Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Yesterday was a good day for bull riders here and they are all hoping to have more success today. With only one contestant who has ridden two (Roscoe Jarboe), the field is wide open. Ty Wallace a two-time NFR qualifier took the lead in the first round yesterday with an 87. Today, he will get on United Pro Rodeo’s Pop-A- Top and he has an advantage. Wallace rides bulls with his left hand, which we think is because he is a ranch cowboy who holds the reins in his left hand so he can rope with his right. Pop-A- Top has a 100% buck off rate against right-handed bull riders, but just 40% against left-handed riders. We expect Wallace to do well with this bull and move into the overall standings and qualify for the finals.
Other bull riders that had qualified rides and have an opportunity today include: Lon Danley, Tyler Smith, Freeman Yoder, Brady Portenier, Jordan Handsen and Dallee Mason. Smith is the highest ranked in the PRCA in fifth place.
The reigning college bareback riding champion, Wyatt Denny, was the most successful yesterday scoring 84 points. Today he will get on a horse that doesn’t have a lot of experience, Triller, owned by Stace Smith Pro Rodeo. The horse will have to have an outstanding trip and Denny also needs to do well for them to overtake Orin Larsen’s lead. He is 169 points on two. Wyatt’s older brother Grant Denny has 164. It would be great to see the brothers competing against each other next Sunday for a buckle from the “Daddy of ‘em All.”
There were three saddle bronc riding scores of 80 or better on Monday so we expect the overall lead to change today. Zeke Thurston was 84, Sam Kelts was 82 and Tyrell J. Smith was 80. Anything over an 80 for any of them will move them ahead of Ben Londo who currently leads with 159.5.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing:
The big steers and long score got the best of steer wrestlers yesterday. At most rodeos, times in the second round are faster than in the first. Contestants can predict what the animals are going to do and times get faster. The opposite is true in the steer wrestling here.
Last year, the first round was won with a 6.3 and the second round’s fast time was 8.0, then the finals’ was 9.0. Steers learn they get a big head start and to run hard so competitors have to go farther down the pen to catch them. We expect that to be true again today. There were only two times under 10 seconds yesterday and they belong to Josh Boka and Rowdy Parrott. Parrott is a former Rookie of the Year, and is 25 th in the world standings. He needs a win here to help him qualify for his first NFR.
Chase Williams, who competed last Saturday and took the lead in the first round with a 10.3, will compete today. Williams finished third at Salinas on Sunday, when he was scheduled to have his second calf here. They moved him until today so he would be among other second-round competitors. He needs to be under 12.5 seconds today to take the lead in the overall standings. Matt Shiozawa has 22.8 on two runs.
Once again, expect the team roping to be all over the board today. Headers are throwing fast hoping for good times and may come up empty. This arena is difficult because of the fence on the left side of the roping box. Headers need to catch the steer, then move him so that a heeler can catch two feet and that often means riding to the fence where the steer stops and it’s hard to catch two feet.
The teams that have the best opportunity today are Nathan McWhorter and Dustin Davis and Blaine Vick and Jim Ross Cooper. The overall lead here right now is 22.3, so with first round times of 10.7 and 11.3 respectively, they could move into the standings.
Nikki Steffes-Hansen won two college all-around titles while competing for the University of Wyoming. She went on to qualify for the NFR and is now headed back to school to become a physician’s assistant. She will be riding the dark palomino gelding she calls Sky today. With an 18.14 in the first round, she needs a really fast run today to have an opportunity to come back for the finals. The only contestant in today’s field that has an advantage over Steffes is Tyra Kane who had an 18.11 in the first round.