RENO, Nev. – Heith DeMoss had never had much luck at the Reno Rodeo, but that changed in a big way Saturday night. Entering the short round, he trailed saddle bronc riding leader Clay Elliott by a seemingly insurmountable 12 points before fate intervened.
Elliott was bucked off and DeMoss rode for 84 points on Flying Five Rodeo’s Blue Feather to win the saddle bronc riding with 241 points on three head.
“This is the first time I’ve made the short round here,” said the 30-year-old DeMoss. “I’ve always been snake-bit here, and I’ve been here eight or 10 times. I hate that Clay got bucked off and that he didn’t win it, but somebody’s still got to win it and my babies have to eat.”
DeMoss and his wife, Hallie, have two children – Gavin and Dixie.
The Heflin, La., cowboy has qualified for six Wrangler National Finals Rodeos (2007, 2009-11, 2013-14) and is anxious to return in December. Before the big win in Reno, he sat seventh in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings with $31,844.
At Reno, DeMoss earned $7,594 – including $5,098 for winning the average title.
“There’s a lot of money to be won in the next few weeks, and the next few months,” he said. “My wife follows the standings, and she tells me. I don’t really keep up with it.”
His goal involves the big picture for the season.
“I just want to get to Las Vegas,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m first or 15th. Everybody there will have a chance to win it.”
DeMoss said this was his fourth time to draw Blue Feather, and it’s been a spirited competition between horse and rider.
“We go back and forth on who wins,” DeMoss said. “He’s a dang good horse. I was lucky enough to hang on this time.”
DeMoss stood quietly and gazed at the overflow crowd, soaking in the atmosphere and his just-claimed championship, which includes a pair of coveted Silver Spurs.
“The older I get, the more I realize that a crowd cheering you on is really where it’s at,” DeMoss said. “The electricity pushes me to the next level. I’d say this crowd is on a top-five level of any rodeo I’ve ever been to. You do anything close to special here and they go nuts. You don’t get cheered like this everywhere.”
He also had high praise for the Reno Rodeo committee.
“The committee here does a great job, just over the top to make us feel welcome,” he said.
Other winners at the $493,123 rodeo were all-around cowboy Josh Peek (steer wrestling and tie-down roping), bareback rider Steven Peebles (237 points on three head), steer wrestler Hunter Cure (13.0 seconds on three head), team ropers Zayne Dishion and Tommy Zuniga (16.1 seconds on three head), tie-down roper Michael Otero (27.7 seconds on three head), barrel racer Jill Welsh (51.14 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Derek Kolbaba (157 points on two head).
Read more about the Reno Rodeo champions in the July 17 ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA