Bull riders extraordinare from Rifle go for national titles
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
That’s a pretty simple philosophy for Dallas Rohrig and Colten Fritzlan. It’s a simple, straight-forward approach for the Rifle bull riders, who’ll soon get their chance to ride for a national championship.
Fritzlan, who won the middle school bull riding state championship in Monte Vista last month, will ride for a national championship at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo for a full week beginning Sunday in Gallup, N.M.
Rohrig, who won a pair of state titles in bull riding at the junior high level, will make his first trip to the high school nationals in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 14-20.
Along for the ride is Colt Rohrig, Dallas’ little brother and the reserve junior high state bull riding champion who’ll also go to next week’s junior high rodeo. And all three of them share a common strategy for success when it comes to performing on a national stage.
“Ride three,” said Dallas Rohrig, a senior-to-be at Rifle High School, in reference to the three rides each cowboy gets at the national rodeo. “There’s not a lot of guys who can do it. But if you do it, you’ve got a pretty good shot.”
Fritzlan was dominant all season long, needing only to show up at the state rodeo in Monte Vista on May 24 to win the season state title for bull riding since he held such a large lead in the season points standings going in. He decided to ride anyway, and the Rifle Middle School seventh-grader was the only bull rider in the state championship field who went the full eight seconds on any of his rides.
Fritzlan did it twice, scoring a 63 on his first ride and a 59 on his second. No one else in the field did it even once.
“I just wanted to show that I could do it,” Fritzlan said.
The fact he could do it is a feat in itself. Fritzlan was a fourth-place finisher in persuit of the state bull riding title last year, qualifying him for the national rodeo. But reconstructive surgery on his left elbow prevented him from competing. That’s not a problem for him this year, however, as Fritzlan is determined to make a good showing.
He does, however, keep things in perspective.
“I always go in with the thought that there’s always someone out there who’s better than you are,” he said. “We have a lot of practice bulls at our house, so I can get on and fix anything with my feet or anything that I’m doing wrong.”
Colt Rohrig is a more than a suitable competitor, also. Just ask his brother, Dallas.
“He rides pretty good when he does what he’s supposed to do,” Dallas Rohrig said with a wry smile.
The older Rohrig also proved, over the course of the season, to be dominant in bull riding, but did it at the high school level. He finished the high school season with a season total of 126.5 points, well ahead of the second-place finisher, Hunter Braisfield of Delta (111.0) and Jacob Smith of La Salle (97.5).
Granted, the stakes will be much higher for Dallas Rohrig come mid-July. He’ll be the last one to get too excited about that, though. That’s part of his strategy.
“It’s pretty much the same thing,” Rohrig said. “You’re older, so you get on bigger stuff, I guess. Yeah, I guess you could say there’s a little more at stake, but it’s pretty much the same thing.”
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