Wyatt Gaskins got to take a souvenir with him.
Just before departing Cody to get ready for the fall school semester at Ranger College in Texas, he collected a snazzy piece of hardware.
The 19-year-old tie-down roper originally from Miles City, Mont., won the July belt buckle at Cody Nite Rodeo.
Nightly rides have both smoothed out his skills and helped make him impervious to nerves.
“Being in front of big crowds every night, it helps with the pressure,” Gaskins said. “Now I just focus on making my run.”
Winners in several categories announced last Wednesday night received buckles, a Yeti water bottle and an automatic spot in the 2019 Finals at the end of August.
Bareback champ Ricky Williams, who has also benefited from every-night riding and the coaching at summer clinics here, won the first buckle of his career not long after he won his first rodeo.
“It’s the first one,” said a proud Williams.
The first thing Williams, who currently lives in Texas, was planning to do after the rodeo was telephone his mother Banisha Wilkerson in Decatur, Ala.
“She will be the first one I tell about this,” Williams said. “She did everything for me.”
Williams gave credit to God for his expanding Cody Nite success and said he will keep up the perseverance, hard work and “say those prayers” the rest of the season.
Other July winners were: John Kirkholz in saddle bronc; Kera Lamb in breakaway roping; team ropers Tyler Magnus and Matt Williams; Anna Allshouse in barrels and Stephan Dahl in bull riding. The All-Around cowboy for the month was Colt Cunningham and the All-Around Cowgirl was Ruby Magnus.
Breakaway had the tightest race. Coming into the final rodeo of the month Brittany Martin had a one-point lead over Kera Lamb and a three-point margin over Kooper Bott.
Martin has sizzled lately with several victories and has posted a 2.2-second time. But Lamb pulled out the title.
“They say it all comes in streaks,” Birkholz said, citing a four-rodeo winning streak mid-month. “I’ve just got to do it again next month (August).”
Allshouse, a long-time Cody Nite regular even though she is only 17, has been traveling to other regional rodeos more, but found enough time to return to Cody and ride well and score another buckle for her collection.
“It always feels good to come back to my hometown and do a good job,” Allshouse said.
Bull rider Dahl hoped to show his stuff on the night he collected his buckle, but scratched from his ride after a bull named Betta’s Revenge reared up in the chute, hitting him on the chin.
“It stings a little bit,” said Dahl, 17, from Powell, of the spot where the bull’s head hit him.
Despite the minor setback, Dahl was happy to win his prize.
“It felt great,” Dahl said. “It’s been amazing. I love coming here every night.”