Area cowboys off to circuit finals

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Points have been tallied and two cowboys from this area qualified to compete at the Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo Friday through Sunday at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland, Colo.

Mitch Walz from Craig will participate in the bareback and saddle bronc riding and John Pinnt of Hayden will compete in bull riding. They will take on contestants from Colorado and Wyoming.

Throughout the year, competitors accumulate points at rodeos within their circuit. The top 12 contestants at the end of the season in each of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association six events and Women's Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing qualify to compete at the three-round circuit finals event.

"In order to get in the rodeo you have to be in 15 rodeos and I just barley got that," said Pinnt. "I have been hurt a couple of times and I have been out for a total of two months."

In the bull riding event Jason McClain (Kiowa, Colo.) and Mike Moore (Wellington, Colo.) are ranked in the top six in the world and they will be at the Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo.

"In the bull riding this year there are two that are in the top six of the world," said Pinnt. "This is the toughest year the competition has been for awhile."

Pinnt is making his second trip to the circuit finals.

"Back in 1997 I made it in my rookie year," said Pinnt. "In my first time I rode one out of the three bulls.

"This year I just want to cover (ride) all three of the bulls. If I make all three bulls then I have a chance to make the Dodge finals."

Walz went to the rodeo a year ago.

"I went to the Mountain State Circuit Finals Rodeo last year," said Walz. "Last year I placed in the average and hopefully I will make it to Pocatello, Idaho.

"To go to Pocatello you have to win the most money in the Mountain West Region or win the average at the circuit finals. I will have to win the average to make it to Idaho."

According to Walz, he isn't new to the sport of bareback riding.

"I have done bareback riding since the age of 8 and I have just been at it ever since," said Walz. "I have had better years because this year has been pretty slow on drawing good horses that buck. That is the big part. The more your horse bucks the more points you earn."

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