Bareback rider wins alongside mentor; bull rider repeats as Abilene champ

Ty Blessing is riding alongside his mentor, and he’s on the victory board alongside him, too.

The Pomona, Kansas, bareback rider won his event at the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene this weekend, splitting the win with his long-time mentor and hero, three-time world champion Will Lowe.

The two both scored 83.5 points, Blessing on the Andrews Rodeo Co. horse PTSD Power Play, and Lowe on the Andrews’ horse Double Cross.

For Blessing, he had seen the horse buck but checked it out online and with friends before he got to Abilene.

“I knew it was a good horse,” he said. ‘I talked to some guys who had been on it, and I knew I had to have my hammer cocked.”

The win came at a good time. “I’ve been on kind of a dry streak lately. I haven’t been riding the best, and I was real happy to draw that horse tonight and ride the way I rode.”

Blessing, who is 26 years old, is in his first year of pro rodeo competition. He waited to get his PRCA membership till he was a little older, but every time he was ready to buy his card, an injury beset him. Waiting wasn’t a bad thing.

“Honestly, I should have bought my permit last year, but I wanted to have one good healthy year, and make sure my body was going to hold up for it. I’m glad that I waited,” he said.

Before becoming a PRCA member, he competed in the United Rodeo Association and the International Pro Rodeo Association.

Blessing competes at the regional level in the Prairie Circuit and is ranked 12th in the Prairie Circuit, the rodeos in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. If he is in the top 12 at the end of the rodeo year, on Sept. 30, he’ll qualify for his first Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

He learned to ride barebacks from such Kansas legends as Lowe, who grew up in Nickerson, Kan., and Jeff Collins, another world champion who lives in Kansas. Collins got Blessing started in the sport.

“He gave me my first bareback rigging and helped me set it up,” Blessing said. “Will Lowe was always around, too.”

Lowe now lives in Canyon, Texas.

In the bull riding, it was a bit of redemption for bull rider Trey Benton III.

The Rock Island, Texas, man got another chance to ride the Andrews Rodeo Co. bull Chupacabra, in Abilene, and this time, he conquered the beast with an 88 point ride.

Earlier this year, at the Helotes, Texas, rodeo, he got bucked off the bull.

“I’d gotten on him earlier in the year, and he threw me off,” Benton said. He was ready for revenge. “I didn’t care what the score was, I just wanted redemption on him and it worked out better than I had planned.”

Benton, who is 27 years old, is ranked number nine in the PRCA world standings right now and is headed to his sixth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He’s been relatively injury-free this year, which helps. He bruised ribs at the Ponoka (Alb.) Stampede a month ago, and went home for two weeks to let them heal. “Other than that, it’s been good.”

This is the second time Benton has won the Abilene rodeo. In 2011, Abilene was the first rodeo he won in his pro rodeo career.

Other 2019 champions include steer wrestlers Stockton Graves, Alva, Okla. and Cody Devers, Balko, Okla. (4.8 seconds each); saddle bronc rider Colt Gordon, Comanche, Okla. (85.5 points); tie-down ropers J.D. McCuistion, Collinsville, Texas and Treg Schaack, Stinnett, Texas (8.5 seconds each); team ropers Luke Brown, Rock Hill, S.C. and Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo. (4.3 seconds); and Leia Pluemer, Los Lunas, N.M. (17.52 seconds).

During the rodeo, a big check was presented to the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund in the amount of $3,174. The monies were raised through donations by rodeo fans and personnel, and goes to help those fighting cancer in Dickinson County.

Complete rodeo

results follow:

All-Around champion: Maverick Harper, Alva, Okla. –steer wrestling and tie-down roping

Bareback riding co-champions – Ty Blessing, Pomona, Kan. and Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas

1. (tie) Ty Blessing, Pomona, Kan., 83.5 points on Andrews Rodeo’s PTSD Power Play, and Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 83.5 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Double Cross; 3. Hunter Carter, Malakoff, Texas 80; 4. Paden Hurst, Huntsville, Texas 79; 5. Chance Merrill, Coffeyville, Kan. 76.5; 6. Jade Taton, Goodwell, Okla. 74.5.

