RENO, Nev. – The energy in the air was thick with anticipation for championship night at the 98th Reno Rodeo. With a sold-out crowd and half a million dollars on the line, there was plenty at stake for every cowboy stepping out into the arena tonight.
Rookie Wyatt Bloom of Bend, Ore. wowed the judges and snagged an impressive score of 87.5 on Rosser Rodeo’s Flood Tide, swiftly taking him from third place to the 2017 Reno Rodeo bareback champion with an overall score of 249.5. Justin Miller of Billings, Mont. snagged second place with an overall score of 247.5, taking over Orin Larson’s spot on the leader board. Larson finished off the night in third place with 246. Regional favorite and anticipated winner of the evening Wyatt Denny entered the round in first place, but wasn’t able to hang on for the win.
Elko, Nev. native Dakota Eldridge took home a set of silver spurs tonight after securing his lead with an impressive score of 13.4 in the final round of steer wrestling. Curtis Cassidy swooped the second place spot with a total score of 13.9, overtaking Jacob Talley who slipped back into fourth place behind Trell Etbauer.
“Tonight’s win is awesome. I’ve got a lot of family here and it’s fun to come here and do good,” said Dakota Eldridge following his big win. “I had a lot of texts that came through that said ‘good luck.’ I was just glad I did good because there was a lot of pressure.”
Team roping duo Cody Snow of Los Olivos, Cali., and Wesley Thorpe of Throckmorton, Texas stole the show with a time of 4.6 and an overall score of 16.1, earning themselves a set of silver spurs.
Saddle bronc champion Heith Allan DeMoss of Heflin, La. had an impressive ride on Big Bend Rodeo’s Broken Spring, earning a score of 84.5 tonight and an overall score of 235.5, securing his championship win.
“He bucked like heck and I was just lucky to stay on top of him,” said saddle bronc champ Heith Allan DeMoss.
Taking home the coveted silver spurs in tie-down roping was Comanche, Ok. native Ryan Jarrett with a total time of 26.3 seconds. This was Jarrett’s first silver spur win. On his tail was Cooper Martin from Alma, Kan., with a time of 27.6 seconds.
A new arena record was set tonight in barrel racing, as Taci Bettis from Round Top, Texas completing an incredible time of 16.91 seconds. Bettis ended second overall, with a 51.72, bested by Nellie Miller of Cottonwood, Calif., who ended with an overall time of 51.34 seconds.
The night finished off with a rare tie between Brennon Eldred of Sulphur, Ok. and Brady Portenier of Caldwell, Idaho, who both went into the night with a score of 86. The bulls bested all the riders tonight, with no riders receiving qualifying scores. This is Portenier’s first win in bull riding.
“I had a really good bull tonight as were all the bulls out here. He was pretty quick. I was riding pretty good, but he got me,” said Eldred of his ride.
The Reno Rodeo is traditionally the start of all the summer rodeos. It marks the beginning of “Cowboy Christmas” over the Fourth of July holiday where there is more money up for grabs than any other week of the season. Winning at the Reno Rodeo often builds momentum for contestants as they start Cowboy Christmas.
2017 Reno Rodeo Champions
Bareback Riding, Wyatt Bloom, Bend, OR, 249.50, $7,032.13
Steer Wrestling, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, NV, 13.4, $10,237.13
Team Roping, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, CA & Wesley Thorp, Stephenville, TX, 16.1, $6,781.91
Saddle Bronc Riding, Heith Allan DeMoss, Heflin, LA, 247, $8,456.13
Tie-Down Roping, Ryan Jerrett, Comanche, OK, 26.3, $12,108.80
WPRA Barrel Racing, Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, CA, 51.34, $8,352.55
Bull Riding TIE, Brady Portenier, Caldwell, ID / Brennon Eldred, Sulphur, OK, 86, $10,778.60 (each)
All Round, Dakota Eldridge, Elko, NV won in Steer Wrestling and Tie-Down Roping, $10,332.91
Here are tonight’s top scores:
Bareback Bronc Riding
1. Wyatt Bloom, Bend OR, 87.5 on Rosser Rodeo’s Flood Tide
2. Justin Miller, Billings, MT, 85.5 on Flying U Rodeo’s Misplaced Insanity
3. Orin Larsen, Inglis, MB, 80 on Flying U Rodeo’s Rip Cord
1. Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, AB, 4.2
2. Eldridge, Elko, NV, 4.3
3. Josh Garner, Live Oak, CA, 4.4
1. Cody Snow, Los Olivos, CA & Wesley Thorp, Stephenville, TX, 4.6
2. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, OK & Paul Eaves, Millsap, TX, 5.2
3. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, GA & Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, AZ, 5.7
1. Jacobs Crawley, College Station, TX, 87.5.5 on Rosser Rodeo’s Hat Stomper
2. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, LA, 84.5 on Big Bend Rodeo’s Broken Spring
2. Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, AB, 84.5 on Flying Five Rodeo’s Sundance
3. Cody Wright, Milford, UT, 83.5 on Flying Five Rodeo’s Big Feather
1. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, ID, 8.4
2. Cooper Martin, Alma, KS, 8.7
3. Westyn Hughes, Caldwell, TX, 8.8
1. Bettis Traci, Round Top, TX, 16.91
2. Nellie Miller, Cottonwood, CA, 16.98
3. Megan McLeod Sprague, Marsing, ID, 17.17
No qualifying rides.
*Scores are unofficial until verified by the Rodeo Secretary