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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 20 - June 26, 2001


Wardell collects Wrangler bareback victory

It was a good win for an old timer with heart and guts.

Bellevue-based bareback rider Kelly Wardell, 38, earned $19,095 Saturday by winning his event during the $470,000 Copenhagen Cup of the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour in Nevada.

Wardell, who has battled injuries and age in his quest for a world title, rode Kesler Rodeo’s Skoal’s Cool Alley for 91 points in the final round to take the win at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

"For an old guy who doesn’t want to rodeo much anymore, this is a good deal," said Wardell, ranked seventh of 12 contestants entering the event.

Not only did Wardell win the culminating rodeo of the 10-city Wrangler ProRodeo Tour, he earned a qualification to a rodeo next February at Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with the 2002 Winter Olympics.

"When I came here, my goal was to go to the Olympic rodeo," said Wardell.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Wardell, who hopes to claim a world title before his career ends.

He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1985 but didn’t reach the National Finals Rodeo until 1996. Three years ago, he missed most of the season after injuring his shoulder.

At Las Vegas last week, he needed to reach the top eight after two rounds to qualify for the semi-finals. The top four then competed in a sudden-death final round.

Wardell won the first round with an 86-point ride on Korkow Rodeo’s Dirty Girl, good for $3,917. He had a 77-point ride in the second round and tied for fourth in qualifying with a two-ride average of 163 points, good for $490.

Then, Wardell tied for first with William Pittman II of Mississippi in the semi-final round, earning another $4,113 with an 87-point ride on Rafter G‘s Copenhagen Durango.

His final-round triumph netted Wardell $10,575. Putting together all the prize money gave Wardell a $19,095 collection for the Copenhagen Cup.

TNN (local cable channel 35) will air the second round of the Copenhagen Cup on Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. MDT, and the semi-final and final rounds on Sunday, June 24 at 7 p.m. MDT.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.