FORT WORTH, Texas – The Wild Card Round at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (FWSSR) was filled with drama, excitement and some disappointment for this year’s contestants.
It was a last-ditch opportunity to advance to the Semi-Finals (Feb. 5-6) and earn an opportunity to compete at Saturday night’s championship round of the all new FWSSR ProRodeo Tournament.
One of the first to secure his spot was Parker County’s Leighton Berry who won the bareback riding. Berry’s home is less than 30 minutes from the new Dickies Arena, so he feels like he is playing in his own sandbox. The reigning National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association champion scored 89.5 points on J Bar J Rodeo’s Shady Lounge to win the Wild Card.
It was a heartbreak for Stephenville’s J.J. Hampton who has roped all her life and is the most decorated breakaway roper in the event’s history. Hampton was the first roper out and failed to connect. Her time at this year’s stock show is done but competing here has been a dream come true and she is looking forward to next year.
Jennifer Casey, a physical therapist from Mesa, Washington won the round with a time of 2.1 seconds.
Kolby Wanchuk of Sherwood Park, Alberta, had to work three times as hard as the other saddle bronc riders on Wednesday night to get a chance to ride in the Dickies Arena at least one more time.
The first bucking horse Wanchuk got on failed to perform as expected, so judges gave him the option of getting on another one. He quickly agreed as he had to be among the top two tonight to have a chance. Then the second horse he got on stumbled after leaving the chute, so he again took the option.
Then Wanchuk’s third horse in a matter of minutes, Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Just Bugs, had an outstanding trip that resulted in an 85.5-point ride for Wanchuk. That was good for second place behind Milford, Utah’s Spencer Wright. They will both be competing in the Semi-Finals.
The first team ropers to compete on Wednesday were also the best of the night. Clay Smith from Broken Bow, Oklahoma and Jade Corkill, of Fallon, Nevada, stopped the clock in 4.3 seconds for the win. Between the two of them, they have earned five world championships. Smith’s gold buckles came in the heading in 2018 and 2019. Corkill got his from 2012 – 2014. They started roping together last year and the partnership is continuing successfully this year.
Six-time world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey will also be among the semi-finalists after a win on Wednesday. He rode Little Big Man from J Bar J Rodeo for 88.5 points.
The first performance of the Semi-Finals will be Thursday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eight contestants will be featured in each event with the top four advancing directly to Saturday night’s Championship Finals.
Wild Card Round
Bareback riding: 1, Leighton Berry, Weatherford, Texas, 89.5 points on J Bar J Rodeo’s Shady Lounge, $1,000. 2, Jesse Pope, Marshall, Mo., 87.5, $600. 3, Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, 86, $400.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Berry and Pope.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D., 4.1 seconds, $1,000. 2, Blake Mindemann, Blanchard, Okla., 4.5, $600. 3, Bridger Chambers, Stevensville, Mont., 5.7, $400.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Morman and Mindemann.
Breakaway Roping: 1, Jennifer Casey, Mesa, Wash., 2.1 seconds, $1,000. 2, Anna Bahe, Grantsville, Utah, 2.3, $600. 3, Janey Reeves, Melba, Idaho, 2.6, $400.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Casey and Bahe.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 86 points on J Bar J Rodeo’s Straight Shady, $1,000. 2, Kolby Wanchuk, Sherwood Park, Alberta, 84.5, $600. 3, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 84, $400
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Wright and Wanchuk.
Tie-down Roping: 1, (tie) Justin Smith, Leesville, La., and Tyson Durfey, Brock, Texas, 8.3 seconds, $800 each. 3, Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas, 8.7, $400.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Smith and Durfey.
Team Roping: (two times) 1, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 4.3, $1,200. 2, Lane Ivy, Dublin, Texas, and Joseph Harrison, Marietta, Okla., 4.5, $800.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Smith and Corkill, Ivy and Harrison.
Barrel Racing: 1, Ivy Hurst, Springer, Okla., 16.3 seconds, $1,000. 2, Callahan Tryan, Huntley, Mont., 16.46, $600. 3, Kelly Yates, Pueblo, Colo., 16.52, $400.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Hurst and Tryan.
Bull Riding: (two rides) 1, Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 88.5 points on J Bar J Rodeo’s Little Big Man, $1,200. 2, Elliot Jacoby, Fredericksburg, Texas, 85.5, $800.
Semi-finals Qualifiers: Kimzey and Jacoby.