BILLINGS – The High School Showcase took center stage at Round 1 of the NILE Rodeo in Billings on Thursday night. The future stars of the sport did not disappoint.
Bareback rider Sebastian Hotalen of Belgrade posted a 72.5-point ride, good for fourth place on Thursday. High schooler Gage Murray of Miles City tried to keep the good times rolling in the steer wrestling, and for a moment he thrilled the crowd. Murray downed the steer in 4.6 seconds, but he was called for breaking the barrier and 10 seconds was added to his time.
It was then time for the pros. Like always, they put on a show. Taylor Broussard of Louisiana took the Round 1 lead in bareback with an 80-point ride on Dirty Temptation. Connor Hamilton finished second with a 76.
Dalton Massey took the top spot in the night portion of the steer wrestling with a time of 4.3 seconds, while Jesse Popescul and Kasper Roy thrilled fans in the team roping with a top time of 5.5 seconds.
The saddle bronc competition proved to be the tightest race in Round 1. Rookie Dawson Hay and Wyatt Hageman each put up scores of 80 points and looked to be in great shape to share the overnight lead. That was until Pryor’s Cody Ray Miller entered the arena. The Montana native rode Lunatic from Hell to the tune of 83.5 points.
That score held up until the final ride of the night when Shorty Garrett flipped the Round 1 script. The South Dakota cowboy scored an 86 on Maria Bartiromo and is now in great shape for a big Billings payday.
Round 2 is Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night and begins at 7 p.m. on Friday night.