Caldwell Night Rodeo Kicks Off in Sizzling Style

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CALDWELL, Idaho — The heat wasn’t the only thing scorching during the opening night of the Caldwell Night Rodeo on Tuesday, August 15, 2023.

2023 Caldwell rodeo first performance Saddle Bronc rider Kolby Wanchuk. Photo credit Hailey Rae

Exciting Start to the Rodeo: Action at the D & B Arena ignited the rodeo fervor right from the start, offering a glimpse of the thrilling nights ahead. While the main rodeo events had just begun, preliminary competition known as slack had been underway since Sunday, featuring the first round of timed events.

Impressive Contestant Numbers: A staggering total of 773 contestants have entered the 99th edition of the Caldwell Night Rodeo. With the exception of bull riders, all participants will have the opportunity to vie for a spot in Saturday night’s Championship Finals. In the bareback riding and saddle bronc riding categories, top scores from the first round earn a second chance.

Diverse Advancement Criteria:

For steer wrestling, team roping, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, and barrel racing, accumulated times will determine the advancing contestants. Saturday night’s bull riding will showcase the final group’s efforts to stay atop for a full eight seconds.

Saddle Bronc Riding Highlights:

The spotlight shone on a quartet of traveling companions from Montana, Canada, and Wyoming during Tuesday night’s saddle bronc riding event. These four riders dominated the top four places. Leading the pack was Kolby Wanchuk from Sherwood Park, Alberta, scoring 88.5 points on Burch Rodeo’s horse, Calico Color. Sage Newman from Melstone, Montana, secured second place with an 86.5, followed closely by Chase Brooks from Deer Lodge, Mont., at 84.5. Tanner Butner took fourth place with an 84.

Potential for Rodeo Glory:

Wanchuk and Newman are likely contenders to secure spots among the top 12 finalists, giving them a shot at the coveted Caldwell Night Rodeo championship. Brooks and Butner await to see if their scores hold. This talented quartet all qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) last year and are aiming for a repeat this year. All but Wanchuk hold positions within the world’s top 15, with Wanchuk at spot number 20. A victory in Caldwell could propel him up the standings.

Impressive Performance by Carlee Otero:

Carlee Otero’s remarkable feat in Caldwell stands out. She blazed the arena with a 16.86-second run, the fastest of the rodeo so far. Despite a less successful first round, Otero won’t be in the championship race. Nevertheless, her swift performance could earn her a $2,500 check for Tuesday night’s run.

A Hopeful Return:

Otero, formerly known as Carlee Pierce, last graced the Thomas and Mack Arena at the NFR in 2011. Her husband, tie-down roper Michael Otero from Lowndesboro, Alabama, also competed on Tuesday, clocking in at 8.4 seconds. With a current seventh overall standing, he’s hoping to hold his position and rope again come Saturday night.

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