Field includes a mix of defending champions and contenders looking to land on the medal podium for the first time in their rodeo career
SALT LAKE CITY (July 14, 2021) – The Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo presented by Zions Bank will kick off rodeo action in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 20th, at 7:30 p.m. with some of the top names in professional rodeo.
A total of 288 competitors will take their shot at a share of the $562,500 in prize money and a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal that will be awarded on Saturday, July 24. There will be 32 competitors in each of the following events: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, ladies breakaway roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
The field includes a mix of defending champions and other contenders who are looking to land on the medal podium for the first time in their rodeo career. Those back to defend their Gold medals include Caleb Bennett (bareback riding), team ropers Ty Blasingame and Kyle Lockett, Zeke Thurston (saddle bronc riding), tie-down roper Ty Harris, breakaway roper Jordi Edens and Trevor Kastner (bull riding).
New to the 2021 rodeo format is that athletes who finished No. 1 on the World Champions Rodeo Alliance’s (WCRA) Segment 8 Leaderboard have earned an automatic berth into the Gold Medal Round. Bennett took advantage of this, knowing he now just has to ride better on one day than seven other athletes, to be awarded a second consecutive gold medal. Don’t think he won’t have his work cut out for him though with the likes of two-time DO47 gold medalist Wyatt Denny, three-time PRCA World Champion Tim O’Connell, 2019 PRCA World Champion Clayton Biglow and reigning College National Finals Rodeo Champion Cole Franks in the mix of athletes in the semifinal round.
In the steer wrestling, the big man’s event of rodeo, Dakota Eldridge and Tyler Pearson are looking to improve on their 2019 finish of silver and bronze, respectively. Pearson of Louisville, Mississippi, is looking to add gold to his collection that also includes a silver medal from 2017. Justin Shaffer, who finished atop the podium in 2018, is also looking for a return to the medal stand in 2021 after coming up just short of it in 2019. Will Lummus, already seeded into the Gold Medal Round due to finishing atop the WCRA leaderboard, will be there looking for his spot as well.
Although Ty Blasingame and Kyle Lockett will be roping with different partners this year, they are both still focused on landing atop the medal stand once again. Lockett will be looking for his third medal after winning gold in 2019 and silver in 2017. This year, the father of five will be roping with Aaron Tsinigine, while Blasingame, looking for a second consecutive medal, will team with Corey Hendrick. Wyatt Imus, the son of the late radio personality Don Imus, will partner with Caleb Anderson as they compete for spots on the medal stand for the first time. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira will rope on opening night trying to add round money to their pockets knowing that no matter what, they have already earned a spot in the final round after finishing atop the WCRA leaderboard for Segment 8.
Canadian Zeke Thurston is also looking for his third Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo medal. He won a bronze in 2017 and took home the gold in 2019. Lefty Holman, who took home the bronze in 2019 will be back to try to improve on his finish. Cody DeMoss will also be looking to return to the medal stand in 2021. After an injury in the semifinals at the 2019 event kept him out of the final round, he will be anxious to return. DeMoss won gold in 2017 and 2018. Can he return to the top in 2021?
All eyes will be on the tie-down event this year. Not only is it the only event that returns all three medalists from 2019 with Ty Harris (gold), Caleb Smidt (silver) and Trenton Smith (bronze), the big story will be 17-year old Riley Webb in the Gold Medal Round. Webb has a seeded spot in the final round, and he is going after three consecutive wins in a WCRA Major event. If he is successful, he will not only win $25,000 for winning the DO47 but will also be awarded the Triple Crown of Rodeo $1 million bonus. Webb would make history as the youngest millionaire in the sport of rodeo.
For the past three years a palomino horse has carried its jockey to the top of the stand in the barrel racing. While that horse, known as Sister in the rodeo circles and is ridden by Hailey Kinsel, won’t be in Salt Lake City this year another palomino horse by the name of Martini will be looking to take her place. Martini will be jockeyed by Michelle Darling and the duo will be focused on improving from their bronze medal performance in 2019.
The ladies breakaway roping is shaping up to be an action packed event with Jordi Edens (2019 gold medalist) and Jackie Crawford (2019 silver medalist) eager to win another DO47 medal. Since Crawford last competed in Salt Lake City, she has added to her world title list bringing her career total to 20 after winning the 2020 WPRA World Champion Breakaway Roping title. She has also added a baby girl to her growing family. She will have to bring her A-game to the Days of ’47 Arena at Utah State Fairpark to hold off the likes of world champions Hope Thompson, JJ Hampton, Kelsie Chace and Lari Dee Guy along with Martha Angelone and Shelby Boisjoli. Josie Conner has already earned her spot in the final round after her No. 1 finish on the WCRA leaderboard.
Utah’s own Keyshawn Whitehorse took home the bronze medal in bull riding in 2019 but would like to add a gold to his collection. He will have to outride the likes of Derek Kolbaba, who won the gold in 2018 and is coming off an injury, Trevor Kastner, 2019 gold medalist and PBR top riders Cooper Davis and Joao Ricardo Vieira.
The full field of 32 competitors in each event will be divided into four groups of eight each and will compete in one of the first four performances (July 20-23). The one (1) highest score/fastest time from each discipline of each performance will advance to the Gold Medal Round on July 24 along with three (3) highest scores/fastest times overall, from all four combined semifinal performances who have not yet advanced. In addition, the #1 ranked athlete in each discipline (for team roping it is highest ranked team after pairing) of the final audited standings of the WCRA Segment 8 Leaderboard will be automatically qualified for the Gold Medal Round making a total of eight (8) contestants in each discipline to compete in the Gold Medal Round. Scores/times from the semifinal performances will NOT carry forward and the 8 competitors in each event will compete in a sudden-death format with the winner collecting a Gold Medal and $25,000 cash.
The Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo presented by Zions Bank, July 20-24, will take place at the $17.5 million state-of-the-art Days of ’47 Arena at the Utah State Fairpark, custom designed and built for rodeo. The venue—an outdoor arena located in the heart of Salt Lake City—features over 10,000 stadium-style seats.
For only the sixth time in the history of rodeo, riders will have an opportunity to compete for Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals. The first two times were in conjunction with the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary (1988) and Salt Lake City (2002), when rodeo was part of the Cultural Olympiad and the other three times being the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo in 2017-2019. The medals that will be awarded at the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo will be produced by OC Tanner, the same company that made the Olympic medals for the champions of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Tickets are still available at axs.com and start at just $14. For more information on the event visit www.daysof47cowboygames.com.
For those unable to attend in person the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo will be LIVE streamed on PlutoTV – Channel 720. CBS will also air the Gold Medal Round of the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo on July 31 at 11 a.m. MT.
# # #
For a full list of competitors by performance visit: https://daysof47cowboygames.com/rodeo2/