Giving her No. 1 horse a homecoming after three years of exclusive road use, Anna Allshouse swept all three rounds of barrel racing during last week’s Cody Nite Rodeo Finals to capture the crown in what was pretty much a farewell to her home grounds.
During the offseason Allshouse, 17, a Cody cowgirl who has been a championship fixture at Stampede Park for years and who has piled up a collection of belt buckles that could warrant a new addition on her house, will turn 18.
She will promptly pick up her Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card and spend virtually all her competition time elsewhere – although she does hope to be admitted into the Cody Stampede field next July 4.
Allshouse beat a highly competitive field, winning three straight nights in 17.11 seconds, 17.11, and 16.97, leaving no wiggle room for contenders.
Otherwise this summer, during her appearances in Cody Nite Rodeo, Allshouse relied on backup horses, most notably Taxi. But for the Finals she broke out J.D., her horse usually saved for larger, richer rodeos.
“I haven’t brought him back here in three years,” Allshouse said. “This is where he was trained. It feels good to come back with my good horse.”
Allshouse had the lead already, but went out first Saturday night and knew she had it won after the only sub-17-time of the Finals. As she rode past the grandstand on a victory lap, she smiled broadly and waved to the crowd. Then she flashed a thumbs up to her uncle, Larry Allshouse, a member of the Stampede Board of Directors.
When her dad, Dave, heard there was discussion of expanding the house to handle all his daughter’s trophies, he said that is not happening. “Uh, no,” he said.
The 81st season of Cody Nite Rodeo culminated with the awarding of $45,000 in prize money.
The weather was mild and pleasant without either much wind or any rain.
The tightest competition played out in bareback riding. Josh Green, an Alabama cowboy who rode hard all summer, prevailed.
Green’s three-day total of 239 points, including two 81s, edged Dylan Sandvick’s 236 and Justin Opatrny’s 234. All three cowboys rode successfully all three nights.
Opatrny’s 83 on a horse named Captain, was the highest score.
Green knew he had to ride well to win.
“There was more pressure,” he said. “I kind of put it in God’s hands and just wanted to have fun. Yes sir, it’s satisfying. But I still have a lot of room to improve.”
Checks, belt buckles and Yeti coolers were presented to champions.
The other winners were Justin Stegall in tie-down roping; Brittany Martin in breakaway roping; John Birkholz in saddle bronc; Tristan Miner in junior bulls; Owen Monfeldt in junior steers; Cole Sherwood, header in team roping; Steve Sherwood, heeler in team roping: Cashlyn Cooper in junior barrels; and Bo Howell in bull riding.
Stegall was the All-Around Cowboy and Arianna Assini the All-Around Cowgirl.
It was the finest season for Stegall, part of the Arizona trio that has visited Cody the last few seasons, including fiance Arianna and her brother Austin.
“I felt like I had a pretty good chance this week,” Stegall said.
The calves were excessively frisky all season, more difficult to tackle, and cowboys took longer to complete the tie-down than in recent years.
“They’ve been pretty tough,” Stegall said.
Stegall was the only contender who scored all three nights.
Bull riding has been the weakest event this year, with days of no eight-second rides. But Howell scored an 85, Chris Rollins an 82, and Jordan Paddock an 81 to breathe life into the event.
“It was a good little bull,” Howell said of Chief Joseph. “He felt like he had me loose. I just looked down at his shoulders to see where he was going.”
In a rarity, bareback riders outperformed the saddle bronc riders. The field thinned after the first night when Chris Williams broke two ribs and could not enter after that.
Birkholz, who had been on a season-long high similar to Green’s, scored Thursday and Saturday nights, but was thrown Friday, leaving the door open for Brody Wells. But Wells could not capitalize.
“That horse didn’t feel good,” Birkholz said of his winning ride on Ripper for 78 points. “But I felt pretty good.”
Cody Nite Rodeo
Bareback: Josh Green; Tie-down roping: Justin Stegall; Breakaway roping, Brittany Martin; Saddle Bronc: John Birkholz; Junior Bulls: Tristan Miner; Junior steers: Owen Montfeldt; Barrels: Anna Allshouse; Junior barrels, Cashlyn Cooper; Bull riding, Bo Howell.
All-Around Cowboy: Justin Stegall. All-Around Cowgirl, Arianna Assini.
Year-End Points Champions
Bareback: Green; Tie-down, Stegall; Breakaway: Martin; Saddle bronc, Caleb Newell; Junior steers Monfeldt; Junior bulls, Miner; Team roping header: Daryl Lamb; Team roping heeler, Stegall; Barrels: Allshouse; Junior barrels: Taylor Cheney; Bull riding, Jaysen Lowden.
All-Around Cowboy, Stegall; All-Around Cowgirl, Assini.