December 5-14, 2024

COUNTDOWN

championship monday

Dec 12, 2023

championship monday

LAS VEGAS – Claydyn Jolly wasn’t expecting to be the first bull rider out of the chutes in the 14-15-year-old division of the short go-round Monday at the Junior World Finals.

After all, the Tomball, Texas, cowboy entered the short go tied with Elijah Jennings of Cleveland, South Carolina, with 158.0 points on two head. But when Jolly found out he would be the first bull rider to nod his head he accepted the challenge.

“I like to set the tone,” Jolly admitted. “It doesn’t really matter when they run me but I usually like to be first or last out.”

Claydyn Jolly

Not only was Jolly the first out but he was the last one standing after he won the round with an 84.5-point ride – his highest score of the week – to capture the world title with a three-head score of 242.5 points.

Jolly made the 8-second buzzer before being tossed to the Wrangler Rodeo Arena dirt. On the bull’s final jump one of his back hooves went inside of Jolly’s protective vest and he had to be helped from the arena. Jolly knows mishaps like that come with the profession.

“He got me a little but I’m okay,” he said.

The Junior World Finals title is the second for the Jolly family following older brother Caynyon’s victory in 2019.

Jennings had a 77.0 to finish as the reserve champion with 235.0 points.

His younger brother Huntley did win a world title, however. He had a 75.0 to win the short go and finish with 225.5 points on three head. Huntley was the only bull rider in the 10-11 division to cover three bulls.

In the 12-13 division, Evan Morrison capped an impressive week with an 82.0 to finish second in the short go and win the average with 259.5 points. The Whitesboro, Texas, cowboy won both the first and second rounds with 88.5-point rides.

“I won the first round but I stayed humble and didn’t get too excited about it because I still had two bulls to get on,” Morrison said. “I won the average and it was the same thing. This feels good, but I’m still the same person I was before I came here.”

Hayden Welsh, on the other hand, is leaving Vegas as a changed man.

The Gillette, Wyoming, bull rider won the 16-18 division – winning the short go with an 88.5 and the average with 250 points – and is ready to hit the road.

“I’m going to pro rodeo now and this is just that last boost I needed,” an excited Welsh stated. “It’s just that finalized conversation of, ‘Man, I just put my whole childhood and everything I’ve built myself up to now at peace’ and I’m ready to go ride with the big boys now.”

Hayden Welsh

Welsh entered the short go third in the average with 162.5 points and trailed Nate Bayous of Woodstown, New Jersey (165.5) and Noah Lee of Azle, Texas (162.5).

After Welsh’s ride, Lee nearly matched him but received an 83.0. Bayous, the final bull rider of the week, also had a great ride but was bucked off just before the buzzer.

Bareback Bronc Riding

Kash Loyd is leaving Vegas with another world title.

The Cleburne, Texas, cowboy put the finishing touches on his sixth Junior World Finals championship with an 85.5 to win the short go in the novice division and take the average title with 250.0 points. Loyd previously won titles in 2016-19 and last year.

Kash Loyd

Toby Deudney from Australia was the reserve champ with 248.5 points.

Azreal Lara of Columbia Falls, Montana, did just what he needed to do to win the senior division. Lara, who entered Monday leading Clay Greenslade from Canada by the slimmest of margins (164.0-163.5), won the short go with an 85.5 to hold off Greenslade, who had an 82.5.

In the junior division, Eli Espy of San Antonio, Texas, had his lowest marked score of the week with a 67.5, but that was enough to earn him the average title. Espy finished with 216.5 points while Koaltyn Ogilvie from Canada had 214.5 points.

Canadian Ryder Topolinski defended his rookie title, winning the short go with an 82.5 and the average with 236.5 points. Hunter Hohn of Ethan, South Dakota, was the reserve champ with 215.0 points.

Saddle Bronc Riding

Coy Wilson of Red Oak, Iowa, entered the short go of the junior division as the only bronc rider to cover two head. That cushion came in handy when he was bucked off, but still held on to win the average with 129.0 points. Cash Sellman of San Angelo, Texas, had the only marked ride of the short go – scoring 72.0 points – and finished just behind Wilson with 128.0 points.

In the rookie division, Kesler Harwood of East Glacier Park, Montana, won the short go with a 78.0 and captured the average title with 215.5 points after leader Brody Bisetti of Clovis, New Mexico, was bucked off.

Powell Butte, Oregon, cowboy Justin England also doubled his pleasure Monday, winning the short go with an 83.5 and the average with 239.0 points.

The novice division winner was Jase Stout of Decatur, Texas, with 231.0 points. He topped fellow Texas cowboy Ethan Cart of Hamshire, who finished with 227.5 points. Cart won the senior division last year.