HURON — A pair of recent area high school graduates have teamed up to put on “The Invitational” on Saturday at the DEX on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.
The region’s best bull riders and breakaway ropers will gather for a chance to take home $5,000 top prize.
“The competition at this event will be the best in the region,” said 2022 Huron High School graduate Jazz McGirr, who is co-hosting the event along with Sanborn Central graduate Mason Moody.
“Mason and I are bringing in contestants with talent ranging from National Finals qualifiers to local cowboys and cowgirls,” she said. “It will be a close race to the end of the night. I had a lot of the top girls in the state reach out and want to be part of this!”
A total of 18 bull riders and 18 breakaway ropers, including Moody and McGirr, have been invited to participate in the event.
“Rodeo has done a lot for me, so when my dad brought it up, I was instantly invested,” said Moody of putting together “The Invitational”. “I knew it would be a way for me to give back to all the people that have supported my career.”
Moody was the Badlands Circuit champion and finished 36th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings during his inaugural season. He is currently leading the 2024 PRCA bull riding standings.
The two events should provide plenty of action for the fans in attendance, according to Moody.
“Both are very fast-paced events that crowds love to watch and get into,” he said.
The Invitational will begin at 5:30 p.m., when fans can spend some time meeting the contestants during a social at the DEX.
Starting at 6:15 p.m., teams consisting of one bull rider and one breakaway roper will be drawn. Each team will them be auctioned off in a calcutta, which is slated to being at 6:30 p.m.
“The calcutta adds a lot of excitement to The Invitational,” McGirr said. “Teaming up one breakaway roper and one bull rider to auction off gets the crowd involved. There could be a lot of money on the line at the end of the night.
“The best chance to win the calcutta is to come out and meet the contestants at 5:30 p.m. before The Invitational starts!” she said.
Area participants in the bull riding, include Moody, Tate Meyer of Huron, Tanner Christian of Woonsocket and Ryder Rowland of Ree Heights.
Other slated for the bull riding are Tucker Mertens of Veblin, Jesse Kline of Hartford, Blaine and Travis Peterson of Tyler, Minn., Carter Hansen of Alcester, Dawson Petrik of Wagner, Dylan Rice of Flandreau, Tyson Hill of White River, Jeff Bertus of Avon, Steven Garrigan of Ft. Pierre, TJ Schmidt of Belle Fourche, Jack Rodenbaugh of New Underwood and Ethan Jensen of Astoria. Chazz Gabe of Timber Lake is the alternate.
Area participants in the breakaway roping are McGirr, Tatum Carey of Huron, Tierney Breen of Huron, Jenna Fulton of St. Lawrence, Tricia Lammers of Miller, Raylee Fagerhaug of Wessington Springs, Ella Fagerhaug of Wessington Springs and Jacey Hupp of Laramie, Wyo., and formerly of Huron.
Others involved with breakaway roping are Hannah Schubert of Brainerd, Minn., Swayze Ness of Kimball, Josie Mousel of Colman, Jami Bergeson of Hartford, Cheznie Best of Minot, N.D., Tanegai Zilverberg of Holabird, Jenny Belkham of Blunt, Taryn Sippel of Pierpont, Keylee Zancanella of Brookings and CY Christensen of Kennebec.
“It’s going to be a fun night at the DEX with lots of good competition and money up for grabs,” McGirr said. “I hope to see a ton of people there!”
Competition for the The Invitational is slated to begin at 7 p.m., with all 18 teams.
The top six competitors in each event will earn a spot in the finals.
Prior to the finals, teams will be redrawn and auctioned off again.
McGirr is hoping the The Invitational will be one of just several events showcasing the sport of rodeo in Huron.
“I really wanted to put on an event like this one because the DEX is an amazing opportunity for Huron and should be used as much as possible,” said McGirr, who is in her sophomore season as a member of the South Dakota State University rodeo team. “It gives me and other rodeo contestants in the area an opportunity to compete year round. Weather has always been a factor for rodeos in this area and the DEX makes it possible to keep going.”
Organizers are touting this event as a rare chance to see a collection of this much talent in one location this close to home.
A full bar and concession stand will be available for fans inside the DEX.
Also included in the event, which is being labeled as a great family boredom buster for the holiday weekend, will be some mutton busting for the kids.
Tickets for the event are $15 and are available at the door.