By Susan Kanode/For the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The seventh performance of the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo saw last year’s champion steer wrestler, team ropers, tie-down roper, barrel racer and bull rider all competing to defend their titles.
The most successful was steer wrestler Wyatt Smith, from Rexburg, Idaho, who won the first round of Group 3. He stopped the clock in 4.2 seconds earning $2,281. He still has two more steers to run here and with the round win is in great position to advance to next week’s semifinals.
Smith earned $19,007 here last year which put him on pace to qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Prize money at this year’s rodeo is $1.65 million so champions stand to win even more at the 2015 rodeo.
“San Antonio was crucial for me last year,” Smith said. “Without it, I would have been outside of the top 15 and wouldn’t have qualified for the Finals (WNFR). Plus it gave me a big confidence boost. I set a goal to get into San Antonio … winning it was unreal.”
Tie-down roper Jesse Clark, from Portales, N.M., had the biggest win of his career in the AT&T Center last year, earning more than $17,000. He also was successful here on Feb. 17 finishing in fourth place with a 9.4-second run.
Sage Kimzey won the bull riding championship and the Xtreme Bulls competition in 2014 and went on to win his first world championship. Kimzey had a 76-point ride to finish fourth on Tuesday night.
Last year’s team roping champions Erich Rogers, from Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska, from Marana, Ariz., didn’t have any luck at all Tuesday, so will be working to earn checks in the next two rounds of Group 3 to have any hopes of advancing to the semifinals. Barrel racer Sabrina Ketcham from Yeso, N.M., finds herself in a similar position.
The second round of Group 3 starts on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (CT).
Courtesy of PRCA