No bull about it: Moffat County’s Logan Durham wins state rodeo title, Northwest Colorado sending multiple riders to nationals
As the absolutely last rider of the state finals, Logan Durham had to keep his patience Monday afternoon. And, after five hours of watching every other athlete in the arena, getting those crucial eight seconds was all the more important.
Logan finished as the top bull rider of the season for Colorado Junior High Rodeo Association, ensuring he’ll move on to compete at the national finals in late June in Huron, South Dakota.
Though he was all but guaranteed to place as one of only two riders who’s recorded points at the middle school level this year — his only other contender was also unable to compete in the finals — Logan took nothing for granted and was ready to keep going to the end.
It showed in his scores.
With a score of 45 Friday to kick off the state event at Moffat County Fairgrounds, he only got bolder from there, notching a 60 Sunday and rounding out Monday in the short go with a 63, ending the year with 110 overall points.
“Feels good getting all three like that,” he said.
The Hamilton rider said he keeps his thoughts on the basics when it’s go time.
“Just keep centered,” he said.
As for his mother, Jill, her mind was full of excitement and a little anxiety awaiting the big moment at the tail end of the competition.
“Makes me nervous,” she laughed.
Jill was watching two bull riders, with her older son, Clay, in the mix for the high school level.
Clay finished the year ranked eighth overall, with the finals at home not one of his better stretches, unable to record a time across the three days.
Still, he was excited for his younger brother to get as far as he did.
“He’s been riding bulls better than most of the high-schoolers,” Clay said.
Many of the high school guys lined up for bulls gained no points throughout the finals, though Hayden’s Keenan Hayes ended Friday as reserve champion for the day with a 62-point ride, ultimately finishing the season third to move on to high school nationals.
It was a close call for Craig’s Dillon Burch to place in the top four to go to nationals — starting July 14 in Rock Springs, Wyoming — tying for the last spot with Sugar City’s Crowley McCuistion, who took some sizable punishment from his bull in Monday’s short go, though he was able to walk unaided out of the arena.
Burch’s rides didn’t amount to the same bruises, but he had trouble adding to his point count with three rides where he narrowly missed the eight-second mark.
“Not too good, but I’ll be coming back stronger,” he said. “You’ve just gotta keep getting on, and you can’t let it get to you.”
The national finals won’t be the end of the road for Burch. Having recently finished high school, he’ll be moving from home-school to Rangely’s Colorado Northwestern Community College campus to compete in rodeo.
Besides “better money, better bulls” at the college level, Burch said he expects to go far under the tutelage of CNCC coach Jed Moore.
“He’s one of the first coaches I ever met,” he said. “He knows what he’s doing, and he could look at me and know where I can improve, so that’s a nice thing to know.”
The final weekend of the Colorado circuit may not have gone exactly how he wanted, but riding in front of a Craig crowd was ideal, he added.
“Definitely a dream,” Burch said.
This week hundreds of teachers from across the United States and Canada are spending five days in Denver to shore up the concepts and importance of Advanced Placement classes in high school. Moffat County High School has been offering these College Board classes for the past five years, which students can begin taking in their freshman year.