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BAREBACK HORSE CRAIG AT MIDNIGHT PASSES AWAY

by Chris Dize

Powder River Rodeo’s Craig at Midnight, the 2016 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year and the top bareback horse at the 2017 National Finals Rodeo, passed away June 5. He was 15.

“This was just out of the blue, and we don’t have any idea what happened to him,” said Lori Franzen of Powder River Rodeo. “It’s devastating and a total shock. It breaks my heart and I’ve cried a million tears. (On June 5), Craig Roe fed him in the morning and that afternoon we found him dead on our ranch (in Riverton, Wyo.). We raised him as a colt, and he started winning awards as soon as he started competing in the PRCA.”

Craig at Midnight was a ranch-raised colt out of world champion sire Cut The Cards and mare T33 KC Rocket (Tooke bloodline).

Craig at Midnight was buried next to the Franzen’s house under a cottonwood tree next to Powder River Rodeo’s bareback horse Khadafy Skoal. Khadafy Skoal was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.

The last time Craig at Midnight competed was April 17 at the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round-Up. Wyatt Bloom had an 81-point ride aboard the horse.

“He had such a cool personality, and he was just so talented and athletic for his obscene size,” Franzen said. “He weighed 1,700 pounds. He was huge. Around the ranch he was kind. He had some attitude, but he would never try and hurt you. When he was in the chute, he would buck so hard every time and he gave his full heart every time.”

Craig at Midnight was the 2016 Pendleton Whisky “Let ‘er Buck” Bucking Stock of the Year in bareback riding.

That year Craig had 11 outs during the regular season, with eight of the 11 riders lasting eight seconds. All eight of those cowboys earned a check, with two of them placing first and two others placing second.

The gray gelding went to the NFR eight consecutive years (2013-20). Franzen said they have a full sister to Craig at Midnight, Chop, 16.

In 2017 at the NFR, Craig at Midnight and C5 Rodeo’s Virgil split the honor for Top Stock of the NFR. At that NFR, Craig at Midnight bucked off Clayton Biglow in Round 3 while eventual Bareback Riding World Champion Tim O’Connell had an 85-point ride on Craig at Midnight to split fourth place in Round 8.

“We were thinking about retiring him at the NFR this year,” Franzen said.

Craig at Midnight competed in saddle bronc riding a few times but that was not his specialty.

“He just didn’t care for the bronc riding very well, and you could see that wasn’t his favorite,” Franzen said.  “He was just a great horse, and he will be dearly missed.”

Article Courtesy of PRCA

PRCA Photo by Larry Smith

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