BUTTE — Devon Mitchell finished his weekend with Elite Pro Bullriders, got cleaned up from two tough rides and made his way out of the Butte Civic Center Saturday night.
He took a few moments to find his thoughts before reflecting on his weekend. He was feeling a little dizzy.
“I kind of got a knock on the noggin in the short round,” the Shepherd cowboy said. “But it’s all good.”
Indeed he did. But so did the other nine riders in the shortround, at least in the final scores. Not one cowboy lasted 8 seconds in the round of 10 to record a score. With that, Mitchell’s 172.5 points from Friday’s portion of the event was good enough to win the EPB’s stop in Butte.
“I’m happy, I’m about to go to some of the biggest rodeos in the world coming up in a couple weeks,” he said, noting stops in San Antonio and San Angelo coming up. “It’s a good tune up for me, a good confidence booster really.”
Mitchell, 23, scored on three of four rides he took this weekend. His bull in the short round, Montana Livestock, was the only ride that ended early, sending him crashing to the floor short of 8 seconds.
“I picked that bull because I wanted to test myself a little bit,” he said. “I ride right handed and he went to the left. I knew he was a really good bull, so I thought I’d test myself a little bit and that’s how it went.”
Gerald Eash was another cowboy who took a knock in the short round. Auction Block spun left out of the chute, bucking almost in rhythm and sent Eash off with less than a second to spare. Eash held on once hitting the ground and the bull bucked again, sending the rider airborne and pancaking him on the dirt. Eash walked it off, but his ride was indicative of the short round for all 10 cowboys.
“I’m not surprised,” Mitchell said of the short round struggles. “These bulls (Red Eye Rodeo owner) Kaehl Berg brings are some good bulls, and they buck. It’s that next level of bull power.”
Bowyn Allemand’s 167.5 total from Friday night was good for second place. Washington state cowboy Jake Davis rounded out the top three with his 87.5, secured in the long round Friday night.
Deer Lodge brothers Clay and Judd Applegate had a tough go of it in the long round, with neither cowboy earning a score. Clay’s 83.5 from Friday was good for a fifth-place tie with Eash.
Mitchell’s win adds another successful chapter in his story with Elite Professional Bullriders. Three years ago he was the year end champion. He’s looking forward to building off this win the rest of the year, but he’s not interested in getting caught up in victory.
“I try not to think about it,” he said. “I think about one bull at a time.”