After all the snorting and stomping, and bodies flying, a pair of brave riders shared the crown Sunday night in the 24th Annual Gateway to the Sandhills Bullride Classic at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Albion.
A total of 32 cowboys from nine states – including such distant locales as Marshall, Texas and Primeville, Oregon – made the trip to Albion for the annual midsummer event.
When the dust settled, Josh Stills of Nisa, Missouri and Mason Ward of North Platte, Nebraska finished in a first-place stalemate, each with 83 points. The pair shared the winner’s purse, with a coin flip deciding the recipient of the champion’s belt buckle that is donated annually by Jim and Delores McMillan of Albion.
Josh Stills, Ward and Derek Stills (Bluei, MO) were the only three riders to reach the 8 second mark and receive a judge’s score in the opening round. Seven additional riders were drawn to join the final short round, where all 10 cowboys were dumped before the time limit. That left Josh Stills and Ward tied with their first-round scores of 83 and Derek Stills in third with a first-round 69.