.
Bull riding: 1. Cody McElroy, 81 points on Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s Marciano, $1,290; 2. Colton Byram, 80, $977; no other qualified rides.
Total payoff: $41,260. Stock contractor: Barnes PRCA Rodeo. Sub-contractor: Redline Pro Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Martha Martin. Officials: Leo Cozzitorto and Jeri Rhine. Timers: Elizabeth Aker and Paige Molburg. Announcer: Kelly Kenney. Specialty act: Ronald Burton. Bullfighters: Luke Moore and Miles Jones. Clown/barrelman: Ronald Burton. Flankmen: Hoss Molburg and Micah Barnes. Chute boss: Marty Barnes. Pickup men: Dan Owens and Jeff Rector. Music director: Mark Evans. Photographer: Doug Jorgensen.
Women’s standings (from Women’s Professional Rodeo Association)
Open Race (Sat/Sun) (Barrels) – 1st Go: 1. McKayla Zimbauer, 14.466, $300.00; 4. Brielle Washatko, 14.771, $150.00
Open Race (Sat/Sun) (Barrels) – 2nd Go: 2. Brielle Washatko, 14.747, $256.00
Breakaway Calf Roping: 1. Summer Williams, 2.700, $1,556.64; 2. Maggie Stewart, 3.000, $1,353.60; 3. Danni Clover, 3.100, $1,150.56; 4. Joslynn Masters, 3.300, $947.52; 5. Brittany Carlson, 4.000, $642.96; 5. Alli Masters, 4.000, $642.96; 7. Shyanne Allen, 4.400, $338.40; 8. Katie Bell, 4.500, $135.36
Mark your calendars for 2025
The dates are already set for next year’s Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo. Mark your calendars for June 6, 7, and 8, 2025, and plan to watch professional rodeo, enjoy great food, live music, and shopping and vendors with something for everyone, along with the beauty of the Wisconsin Northwoods. Volunteers also welcome!

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