Cally Goyins is going shopping.
She plans to buy something for her younger brother, Travis, a big reason she won her fourth Northern Rodeo Association breakaway championship this past weekend.
Goyins, of Helena, rode a horse owned by her brother at the Expo Center. But instead of paying him a percentage of her earnings, she buys things for her sibling.
“Trinkets, clothes, stuff for his horse,’’ said Goyins. “He gets to pick out a big present this time.”
Goyins said her brother planned to sell the horse at the beginning of last summer, but she begged him to reconsider.
“I asked him to keep the horse one more year,’’ Goyins said. “I really wanted to make another run at a breakaway roping title.”
Goyins had been trying to find a suitable horse since retiring Farmer and Cricket, horses that had carried her to three breakaway and three all-around cowgirl championships.
“I had probably been through six or seven before Jose,’’ she said.
Goyins, had eight top-three finishes on the horse during the summer of 2010. Goyins and the 10-year-old Jose won Harlowton, Bozeman and Miles City.
“It was a fun summer,’’ Goyins said.
Another buckle has also sparked Goyins’ competitive fire. “Ooh, I’m really competitive,’’ she said. “I’d like to get back into the all-around race again.
“I’m looking for a good barrel racing horse. I’ve got a bunch of colts at home, so hopefully one of those will emerge.”
“We’re keeping him,’’ Goyins said.
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Sure, Ben Wrzesinski was happy about winning his fifth bareback and second all-around title.
But something else made his chest stick out a little more during the NRA Finals: being able to compete with his son Cavan. Cavan is a junior at Jefferson High School in Boulder.
The elder Wrzesinski qualified first, while Cavan used a late summer surge to qualify ninth.
“I sure as heck know I wasn’t riding at the Finals when I was a junior in high school,’’ said the father. “I got to hang out with my son all weekend, that was pretty cool.”
Ben Wrzesinski placed in all three rounds and earned $1,673. Cavan, after a rough start, closed out his first NRA Finals with a 78-point ride for second place in the third round.
“He was a little nervous at the start,’’ Ben Wrzesinski said with a paternal chuckle. “But he did well and showed how he can ride. I’m pretty happy for him.”
The two plan to rodeo together this coming summer.
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A couple of weeks ago, Taner Sorge of Shepherd wasn’t sure who would be his team roping partner for the NRA Finals. Chaz Kananen, his partner for the summer of 2010, was playing basketball for the Roy-Winifred boys basketball team.
At the time, Roy-Winifred was one of the top-ranked teams for Class C.
But Kananen’s team lost at the divisional tournament and the two were together for the NRA Finals.
Against a stellar field of NRA Finals veterans, Kananen and Sorge placed third in the first round, won the second and won the average by more than three seconds.
“We were just trying to rope our steers,’’ said Sorge, a 2007 graduate of Shepherd High School. “And Chaz, he can catch anything.”
The pair each went home with $1,912, the most won for any team ropers. Kananen climbed from ninth to fourth in the final team roping heading standings, while Sorge went from eighth to fourth among the heelers.
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Friends and college roommates Cierra Kunesh and Cadee Tew left Weatherford, Texas, Tuesday afternoon and drove 25 hours to Billings.
“We made great time,’’ said Kunesh, who won the all-around cowgirl and barrel racing championships. “We had good weather all the way.”
How fast were they going?
Both looked at each other and just grinned.
The two let their horses out at Lamar, Colo., Wheatland, Wyo., and in Sheridan, Wyo., where they had breakfast with friends.
“You try to stop in towns that have fairgrounds,’’ Kunesh said of looking for land where the horses can run. “We let our horses go about an hour or so.”
They did encounter some trouble in Wheatland.
“We couldn’t catch our horses,’’ said Kunesh. “It was muddy and snowy and it took us a while to get them loaded on the trailers again.”
And both left Billings with pockets full of cash. Kunesh won $2,931 in three days, while Tew earned $1,514.
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Dustin Bird is a busy cowboy during the summer.
He ropes in the PRCA, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association, the Northern Rodeo Association and Indian rodeos around the region. Bird competes in both team roping and tie-down roping.
“You’re constantly thinking about where you have to get to next,’’ he said.
Now he’s added another title: stock contractor.
Bird is part of the family-run Lunak-Bird Rodeo Company.
His fiancee’s father, Dutch Lunak of Valier, takes care of the bucking horses. An uncle, Dale Bird, is in charge of the bulls, while Dustin and his father Dan take care of the timed event animals.
“We just all do it together,’’ said Bird, who is engaged to Megan Lunak. “Nothing ever gets too conflicted. Each person has his part to do.’’
The company, which also puts on Indian rodeos, got its NRA card last year and had bucking stock at the NRA Finals this past weekend.
Lunak-Bird had NRA rodeos at Havre, Babb and Cut Bank in 2010. Ironically, Bird won the tie-down roping at each one.
“A lot of people teased me about that,’’ he said of having a home-rodeo advantage.
But Bird learned a painful business lesson last summer. He was entered in the tie-down roping at the Ponoka Stampede, one of Canada’s highest paying rodeos, but Lunak-Bird also had the rodeo in Babb that same time.
“That was tough, turning out at Ponoka,’’ said Bird, who qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in team roping. “But it’s business now.”