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Buckles decided on series’ last rides

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By Michael Hicks

DUMONT — It was almost over as quickly as it began. The five-week Oh My Gawd rodeo series, produced by the Miller Rodeo Company and held every Friday night in June at the Gene Kiefer Memorial Fairgrounds, wrapped up June 29. Some of the series buckles awarded that night had already been decided, but many still hung in the balance. The following is a breakdown of who won each respective series titles and how.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
The bond between father and son, especially for Glenn and Justin Stuckey, is a formidable one. The calf ropers from Kiowa are always there to help one another practice.
So maybe it wasn’t so ironic that going into the final night of the Oh My Gawd rodeo that they sat just two points apart atop the leaderboard. That in itself was reason for Glenn Stuckey to believe that his chances of winning the series buckle were faint at best.
“My son was up after me. He’s pretty fast,” Stuckey said. “He was only two points behind, so I kind of thought he would win it but he winded up missing.”
But the elder Stuckey didn’t have it so easy himself. The calf he drew was a feisty one. It didn’t help that Stuckey also broke the barrier coming out of the shoot, costing him a 10-second penalty.
“My biggest goal was just to tie him down, getting him tied down,” Stuckey said. “I was riding a green horse tonight.”
His time of 23.3 seconds was the worst of the 10 qualifying times, but, on this night, it was good enough to lock up the series title.

IN THE BAG
Justin Pollmiller wasn’t too worried about the points standings entering the final round of competition. In actuality, he didn’t know how things stood after four weeks of bareback riding.
It didn’t matter.
The Littleton resident and 2009 Chatfield Senior High graduate, who took the series finale off to allow a nagging back injury to heal, won the five-week series anyway.
“I got real lucky the first couple of weeks. I had the opportunity to get on some good horses, put together some good rides,” Pollmiller said. “I got pretty lucky tonight that they only had one ride and they didn’t end up passing me.”
That one qualifying ride was Brad Hughes’ 72 atop Pendleton, but it didn’t affect the final outcome.

AND THAT’S NO BULL
Bull riding is a hazardous sport, just ask Tarron Calhoun.
The Granby resident and Oh My Gawd series leader entering the final night sat out the finale after landing upside down on his neck the night before at a rodeo in Carbondale. The blow knocked him out.
So instead of possibly contending with his closest competitor Zeke Mora, Calhoun decided to sit out the June 29 rodeo so he would be ready for 4th of July week, the rodeo industry’s equivalence of Christmas.
“Coming in I knew it was close between me and Zeke Mora because I didn’t make the first one and he won it,” Calhoun said. “We were kind of neck and neck. Then I landed on my neck (June 28) and got knocked out, so I turned out tonight. I kind of played it safe.”
It was a wise decision and one that was made easier with Mora not in attendance either. Only three riders — Travis Kendrick, Tyler Rick and Dillon Tyner — made qualifying rides. None of which were enough to catch Calhoun for the series title.

NOT WASTING HER TIME
Carrie Veatch isn’t a woman of many words. She also doesn’t work by the hour, either.
“Not at all,” Veatch said.
That was evident of her time of 2.5 seconds in the breakaway roping competition, easily the best of four qualifying times on the night. Only one other rider — Celie Vic — came close at 3.5 and even that wasn’t going to challenge the eventual series buckle champion from Agate.
In three previous weeks, Veatch had won twice and placed another time, easily giving herself a cushion that would be hard to catch. Only Shelbi Miller had an outside shot and she failed to muster a qualifying score in the final round.
So why was Veatch so successful at the Oh My Gawd rodeo?
“I think I drew a good calf each time,” Veatch said.
It certainly was a good way to start off the summer.

WORK ALREADY DONE
It’s not like Justin Blasingame needed another victory, but atop Romeo the 33-year-old Hudson saddle bronc rider gave it everything he had until the final second. That’s when one of his stirrups came apart.
“It was a good run until the end,” Blasingame said. “I broke the left stirrup right at the buzzer. They said I didn’t quite make it.”
It didn’t matter anyway.
Even though Blasingame didn’t make it out for the first week of the series, he won the following three weeks. That’s all he needed to lock up the buckle championship.
There was one primary reason why he was so successful, Blasingame said.
“I just got a good horse,” he said.

LONG TIME IN THE MAKING
Ten years ago, Watkins’ Tami Bova had a mare that broke her leg while in a barrel racing competition. It was a tragic ordeal. But Bova has known Lee and Jennifer Miller, owners of the Miller Rodeo Company, for many years and had always wanted to ride in the Oh My Gawd series. This year, she not only gave it a go but she won it.
Bova placed third in the series finale in 16.64 seconds, but it was good enough to hold off her closest competition in the five-week series — Teri Jesser and Shelbi Miller — to win the championship buckle. The victory came as a surprise for the unsuspecting Bova.
Maybe it shouldn’t have, though, considering the way her horse has been riding the past few weeks.
“He can do anything. It’s just a matter of me doing it right,” Bova said.

THE RIGHT PARTNER
J.B. James knows how to pick a partner. With Terry Sellen having already locked up the heeler portion of the Oh My Gawd team roping title entering the final night, James was not considered one of three favorites to take the header title.
Scoring a time of six seconds — good enough for third place — changed all of that.
James overtook Casey Veatch, Jim Littrell and Luke Lancaster to earn the series title.