Steer wrestling co-champions – Stockton Graves, Alva, Okla. and Cody Devers, Balko, Okla.

1. (tie) Stockton Graves, Alva, Okla. and Cody Devers, Balko, Okla. 4.8 seconds each; 3. (tie) Tom Littell, Elm Creek, Neb. and Jacob Edler, State Center, Iowa 5.0 each; 5. Sam Powers, Sonora, Texas 5.1; 6. Will Krehbiel, McPherson, Kan. 5.3; 7. (tie) Blair Jones, Monte Vista, Colo. and Maverick Harper, Alva, Okla. 5.4 each.

Saddle bronc riding champion – Colt Gordon, Comanche, Okla.

1. Colt Gordon, Comanche, Okla. 85.5 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane; 2. (tie) Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., and Dean Wadsworth, Buffalo Gap, Texas 85 each; 5. Mason Laviolette, Rayne, La. 81.5; 6. (tie) Tegan Smith, Winterset, Iowa and Bradley Harter, Loranger, La. 80.5 each; 8. Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas 79.5.

Tie-down roping co-champions – J. D. McCuistion, Collinsville, Texas and Treg Schaack, Stinnett, Texas

1. (tie) J.D. McCuistion, Collinsville, Texas and Treg Schaack, Stinnett, Texas 8.5 seconds each; 3. Shad Mayfield, Clovis, N.M. 8.6; 4. Colt Richards, Yoakum, Texas 8.7; 5. Kadin Boardman, Jackson, Mo. 8.8; 6. (tie) Cody Huber, Albia, Iowa and Charlie Gibson, Midland, Texas 9.0 each; 8. (tie) Caleb Bullock, Boise City, Okla. and Logan Wiseman, Paola, Kan. 9.3 each.

Team roping champions – Luke Brown, Rock Hill, S.D. and Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo.

1. Luke Brown, Rock Hill, S.C./Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo. 4.3 seconds; 2. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev. 4.4; 3. Britt Smith, Broken Bow, Okla. and Jake Smith, Broken Bow, Okla. 5.2; 4. Peyton Holliday, Chouteau, Okla./Thomas Smith, Barnsdall, Okla. 6.0; 5. Cory Kidd V, Statesville, N.C./Kory Koontz, Stephenville, Texas 6.1; 6. Garrett Tonozzi, Lampasas, Texas/Dustin Davis, Terrell, Texas 6.2; 7. Cole Pearson, Clearwater, Kan./Raylen Stueve, Sedgewick, Kan. 6.5; 8. (tie) Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla. and Tyler Waters, Stephenville, Texas and Seth Smithson, Ackerly, Texas 6.6 each; 10. Garrett Chick, Salado, Texas/Ross Ashford, Lott, Texas 9.9.

Barrel racing champion – Leia Pluemer, Los Lunas, N.M.

1. Leia Pluemer, Los Lunas, N.M. 17.52 seconds; 2. Shali Lord, Lamar, Colo. 17.57; 3. Hollie Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla. 17.76; 4. Kricket Gintner, Eau Claire, Wisc. 17.84; 5. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan. 17.88; 6. Tamara Reinhardt, Canadian, Texas 17.91; 7. (tie) Leslie Smalygo, Collinsville, Okla. and Kynzie McNeill, Stillwater, Okla. 17.93 each; 9. LaRae Smith, Barnsdall, Okla. 17.94; 10. Skyla Whitters, Glencoe, Okla. 17.96; 11. Savannah Pearson, Summers, Ark. 17.99; 12. Tracy Nowlin, Nowata, Okla. 18.07.

Bull riding champion – Trey Benton, III, Rock Island, Texas

1. Trey Benton, III, Rock Island, Texas 87 points on Andrews Rodeo Co.’s Fire Lane; 2. Tyler Bingham, Honeyville, Utah 84; 3. Koby Radley, Montpelier, La. 79; 4. Trevor Reiste, Linden, Iowa 75; 5. Coy Pollmeier, Ft Scott, Kan; 68.

** All results are unofficial. For more information, visit www.WildBillHickokRodeo.com. For complete results, visit www.prorodeo.com.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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