Helenans learned first-hand how Texan brothers get along Thursday night.
Sterling and Jacobs Crawley walked away the top two finishers in the saddle bronc at the Last Chance Stampede rodeo grounds. Each Texan took a turn and broke Jesse Kruse’s 2012 arena record of 86 points.
Jacobs, the PRCA leader in saddle bronc, set the record at 87.5. It had bettered Sage Newman’s 75 from moments earlier, and brought the rodeo fans into a frenzy afterward. Jacobs knew the horse well. He had just rode it a few weeks earlier on the Fourth of July in Livingston.
“It was a great bucking horse,” Jacobs Crawley said. “I knew the story. We got along good. It’s best in our event to keep it simple. The game plan doesn’t change regardless of the horse. Really the only thing you can control is your aggression and your first start. It’s a 1.5 second game plan and then the rest is all muscle memory and you’re adjusting to the horse.”
Sterling, who is also high on the PRCA money list at 11th, one-upped his bro, shattering his record hardly a minute after he set it. Sterling hopped atop Kesler Rodeo’s Navajo Sun and clutched the beast to a ride of 88 points. Like Jacobs, Sterling had seen Navajo Sun before -- two times, actually.
“We drew really good tonight,” he said. "Honestly, it’s good I wasn’t judging, because I might have had (Jacobs’) more than likely over me. I had that horse in Calgary the other day and dropped the ball at the whistle; could have been more. Today I was concentrating on what I did wrong. He’s just a special horse.”
You’d be forgiven if you had mistaken the brilliant riding from one Crawley for the other. The two are scoring high, and riding around the country together.
“We’d wear name tags if we were bothered by it,” Sterling said of people’s confusion in identifying the two.
The two are fond of Montana, as they’ve both ridden quality livestock and walked with pockets slightly heavier.
“Montana has been awfully sweet on us,” Sterling said.
The two have built a bond and relied on each other throughout the years. Sterling said Jacobs has helped him take better care of his body, gear, and learned how to be a pro’s pro.
For Jacobs, it’s a welcome sight to see his brother performing well and even getting the best of him.
“It’s really cool,” Jacobs said. “Like I said, any time I come up second to my brother … that’s just about as good as I can write it up. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Both brothers praised the Kesler’s livestock.
“They’re great. I love the Keslers,” Jacobs said. “I love seeing them at rodeos. We make a point to make it to as many of their rodeos as we can. You know you’re usually going to get on something that bucks. You may not know it, but it probably bucks. That’s good in our event.”
With a day off before a trip up to Alberta, the Crawleys will spend Friday fishing around Townsend, enjoying another little slice of Montana.
Newman’s 75 points grabbed him third place on the evening, followed by Roper Kisner of Ripley, Oklahoma with a 66-point fourth place ride.
In the bareback riding, it was a young cowboy taking top honor on Thursday evening. Tristan Hansen of Dillon grabbed ahold of Treasure Island and went for an 81-point ride.
“Everyone was telling me this horse was really cool and would have moves out there,” Hansen said behind the chutes afterward. “I was pretty excited. I was up at Calgary Stampede, I can’t remember who it was, but they went 87.5 on the horse. I was pretty excited about it. I got on her and I couldn’t have been happier. I could have rode a tad bit better but I’m still happy with the results.”
Hansen, a Montana Western student who is getting a degree in horse training, is scoring well on the circuit in his second year. He currently sits in third place behind J.R. Vezain and Justin Miller.
Trenten Montero of Winnemucca, Nevada, placed second in bareback, scoring 74 points. Luke Creasey of Garland, Texas, had a 73-point ride for third and Chase Redfield (Opheim) nabbed fourth with a 68.5.
While the Kesler animals had a fair share of wins on the day, nowhere was it more evident than on the bulls. Only one rider, Edgar Durazo of Moctezuma, Mexico, managed to handle his massive critter. Durazo was the only rider to qualify with his 72 point ride.
“It was a little bull, but they told me it was going to be good,” Durazo said. “It wasn’t a fast spinner but he was fancy and nice and up and down and turned away from my hands to the left. He put me to the side a little bit, but I didn’t quit. I kept going hard and we got it done. Thank God.”
Durazo left Helena Thursday night, and headed for Big Sky for the bull riding event on Friday.
In steer wrestling, Justin Shaffer of Hallsville, Texas, grabbed the top slot with a 4.3-second effort. He was followed by Jesse Brown of Baker City, Oregon, who turned in a 5.1 second tangle. There was a tie for third, as Mike McGinn of Haines, Oregon and Wyatt Jurney of Las Cruces, New Mexico, each clocked a time of 5.6.
The top mark in the team roping went to Shay Carroll (Prineville, Oregon) and Nano Garza (Las Cruces, New Mexico) who locked down their animal in 5.7 seconds. Aaron Tsinigine (Tuba City, Arizona) and Ryan Motes (Weatherford, Texas) were the only other ropers to score, notching a 5.8 second run.
Chase Mitchell led the way the tie-down roping. The man from Shepherd, had a 12.6 record round, beating out Erik Dublanko of Canada’s 18.5 second effort. No other tie-down ropers turned in a clean run.
In the barrel racing, it was Kellie Collier of Hereford, Texas, beating out a pair of family members for the top place. Collier scrambled around the barrels in 17.88 seconds, ahead of Keira Simonson’s (Loring) 17.91 seconds. Shelby Rasmussen took third in a tmie of 17.97 seconds and Kiana Simonson grabbed fourth in a time of 18.30.
The rodeo continues Friday night with the Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance. The rodeo kicks off at 7:30 p.m.