the badlands

Payton Pirrung and Logan Schliinz Lead Badlands Circuit After $4K Weekend
As the Badlands Circuit action picks up, Payton Pirrung and Logan Schliinz are in the driver’s seat after pocketing $4,800 between Newtown, North Dakota, and North Platte, Nebraska.
Payton Pirrung and Logan Schliinz roping at Newtown, North Dakota, in 2024.
Payton Pirrung and Logan Schliinz at Newtown, North Dakota. | Alaina Stangle photos

Payton Pirrung and Logan Schliinz are kicking off a summer in the Badlands Circuit first in the standings after pocketing $4,800 the weekend of June 12-16, 2024.

 Pirrung, 22, and Schliinz, 44, picked up $2,779 each at the co-approved Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska, and $2,021 a man in Newtown, North Dakota, at the Adrian Newtown Rodeo Days to jump to first in the standings with $5,029.28. As the Badlands Circuit is just starting to get underway, the Hartford and Whitewood, South Dakota, guys are happy to see their winter work being reflected in their run.

“That’s just kind of what we’ve been practicing on all winter,” said Pirrung, who works on a ranch around Belle Fourche. “It’s been pretty slow to start off but kind of got it going now, it seems like. It was good.”

While it’s still early in the season, Schliinz—who has a 10-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son with his wife, Bethany—is looking to keep their momentum rolling into the summer.

“Just trying to keep going and go make whatever runs we can on what we draw,” said Schliinz, who’s worked in farm and ranch real estate for 13 years. “I think that’s all anybody can do. You hope if you draw a good one, you’re able to take advantage of them. The last couple rodeos worked out well; you just hope it kind of keeps going.”

From Nebraska to North Dakota

Pirrung and Schliinz started the weekend in North Platte Wednesday, June 12, where they picked up $2,779 a man for second with a 4.9—a run that felt like it happened in the blink of an eye.

“I just blacked out,” Schliinz said with a laugh. “We had a really good steer at North Platte, and we just let him go straight. He was good and cleaned up good. Payton finished good, and we just made a good run.”

Friday, June 14, they travelled to Newtown where they stopped the clock in 5.0 seconds for third place and $2,021 a man. Pirrung credits Schliinz for his heeling on both steers. 

“That was all my guy—he went right to the end of it, as soon as [the steer] hit, he fired it,” Pirrung said of their North Platte run. “He did a heck of a job. Then in Newtown, we had a really good one there; he just kind of loped with his head up. I felt like I blew the barrier out of there pretty good; it felt like he was right there. My guy did about the same thing again. [Our steer] actually kind of drug and wasn’t very good to heel him, but [Logan] heeled him and just annihilated him.”

Bridging Generations

While there’s a 21-year age gap between Pirrung and Schliinz, they’ve known each other nearly Pirrung’s entire life as they grew up near each other. 

“When I was rodeoing before, he was in diapers,” Schliinz said. “I am the old man. I’ve known his dad a long time.”

Pirrung and Schliinz started roping at Rodeo Rapid City in February at the hands of Pirrung’s brother, Braden.

“My brother used to keep his horses at his house when he went to college in Torrington,” Pirrung said. “He lived over there with him, kind of. We were both wanting to switch partners and needing a run. My brother called me one day, he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re roping with Logan.’ I said, ‘You bet, perfect.’”

Family Horses

Older brother also came in clutch in the horse department. Pirrung’s good horse broke his leg this winter and had to be put down, leaving him horseless. As siblings do, Braden is letting him ride his good horse, Its Mister Fame to U, better known as “Richard.”

Its Mister Fame to U
Its Mister Fame to U

“That’s his horse that he won the Badlands Circuit on a couple years ago,” Pirrung said. “He was head horse of the year in the circuit. He’s a really good horse. He’s pretty easy.”

Schliinz’s heel horse, 9-year-old Q Christmas, aka “Q,” is also a family horse as his daughter uses him for the pole bending.

 Q Christmas
Q Christmas

“It’s kind of neat I get to go take him to a ProRodeo, and then hop him in a trailer, and he goes down the road and does the junior girls pole bending deal,” Schliinz said. “It’s fun. He’s kind of a family horse.”

Summer in the Dakotas

Pirrung and Schliinz plan to stay on the Badlands Circuit front this year, taking into consideration Schliinz’s family.

“We’ve been talking quite a bit,” Schliinz said. “We keep getting popped and so we’re trying to figure it out and do trades. I’m trying to fit in the kids rodeos in the middle of the week and make sure that we can still get to them since my daughter uses my heel horse for poles.”

Staying on the circuit front is also the smartest option as this is the busiest time of year in the Badlands Circuit, with both North and South Dakota hosting a good portion of the Fourth of July rodeos.

“A lot of the rodeos start in June,” Schliinz said. “They’ll have some winter rodeos that are going and then they kind of hold off. I would say North Platte and Newtown kind of kick it off, and then it’s pretty strong all the way to Deadwood or so.”

Having the momentum of leading the circuit going into prime rodeo time gives the team a boost of confidence, but they’re prepared to work hard.

“I feel good, but there’s a lot of rodeos left, though,” Pirrung said. “The Fourth’s coming up right here, and then the weekend before the Fourth is also really good with Dickinson (North Dakota) and Clear Lake (South Dakota) and all that. It’s just kind of getting started here, but I’m ready—I feel prepared.”

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