Travel partners Sydney Hurley, Kolt Keller take home first-place money | Sports

GEORGETOWN — Traveling from town to town on the rodeo circuit can be very challenging.

On Thursday night, Sydney Hurley from Columbia City, Ind., and Kolt Keller from Frankfort, Ind., who travel together, made the most of their trip to the Georgetown Fair.

Hurley claimed the title in breakaway roping, while Keller teamed with Tyler Jackson from Salem, Ark., to win the team roping title.

“We will probably get some gas station pizza and something cold to drink,’’ said Keller. “We’re pretty common folk.’’

Winning will change one part of their four-hour trip from Georgetown to Coldwater, Mich., for their next stop on the rodeo circuit.

“The drive will be a lot less silent,’’ said Hurley, who admits the rodeo schedule is exhausting. “I’m fortunate to have some good people like Kolt to travel with and they help me a lot.’’

The biggest thing that Hurley and Keller had to deal with on Thursday night was the conditions as the afternoon rains that moved through Vermilion County made things very muddy for the competitors and the animals.

“I was a little nervous when I got here,’’ Hurley said. “My horse doesn’t like to run in the mud and the calves don’t like the mud. I had to come up with a little different game plan.’’

Hurley, who had the final run of 12 competitors, noticed a pattern during the first 10.

“I got to see all the calves go out before me and I got to see how they were running,’’ she said. “They were all running really fast, so I knew that I had to be ready to throw quickly.’’

Hurley’s time of 3.2 seconds was easily the best on Thursday as Laney Felter from Cisco finished second with a time of 14.6 seconds. They were the only two competitors to successfully rope their calves.

While Hurley felt that being the last competitor was an advantage, it was just the opposite for Keller.

“I would rather go out first and get it out of the way,’’ he said.

And what about the muddy conditions?

“Nothing changes for me. Everything is the same as if it was 100 degrees and dry,’’ said Keller, a heeler in the team roping. “I’m just focusing on their feet.’’

But as the second to last team to compete on Thursday, Keller and Jackson combined for a winning time of 7.2 seconds.

“We keep notes on all of these calves, and I had a good idea of what he was going to do tonight’’ said Keller, who compared it to scouting report that a football team would use before its game. “There are even some guys who will videotape the calves and their runs.’’

Chris Coulter of Hoopeston and Ben Davis of Dewey took second with a time of 8.1 seconds. Coulter was the only Vermilion County competitor to finish in the money on Thursday night.

Other winners on Thursday night were Corey Webb of Piedmont, S.C., in steer wrestling, Andrew Turpin of Hiawassee, Ga., in tie-down roping and Ashley Ketron of Columbus, Ind., in barrel racing.