July 6, 2020
  • 3:57 pm Making Muleshoe
  • 3:52 pm 1st coronavirus death reported in Bailey County
  • 3:44 pm Parade canceled; food vendors, fireworks still on
  • 3:43 pm Letter to the Editor
  • 3:41 pm St. Clair name prominent in town

By Gail M. Williams
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

After winning PBR Rookie of the Year honors in 2019, Muleshoe’s Dalton Kasel’s 2020 Professional Bull Riding season was interrupted, first by injury, then by a global pandemic.
Following recuperation from a groin injury, Kasel, 21, returned to the arena on Feb. 7.
“I tried to come back, but I came back a little too early. Then I had to sit out for another two months,” he said.
Recently, Kasel has been riding to empty arenas after PBR became the first professional sports organization to return to competition.
“PBR is the first event back,” Kasel said. “Some (media) stations are trying to say it’s NASCAR, but it’s PBR. Everybody is looking at how PBR was able to do it. They’ve been really awesome in setting a good example for a safe event, and we still are able to make money.”
Riding to an empty arena doesn’t bother Kasel particularly.
“It feels a lot like practice, like when you’re at home with nobody around. We all enjoy getting on bulls; that’s what we find fun. There’s a lot of interaction between us, we sing songs. It changes it up a lot.”
According to pbr.com, Dalton Kasel is currently ranked 46 with 59.50 points. At the Guthrie, Oklahoma, Unleash the Beast Event, he picked up 85 points in Round 1 and 90.75 points in Round 2. In Round 3, he stuck on the formidable Sweet Pro’s Bruiser for 7.75 seconds, barely missing out the full 8.0 second ride.
“I felt really good,” Kasel said.
Kasel plans to participate in a PBR 40-hour televised team competition from June 5–July 12, beginning at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
According to a PBR press release, the first four weekends will use the safety protocols PBR debuted during three previous event weekends in April and May, including a scaled-down crew, medical testing, functional separation and social distancing.
The competition will culminate in a championship weekend that will welcome fans to ticketed events at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10-12.
To help ensure a safe environment for fans purchasing tickets, event partners Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and PBR will institute a new series of safety protocols, including mobile ticketing, staggered pod seating, re-routed in-arena traffic flow, social distancing guidelines, enhanced disinfecting and cashless concessions options.
In the team challenge, every team will have played six regular season games after four weeks.  The teams with the top three records in each division will make the playoffs, with the regular season division champion earning a first round bye. Championship weekend, a single elimination bracket, will feature wild card matchups on Friday, the semifinals on Saturday, and Championship Sunday broadcast on CBS Television Network, with the consolation game on CBS Sports Network.
“That’s very cool. I’m excited to take part in the finals. It’s a really neat deal,” Kasel said.
Kasel was home-schooled by his parents, both Farwell teachers whom he recently visited in Muleshoe. After graduating from high school, Kasel enrolled at Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, and began competing on the college rodeo circuit.
He made his first splash on June 20 when he won and finished runner-up on the Touring Pro Division in Williston, North Dakota. Following his sweep of the North Dakota event, Kasel recorded six Top-10 finishes at the Touring Pro Division level, including runner-up efforts in Santa Barbara, California and Rocksprings, Texas. In Santa Barbara, Kasel turned heads when he rode PBR World Champion Bull contender Spotted Demon for a massive 93 points.

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