COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After honing his talent on his PRCA permit and in the college ranks, Nick Pelke bought his PRCA card for the 2023 season and he’s enjoying the ride.
Especially after Thursday night.
The Wisconsin rookie bareback rider had an 84.5-point ride on Beutler & Son’s Black Kat, a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo horse, to get the high score of the day.
“They have won a lot of money on that horse and been a lot of points and I sure enough knew I had a chance coming here knowing that I had that horse in the first round,” said Pelke, 23. “Hopefully I will be able to go on and continue through this and have a good chance at winning this thing.”
Pelke, who is representing the Great Lakes Circuit, will make his second ride at noon Friday to try and advance out to the semifinals Saturday.
“I went to the (National Circuit Finals Rodeo in 2020) in Greeley and then I have been to the last two NFR Opens,” Pelke said. “I think this NFR Open is a great opportunity for us. It is right after the Fourth (of July) and if you go ahead and get your circuit count from the year before and have a good circuit finals it can really help a guy out in the middle of the summer with as much money that is added.
“I put it on my list to make sure I get my count and hopefully keep coming back.”
Pelke acknowledged cracking out as a rookie this year has been everything and more for him.
“When I bought my rookie card, I told myself I was going to go as hard as I could to try and make a run at the (NFR),” he said. “It has been awesome. Being out on the road and seeing the country, there’s no better office view than rodeo if you ask me.”
Pelke arrived in the Springs 39th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $26,826. He is 11th in the Bareback Riding Resistol Rookie of the Year Standings.
“Every rookie wants to make a run at rookie of the year,” Pelke said. “I think this group of bareback riders is really stout. There are a bunch of us going down the road who all could make the (NFR) I think. Keenan (Hayes) has a pretty good jump on everybody right now, but all the rookies are going to keep going hard and they all ride good and you’re going to see a handful of us at the NFR.”
More than 200 of the top rodeo contestants from each of the 12 U.S. and Canadian Circuits, plus national champions from Mexico will converge on Colorado Springs, Colo., until July 15 for the 2023 NFR Open powered by RAM.
The NFR Open at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo kicked off Tuesday night and runs through July 15. It is one of the biggest rodeos of the ProRodeo season with $1 million in payouts to contestants, livestock and other PRCA members.
Other top performers on Thursday were breakaway roper Samantha Fulton (2.3 seconds); steer wrestler Cade Goodman (4.1 seconds); team ropers Nelson Wyatt/Tyler Worley (5.8 seconds); saddle bronc rider Kade Bruno (83 points on United Pro Rodeo’s Sky Fall); tie-down roper Haven Meged (9.1 seconds); barrel racer Abigail Knight (17.15 seconds); and bull rider Austin Herrera (82 points on Honeycutt Rodeo’s Dennis).
The remaining four performances of the NFR Open will be broadcast live on The Cowboy Channel and stream on the PRCA on The Cowboy Channel Plus App, July 14-15.
Courtesy of PRCA