Sometimes, bull riding’s a smackdown

Dallas Rohrig of Rifle hits the ground Sunday after completing his 8-second ride on Smackdown in the bullriding event at the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association’s finals at the Mesa County Fairgrounds arena. Rohrig, a rookie rider, walked away with a score of 74.

It was Dallas Rohrig versus Smackdown.

The chute was packed with tension. Fans were on the edge of their seats.

Let’s take a quick look at the duo.

Rohrig: 17 years old, 135 pounds, an easy smile, low-key attitude, high school bull riding champion as a junior at Rifle High School.

Smackdown: Age unknown, weighs about a ton, ornery and irritable as a mother-in-law who had her cooking criticized, Bucking Bull of the Year.

The gate flies open and Rohrig hunkers down for another frenzied ride that he hopes lasts eight seconds. Smackdown starts spinning, Rohrig holds tight, spurs, then the bull turns the other way. But on Sunday, Rohrig provided the smackdown in this match-up.

After eight seconds, the horn sounds, but that doesn’t mean the action stops. About 9.8 seconds into the ride, Rohrig finally departed the raging bull, but that ain’t necessarily easy.

Rohrig might have gotten the best of Smackdown for eight seconds and change, but the bull had one last trick. As Rohrig attempted the dismount, Smackdown sent him tumbling head-first into the Mesa County Fairgrounds muck.

Riding Smackdown was the highlight of the three-day Colorado Pro Rodeo Association season finals for the Rifle teen. The first two days, Rohrig hit the dirt in less than eight seconds.

That’s bull riding — as unpredictable as homemade chili.

Bull riders are crazy. That’s the prevailing opinion.

On Sunday, there were the usual couple of close calls when the bull nearly stomped a rider and took aim at a rider in the dirt.

When Tarren Calhoun from Hot Sulphur Springs got whipped around like a flag in a wind storm, things got scary. He made it eight seconds on Slingshot, but then his hand got caught as he tried to dismount.

Bull riders are crazy. That’s the prevailing opinion.

“That’s my job to get him loose and that means that I might take a shot, but I love doing it for these for guys,” said Fruita bullfighter Tyler Williams.

Slingshot popped Williams, sending him headfirst into the fence. The Slingshot shot slowed him down a little but that’s what a pop to the privates will do.

Rohrig earned a 74 on Smackdown, good for third place on the day.

It seems as though Dallas was born to ride bulls. And born to wrestle on the high school team. His dad Bo Rohrig was a champion bull rider and a Colorado state high school wrestling champ at 135 pounds for Rifle in 1990.

“I try to the best I can,” Dallas said about following in his dad’s large boot steps.

Drawing Smackdown was good for Rohrig. Vigorous, unruly bulls are good for high scores. But Smackdown didn’t do him any favors. It’s tough enough to just to go eight seconds on the back of a belligerent bull. But if a rider hopes to win, that bull better be downright volatile.

Rohrig rode Smackdown a few weeks back and scored an 87.

“He just had an off day today,” he said about the bull.

Smackdown usually jumps out of the chute and spins. That’s good for a bull rider.

“Today, he jumped out, then turned back the other way. He was just all over the place,” Rohrig said.

This made Smackdown a tougher ride for Rohrig but not the kind of ride worth a real high score.

Smackdown turned out to be a letdown for Rohrig.

He smiled. “All I can do is stay in there and ride him.”

Cody Tesch of Berthoud got the perfect bull that jumped out of the chute and started spinning.

“It’s what we call the sweet spot, I found that today,” Tesch said. “The bull fit me perfect and I dominated him.”

Tesch, 25, scored an 82 on Sunday and a 78 on Saturday to win both days and take the weekend.

Bryant Osborne, another Rifle rider and good friend of Rohrig, tied for third on Saturday but on Sunday he got tossed around like a sock in a dryer, finally getting bucked about six seconds in.

That’s bull riding.

Sometimes you make it eight seconds. Sometimes you get smackdowned.

Sometimes it’s both.


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