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Iowa’s Fleming continues rookie season at Stampede Rodeo

Photo by Jake McNeill Chance Fleming participated in the tie-down calf roping event at the Western Fest Stampede Rodeo in Granite Falls on Saturday.

GRANITE FALLS — The Lee Mar Ranch played host to the Western Fest PRCA Stampede Rodeo over the weekend, ringing in the 35th anniversary of the rodeo. Among those competing in the second day of competition at the rodeo was Chance Fleming, a first-year cowboy from Iowa.

“It’s been fun. Weather’s been kind of playing rough but we’re getting through it and having fun,” Fleming said of Saturday’s wet and muddy conditions.

The 19-year-old rookie grew up in Bloomfield Iowa, about 20 minutes north of the Missouri border and just about two hours southeast of Des Moines.

While this is Fleming’s first season on the pro circuit, he’s not new to the sport. Fleming first began practicing rodeo as a young boy, swinging rope in his back yard and roping his dog after seeing his dad participate in the sport. Now he’s taking things to a new level

“It always brings the energy up when the crowd’s live,” Fleming said. “It can determine how you rope and a big crowd’s always good.”

The seats at Lee Mar Ranch were full of fans of the sport on Saturday despite the wet weather. Fleming takes a competitive approach to the sport, saying his favorite part of the rodeo is winning.

In Saturday’s tie-down calf roping event, Fleming said that the weather conditions made his task much more difficult than it is on a drier day. While he wasn’t able to put together a win on the day, he roped a calf in 9.8 seconds to finish seventh in a field full of veterans of the sport.

As of June 18, Fleming sits in 27th place in the United Rodeo Association’s calf roping rankings.

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