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2001 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo

Pocatello, ID

March 14-18, 2001

Judges:  Harry Rose       Steve Knowles

Fifth Performance Saturday Matinee:
Top 8 Sudden Death Semi Finals: 

Notes: Only two rode so the two highest in the average moved into the top four round.

If there is even one qualified ride in the semi’s or finals and there isn’t four qualified rides the unclaimed money isn’t ground split, it is paid to the highest qualifiers.  In the Semis they would come from the two head average.  In the Finals it would come from the Semi Finals placings.   If there are no qualified rides in the Semi’s or Finals then the money is ground split (equally among the contestants in that go round).

 

Cory Check <> K66 Copenhagen Rapid Fire Big Bend (95 24 23+) 
Watching this bull ride—a great bull ride—it was such a pump up—I mean this is a great bull who had one of his greatest trips.  Looked like he had Cory raised up a couple of times but the CRUISER was in the ZONE…. That special place athletes sometimes venture into….where everything is quiet… where you can’t hear anything… where you might not even know exactly what a bull is doing.  That’s about as close to Heaven as a bull rider is going to get while he’s still alive.  This bull ride was something special.  Rapid Fire jumped out of it like he sometimes does… but he came right back and turned back—really trying to WIN.   

Trying to put a number on this ride would be tough.  I could sure see their markings.  I’da probably 24-24 ‘ed … but it wouldn’t have been reflective of the greatness of this bull ride.   Like most judges I had a problem with marking anything 25… the perfect ride… the perfect bull… but that’s stupid.  If you compared this bull to this rodeo’s record score of 95 that Felipe Aragon made on 101 Border Patrol…. well to me this was a 2 point ranker bull… so based on what the two judges marked Border Patrol then Rapid Fire would have been a 25 and a 26.  I don’t think you could dock Cory’s ride either…. So you’d be at a 100—the perfect score—the second in rodeo history.  Then for years lots of people would’ve debated the sanity of those two judges.   For sure it won’t look as good on TV—it seldom does. 

If I would have been judging… in the few seconds I had to spit out the numbers….   I would’ve hoped I coulda marked it at least 49 points on my side resulting in a 98 (if the other judge was as smart as me).   Not sure I could’ve done it—but I should’ve.  In fact… a 100 point score would’ve been closer to accurate than 95.  Rodeo would have benefited greatly from the publicity.  It was a great ride on a well known, former bull of the year who had one of his greatest days.  More importantly, a self imposed mental barrier would have been breached.  We tell audiences all the time that the scoring sytem is 1-100…    50 points per side when actually it is 13 (lower than that you usually get a reride option) to 48.  To get to a total score of 97-98-99… someone has to mark something 25.   And that will bring attention to the judge(s) and possibly criticism.  Not many have the nards to do it.  

Unfortunately, the next perfect score might be far less deserving -- by a couple of reserves carelessly tossing numbers around.  Don’t care about the event or it’s history -- In fact they may even desire the attention.   Both these judges can really judge; they’ve both seen scores of good bull rides, they have credibility -- this was at the Dodge National Circuit Finals, television cameras rolling, 16,000 people on their feet SCREAMING, a great bull having a great day, and a guy riding like most of us can only do in our dreams.    If there is going to be a second 100 point score—this should have been it.  After that? Who cares -- but this should’ve been the 2nd one in rodeo history.

Beau Hill <> X10 Midnight Oil Beard (83 21-20 )
Had reservations about putting this bull in the top 8, but the judges had marked him 23 23+ with Matthew Weber.  He isn’t usually that good but if not him I’da used K77 River Dance and he’d run with Hancock at the NFR.  Still -- Beau rode him really well, and the bull went both ways. 

Felipe Aragon <> 69 Freight Train Vold (22 22E  2.5)
Add about 400 pounds to Yo Yo and you’d have the TRAIN.  Think his owner said he’s 5 but he’s definitely too big for kindergarten.  Couldn’t find a nap mat for him to lay on after the graham crackers and milk break.   I see where Steve put an E on him but he’s more of a linebacker -- big jumps and kicks like a bareback horse is supposed to.  He’s a big hand/crotch full for sure.  Has a big dose of Brahmer in him and my experience has been that they’re untrustworthy.

