IFYR crowns rodeo champions; awards upwards of $250K in Shawnee

Tate Pollmeier of Fort Scott, Kansas, rides during bull riding during the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., Sunday, July 11, 2021. After a week of events, Pollmeier was named the 2021 bull riding champion Friday night.

SHAWNEE, Okla. —  In front of an electric crowd at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center, rodeo athletes from across the globe were crowned IFYR (International Finals Youth Rodeo) champions and walked away with upwards of $250,000 in payouts Friday night. The six-day event featured over 930 entries from 35 different states.

Jacek Frost of Browns Valley, California, rides in the bareback bronc during the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., Wednesday, July 14, 2021.  Frost was named bareback bronc champion after Friday night's finale.

California bareback rider Jacek Frost (Browns Valley, CA) landed in the final round after a 77.0 ride in the first go and a 79.0 ride in the second go alongside Luke Thrash (Bastrop, LA) and Bradlee Miller (Huntsville, TX). The California High School Rodeo athlete topped Thrash’s and Miller’s averages after earning a 74.0 in the round to land the championship position.

The team roping duo Brodee Snow (Bentonville, AR) and Jordan Lovins (Canadian, TX) found themselves in the short round after earning two of the fastest times in the long rounds.  Snow and Lovins matched up against Wyoming cowboys Coy Johnson (Buffalo, WY) and Jade Espenscheid (Big Piney, WY) along with Kreece Dearing (Chico, TX) and Beldon Cox (Weatherford, TX). The dominate wave of team roping youth ended with Snow and Lovins recording a 7.0 final round run, besting Johnson/Espenscheid 22.8 second average and Dearing/Cox’s 23.6 second average.

The Garden City, Kansas steer wrestler Tanner Meier delivered almost identical times to Newark, Illinois Cowboy Garrett Leathermans in the first two long-rounds. The two athletes tied in the short go, but Merier’s split second better time from the second go would best Leatherman’s 14.6 average with a 13.5.

Being the only saddle bronc rider to cover all three, Statler Wright (Millford, UT) — who is brother of three-time World Champion Stetson Wright — exhausted the competition earning the high-marked-ride in two out of three rounds at the IFYR and earned more than $2,500.

Breakaway roper Della Bird (Williston, FL) delivered a powerful performance when her string broke away from her saddle horn at the 2.0 second mark in the final round Friday night. She defeated the all-around cowgirl Taylor Cuccurullo’s (Pilot Point, TX) 2.3-second time and Kaydence Crawford’s (Stephenville, TX) 2.4-second run to earn the top time in the average.

After earning one of the fastest times of the week’s in the second-go with a 7.7-second run, Trevor Hale (Perryton, TX) backed into the box having to run a 9.1-second time or better to win. The Texas tie-down roper earned the number one spot in the average after notching exactly a 9.1-second time and besting Dylan Hancock’s (San Angelo, TX) 25.8 average by one-tenth of a second.

After earning an advancement to the Final Round for landing two of the fastest times of the week in barrel racing, Payton Askins (El Cajon, CA) went into the final round as last to go behind Haiden Thompson (Yoder, WY) and all-around cowgirl Taylor Cuccurullo (Pilot Points, TX). Thompson opened the final round with a swift 16.4 second run which was followed by Cuccurullo’s 16.2 second time. Askins had to make a run faster than 16.9 to win the average and delivered an abrupt 16.0 second run to take home the top spot in the average.

Tate Pollmeier (Fort Scott, KS) was unstoppable in bull riding. The former two-time Kansas Junior High School Bull Riding Champion recorded an 84.5-point score in the long round, prior to delivering the highest marked ride of the night with an impressive 88.0 points.

Kaylie Garza (Marion, TX) won the goat tying title at the IFYR courtesy of her 7.4 and 7.6-second run in the long round, and her 7.1-second run in the showdown round, all three the quickest times of the rounds. Garza topped Staheli Adams (Cedar Park, UT) 23.6 average.

In pole bending, high school pole bending record holder Rylee Hardin (New Castle, TX)expertly navigated the course as her 19.9-second run in the final round was the quickest, distancing runner-up Kylie Cliburn (Prairieville, LA) who recorded a 19.9-second run.