The 20th champion of the Annual Gateway to the Sandhills Bullride Classic, Joe Bertus, certainly earned his championship belt buckle and prize purse Saturday night at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Albion.
Thirty brave riders, including 2013 champion Ethan Lesiak, strapped it up and took their shot in the first round of the popular event – only three were able to hold on and earn 8-second scores.
It was that kind of night, when the ornery stock of Rodeo Rose Productions often had the upper hand.
Levi Stepp of Pierce earned the top score in the preliminary round, with an 81. Bertus, from Avon, SD, was awarded a score of 70 and Silver Creek’s Trey Engel earned a 61 from judges Jim McMillan and Pepper Rasmussen.
That trio was joined by seven additional riders in the final round, where Bertus claimed the 2014 crown with the night’s top score of 83.
The Gateway to the Sandhills Bullride Classic was once again presented by the Albion FFA Alumni and Rodeo Rose Productions, with support from the Boone Central FFA Chapter, numerous area sponsors and many individual volunteers.