CHEYENNE – Syerra Christensen is familiar with competing in breakaway roping in Cheyenne.
The former Laramie County Community College cowgirl took first place in the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo qualifying go-round for breakaway roping with a time of 4.01 seconds Thursday at Frontier Park Arena.
This is the first year breakaway roping has been included in the CFD rodeo, and the top 40 times from the qualifying round move on to compete in the main performances.
“It’s awesome that they’re now letting the girls breakaway rope here,” said Christensen, who is from Kennebec, South Dakota. “I’ve always (come) to watch the roping and I’ve always just wanted to rope here.
“I just need a couple more runs like that and just need to be consistent for the rest of the week.”
Current LCCC junior-to-be Sydney Graff finished in second place with a time of 4.04 seconds.
Graff competes in breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing for the Golden Eagles rodeo team.
“I had a good calf that didn’t run real hard, stepped off to the right and crossed over to my horse when I needed him to,” Graff said. “My horse scored good and did exactly what I wanted him to do. They made my job really easy.”
The Long Pine, Nebraska, local grew up traveling to Cheyenne to watch her dad, Terry, compete at CFD.
“It was awesome and has been one of my dreams for a long time. I’ve watched my dad rodeo here at least 15 times,” Graff said. “I was hoping for a day I could do it. I finally got that day, and it went as good as I could have hoped.”
Tiffany Niemietz made the trip to Cheyenne from Floresville, Texas, along with her horse, Sriracha.
Niemietz posted a time of 4.35 seconds, which was enough to land her in third place.
“This is like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Niemietz said. “I’m just so happy we got this opportunity, it’s been a long time coming.”
Sriracha and Niemietz have only competed in six rodeos together and are looking to just enjoy their time at Frontier Days.
“I came here just wanting to rope. I wasn’t worried about being fast, but if the opportunity was given to me, I was going to take it,” Niemietz said. “I’m just going to stick with worrying about roping and enjoy the moment.”
Torrington resident Jana Wiedman timed a 4.37 to leave the qualifying round in fourth place.
This is Wiedman’s first time experiencing the “Daddy of ‘em All”, and she was able to compete and make the top 40 during her first trip to Frontier Park Arena.
“To be able to compete my first time coming to this rodeo is amazing,” Weidman said. “My horse did a great job (Thursday), and I’m so glad we were able to come out here and rope.”
Jordan Jo Fabrizio of Pueblo, Colorado, rounds out the top 5 with a time of 4.42 seconds.
Riley Wakefield of O’Neill, Nebraska, won the second go of steer wrestling by clocking in at 6.9 seconds Thursday morning. He has an aggregate time of 21.4 seconds on two.
“I had two really good steers, and that helps out here,” Wakefield said. “Dean Finnerty also did a great job hazing for me, and putting the steer in a spot I could do well.
“I’m not a professional bulldogger, so it’s pretty special for me to come out to Cheyenne and do well. This is my family’s favorite rodeo. We just love it.”
Wakefield’s top events are tie-down roping and team roping. He also credited his 16-year-old horse, Bondo, for his success Thursday.
This was Wakefield’s first time riding Bondo in competition since the college rodeo season ended in May.
“He is getting a little long in the tooth, but he apparently still has some miles left in him,” Wakefield said. “He used to be an old bucking horse, and he does great as a steer wrestling horse.”
First section: 1, Sydney Graff, Lone Pine, Neb., 4.04 seconds, $4,406. 2, Tiffany Niemeietz, Floresville, Texas, 4.35, $3,338. 3, Jana Wiedman, Morrill, Neb., 4.37, $2,403. 4, Devin Nicholls, Moorecroft, Wyo., 4.46, $1,602. 5, K.L. Spratt, Phoenix, Ariz., 4.48, $935. 6, Brandi Hollenbeck, Mooreland, Okla., $668. Second section: 1, Syerra Christensen, Kennebec, S.D., 4.01, $4,405. 2, Jordon Jo Fabrizio, Canyon, Texas, 4.42, $3,338. 3, Georgie Lage, Sughterland, Neb., 4.6, $2,403. 4, Tamara Smith, Barnsdall, Okla., 4.68, $1,602. 5, Shaley Griffin, Arthur, Neb., 4.94, $935. 6, Hannah Lee, Durant, Okla., 4.96, $668.
(First Round: 1, Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D. 6.4 seconds, $1,545. 2, Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 7.5, $1,343. 3, Riley Hamilton, Thatcher, Idaho, 8.5, $1,142. 4, Michael Bates, Jr., 9.6, $940. 6, Caden Camp, Belgrade, Mont., 10.4, $739. 6, Talon Roseland, Marshalltown, Iowa, 11.3, $537. 7, Cyler Dowling, Newell, S.D., 11.5, $336. 8, Dean Stermer, Pilot Point, Texas, 11.6, $134. Second Round: 1, Riley Wakefield, O’Neill, Neb., 6.9 seconds, $1,545. 2, Linn Churchill, Valentine, Neb., 7.5, $1,343. 3, Troy Smotherman, Rose Bud, Ark., 8.6, $1,142. 4, Reed Kraeger, Elwood, Neb., 9.2, $940. 5, Cyler Dowling, Newell, S.D., 9.5, $739. 6, Kyle Callaway, Blue Creek, Mont., 9.6, $537. 7, Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D., 10.5, $336. 8, (tie) Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., and Ty Talsma, Avon, S.D., 11.0, $67 each. Overall winners on two head: 1, Eli Lord, Sturgis, S.D., 16.9 seconds, $1,545. 2, Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb., 18.5, $1,343. 3, Riley Hamilotn, Thatcher, Idaho, 20.4, $1,142. 4, Cyler Dowling, Newell, S.D., 21.0, $940. 5, Rileey Wakefield, O’Neill, Neb., 21.4, $738. 6, Joe Nelson, Alexander, N.D., 26.6, $537. 7, Reed Kraeger, Elwood, Neb., 28.4, $335. 8, Talon Roseland, Marshalltown, Iowa, 29.3, $134.