Get ready for some thrilling rodeo action as the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo set to take place next month in Minot, North Dakota, brings together the best cowboys and cowgirls from the Dakotas. Among these elite rodeo athletes, a select group of leads the charge in their respective events, promising a spectacle of skill, determination, and cowboy grit.

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Submitted Photo
Chase Lako

Chase Lako: The Tie-Down Roping Maverick

Leading the charge in the tie-down roping event is North Dakota's very own Chase Lako. Hailing from Mandan, Chase has racked up more than $17,000 in earnings, marking his fifth qualification for the prestigious Badlands Circuit Finals. By day, he's a financial advisor, but when the sun sets, he and his wife, Kennedi, dedicate their time to their rodeo passion. Chase, who considers rodeo a serious hobby, spends countless hours in the barn training his nine-year-old gelding named Dunnie.

"It's a hobby but a serious one," Chase remarks. "My wife and I go to the barn every night, and we're riding five or six horses." His trusty steed, Dunnie, is a testament to his dedication, as he trained the gelding himself.

Mason Moody: The Rookie Bull Riding Sensation

On the bullriding front, South Dakota's Mason Moody takes the lead. At just 20 years old, Mason is in his rookie year of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) action. He made the transition from high school to professional rodeo, a decision that has paid off handsomely. Mason has already amassed over $31,000 in winnings, leaving his competitors in the dust.

"I felt like I could make a pretty good living rodeoing, so I decided to pro rodeo, and it's worked out for me," Mason explains. "I'm definitely paying my bills, and this is definitely something you'll always remember when you look back at your rodeo career." This talented young cowboy earned his first trip to the Badlands Circuit Finals two years ago when he was still a high school senior.

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Submitted Photo
Jessica Routier

Jessica Routier: The Barrel Racing Fan Favorite

In the barrel racing event, Jessica Routier, a fan favorite, takes the helm. Hailing from South Dakota, Jessica has secured more than $20,000 in earnings this year, thanks to stellar performances in Mandan and Killdeer, North Dakota, and Mobridge and Deadwood, South Dakota. Her crowning achievement was winning the NFR Open (formerly known as the National Circuit Finals Rodeo), a victory that propelled her up the world standings.

Jessica's trusty mount, Missy, a twelve-year-old mare and multiple Badlands Circuit Barrel Horse of the Year winner, has been her partner for most of the year. She also rode Nicki, a daughter of the mare she won her first Badlands Circuit title on. Jessica, hailing from Buffalo, South Dakota, boasts an impressive six-year-end titles in the Badlands Circuit, making her a true rodeo legend.

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Submitted Photo
Joe Nelson

Joe Nelson: The Steer Wrestling Surprise

Another North Dakota cowboy, Joe Nelson, surprises the competition in steer wrestling. A Watford City resident, Joe initially had plans to rodeo across the nation. However, a horse injury forced him to return home and ride a borrowed horse named Woody, owned by River Voigt. Joe made the most of this situation, winning money in rodeos across the region, including Mobridge and Belle Fourche, South Dakota, Ashley and Killdeer, North Dakota, and Gordon, Nebraska.

Joe's journey to rodeo started with an unexpected twist. As a kid, his sport of choice was baseball, not rodeo. It all changed one day when he participated in a youth rodeo and won the dummy roping competition. "It was game on from there," Joe recalls. "I told my parents I was done playing baseball." This year, he heads into the Badlands Circuit Finals in first place, marking his fourth trip to the finals.

Other Event Leaders

In addition to these remarkable athletes, other event leaders entering the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo include:

  • Bareback Riding: Ben Kramer, Max, N.D.
  • Saddle Bronc Riding: Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, S.D.
  • Team Ropers: Bodie Mattson, Sturgis, S.D. (header) and Cash Hetzel, Lemmon, S.D. (heeler)
  • Breakaway Roping: Tanegai Zilverberg, Holabird, S.D.

The top twelve contestants in each of the eight events, following the pro rodeo season, have earned their place at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, promising an exciting showdown of talent and tenacity.

Don't Miss the Action

The Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo is scheduled for October 13-15, with evening performances at 7 p.m. on October 13-14 and a matinee performance at 1 p.m. on October 15. Tickets are available for $25 for adult general admission and $10 for kids aged 3-10. Gold buckle seats, offering the best view, are available for $35 for all ages. The October 15 performance is designated as Family Day, with all general admission tickets priced at $10.

Tickets can be purchased online here, at North Country Mercantile in Minot (2000 20th Avenue SE), and at the gate.

For additional information and updates, visit the official website at or follow the rodeo on Facebook and Instagram by searching for "Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo."

Get ready for a rodeo spectacle like no other, as these remarkable cowboys and cowgirls ride into Minot, North Dakota, with their eyes set on victory at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

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