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07.26.2016
Patriot Juan Alonzo Wins Night One of the CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days

With the United States Air Force Thunderbirds looking down from the chutes, and the United States Navy Leap Frogs landing next to the arena, courage under fire United States Army Veteran Juan Alonzo rode two bulls to take the early lead in the five round adrenaline-charged CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

At the beginning of each and every Championship Bull Riding event, Tuff Hedeman dedicates the performance to the military from all branches of the service, both active service men and women and veterans. For the second consecutive year Alonzo from Weslaco, Texas inspired by the crowd’s appreciation and his fellow service men on top of the chutes and in the grandstands, put two spectacular rides together to take the early lead in the competition.

"I love this sport, this is all I ever wanted to do and it's always been on my mind," said Alonzo.

Twenty-three year old Juan Alonzo despite experiencing combat on a daily basis, always wanted to become a bull rider. With his fellow soldiers' assistance while serving his country overseas, he practiced simulated bull riding techniques using a barrel rigged as a practice device to keep in shape.

"Right after I got in the military, they wanted to keep me in and send me to Special Forces to do all kinds of stuff. But I turned everything down and told them 'No, I want to ride bulls for the rest of my life," added the bull rider who rides his best in front of the Frontier Park grandstands.

Alonzo, for the second year, earned the right to mount the bull chosen as the bonus money bull. If ridden, Alonzo would have received a bonus check for $10,000. The elusive bucking bull 1137 Cowbanger, owned by Benny Cude of Championship Pro Rodeo, remains an unridden bull after bucking off Alonzo and ending his night in less than four seconds.  

With a total of 23 qualified rides, only three bull riders would hear the whistle twice. Alonzo topped the leader board with 177 points followed by three-time World Champion and CBR World Standings leader Sage Kimzey with 173.5 points. The third rider to cover three was CBR rookie rider Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Texas, who competed as an alternate when Joseph McConnel withdrew due to injury.

 

Round One

The riders took an early lead riding the first eight bulls on the day sheet. No. 5 ranked Cody Rostockyj took the early lead with 87.5 on J.C. Knapp’s 128 Uptown Funk and that lead would hold thru section three when No. 2 ranked Jacob O’Mara, Prairieville, La., would ride Jeff Harris’s 18 Herbie for 89.5 points.

But Alonzo, who served his country with two tours in Afghanistan, electrified the crowd with the first 90 point score of the night and the finals when he rode 1211 Too Juicy from newly crowned Stock Contractor of the Year, Mike Rawson.

At the end of round one the crowd had witnessed 13 bull riders receive scores including the reigning CBR World Champion Cody Teel, and No. 3 Brennon Eldred.

After a pause in the bull riding action to celebrate Military Monday by honoring both the elite USAF Thunderbird Squadron and the United States Navy Leap Frogs, the riders were ready for their second draw of the night.

 

Round Two

The bulls would regain control of round two allowing only ten riders to succeed. Neil Holmes of Houston, Texas who has been on tour with CBR since 2010, would come out on top with 89.5 on 25T Wicked Ways from JQH Bucking Bulls. Holmes was the 2015 CBR World Finals Average Champion. Second in round two was fellow Houston bull rider Jonathan Brown who was 89 points on bull of the year nominee, 3728 Yellow Hair. But the twist in tonight’s narrative is that of the top five bull riders in the CBR standings, all but one bucked off their second bull.

Sage Kimzey riding with courage under fire from the rest of the bull riding field, and after taking flight with the Thunderbirds just six hours earlier, rode Jared Allen’s Rolls Royce for 87 points. Kimzey’s solid two-bull performance moves him one step closer to his fourth World Championship Bull Riding title. 

With the industry’s elite bull riders pitted against the best bucking bulls in the world competing for over half a million dollars in cash and prize packages, the two night Cheyenne Frontier Nights performance features the top ranked 24 CBR bull rider contestants, who qualified on points earned during the regular season of the Road to Cheyenne Tour, a twelve month fifteen-stop televised tour that concludes each year with the crowning of the sport's 2016 World Champion in Frontier Park.

The two day, five round, finale worth over a total of $500,000 in cash and prizes to cowboys and livestock owners is being held for the sixth consecutive year in the storied Frontier Park Arena in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

With a $100,000 check, a Hyo Silver trophy buckle, custom Fenoglio Boots, a custom American Hat, and a custom trophy saddle by Juan Jose Muñoz Andrade on the line, buckle up and get a good seat because the cowboys and the bovine athletes will all be bringing their A game tomorrow night.

Joining the established group as President in 2005, and continuing to serve as Ambassador, Fox Sports broadcaster, and chute boss, the four-time World Champion Bull Rider and Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee, Richard Neal “Tuff” Hedeman coordinates the Road to Cheyenne tour, assuring fans, bull riders, and everyone involved a great experience. 

“What better place to battle it out than ‘The Daddy of ‘Em All’ Cheyenne Frontier Days,” said Hedeman.

The CBR World Finals consists of five rounds of bull riding action in two night performances which includes the daredevil cowboy lifesavers, the Famous Energy Bullfighters, bull by bull color analysis with eight time Bull Riding World Champion Don Gay, and the humor and hi-jinks of barrel man extraordinaire, Cody Sosebee.

 

The Formula

Each night the cowboys cumulate points in each of the five rounds based on their qualified ride scores. These scores are added to their regular season totals. At the end of the CBR World Finals there are two champions, a World Champion and an event champion, which rewards the bull rider with the highest average points from the two-day event.

The World Finals event will also feature the “other side of the ride," CBR’s Million Dollar Bull Team Challenge World Finals which pays out over $655,000 to the livestock owners of these talented animal athletes. Bucking bull owners who qualified their teams during the regular season will each bring three bulls that are featured during the two day competition. The bulls are competing for a total prize purse of $372,500 based on their scored performance in the arena. The time the bull rider stays on is added to the bull’s score. At the end of the event the owner with the three highest-scoring bulls will receive $120,000 and be declared the CBR World Champion Bull Team.

The Road to Cheyenne tour is powered by Famous Energy, Cinch Jeans & Shirts, Fenoglio Boot Company, W-W Livestock Systems, Neckover Trailers, Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation, American Hat Company, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Michael Gaughan’s South Point Hotel and Casino, Fox Sports Networks, Laughlin, Nevada Tourism, Mahindra USA, and Hyo Silver.

The 2016 CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days will air on FOX Sports 2 on Wednesday, August 3rd & 10th, and on FOX Sports Networks Sunday, August 28th & September 4th.

Tickets are available through Cheyenne Frontier Days ticket outlets, cfdrodeo.com, or by calling 800-227-6335. For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, leighann@theshortround.com, or call 940.902.1112.

 

Performance One Average Results

1, Juan Alonzo, Weslaco, Texas, 177 points. 2, Sage Kimzey, 173.5 points, 3, Tyler Taylor, Stephenville, Texas, 172.5.


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