Heeler Paul Griemsman learned a few things in his three previous trips to the Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho, for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He honed his approach and tried to keep things simple and take a business-like approach for both he and Badlands Circuit partner Brett Price.
"We came with a game plan," Griemsman said, "to get the steers caught and make the finals. We decided in the finals to be as aggressive as we could, and see what happened. It all worked out according to our game plan."
In the finals of the elimination-style tournament, Price and Griemsman went 5.7-seconds after Matt Robertson and Justin Viles were 6.3. That 5.7 put enough pressure on the next two teams—Paul Mullins and Todd Hampton and Mark Brockmueller and Dustin Harris—that they turned in no-times.
"We’ve roped together for about two-and-half years, we get along great and we both train horses, so we have a lot in common," Griemsman said.
Both he and Price came away from the roping with a total of $9,404.
Two was the magic number for steer wrestler Luke Branquinho and bull rider J.W. Harris. These two-time world champions each won their second consecutive DNCFR titles with dominant performances in Saturday night’s double session.
Branquinho presented what was nearly a carbon copy of his win a year ago. He was just seventh in the average—against sixth in 2009—but was 3.9 in the semifinals to finish second to Clay Cowan and then 3.9 again in the finals to beat Cowan by seven-tenths of a second. Branquinho also won the 2009 final with a time of 3.9.
"It’s a great feeling to come back and win it again," Branquinho said. "To do that is amazing. I don’t safety up. In the first round I safetied up, and barely made it back to the semifinals. I knew that the second-round steers ran hard, so I made a run at the barrier. To be 3.9 twice in one night is amazing. I’m not sure what I’m doing with the ($20,000 voucher) from Dodge yet, but we’re going to dang sure use it…possibly a car for my wife or another truck for me."
After getting bucked off in the first round, Harris had a 90-point ride to win round two, another 90-pointer Saturday night on DNCFR bull of the year Little Bo from the Burns Rodeo string to win the semifinals and then topped that with 91 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Hot Wired in the finals.
"Any time you ride three bulls in a couple of days it’s a great feeling," Harris said, "but when you ride three and get scores of 90 and 91 it’s the best feeling in the world. "
Tie-down roper Trent Creager worked his way through a field that had eight past Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers in it and secured the win with a time of 7.8 seconds in the finals.
"We had a pen of calves that was real strong and one pen that was weaker," Creager said. "They keep the pens pretty even. The final four calves were pretty even."
Tammy Bruso won the DNCFR final in upset fashion with a time of 14.90 seconds for total earnings of $11,438 after local favorite Sue Smith twice broke the arena record, including a 14.65-second run in the semifinals, but Smith hit a barrel in the final and finished fourth.
Jesse Wright, the 2009 PRCA saddle bronc riding rookie of the year, won the DNCFR in his first try, posting an 87-point ride on Powder River Rodeo’s Miss Congeniality, and Ryan Gray won the saddle bronc riding with a 90-point ride on Brookman Rodeo’s Good Times to win a rodeo-best $19,978.