At 39 years of age, Jesse Bail of Camp Crook, S.D., is a little long in the tooth for a rough stock competitor, but he can still put up some impressive numbers.
Saturday night at the Event Center, Bail battled a saddle bronc named Braveheart for eight tough seconds in the PRCA Championship Rodeo.
When the battle ended and Braveheart had unceremoniously dumped Bail into the railing of the rodeo ring, the ride was rated a 78.5. That was good enough for fourth place in the two-day rodeo.
First place went to Calvin Shaffer of Elgin, Ore., who scored an 82. aboard War Spirit on Friday.
Other overall winners included Travis Webb of Cottonwood, Calif., who posted a 78 in bareback on Friday; steer wrestler Justin Miller of Neepawa, Manitoba, who was timed at 4.1 seconds on Friday.
Trey Young of Dupree, S.D., and Shay Keller of Rockglen, Saskatchewan, tied for the top spot in tie-down roping with times of 10.2 seconds. Team roping also finished in a deadlock. South Dakotans Tyrell Moody and Rory Brown had a 5.9-second effort to tie with Turner Harris of Killdeer and Ross Carson of Grassy Butte.
Matt Palmer of Chelsea, Okla., (83.5) and Wanda Brown of Edgemont, S.D., (13.16) led in bull riding and barrel racing, respectively, in Saturday's late events.
Bail said his tussle with Braveheart was an enjoyable time.
"It felt good. He tested me the whole time and I kept going at him and worked hard until the whistle," Bail said. "He bucked pretty hard and I finally got by him."
Being tossed into the rail left Bail with a skinned leg, but did no serious damage.
"I guess I relaxed after the whistle. (The fall) wasn't bad. It was a good ride," he observed.
The Bismarck PRCA rodeo is a regular stop for Bail, who was competing for just the second time this season. He said he's had some success at the Event Center.
"It's been decent. I know I won once and I've done all right here. It's a real good circuit rodeo for us. The circuit is just getting started," he said.
Bail traveled far and wide during his heyday, reaching the National Finals Rodeo six times as a bull rider and six times in saddle bronc. He said in recent years his activities have been confined mainly to the Badlands Circuit.
In retrospect, Bail said his most successful years were in the early 2000s, maybe 2003.
"I was riding two events and both of them were going well. I was pretty close to winning the world all-around," he recalled.
His most recent trip to the NFR was in 2011 in saddle bronc.
He said he got out of bull riding in 2009.
"I had a bulging disc in my neck that made me quit bull riding, and I was getting a little old for it," he said.
He had knee surgery last year. That and the responsibilities of ranching have put a crimp in his rodeo schedule.
"I've stayed closer to home. ... We have a lot going on at home. Before that I used to go everywhere," he observed.
At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds Bail said he always thought of himself as a bronc rider who rode bulls, but he's beginning to reconsider that construct.
"It seemed like I had better success in bulls, but both have been good," he said. "I had people tell me I was too big for bulls, maybe that's why."