Rifle High freshman wins a bull-riding title
Colten Fritzlan, a Rifle High School freshman, won the Bull Riding championship in Helena, Montana, at the eighth-annual Northwestern Bull Riding Finals that took place Nov. 6 through 8.
Fritzlan, a two-time qualifier for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo, needed to go the distance on only the first of his three go-round rides to reach the final. There, he rode a bull he’d had prior experience against, then took advantage with a winning ride.
Fritzlan qualified for the finals through the Wyoming Ultimate Miniature Bull Riding Association. Fritzlan was ranked among the top youth bull riders from Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho.
Capturing the runner up title in 2011 in Helena, Fritzlan was locked and loaded for this year’s Helena event, and he definitely got off to a good start.
In the first round, Fritzlan drew a bull named Smack Down and successfully rode him for 73.25 points, good enough for second place in the go-round.
During the second round, however, he drew a bull named Conan and failed to make the whistle. The third-round draw for Fritzlan was a bull called Credit Card, who also declined the young cowboy’s attempt to ride the required eight seconds.
With few cowboys covering three bulls, however, the second-place finish in the first round carried Fritzlan back to the championship short round in sixth position.
That short round paired the diminutive cowboy with a bull owned by Melton’s named Double Clutch, a bull he had previously ridden. It turned out Double Clutch was no match for the Colorado bull rider this time, either, when Fritzlan made the whistle for a score of 78.75 points.
For the win, Fritzlan received a trophy saddle sponsored by McDonald’s of Helena to go with two trophy buckles. One was for the bull riding championship, and one was for the short round.
He also won a bronze statue trophy for the highest-scored ride of the event.
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Fans, players and coaches on both sides of Stubler Memorial Field seemed to know it would come down just the way it did, regardless of who had the ball at the end.