By Johna Cravens/for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
FORT WORTH, Texas – Aaron Pass watched on the big screen TV in the contestants’ hospitality room at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Jan. 22 as the final round of competition began during Bulls’ Night Out, presented by PlainsCapital Bank.
The 24-year old Dallas bull rider, who is off to the most successful season of his career in 2014, had more than a passing interest in the outcome. On Jan. 21 he had scored a total of 175 points on two rides to take the lead in the Xtreme Bulls Division 2 event.
But Pass knew the competition was tough and that his lead was not secure.
J.W. Harris of Mullin, Texas, showed the championship form that earned him his fourth bull riding world championship, when he turned in the highest score of the 42 riders in Wednesday’s opening round – 87 points on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Sandi’s Dream.
Ten cowboys, who had all scored more than 81 points, had the opportunity to ride a second bull in the progressive short round. Pass watched as eight of the ten bucked off before the required eight seconds. Former world champion Cody Teel scored 85 points, leaving Pass still clinging to first place, then Harris was the final rider.
Harris started a great ride on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Crack the Whip, but was clinging to the bull’s side as the eight seconds ended. When announcer Bob Tallman reported Harris had scored 88 points, Pass looked up and said simply, “We tied.”
Both cowboys had scored a total of 175 points on two bulls, tying for the Bulls’ Night Out championship. They each earned $4,110 for their total scores, but Pass edged Harris in total winnings by $31.
Pass earned $2,047 for his 89-point, first-place ride in the short round, plus $558 for tying for fifth and sixth place in the opening round. Meanwhile, Harris earned $1,023 for fourth in the opening round and $1,551 for second place in the short round.
Harris acknowledged that he got in a bit of trouble at the end of his second ride.
“I’ve learned you have to stay on. It doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or ugly,” he said.
The $4,600 difference in his winnings that he earned by staying on made the ride much prettier.