Judd Paul Leffew <> K417 After Shock Big Bend (? 20+? 1.5)
I dropped my Corn Dog and missed it.  One jumped.

Jim Leatherberry <> K78 Skoal’s Unforgiven Big Bend (? 21+ 1.7 )
Knowles 21+? ‘ed this bull… probably shouldn’t’ve put down any score for 1.7 seconds worth of watching.   This is a very rank bull.  Very rank.  Probably the rankest at this rodeo although we didn’t get to see much of him either trip.   Jim Leatherberry is a champion.  He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played.  No matter how rank a bull is he shows up and tries.  The ranker the bull the better he rides.  He’s always been that way.  Always sought the toughest challenges.   I’m thinking he rode Rapid Fire to win Spokane.  He rode 906 Young Gun at this rodeo.  The three things most of the bull riders will remember about this year’s DCNFR is Check’s ride…. Aragon’s ride… and Jim Leatherberry—the PRO.

Rex Malolo <> H33 Copen Yo Yo Russel (23+ 23  6.1)
This bull is young but he’s tall…. did some wild pogo’s… slinging his head then finally turned back.  Not sure who slapped WHOM—but there was major contact.   Good effort by both parties.

Cody Hancock <> 77 Skoals Yellow Jacket Big Bend (21-21  ?)
For some reason this bull ended up on a right D… went way from Cody’s hand… he never made the corner.  Bull didn’t have that great a day on the other D his first trip so maybe they changed him.  Definite disadvantage for Cody because it’s hard corner to make with your right hand down and the catch pen gate to the left.    Hope they didn’t make that delivery decision after they saw who had him drawn.  I’m the suspicious type.

More likely it was a case of having so many bulls on the left D and the owner or tail gunner told the stock manager he could go either way—which he can.  Think the other 7 were out of a left… which meant lots of rolling and no place to get your ropes on before the bulls got into the chutes.

Rusty Patrick <> 66 Skoal’s King Kong Rafter H (21+ 22  7.1)
You always worry about this bull slowing down (like to zero MPH) but he had Rusty loosened up and kept trying.  Good effort on Patrick’s part the KING was buckier than he has been.

This bull could’ve been switched on the deliveries.   He bucked great out of a right with Rupert at the Mesquite Tour Finals.

Rerides:  K77 River Dance Big Bend   007 Skoal’s Gyro Beard   CT2 Skeeter Western

 

Top 4 Finals:  

Aragon and Leffew moved in based on the two head average placings.   No one rode so they ground split the money. 

Cory Check <> 101 Skoal’s Border Patrol Flying 5 (24-24 2.8)
Holy COW... did Border look rank.  Kicked right over his head and licked um away from Cory’s hand.  In retrospect I should have had 101 in the top 8 semis.  I had had it that way and had 381 of Kesler’s in here but I remembered the NFR.  906 of Pinz’s was the other possibility but he didn’t have that great a day his first trip.  Plus, for television, ending with the 2000 Bucking Bull of the Year in the top 4 was appealing.

Beau Hill <> 601 El Smacko Big Bend (21-20  6.8)
Compared to the other bulls in the top 4 SMACKO looked clunky.      Too slow… probably more difficult than 311 and 70.   Thought Beau had him knocked out but Smack kept working on him… got him rocking… and jerked him down.  This kid is TALL (the Dikembe Mutumbo of bull riding).   If he ever fills out he’ll   be SHAQ.

Felipe Aragon <> 311 Why Not Minot Vold (22+ 20+ DG  7.95 )
Freaky deal… Felipe was making a really good bull ride then WHY took off.   I never heard the whistle (crowd noise) and couldn’t see (big hats in the way) when he jumped out of it.  The announcer said that they got him for grabbing his tail.  Tough call but one you have to make—even though you hate to. 

Judd Paul Leffew <> 70 Black Magic Western (23-22  7.89)
Into Judd Paul’s hand…. they were making lots of rounds… looked to me like Judd thought he heard the whistle and let go.  He could’ve ridden him until he dropped in a heap. Weird deal.  The first guy out, the crowd was going nuts then after they heard the announcer—it was like it killed the event. They never got their momentum back.

Rerides:  381 Skoal’s Brushpopper Kesler  906 Young Gun Pinz   L41 Copenhagen White Line Fever Powder River

Bryan McDonald
© 2001 Probullstats.com

 

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