It was another day in the saddle for INFR World Champions invited to compete in the inaugural Rodeo All-Star event at the National Western Events Center in Denver last month. Six INFR cowboys and one cowgirl made the trip to compete with champions from several other rodeo associations.
$140,000 was at stake for the 128 contestants with $20,000 purses in seven standard events involving two semi-final performances. The top four semi winners advanced to the final round where the top two competed one more time for the title of Champion. [Results: rodeoallstar.com/champs.html]
INFR was well represented during the grand entry each day with saddle bronc rider Jarett Monroe, Blackfeet, leading fellow riders on the first night and team roping champs Ty Romo and Ed Hawley handling semi-final round duties. Other INFR participants included team roper Aaron Tsinigine, bull rider Shawn Best II and bareback rider Buck Lunak.
Lunak, Blackfeet),pulled down $1,750 in semi-final round winnings and advanced to the final round before being sent home by Will Lowe and Bo Casper. “I consider it a privilege to be invited and to be a part of an event like this,” he said. “It’s an awesome feeling to know I can go head-to-head with the best and be competitive.” Odds-on are that he will be gunning for another INFR championship that will bring him back to the All-Star event in 2014.
In first semi-final round action, Jarrett Monroe placed 4th in saddle bronc and Ty Romo, Salt River/Maricopa), and Eddie Hawley, Gros Ventre, pulled 4th place honors in team roping, with $500 checks in each category. Bull rider Dakota Louis, Northern Cheyenn,) drew ‘Bad Grandma’ out of a world championship stock pen, lost that fight, and did not advance to the final round.
In the second semi-final, INFR cowgirl Julie Lenoir took a 4th place time and a $500 check to advance to the finals. 2012 INFR All-Around champion, Rollie Wilson, Oglala, was asked to compete in steer wrestling in place of Nolan Conway who was competing elsewhere. Wilson again showed his stuff by placing third and winning $1,000 to advance to the finals.
All INFR competitors ran out of luck by the time they got to the final round, although they earned a lot of accolades along the way. “We want INFR members to be a part of next year’s event. They showed respect, appreciation, and world class talent and we were proud to have them join us,” said Director of Rodeo Operations, Leon Vick.
Also expressing pride was Donna Hoyt, General Manager of INFR: “Our contestants were recognized by the All-Star committee as very talented individuals and we have accepted an invitation for our Indian Champions to be back next year to showcase and share this Native American talent with the rest of the world.”