by | Oct 14, 2023 | Rodeo

Rickie Fanning wins the first round of the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo breakaway roping. The Spearfish, S.D. cowgirl had a time of 2.3 seconds. [Photo: Alaina Stangle Photography]

MINOT — It’s a family affair for the Engesser family of Spearfish, South Dakota at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot.

All three of Shorty (the dad) and Punky (the mom) Engesser’s kids: daughters, Taylor and Rickie, and son, Jace, are competing at this year’s Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo  Taylor and Rickie in the breakaway roping and Jace in the tie-down roping.

And after the first round of rodeo on Oct. 13, Rickie, who is married to Rhett Fanning, won the breakaway roping.

The 24-year-old cowgirl roped her calf in a time of 2.3 seconds, one-tenth of a second faster than the number two cowgirl, Danielle Wray, Ord, Nebraska.

Coming into the circuit finals in fourth place, she said she has a game plan in mind.

“You can’t back off the barrier (in hopes of not breaking it), and you can’t safety up. There are too many girls who rope good, and no one is safety-ing up. You have to stay focused and try to make the same run every time. You read the calf, read the situation, and make a game plan from there.”

She rides an unusual horse. Lavaca Sting, “Rollo”, is blind in his left eye, but that doesn’t affect his performance. “You can ride him at any setup,” she said. “He’s gone everywhere with me this summer. He reads calves so well, if they’re slow or fast, and he knows where I need to be. He’s a gift from God, that’s for sure.”

Rickie and Taylor have traveled together for the past several years, and they say they are each other’s biggest fans. “She’s my best friend and knows all my ins and outs,” Rickie said. “I probably get more nervous for her, than I do for myself (when competing). We help each other along the way, and she’s been my biggest supporter. She’s pushed me this year at times when I wanted to quit.”

This is Jace’s first year to qualify for the circuit finals, and the three siblings are having fun. “It’s fun to be here with all three of us.”

Rickie will compete at Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December, pro rodeo’s world championship held in Las Vegas.

Joe Nelson, Watford City, N.D., maintains his lead for the year-end title with a first round win on Oct. 13 at the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo in Minot. He had a time of 3.5 seconds. [Photo: Alaina Stangle Photography]

A North Dakota cowboy is making a good start to the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Joe Nelson, Watford City, turfed his steer in 3.5 seconds to win the first round of the circuit finals and maintain his lead.

Nelson was on Woody, the 2023 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Badlands Circuit owned by River Voigt. Nelson has ridden the horse since June after his own horse was injured.

“That horse is just so easy,” Nelson said. “I was a little more nervous tonight than I have been in quite a while. I knew I had a good steer, had a good chance, and I needed to capitalize on it. (The horse) tried his butt off and let me have a good chance at him.”

Fellow steer wrestler Tyler Thorson also rode Woody.

Other first go-round winners include bareback rider Ben Kramer, Max, N.D. (81.5 points); team ropers Jon Peterson, Belle Fourche, S.D. and Trae Smith, Georgetown, Idaho (5.8 seconds); saddle bronc rider Lavern Borntrager, Elsmere, Neb. (80.5 points); tie-down roper Brock Belkham, Flandreau, S.D. (8.9 seconds); barrel racer Britany Diaz, Desdemona, Texas (13.29 seconds) and bull rider Mason Moody, Letcher, S.D. (83 points).

The second and third rounds of the Circuit Finals continue Oct. 14-15 with a performance on Saturday night at 7 pm and a Sunday matinee at 1 pm. For more information on the rodeo, visit

For full results from this night’s rodeo, visit

Results, 1st Go-Round, Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, Minot, North Dakota

October 13, 2023

Bareback Riding

  1. Ben Kramer, Max, ND 81.5 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Dixie’s Gray;
  2. Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, SD 79;
  3. Chase Yellow Hawk, Blunt, SD 75;
  4. Kyle Bloomquist, Raymond, MN 73

Steer Wrestling

  1. Joe Nelson, Watford City, ND 3.5 seconds;
  2. (tie) Tyler Thorson, Manning, ND and Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, ND 4.1 each;
  3. Scott Kleeman, Killdeer, ND 4.2.

Team Roping

  1. Jon Peterson, Belle Fourche, SD/Trae Smith, Georgetown, ID 5.8 seconds;
  2. Reece Weber, Valentine, NE/Matt Kasner, Cody, NE 6.5;
  3. Cooper White, Hershey, NE/Tucker White, Hershey, NE 6.8;
  4. Brent McInerney, Alzada, MT/Tanner McInerney, Alzada, MT 7.1.

Saddle bronc riding

  1. Lavern Borntrager, Elsmere, NE 80.5 points on Bailey Rodeo’s Rip Cord;
  2. (tie) Kash Deal, Faith, SD and Cash Wilson, Wall, SD 79 each;
  3. (tie) Brady Hill, Onida, SD and Shorty Garrett, Eagle Butte, SD 78 each.

Breakaway roping

  1. Rickie Fanning, Spearfish, SD 2.3 seconds;
  2. Danielle Wray, Ord, NE 2.4;
  3. (tie)Tanegai Zilverberg, Holabird, SD and Jessica Holmes, 2.5 each.


Tie-down roping

  1. Brock Belkham, Flandreau, SD 8.9 seconds;
  2. Cole Robinson, Moorcroft, WY 9.0;
  3. Austin Hurlburt, Norfolk, NE 9.4;
  4. Bodie Mattson, Sturgis, SD 10.0.

Barrel racing

  1. Britany Diaz, Desdemona, TX 13.29 seconds;
  2. Lakken Bice, Killdeer, ND 13.48;
  3. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD 13.62;
  4. Molly Otto, Grand Forks, ND 13.65.

Bull riding

  1. Mason Moody, Letcher, SD 83 points on Sutton Rodeo’s Rock N Roll Fantasy;
  2. TJ Schmidt, Belle Fourche, SD 77; no other qualified rides.

** All results are unofficial.

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