By Guy Clifton
RENO, Nev. — Heith DeMoss left Reno last June with his first set of Reno Rodeo Silver Spurs and a head of steam that led him to a spot in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December.
On opening night of the 97th anniversary, the Heflin, La., saddle bronc rider showed a sold out crowd of 8,600 at the Reno Rodeo Arena that he’s ready for a sequel. DeMoss rode the Diamond G Rodeo Company bronc Karat Cowboy for 81.5 points for the high score of the night and the first round lead. It didn’t come easy.
“I was nervous sitting the there,” DeMoss said. The way that horse is built, my saddle kind of slid back on him, so I really had to reach up there. He about threw me off after a couple of jumps, but I was able to reach up there and get ahold and it went pretty good after that.”
It was the second time DeMoss has been on the bronc, having won the rodeo in Salt Lake City three years ago on the bronc.
“It sure made coming from home in Lousiana to Reno, Nevada worth it,” DeMoss said.
All the saddle bronc and bareback riders from Friday night will make their second-round rides on Saturday night. It will take good scores in both rounds to get back to the championship round. DeMoss said winning last year was the difference in him making the National Finals.
“If I didn’t win here, I wouldn’t have made it,” he said. “This win was big for my family, that’s for dang sure. I’d love to do it again.”
In the bareback riding, Kyle Charlie of Lukachukai, Ariz., set the pace, riding Diamond G’s Cool Hand Luke for 82.6 points.
In the bull riding, two-time defending world champion Sage Steel Kimzey has the lead after marking an 81.5-point ride on a reride bull. The Strong City, Okla., cowboy finished just ahead of Trevor Reiste of Linden, Iowa, who had an 80-point ride on Western Rodeo’s Lightning Hopper.
The top time in the steer wrestling went to Cody Pratt of Pueblo, Colo., with a 4.9-second run. Cody Snow of Los Olivas, Calif., and Dugan Kelly of Paso Robles, Calif., set the pace in the team roping with a time of 5.5 seconds.
The top tie-down roper of the night was Timber Moore of Aubrey, Texas, with an 8.2-second run. In barrel racing, it was Kris Gadbois of Escondido, Calif., with the fast time, covering the cloverleaf pattern in 17.04 seconds.
The following are results from the first performance of the Reno Rodeo.
Bareback: 1, Kyle Charley, Lukachukai, Ariz., 82.5 on Diamond G Rodeo’s Cool Hand Luke. 2, Tyler Nelson, Victor, Texas, 79.5. 3, Win Ratliff, Leesville, La., 77. 4, George Gillespie Jr., Cut Bank, Mont., 76. 5, Cody Kiser, Carson City, 63.
Steer wrestling: 1, Cody Pratt, Pueblo, Colo., 4.9 seconds. 2, John Franzen, Riverton, Wyo., 5.0. 3, Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta 5.1 seconds. 4, Cody Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta, 5.2. 5, Morgan Grant, Didsbury, Alberta, 6.6.
Team roping: 1, Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif., and Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif., 5.5 seconds. 2, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 5.7. 3, Levi Simpson, Ponoka, Alberta and Jeremy Buhler, Abbotsford, Alberta, 11.6. 4, Trevor Merrill, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Jake Freeland, Springville, Utah 11.6.
Saddle bronc: 1, Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 81.5 points on Diamond G’s Karat Cowboy. 2, Charlie Kogianes, Provo, Utah, 80. 3, Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., 76. 4, Audy Reed, Spearman, Texas 75. 5, Brady Nicholes, Hoytsville, Utah, 74.5.
Tie-down roping: 2, Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 8.2 seconds. 2, Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, 8.8. 3, Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 9.4. 4, Clint Arave, Blackfoot, Idaho, 11.6. 5, Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 13.5.
Barrel racing: 1, Kris Gadbois, Escondido, Calif., 17.04. 2, Jane Melby, Burneyvile, Okla., 17.13. 3, Julie Martin, Paso Robles, Calif., 17.36. 4, Sydni Blanchard, Albuquerque, N.M., 17.56. 5, Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah, 17.67.
Bull riding: 1, Sage Steele Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 81.5 points. 2, Trevor Reist, Linden, Iowa, 80; no other qualified rides.