MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — Rod McKeown had gone into the bull-riding competition at the Montcalm County 4-H Fair on Friday night with one injury already.
The White Cloud man was already nursing an injured left hand, so he had to ride the bulls at the annual Brandt Clark Rodeo with his other hand.
He won the event after staying on a bull longer than Tim Mast in the finals of the bracket tournament.
McKeown had to take a re-ride after his first attempt at the finals was called back due to leaving the chute leaning off the bull. When he fell the bull kicked him in the knee, which dislocated the kneecap.
“I’m already riding with my opposite hand so that was kind of tougher,” McKeown said. “That last bull I’ve been on before. He was leaning so I kind of took him and he leaned jumped up and really tore up my knee pretty good.”
McKeown got the re-ride and won with a three-second ride, longer than Mast’s 2.82-second ride.
“I guess I kept my hand closed longer than the other guy, so it worked out right,” McKeown said.
The event was a seeded tournament where each rider was given a seed based on past performance. McKeown was the No. 2 seed, one behind Brandon Erxleban of Holton.
Erxleban opened up the way for McKeown when he two-handed a bull in the second round and was beat by Brandon Stewart.
“I guess I just got lucky and lasted longer than anyone else,” McKeown said. “I never really covered my bulls but I won’t hang my head because I used my other hand. It’s kind of bittersweet.”
McKeown has been riding bulls for nine years, including a stint with Professional Bull Riders. That is some of the toughest competition he’s faced, he said
“I went to PBR touring pros and they have good bulls and good riders,” he said. “Those deals are more fun to go to because bulls that buck are easier and funner to ride.”
Yet he still enjoyed the local rodeo.
“I was pretty happy with the stock they had here,” McKeown said.
In the barrel-racing portion of the rodeo, Gaylynn Daggett of Portland (14.175 seconds) edged out Brandi Clark of Lakeview by .38 seconds. Third was Billy Scott of White Cloud (14.543).
The rodeo was not without concern for one of the new riders who was trying to make his rodeo circuit.
Lakeview rider Robbie Roberts, making his first-ever bull ride, was taken to the hospital after the bull he fell off of stepped on his chest. There was no word on his condition as of press time Friday night.