Hopper and Thurston qualified for the semi-finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days

Written by: Susan Kanody

Tilden Hopper finished second in the 2021 edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days and searches for redemption. He won his Quarterfinal 1 at Frontier Park with an 88-point ride on a Pete Carr Pro Rodeo Knight Mare horse. He advances to the semi-finals next weekend. PRCA photo by Jackie Jensen.

Cheney, Wu. – The action at the 126th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (CFD) was fierce from the first crack of the chute gates in Saturday’s opening performance. A rowdy crowd cheered when Tilden Hopper won the bareback riding quarterfinals by 88 points on the offending Betty Carr Pro Rodeo horse. The Texas Cowboys finished their reserve CFD title last year and took the next step in their quest to earn their first title at Frontier Park.

The National Finals (NFR) bareback rider eight times is currently ranked 17th. He must be in the top 15 at the end of the season to make the ninth trip to Las Vegas. Hopper will qualify for the semi-finals next weekend with two-time CFD and three-time world champion Tim O’Connell, new college champ Ty Pop and rookie leader Rocker Steiner.

Two-time world champion Zeke Thurston, two-time world champion, won the Quarterfinal 1 at Cheyenne Frontier Days by 87 points over Andrew Rodeo Cracker Jack. He will advance to the semi-finals next weekend in “Daddy of ’em All”. CFD image by Steven Girt.

Two-time world champion, bronze saddle rider Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, Canada, is another veteran cowboy looking for his first CFD championship. Like Hopper, his quest got off to a good start after Thurston won his quarterfinals on Saturday. He scored 87 points on Andrews Rodeo Cracker Jack to win the day by 3.5 points.

Leslie Smallego kicked off the barrel racing on Saturday at Cheyenne Frontier Days with her Quarter 1 victory with a 17.38 victory over her horse Justaheartbeattafame, nicknamed “Gus.” You will advance to the semi-finals next weekend. PRCA photo by Click Thompson.

Oklahoma cowgirl Leslie Smallego is having her best season at the rodeo this year. She ranked 15th in the world rankings and is seeking her first trip to the NFR in a barrel race. She rode her 12-year-old sorrel horse Justaheartbeattafame she calls Gus, and beat 11 other women with a time of 17.38 seconds. This secured her a place in the semi-finals.

Smalygo won nearly $14,000 during the July 4 “Cowboy Christmas” series of rodeos. Her success this season made her friends tell her she was “on fire”. This prompted the barrel contestant to dye her hair in fire colors – mixing pink, orange and red with her blonde locks.

Bull riders compete in the “Daddy of ’em All” on consecutive days and have two chances to advance to the semi-finals. The same 18 bull riders will return to the competition tomorrow.

The second quarter-final matches begin at 12:45pm on Sunday, July 24.


Cheney, U. (July 23, 2022) – Here are the unofficial results from Quarterfinals 1 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Saturday, July 23. Reward is subject to change.

Bareback riding: 1, Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, 88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Knight Mare, $2,447. 2, Ty Pop, Marshall, Mo., 86, $1,835. 3, (tie) Tim O’ Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, and Rocker Steiner, Weatherford, Texas, $84.5, 917 each.

breakaway cords: 1, Angie Green, Huntsville, Texas, 3.9 seconds, $2,951. 2. Reagan Cotton, Fairfield, Texas, 4.3, $2,213. 3, (tie), Sierra Galusha, Warrensburg, NY, Alli Masters, Lyon, Iowa, 4.8, $1,106 each.

tying ropes: Blake Ash, Aurora, Mo. , 12.9 seconds, $2,000. 2, Kase Bacque, Huntsville, Texas, 13.3, $1,500. 3, Kalai Nobriga, Kealakekua, Hawaii, $13.6, 1,000. 4, Jade Lyon, Meadow, SD, 13.7, $500.

Rookie Saddle Bronc Riding: Results are pending

bronk riding saddle: 1, Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 87 points over Andrew Rodeo Cracker Jack, $2,345. 2, (tie) Tanner Patner, Danielle, Yue, and Kew Taylor, Casper, Yue, 83.5, $1.47 each. 4, Colby Wanchuk, Sherwood Park, Alberta, 82.5, $294.

tug of war team: 1, Rio Nutter, Rapid City, SD, and Daine A McNenny, Hereford, SD, 10.4 seconds, $2,000 each. 2, John Peterson, and Levi O’Keeffe, Bill Forch, SD, 10.7, $1,500 each. 3, Brett Williams, Hammond, Mont, and Cayden Cox, Arroyo, Arizona, 11.6, $1,000 each. 4, Brayden Parker and Dustin Searcy, Scottsdale, Arizona, 13.0, $500 each.

stere wrestling: 1, Denard Butler, Checotah, Okla. 6.5, $2000. 2, Walt Arnold, Coleman, Texas, 6.7, $1,500. 3, Colton Leech, $6.8, 1,000. 4, Emmett Adler, State Center, Iowa, 7.0, $500.

barrel racing: 1, Leslie Smallego, Skiatuck, Oklahoma, 17.38 seconds, $2,353. 2, Big Jones, Wayne, Oklahoma, $17.50, $1,765. 3, Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, 17.67, $1,176. 4, Michelle Merrick, Las Vegas, NV, 17.82, $588.

bull riding: 1, Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas, 87.5 points on the Smith Pro Rodeo Roulette, $2,397. 2, Colton Kelly, Rome, Texas, 87, $1,797. 3, Garrett Smith, Rexburg, Idaho, 86.5, $1,797. 4, Keith Gilves, Amarillo, Texas, $85, $599.

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