By Susan Kanode for the Caldwell Night Rodeo
Timed Events Showcased at Caldwell Night Rodeo
CALDWELL, Idaho (Aug. 12, 2019)—The Caldwell Night Rodeo is often the beginning of what could be called “Crunch time,” for rodeos.
Traditionally the third full week of August, the rodeo is one of the highest-paying events this month and kicks off the final six weeks of the rodeo season. For contestants hoping to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), a paycheck here can send them to Las Vegas in December or send them home hoping for better luck next year.
While full rodeo competition won’t start until Tuesday, August 13, action is already well underway. Monday was a full day of “slack” competition in steer wrestling, team and tie-down roping. That competition kept NFR hopes alive for a handful of contestants. Among those were John Douch, a tie-down roper from Huntsville, Texas and Blake Mindemann, a steer wrestler from Apache, Oklahoma. Prior to Caldwell’s rodeo, Douch was 17th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world standings and Mindemann was 18th. They each helped their positions by getting good checks here already.
Mindemann had a time of 4.1 seconds to tie with Stetson Jorgensen from Blackfoot, Idaho. They each earned $2,683. Mindemann was about $5,000 out of the top 15 that qualify for the NFR and cut that gap in half here. Jorgensen is well inside the top 15 at eighth and if he stays there, he will be headed to his first NFR. Mindemann made his first trip last December. Douch had the biggest win of his career last month at the California Rodeo Salinas. He earned nearly $10,000 there and got a big jump in the world standings. He stopped the clock in 8.4 seconds here Monday and won $3,046. He has over $8,000 gap to fill to move into the top 15.
These events all feature two full rounds of competition. The second round of competition will continue during the first four performances of the rodeo. Their times will be added together and the 12 contestants (header and heeler in team roping) will advance to Saturday’s Championship Night where the lion’s share of the $325,844 in prize money will be paid.
Barrel racer’s success at Caldwell Night Rodeo continues
CALDWELL, Idaho (Aug. 13, 2019) — There might be a rodeo that Stevi Hillman likes better than the Caldwell Night Rodeo, but the Weatherford, Texas, resident is quick to point out that none of them happen in August.
Hillman has been the champion here the past two years. She set the arena record of 16.68 in 2017 aboard a young horse that fans all knew as Sharpie. Last year, she came back here on her faithful mount, Truck and won again.
This year, she has been very selective at which rodeos she rode Truck at and was saving him for Caldwell. The strategy worked as she tied for first place in the first round on Tuesday morning. She and Dona Kay Rule from Minco, Okla., both had times of 17.27 seconds. They each won $2,052 bringing Hillman’s earnings at the Caldwell Night Rodeo to $18,012.
She and Truck had the rest of the day off and will be back here for their second run on Wednesday night. Rule made her second run Tuesday afternoon and has set the pace with a 17.11. She also leads the overall standings with a total time of 34.38 seconds.
Another of last year’s champions is trying to make it two in a row. Derek Kolbaba from Walla Walla, Washington won the bull riding here a year ago with an 89-point ride. He took the lead during Tuesday night’s performance with an 87.5-point ride on D&H Cattle Company’s Tested & Bruised. The bull riding championship here is based on the highest-marked ride from one round, so he is now the man to beat.
Mitch Pollock calls Winnemucca, Nevada, home, but the saddle bronc rider has ties to the “Gem State.” Pollock went to college at Twin Falls where he qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo. His fiancée is from southern Idaho and it is likely they will make their home somewhere near his alma mater.
When he gets the chance to compete at a rodeo in Idaho, it’s like being home for him. He was the top saddle bronc rider here on Tuesday night with a 90-point ride on Outlaw Buckers Rodeo’s Lunatic Party. That should get Pollock a good check in the first round and see him back here on Saturday night to ride for a championship.
Kimzey dominates Caldwell Night Rodeo bull riding
CALDWELL, Idaho (Aug. 14, 2019) – Sage Kimzey has been entering the bull riding at the Caldwell Night Rodeo every chance he could since he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2013.
With bulls from Powder River Rodeo and D&H Cattle company, an eight-second ride nearly assures a contestant a paycheck. Kimzey, who has five world championships to his credit had not been among those bull riders until last year. He finished in seventh place and got just under $1,000.
This rodeo has been on his bucket list to win for a long time and 2019 just might be his year. He came one step closer on Wednesday night when he was the only successful bull rider of the night. He rode Powder River Rodeo’s bull named Aint Easy Being Me for 88.5 points.
Kimzey is now in first place and one of three riders to get scores. He will be watching the standings through Saturday night and hoping no one has a higher score. If that happens, he will be Caldwell Night Rodeo champion and can mark this rodeo off his bucket list.
While the Caldwell Night Rodeo isn’t on Stevi Hillman’s bucket list as a two-time barrel racing champion, it is one that she is hoping to win for the third consecutive time. Hillman, from Weatherford, Texas tied for first place in the first round. She had her second run on Wednesday night and is on track for that to happen. Riding her great horse “Truck,” she stopped the clock in 17.05 seconds, the fastest time of any runs at the 85th edition of the rodeo. She has the overall lead with a total time of 34.32 seconds.
The third performance of the Caldwell Night Rodeo will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday. It is Power of Pink Night and raises money for local breast health screenings.
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