Lasting memories follow Rifle’s Colten Fritzlan home from rodeo nationals |

Lasting memories follow Rifle’s Colten Fritzlan home from rodeo nationals

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor

NJHFR Bull Riding Average

1. Trey Holston, Fort Scott, Kan., 185

2. K’s Thomson, Lundbreck, Alberta, Can., 155

3. Wylee Hurst, Shelley, Idaho, 153

4. Houston Brown, Miles City, Mont., 148

5. Ethan Saffer, Oskaloosa, Kan., 145

6. Colten Fritzlan, Rifle, Colo., 137

7. Jake Morrow, Eastland, Texas, 129

8. Wyatt Covington, Omak, Wash., 83

9. Boudreaux Campbell Jr., Crockett, Texas, 82

9. CJ Simms, Walters, Okla., 82

Memories of his performance from the National Junior High Finals Rodeo will last the rest of Colten Fritzlan’s life.

Those memories would be imbedded into his mind even if the 13-year-old Rifle cowboy never rode another bull the rest of his life. That obviously isn’t going to happen, but it’s pretty hard to top Fritzlan’s sixth-place finish in bull riding average when the week-long event ended this past Saturday.

“I thought I tried my best, and that’s what matters,” Fritzlan said as his family drove back home to Rifle from Gallup, N.M., on Sunday afternoon. “I got to meet some great people and make a lot of good friends, but I’m going to come out of this kind of the same as I was coming in, not being too cocky even though I made the finals like I did.

“And I kind of look back at what my mom and dad were telling me,” he continued. “They just told me it wasn’t my time. It was someone else’s time, and God has another thing in mind for me.”

Fritzlan rode the first two bulls he got on, scoring a 60 in the first short-go June 24 and a 77 in the second short-go June 28. That gave him an average score of 137, which placed him in second place individually going into the third and final short-go on June 29.

Essentially, all Fritzlan had to do was stay on for the required eight seconds to wrap up the national championship. And he was so close, slipping off the right side of the bull he was riding at the 7.7-second mark on the timing clock.

“I got on him, and he was kind of shaky out of the gate but it felt pretty good at the start,” Fritzlan said. “He had some consistent spin, and that helped out a lot. But then I felt him shift around on the outside. I tried to backdoor him, but I took too long in doing it.”

Fritzlan’s early success ended up having a kind of drawback. Sitting in second place in the average standings, Fritzlan was the second-to-last bull rider to come out of the chutes. It left him lying in wait while he watched other bull riders.

He obviously knew where he stood in the standings, and watching other riders score before him did make a difference to Fritzlan’s nerves, he said. He’s still happy with what he did, however, even though he was oh-so-close to winning the junior high national bull ridding championship.

Winning the title was Trey Holston of Fort Scott, Kan., the only rider in the field to go the distance on each of his three rides. His score of 71 on the third short-go gave him a winning score of 185.

Fritzlan, whose 77 on the second short-go was good enough for third place in that round, finished with a final score of 137 on two rides.

“I wasn’t too thrilled about how I ended it,” Fritzlan said. “But the way that I see it, me getting a chance to experience this whole thing has been God’s gift to me.”

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