Being a part of the short go at the Indian National Finals Rodeo suited bull rider Kelton Smedley just fine.
“I got to walk out on the trailer in front of everyone in the grand entry. It was cool,” said Smedley, 19.
Thanks to Smedley and the brother team roping duo of Josh and Naha Jumper, the Seminole Tribe of Florida was well-represented in INFR’s short go in Las Vegas.
The second round proved to be Smedley’s best. He started as the day’s first bull rider out of the gate and promptly put up a score of 79.
“I like setting the pace for the boys. He was a little fast, but I ended up spurring on him and keeping on him,” Smedley said.
Smedley didn’t score in the short go, but said he was satisfied with his overall performance. He returned to Colorado with his girlfriend to recuperate.
“I got pretty beat up at the Finals, so I’m hitting the road to rest,” said Smedley, who moved out west from Brighton to pursue his bull riding career. “I got some bruising on my right hip and I took a horn to the back of the left shoulder.”
INFR week started on a rough note for the Jumpers. Josh Jumper said his bits were stolen and he had to borrow bits and eventually also used another horse.
“We didn’t sit and complain,” Josh said. “I ended up borrowing Justin Gopher’s horse. I thank him. That was another good horse.”
The Jumpers shined in round 2 when they clocked the second fastest time of the round in 7.02 seconds. They entered short go in second place with a chance to win the title, but didn’t record a time and settled for fifth place overall.
“Our goal is to win the world championship; we came close,” Josh said. “We’ve been roping a long time. I’m proud of my brother. He roped really well.”
Smedley and the Jumpers were among more than two dozen EIRA members who qualified for INFR, including some in the junior and senior divisions.
Josh’s son, Blevyns, who ropes on the Ranger College rodeo team in Texas, barely missed qualifying for short go in steer wrestling. He finished 17th overall, two spots out of the short go. Blevyns’ top performance came in the third round with a time of 5.03, the fourth fastest of the day.
“It was his first time qualifying for steer wrestling. He did real well,” Josh said.
Justin Gopher also missed out on the short go by two spots. He finished 17th in tie down roping.
EIRA calf roping champion Connor Osborn reached the short go and finished eighth overall. EIRA’s Greg Louis and Ed Harry finished seventh overall in team roping.
In ladies breakaway, Mindy Fish turned a speedy time of 5.54 in round one and eventually finished 21st overall. LeAnna Billie finished 30th.
In ladies barrel racing, Ashley Parks finished 17th and Loretta Peterson was 31st.
On the kids’ side, Jacee Jumper (16th) and Budha Jumper (24th) competed in Jr. barrel racing; Cisco Rodriguez (20th) in Jr. Breakaway and (17th) in Jr. Bull Riding; Norman Osceola (10th) in Jr. Bull Riding
In the seniors’ division, Ed Harry finished 12th in senior breakaway and 18th in senior team roping with Britt Givens. Norman Johns and Jeff Johns tied for 21st in senior team roping. Norman was 28th in senior breakaway.