We’ve told you before about Elvenee Dees (Jr), a team roper from the Aurora area — ranked currently among the best in the world, Dees is back in action this year at the National Finals Rodeo and is one of the few from South Dakota that qualified if you’re looking to cheer on a local this year.
Those of you who have attended the rodeos in Flandreau or throughout the region have likely watched Dees and his 11-year-old Appalloosa gelding Famous Dillon before. He’s roped extensively with others, including well-known names such as Kole Latham of Flandreau and Matt Zancanella of Aurora, as some of his other local team roping partners.
After a hugely successful year on the circuit, Dees, best known as Jr, or Junior, entered the NFR ninth in the world overall for team ropers but his NFR landing page now shows that he’s moved up to fifth. Dees and his partner, Levi Lord of Sturgis, sat down with podcast host Chelsea Shaffer of “The Score” last week after winning the first go-round at the NFR. “Everybody in the world has texted and called me, it’s pretty interesting,” said Dees, of their first round win. The two had a 4.3-second run, worth $28,913.70 seconds per man. They’ve not placed at the top since but sit tied for third place overall and have the remainder of this week to move up before the NFR wraps up Saturday night, December 10th. It is both men’s second appearance at the 2022 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Lord’s first however at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas. His last appearance was in 2020 when the NFR was moved to Texas during the pandemic. Dees last qualified for the NFR in 2017.
Other South Dakotans to watch for at this year’s NFR include Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs and Jessica Routier of Buffalo in barrel racing. One of the official NFR photographers also includes South Dakota’s Clay Guardipee (and Tyann Curtis) of Rodeo Ready out of the Mitchell area. You can learn more about all of the contestants and their backgrounds at https://prorodeo.com/nfr/contestants.