Dallas Rohrig of Rifle so close to national title, vows to win next time | PostIndependent.com

Dallas Rohrig of Rifle so close to national title, vows to win next time

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Staff Photo |

Getting to the National High School Finals Rodeo was just a first step in the mind of Dallas Rohrig. Getting back to a spot where he can win a bull riding national championship is his next goal, especially after he came so close to winning one this past weekend.

“All I need to do is go there with the mentality that I can ride anything,” said Rohrig, a senior-to-be at Rifle High School. “I’ll just have to make sure I come in next year with that kind of attitude so I can win it.”

Rohrig fell short in his pursuit of a national championship on July 20, recording a no score on his third and final ride in the week-long event in Rock Springs, Wyo. However, Rohrig came away fourth in the nation.

Granted, the 17-year-old would have liked more than that. He’s not complaining, though.

“Fourth place is pretty good,” the soft-spoken Rohrig stated. “I was in a pretty good position going into that last night, though.”

He certainly was.

Rohrig entered the final round of bull riding in second place after going the distance on his first two rides, and his score of 154 – thanks to a 78 in his first round and a 76 in the second – placed him just two points away from the leader at the time, high school sophomore-to-be Jess Lockwood of Volborg, Mont. His second-round ride was good enough for a third-place tie in the July 19 short-go.

But going into the final round, Rohrig knew he had a tough task ahead of him. The bull he drew — riders randomly draw the bulls they’re going to ride before competition — had been in the National Finals Rodeo and on the Professional Bull Riders circuit.

“We looked the bull up on the Internet and saw that it was a pro bull,” Rohrig said. “It had never been ridden in a high school rodeo.”

It obviously still hasn’t. And with Rohrig heading into the final round in second place, everyone except for Lockwood got a chance to ride before he did.

“That’s made a little bit of a difference. I’m not gonna lie,” Rohrig said. “But I was more focused on what I was doing than what everyone else was doing.”

Winning the national championship was Bryce Burnell of Arvada, Wyo., whose score of 82 points Saturday night gave him first place in the final short-go, a three-ride total of 225. Jacob Spencer of Blanco, N.M., who was the only other cowboy in the rodeo other than Burnell to cover all three rides, managed a 77 Saturday night to come away with a 194.

Lockwood, who rode last and had the lead going in, failed to go the distance on his final ride and finished third with a 156. Rohrig, who was competing in the event for the first time, finished fourth at 154 after his final ride lasted around four of the required eight seconds.

Rohrig is the second Rifle cowboy this summer to ride for the bull riding national championship. Colten Fritzlan, a Rifle Middle School student, finished sixth in bull riding in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in June.

Rohrig won a pair of junior high state bull riding championships at Rifle Middle School. But the past is the past — including this past weekend — and he’s already looking forward to competing for a national title again.

“It’s just that one bull that cost me that real good feeling,” Rohrig said. “My goal already is to come back next year and win it.”

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