by Chris Dize
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Olin Ellsworth was on his own during the 2023 RAM First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, Jan. 12-14. The steer wrestler is part of a dynasty in the circuit comprised of the states in the northeastern part of the country; a family that boasts more than three dozen circuit championships.

“Typically, I would have family there competing in multiple events,” Ellsworth, 41, said. “But this year for some reason I was a lone ranger.”

The isolation did not impair Ellsworth at all as the Warrensburg, New York cowboy captured his first ever FFCFR average championship after turfing three steers in 12.7 seconds. Ellsworth placed in all three go rounds to earn $7,978.

“I’m glad to finally get it done,” Ellsworth noted. He’s been competing at the FFCFR for nearly a decade, ever since he returned to his home state after attending Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, where he competed on the rodeo team.

Thanks to the outstanding effort over three days in Harrisburg, Ellsworth captured his second-year end title and will compete once again at the NFR Open powered by RAM next July. The NFR Open is the national championship of the circuit system and only invites the circuit year end champions and the circuit finals rodeo winners.

Ellsworth competed at the inaugural NFR Open in 2022, picking up some good checks.

“I went there when it was a regular season rodeo and I was out there last year and placed,” Ellsworth said. “It’s nice to go out there in the summer, take a little break. It’s a fun rodeo and a nice arena.”

In Harrisburg, Ellsworth was happy to have Burgess Ovitt’s horse Smoke under him.

“My horse doesn’t like that building in Harrisburg for three straight nights,” Ellsworth said. “My friend and hauling partner, Burgess Ovitt, who is actually a school superintendent, and his horse is very solid.”

Smoke suffered a bad cut on his knee on Thanksgiving, an injury which threatened the horse’s chance to be ready to compete at the FFCFR. Ellsworth, who works as a farrier when not on the rodeo road, was able to call upon his veterinary connections in Saratoga, New York to treat the injury.

“We had a lot of good vet care, and they were able to put him back together,” Ellsworth said. Ellsworth tapped veteran Carmine Nastri for hazing duties.  “He’s hazed a lot for me over the years and is very experienced.”

Ellsworth was the picture of consistency over three rounds, posting runs of 4.5, 4.1 and 4.1 seconds, which placed him third, second and first in the three rounds.

“We had a game plan and we stuck to it every night,” Ellsworth said.

He loves competing in Harrisburg.

“I was on Wikipedia the other day and read that it’s like the largest indoor agricultural event. It’s like an old school state fair,” Ellsworth said. “The rodeo is the last three days and it’s just electric in that building. It’s always sold out on Friday and Saturday and it’s just so loud and fun.”

Other winners at the $188,393 rodeo were all-around cowboy Zane Kilgus ($16,79, tie down roping, steer wrestling and team roping); bareback rider Tim Kent (230 points on three head); team ropers Zane Kilgus and Drew Carnes (16.8 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Clovis Crane (224 points on two head); tie-down roper Zane Kilgus (32.1 seconds on three head); barrel racer Christina Mulford (41.88 seconds on three runs); breakaway roper Cheyenne Chamberlain (5.5 seconds on two head); and bull rider Grayson Cole (250.5 points on three head).

Article Courtesy of PRCA

Photo By: Casey Martin

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