Minot, N.D. – When the gates crack open at the 64th annual Y’s Men’s Rodeo in Minot, a whole slew of cowboys and cowgirls will be vying for some big-time cash, gold buckles, and the title of Badlands Circuit champ.
On October 5-7, Minot plays hosts to the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, the culmination of 24 rodeos in North Dakota and South Dakota, with the best twelve contestants in each of seven events competing for the win.
Among the leaders are Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D. (bareback riding); Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D. (steer wrestling); Tyrell Moody, Letcher, S.D.(team roping, header); Riley Wakefield, O’Neill, Neb. (team roping, heeler); Ty Manke, Hermosa, S.D. (saddle bronc riding); Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D. (barrel racing); Dane Kissack, Spearfish, S.D. (tie-down roping); and Jeff Bertus, Avon, S.D. (bull riding).
The cowboy coming in with the biggest lead in any event is bareback rider Ty Breuer. The Mandan, N.D. cowboy has won more than $25,000 at Badlands Circuit rodeos and has a lead of more than $9,000 over the number two man, Blake Smith. Breuer has competed at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo ten times and is headed to his fourth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), the ten-day rodeo that determines world championships every December.
Breuer gets his physical training in by working with a trainer in Bismarck three times a week. Then he works at the family ranch, run by his parents Ed and Penny, every day. His granddad, Ed, Sr., never got a chance to compete but loves watching Ty. “Grandpa always wanted to ride barebacks but never had the opportunity,” Ty said. Ed and his wife, Dallas Breuer, often come to Minot to watch Ty compete and usually go to the WNFR as well.
Another North Dakota man, Cameron Morman, leads his event coming into the rodeo next weekend.
Morman, a steer wrestler, won the average at the Badlands Circuit Finals in 2017 and won the year-end title in 2015. The average is the fastest combined scores after four runs.
A 2016 Dickinson State University graduate, he will ride a horse owned by another Badlands competitor, Jake Rinehart. Rio, a thirteen-year-old buckskin gelding is the 2017 Badlands Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year and a wonderful steer wrestling horse. “Man, he’s as solid and as nice of a horse as they come,” Morman said. Chason Floyd and Rinehart will also ride Rio in Minot.
Morman won big at Rodeo Rapid City last February, and won checks at Belle Fourche and Mobridge, S.D., and New Town, N.D. this year.
Ty Manke, Hermosa, South Dakota, has a lead of over $1,320 over the number two man, J.J. Elshere, in the saddle bronc riding. Manke, who is 31 years old, grew up with a granddad who rode saddle broncs and was the 1952 National High School Bareback and All-Around champion. Franklin Manke got his grandson started by buying him his first bronc saddle and taking him to a bronc riding school.
Manke’s biggest win throughout the year was Rodeo Rapid City last February.
In the tie-down roping, Dane Kissack came back after a year of injury.
The Spearfish, S.D. cowboy sat out much of the 2017 season due to a torn ACL and a herniated disk.
His rehab lingered into the winter rodeos, which started the 2018 season, and he estimates he was only at 75 percent coming into the spring.
After more rigorous rehab, hot yoga and acupuncture, Kissack was “trying to get that final step back as a roper,” and it came back in June.
Then ten-time Badlands Circuit Finals qualifier loves coming to Minot. The Badlands Circuit Finals, in Kissack’s opinion, is one of the top three circuit finals in the nation, with four runs for each contestant and the chance to win money four times. “It’s like a wide open door,” Kissack said. “When you rope for that kind of money, you’re usually roping against 75 other guys. To rope against eleven is really special.”
The primary horse for the 29-year-old is an eleven-year-old mare named Lizzy. Lizzy was purchased from a trainer in Oklahoma and she and her owner have “clicked.” “We’ve had the best season so far,” Kissack said. “She’s a phenomenal rope horse because of her stamina and willingness. She will lay her heart on the line every time.”
Bull rider Jeff Bertus could be called “Mr. Consistent.” The Avon, S.D. man has won the average (the most points after four rides) in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017, and won the year-end title in 2014 and 2017.
Like all bull riders, the 26-year-old has fought injury. At the beginning of the year, he had a shoulder that dislocated frequently. After rehab, he wears a brace and it usually stays in. Bertus has popped it back in himself, once when it came out while he was sleeping. It hasn’t come out lately, and he’s careful to do the exercises with the band.
The soft-spoken cowboy doesn’t mull over his riding too much. “I try to approach things the same way every time. I take it one bull at a time, try not to overthink things.”
This season, he won money at rodeos in Aberdeen and Sioux Falls, S.D., and co-sanctioned rodeos in Palestine, Ill. and Circle, Mont.
Tyrell Moody is the circuit’s number one header in the team roping; he will rope with Rory Brown, Edgemont, S.D. at the circuit finals. Riley Wakefield is the number one heeler; he will rope with Scott White, Oelrichs, S.D.
The number cowgirl in the barrel racing is Jessica Routier.
The Buffalo, S.D. woman is the reigning Badlands Circuit champion and was champion eight years ago. Her mount, Missy, a seven-year-old palomino, was the 2017 Badlands Barrel Horse of the Year. Routier comes into the Badlands Circuit Finals with a lead of nearly $400 over the number two cowgirl, Erin Williams. In addition to her number one ranking in the Badlands Circuit, Routier is ranked eighth in the world standings and is headed to her first WNFR.
The top twelve contestants in each of seven events, after the PRCA’s regular season of rodeos in North Dakota and South Dakota, qualify for the Badlands Circuit Finals. This is the twelfth year the Circuit Finals has been held in Minot and hosted by the Y’s Men’s Rodeo. Performances are at 7 pm on Oct. 5 and 6, at 1 pm on Oct. 6 and 1:30 pm on Oct. 7.
Tickets range in price from $13 to $33 and are available online at www.MinotYsMensRodeo.com or at the gate. For more information, visit the website or find the event on Facebook.
More information on the Badlands Circuit standings can be found at https://bit.ly/2OWWlBe.