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Jesse Wright on Top After Two Nights in Reno

by Jim Bainbridge | Jun 21, 2014

RENO, Nev. – Jesse Wright couldn’t have celebrated a much happier birthday than he did June 21, when he turned 25 and put on a spectacular show for a packed house at the 95th Reno Rodeo.

Wright, the 2011 Wrangler NFR average champion and 2012 world champion in saddle bronc riding, scored 85 points on Flying U Rodeo Company’s Call Me to take the lead in both the second round and overall in his event in Reno.

Jesse competed alongside his twin brother, Jake, as well as two other brothers and a nephew. Wright was uncharacteristically ranked outside the top 20 in the PRCA world standings this week, and needs a win in Reno to climb into contention for a fifth straight Wrangler NFR qualification.

In bareback riding, 22-year-old upstart Austin Foss of Terrebonne, Ore., took the overall lead with 166 points on two head. Foss qualified for his first NFR last year and is ranked third in the current PRCA bareback riding world standings with a whopping $58,975 – almost equal to his total through the entire 2013 regular season ($77,936).

Idaho tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa, currently ranked fifth in the world standings in his event, stirred the crowd with a smoking 7.6-second run to take the lead in the second round by almost a full second. A barrier penalty earlier on his first run takes him out of the running for an overall title at Reno.

In barrel racing, top-five ranked Carlee Pierce of Texas blazed around the cloverleaf pattern in 17.05 seconds and will secure a big paycheck in the second round. A penalty she took earlier on her first run kept her from taking the overall lead by a half-second. Nancy Hunter of Utah holds the overall lead.

Reno Rodeo contestants compete in two preliminary rounds with the top 12 in each event coming back for the June 28 short round. The $2.1 million, 10-day rodeo boasts almost 700 contestants and roughly 140,000 fans, and is a Gold stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour.

The third performance begins at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Courtesy of PRCA