New to the Job, Rookie Rider on a Rookie Bull Win First Performance in Huron

 A former college rodeo team bull rider that refers to himself as having more heart and try than talent and experience, traveled 373 miles from his hometown of Colby, Kansas to compete at his first Championship Bull Riding (CBR) event in Huron, South Dakota. 

Thirteen rookies from thirteen different states created the forty-one man roster, but it was Clayton Appelhans who outlasted the field and his 89-point score earned him his first CBR win, the Red Wilk Construction CBR Bull Bash Horizon Series, and the opportunity to attempt the Bounty Bull for an additional $10,000 bonus check.

“The best bulls are known to be at CBR, so that’s where I wanted to be,” declared the CBR rookie bull rider who experienced his biggest career win in front of a packed South Dakota State Fair grandstands.

Only seven bull riders heard the eight second whistle. Five time NFR qualifier Kanin Asay, who is leading the Horizon Series, the CBR’s qualifying tour division, took the first lead with 85 points on Tom Baker and Lyndal Hurst’s 43X Sheriff.  He would retain the lead until section two when Corey Atwell bumped him with an 86.5 on the perennial buckler Flab Slab from the Jaynes Gang. Atwell’s score would hold past the rest of the section until Mickey Andrews launched section three riding Jared Allen’s 25 Billy Jack for another 86.5 marked ride. Two more qualified rides came from section III, David Hudson on The Abyss (JQH) and Eli Vastbinder who would finish second in the night’s competition on 124 The Gremlin from Rawson and Probst. Section IV would disappoint the restless crowd with no bull rider making the whistle.

Section five saw the rookie Appelhans, who has been recovering at home from a broken collarbone since Memorial Day, matched against Harris’s new bull, 122 Dirty Little Secret, a former superstar on the competitive bucking bull circuits.

“He stood really still in the chutes and felt really good, he was into my hand to the left and I broke a spur strap and had to hustle with my feet the entire ride,” described Appelhans.   

Denton Fugate would answer Appelhans ride with an 87.5 which would finish third in the night’s competition. Appelhans would be the leader and attempt the Hedeman selected bounty bull, another bull from Jeff Harris.

H8 Old School who was ridden in this same arena one year ago as he debuted on the CBR tour and was the highest marked ride score.  He returned to Huron as the Hedeman selected Bounty Bull that if ridden would win the rider $10,000. Old School won the battle in Huron and Appelhans bucked off in less than three seconds on his first attempt of H8.

It was a night of new riders and new bulls as the Kansan not only participated in his first CBR, he earned the highest marked score of his career, 89 points. His strong performance gained him a slot on the Thursday night roster where he will ride in his first Road to Cheyenne Tour event which is the official kick off of the 2017 nationally televised tour.

Appelhans, a 23 year old who did not get on his first bull until his junior year in high school, went on to ride for Pratt College in the intercollegiate competitions where he rode against CBR veterans, Wyatt Rogers, Sage Kimzey, and Mickey Andrews who’s success led him to attempt the Road to Cheyenne tour. 

Mentored by NFR qualifier and the No. 2 ranked bull rider in the PRCA, Joe Frost, Appelhans feels after attending a clinic produced by Frost he progressed as a bull rider.  

“Frost is the number one person that converted me to an always trying and getting some rode to being successful. He gave me a lot of information and he turned me around as a bull rider,” continued the newcomer to the CBR. 

Jeff Harris Bucking Bulls, the recently crowned CBR World Champion Bull Team, were the bull team winners tonight as they took home the prize for their bulls’ collective performance in the first CBR Cheyenne Challenge Bull Team competition. The win earned Harris a Hyo Silver trophy buckle, a $20,000 check and most importantly to Harris, an automatic entry into the CBR World Finals Bull Team Challenge next July at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Former futurity super star bucker 277 Dirty Little Secret, a new bull on Harris’s was the anchor of his team as he carried winner Clayton Appelhans to the pay window with their 89 point score. 911 Bargain Bin and 911 Hy Test rounded out the Harris winning combination as he cleared the field by 8.5 points. JC Knapp, last year’s event team champion, was second with his bucker 93 Pepper turning in the rankest bull score (89.5) in the team competition. JQH and Rawson / Probst rounded out the top four money-earning teams.

25 bull riders will return for Thursday’s installment of the Red Wilk Bull Bash where World Champions will headline the three round tournament style format. 2014 World Champ Josh Barentine, US Army Veteran Juan Alonzo, and thirteen bull riders who competed at the CBR World Finals in Cheyenne will be in Huron to be part of the action as the Red Wilk Construction CBRR  Bull Bash continues as the lead grandstand event of the State Fair with doors opening at 6:30 and the bull riding action gets underway at 8 PM.


Bull Bash CBR Horizon Series Results

1, Clayton Appelhans, Colby, KS, 89 points on 277 Dirty Little Secret, Harris Bucking Bulls, $3,340.80. 2, Eli Vastbinder, Statesville, NC, 87.5, $1,948.80. 3, Denton Fugate, MO, 87.5, $1,948.80. 4, David Hudson, Athens, TX, 87, $1,020.80. 5, Corey Atwell, Moravian Falls, NC, 86.5, $649.60. 6, Mickey Andrews, 86.5, $371.20.

Cheyenne Challenge Bull Team Challenge

1, Jeff Harris, Palestine, TX, 281.35 points, $20,000. 2, J.C. Knapp, Mansfield, TX, 273.20, $12,000. 3, JQH, Amarillo, TX, 271.79, $8,000. 4, Rawson / Probst, Martinsville, TX, 271.46, $5,000.