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Eldridge grabs another big victory in Redding



REDDING, Calif. – Dakota Eldridge is quickly putting together a résumé which shows he’s one of the best young bulldoggers in the game today.

The 23-year-old Elko, Nev., native won his third big rodeo of the 2015 season when he took the steer wrestling average title at the May 13-15 Redding (Calif.) Rodeo, a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo, presented by Justin Boots.

Eldridge tied for fourth in the first round, and was fourth in the second round en route to a time of 9.7 seconds on two head, which was enough for the average title and total earnings of $4,039 in Redding.

“I’ve never had as great of a spring as I’m having right now, and this year I’ve done things better and taken advantage of the steers that I drew,” Eldridge said. “I’ve practiced a little more at home this season, and I’ve tried to mount my horse (Rusty) out less. It’s paid off so far.”

Eldridge won the Kissimmee (Fla.) Wrangler Champions Challenge event in October 2014, and then took the title at the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev., last month.

Aboard 16-year-old Rusty, Eldridge is brimming with confidence – and with good reason. Rusty has helped make Eldridge one of the most dangerous bulldoggers in the world in a short amount of time.

“I used to calf and team rope a lot, and didn’t really focus as much on steer wrestling, but I knew I had to capitalize on having this horse right now while he can still go,” Eldridge said. “The cards that were dealt to me were to bulldog, and I stuck my neck out on the line and went all-in, and luckily it worked.

“Everything has happened pretty fast for me. I’m only 23, but I got in with the right guys and I’ve had things fall into place. Now, my goal is a gold buckle. I have the horsepower and crew to do it, and I want to have as much won as I can before the Finals.”

Entering the weekend, Eldridge sat 13th in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, but he moved up to seventh with his win in Redding, a fourth-place finish at the Redding Wrangler Champions Challenge and a sixth-place result in Hayward, Calif.

He’s qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo the past two years, finishing third in the WNFR average race in 2014, and second in 2013.

He and traveling partner Sterling Lambert – a Fallon, Nev., native – are in their third year of hitting the road together. Lambert hazes for Eldridge, and he has as much confidence in Lambert as he does in Rusty.

“Sterling has this great new haze horse, so we have quite a bit of horsepower behind us, which is what it’s all about,” Eldridge said. “Having good horses is the only way to be successful. I couldn’t ask for a better hazer, which is another thing that’s helped me out this spring – his horse can keep up with Rusty.”

Other winners at the $171,737 rodeo were all-around cowboy Trevor Brazile ($5,422 in team roping and tie-down roping), bareback rider Luke Creasy (85 points on Four Star Rodeo’s Rusty Slim), team ropers Bubba Buckaloo and Russell Cardoza (11.5 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley (86 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Blazing Gun), tie-down roper Clint Robinson (17.1 seconds on two head), barrel racer Brittany Kelly (17.29 seconds) and bull riders Wesley Silcox (87 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo’s Big Cool) and Brennon Eldred (87 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s No. 922).

  • Brazile Watch: Trevor Brazile took full advantage of his time in Redding, capturing two all-around titles and earning a total of $6,702 between the May 13-15 Redding Rodeo and the May 16 Wrangler Champions Challenge. Brazile earned $5,422 at the Redding Rodeo after placing in both rounds of the tie-down roping and finishing second in the average with a time of 18.0 seconds on two head. He and Patrick Smith won the second round of the team roping with a time of 4.7 seconds. Brazile took fifth in the tie-down roping at the WCC the next night, earning $1,280. His lead over Tuf Cooper in the all-around world standings is $26,617, while he’s fifth in steer roping, sixth among team roping headers and 13th in tie-down roping.
  • Seth Brockman is starting to open a few eyes. After finishing 14th (2011) and 15th (2014) in the world in his two previous Wrangler National Finals Rodeo runs, the Wheatland, Wyo., cowboy is starting to gather momentum for a serious run at the 2015 steer wrestling gold buckle. By winning the Las Vegas (Nev.) Elks Helldorado Days, finishing second at the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Redding, Calif., and fifth in the Redding Rodeo, Brockman regained the steer wrestling lead in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World standings after a month spent chasing down Olin Hannum of Malad, Idaho. Hannum dropped all the way to fourth this week behind Brockman, Ty Erickson and 2013 World Champion Hunter Cure.
  • Back on track: After a five-week break to rehab a shoulder injury, five-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Luke Branquinho returned to competition over the May 15-17 weekend and earned checks at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, Calif., and the Ramona (Calif.) Rodeo. Seventh in the world standings at the time of his injury April 8 at the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev., Branquinho dropped only three spots in his time away. He competed in five rodeos in his first week back and showed he is not too far from top form with three runs of 6.0 seconds or faster.
  • With his wins at the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Redding, Calif., and the Las Vegas Elks Helldorado Days, tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa jumped from 33rd in the world to 17th. Clint Robinson moved from 13th to eighth among tie-down ropers with his wins at the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo and the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, Calif.
  • Laramie, Wyo., bareback rider Seth Hardwick’s bid to qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is looking stronger than ever after winning the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Redding, Calif., with a score of 87.5 points (just a half-point off the series record) and finishing in a tie for second at the Las Vegas Elks Helldorado Days. He moved up from seventh to fifth in the world standings, trailing only four-time World Champion Bobby Mote, Tim O’Connell, Frenchman Evan Jayne and Austin Foss.
 
 
 
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