Last night The World’s Toughest Rodeo made its way back to the great state of Minnesota for night one of two inside of the Excel Energy Center. Things started earlier in the week with the qualification rounds of the championship mutton bustin’ competition which is always a crowd favorite. Once the doors opened to the general public the arena floor opened up to the rodeo fans to be able to attend a meet and greet with the rodeo stars, take pony rides in the arena and meet the entertainers for the weekend’s festivities. Once the dirt was cleared it was time to begin the exciting rodeo action once again for the 2016 edition of the World’s Toughest Rodeo!
The action started fast and furious as many of the home state cowboys took to the bucking stock that was paired up with them to provide some fantastic rides that made the crowd stand up and cheer at the top of their lungs all night long. Anthony Lucia, once again, did a fantastic job behind the microphone as well as showing the rodeo clown, Matt Tarr, how talented he is with a rope in his hands after taking on a bet of who was the best trick roper in the building.
World’s Toughest Rodeo Contestants Getting Ready To Start Round One
The action inside of the Excel Energy Center Friday night was one that maintained its momentum from the first ride of the night all the way through the last ride of the championship round to determine who would be crowned champions for the first round of competition. After the long go round last night it was a cinderella story that played out in front of the thousands of fans that were in attendance to witness the world class rodeo action that had taken place.
After a long hard fought battle in four different rodeo events it was who sat on top going into the championship round that made the local fans proud. Along with the extreme amount of pride they were all feeling there were many folks in the stands that even began to shred a tear or two as the winners from round one were introduced. Those tears that were streaming down the faces were absolutely warranted as two of the contestants were coming back from either near career ending injuries or horrific accidents that could have taken the lives.
Bareback Riders AJ Colletti And Austin Graham Square Off
In the bareback riding event it was the “Colorado Kid” AJ Colletti that managed to squeak out the victory in the long round with a solid 83 point ride but the Oklahoma cowboy Austin Graham was not too far behind. These two superstars had the highest marked rides in the long round and squared off against each other as the first scores were wiped clean heading into the Championship Round Friday night. After it was all said and done it was the Oklahoman Austin Graham who would beat Colletti when he made a qualified 88 point ride in the Championship Round to take home the event title.
Saddle Bronc Riders Austin Joseph And Dalton Kingery
The closest match-up of the night was the one that spotlighted two of the best contestants in the classic rodeo and cowboy event known as saddle bronc riding. Kentucky’s own Austin Joseph and Iowa’s Dalton Kingery matched up to go head to head in Friday night’s championship short go round. Dalton coming back from shoulder surgery an entire month prior to being cleared by his doctors managed to rise to the top in the long go round beating out Joseph after making an exciting 80 point ride to win the long go on his FIRST horse back after taking time off for his shoulder surgery.
I was able to catch up with Dalton before the start of the first round of competition last night to see how he was doing and where things stand after rehabbing from his shoulder surgery. Find out if he is in fact cleared to compete at a professional level or if he is acting like a true cowboy and coming back from injury early. Find out all that he has to say about the event itself, the atmosphere inside of the Excel Energy Center and coming back from injury by listing to our interview below!
In the Championship Short Go Round, the closest outcome of the event thus far, it would go the other way as the slates were erased and the scores started fresh as these two powerhouses joined forces to light the Excel Energy Center on fire. After it was all said and done it would be the Kentucky saddle bronc rider Austin Joseph who would fair just a mere one point better than Kingery to take home the first night’s event win of the World’s Toughest Rodeo stop in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Bull Rider Lance “Sunshine” Schwartz Takes The Night One Victory
In the fan favorite event of bull riding it was, once again, another truly inspiring story that was about to come to the forefront as Anoka, Minnesota’s own Lance “Sunshine” Schwartz made his much anticipated return to the rodeo arena. Just over a year ago Schwartz was working down south in Texas and was involved in a horrific automobile accident that left him in intensive care with many questions as to what his outcome would be. Remarkably, he fully recovered and have since undergone knee surgery and has made his way back to the World’s Toughest Rodeo arena once again.
Tonight was the ultimate comeback story as Schwartz climbed back atop of the bovine athletes that he loves to compete against on the biggest stage of all, inside of a rodeo arena. Not only was it a true comeback story but it was one that would end up with the biggest story line of the night as he wins the first night of the bull riding at the World’s Toughest Rodeo stop in his very own home town and in front of many of his close friends and family. All we can say is WELCOME HOME LANCE and it is great to see you back in top of your game!
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