Local man 9th best bull rider in nation

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Kolten Achenbach competed in the Ozark Region College Rodeo in Senatobia, Miss., in April. By earning the reserve champion title, he qualified for the national finals.

By Correne Martin


Twenty-one year old Kolten Achenbach, of rural Prairie du Chien, placed ninth in the June College National Rodeo Finals bull riding competition in Casper, Wyo. 

This was his third time qualifying but the first making it to the championship round.

“It was really cool. I felt like I could compete a little bit more (this time). It was nice to go out there and put myself on the map,” said Achenbach, who will be a senior this fall at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.

To qualify, Achenbach was the reserve champion of the Ozark Region. The top three from each U.S. region, Canada and Australia make it to nationals. This means he was one of only 50 collegiate bull riders to earn the right to compete in Casper. 

“Throughout the week, I got on three bulls in three rounds,” he said. “Then the top 12 came back Saturday for the championship round. There were so many people there I couldn’t even hear myself think.”

This is the highest level he could compete at in college.

Achenbach has been bull riding since he was 6 years old—“or maybe younger,” he said, most often going to Curt and Cory Check’s arena in rural Seneca to practice. He competed throughout middle school and high school. In high school, he also qualified for nationals three times and even won some money in the event.

This September, Achenbach will start his last college season and take part in rodeos that range in distance from 6.5 to over 15 hours from his college town. He is one of 40 young men on the Missouri Valley team.

After college, he plans to keep rodeoing. He also hopes to start the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) circuit yet this summer. 

Kolten is the son of Kurt and Gretchen Achenbach.

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