By Susan Kanode for the National Western Stock Show
DENVER, Colo. – The semifinals at the National Western Stock Show Rodeo by Centura Health are shaping up to be three exciting events this coming Saturday, January 21.
Bracket 7 was completed in the Denver Coliseum on Thursday with some surprises moving to the top. The bareback riding was dominated by Tanner Aus from Granite Falls, Minnesota who is coming off of his seventh trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Las Vegas. Aus had an 82.5 during the matinee, then the high-marked ride on Thursday evening with an 86-point effort on Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s horse named Enchanted Ernest.
Aus won the bareback riding at the College National Finals in 2012 for Missouri Valley College in Marshall. That was three years after joining the PRCA.
Through his career, he has won nearly $1.5 million and titles at rodeos across the country, but never here in Denver. He is at the top of the leaderboard in Bracket 7 with a total of 168.5 points on two head.
There are three semifinals performances on Saturday with one contestant out of each of the eight brackets in each one. The four contestants with the highest score or fastest time will advance to Sunday’s championship finals. Aus is definitely hoping to do that and jump start his 2023 season with a win at the National Western.
A saddle bronc rider from Montana made a big statement on a day when three of the famed Wright family from Utah were competing including world champions Spencer and Jesse Wright. Houston Garrett Brown from Miles City had the top score at the matinee performance at 86 points. The three-year member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) got that score on J Bar J Rodeo’s horse named E.T. Then he came back Thursday evening and rode another horse from J Bar J, Western Feel for 80.5 points.
During the evening performance, Spencer Wright from Milford, Utah had the high marked ride of 85.5 points on Delta Night, also owned by J Bar J. The two saddle bronc riders are tied at the top of the leaderboard with 166.5 points and will be staying in the Mile High City to compete on Saturday. Jesse Wright rounds out the top three that advance out of the bracket.
Bracket 8 will see round 1 start at 1:30 p.m. in the Denver Coliseum and will be completed at the evening performance beginning at 8 p.m. s competition will feature the final bracket and see the last qualifiers for Saturday’s semifinals.
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