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Dixie National Rodeo: Colton Kelly gets big win in Jackson


From Tracy Renck, PRCA

Colton Kelly relentlessly searched for his breakthrough moment in Pro Rodeo. Eight months removed from left knee reconstruction Kelly might have found it at the Dixie National Rodeo.

The Rhome, Texas, native put on a show Feb. 18 in Jackson, Miss., with a 91.5-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos' Let's Gamble. The bull rider recognized his pairing presented an opportunity to earn money.

 “Well, I’ve known that bull for a long time and I knew he was a really, great bull. I just recently saw Parker Breding ride him at the NFR,” Kelly said. “So, when you go to Jackson (Miss.), you want to draw one that bucks so you can really get the money. I was blessed. I mean he made me work for it for sure, and we hustled. It was good, it was a great bull.”

His matchup, Let’s Gamble, is as good as they come. The ride marked only the fourth qualified ride in 20 tries over the last three years. Kelly never flinched, embracing the opportunity. 

 “To a real successful bull rider, you have to be able to smile when you see stats like that because you have a shot to put your name down on the books next to him,” Kelly said. “You can’t be nervous. When you see it, you have to think to yourself, ‘I have a real chance to win.’ You have to be confident going into it. It’s a great blessing, and I’m glad we kept our hand shut for it.”

The win represents Kelly’s first of the 2022 season. With only a handful of rodeos under his belt, the victory gave Kelly a boost after earning $6,000. 

 “(My confidence is) through the roof. I feel great. We’re heading to our next stop, and I feel completely different,” Kelly said. “I’ve been waiting on that breakthrough moment and I really feel like that one (in Jackson) was it right there.”

Multiple injuries in his left knee in late May forced Kelly to end his 2021 season early. The road to recovery was not easy. Rehab included daily physical therapy and two-hour workouts to help increase lost strength.
The time away from rodeo allowed Kelly to take inventory.

 “I took that as a time to assess what I had been doing wrong and why I wasn’t as successful as I really wanted to be,” Kelly said. “I just hit the reset button and really worked at it… I feel better now than I did before knee surgery.”

Other winners at the $217,857 rodeo were all-around cowboy Timothy Pharr ($5,031, tie-down roping and team roping); bareback rider Cole Franks (87.5 points on Brookman Rodeo's Joe Dirt); steer wrestler Caden Camp (8.3 seconds on two head); team ropers Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison (8.0 seconds on two head); saddle bronc rider Kolby Wanchuk (87 points on Brookman Rodeo's Beaver Trail); tie-down roper Ty Harris (15.5 seconds on two head); and barrel racer Sherry Cervi (13.88 seconds).

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