RENO, Nev. (June 14, 2012) – Polyester Wranglers, piped shirts and silk ties were everywhere at the Reno-Tahoe Xtreme Bulls Thursday night, as part of the apparel company’s Retro Night in front of a packed house of 7,000 fans.
But the most “retro” thing about the event was the way Oklahoma bull rider Trevor Kastner jumped out to split the first round – only to watch three-time world champion J.W. Harris dominate on his second bull.
The Reno-Tahoe Xtreme Bulls offered a $50,000 purse – up from $40,000 last year – and fielded the top 40 bull riders in the world. It was the fifth stop on the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls Tour, which has three remaining events including its Tour Finale in Ellensburg, Wash., on Sept. 1.
“Here at Reno, you’ve got to ride both bulls,” said the Mullin, Texas cowboy, who earned $11,864 for his efforts. “You’ve got to have the intestinal fortitude to ride the first one and know the second one’s going to buck even harder.”
The last man to ride in the first round, Harris toughed out 80 points on the oldest bull in Reno – Flying Five’s 12-year-old bull Little Joe Hopper. Then in the finals, he drew one of the highest-scoring bulls in rodeo – Flying U/Rosser Rodeo’s Bring It – to put an event-high 92.5 points on the board and claim his second straight and third overall Reno Xtreme Bulls title.
“If I didn’t love Texas so much, I’d move here,” cracked Harris, who is only two weeks into a comeback from a February knee surgery.
“I got on two practice bulls before my first rodeo back, and it went terrible,” he said. “I fell off like I ain’t ever been on one in my life. It was two bulls that have been at my house for years, that I raised!”
But now Harris is having the comeback of his life, drawing good bulls and inching into contention for a fourth world title.
“I’ve won this event three times and the Reno Rodeo once,” he said. “I’m up here on the 21st, and I’d like to sweep Reno this year.”
Thursday night’s Xtreme Bulls kicked off the 93rd Reno Rodeo, a 10-day event sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association during which nearly 700 contestants will compete for shares of $550,000. Performances run June 15-23 and are expected to draw 140,000 fans.
The “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West” also features 100 of the best team ropers in the world competing at the $800,000 Bob Feist Invitational team roping on June 18. More than $2 million in prize money is up this week, along with activities including a parade, cattle drive, horse auction and several other Western competitions.
Following are unofficial results from the Reno-Tahoe Xtreme Bulls on Thursday, June 14, 2012.
First Round: 1/2 (tie), Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla., 83.5 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Wolf Hound and Beau Schroeder, China, Texas, 83.5 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Olomana Rock, $3,755 each. 3, Sunshine Swartz, Anoka, Minn., 82, $2,409. 4, J.W. Harris Mullin, Texas, 80, $1,559. 5, Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo., 79, $992. 6, Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, 68, $709. 7, Tony Mendes, Fruita, Colo., 38, $567.
Championship Round: 1, J.W. Harris Mullin, Texas, 92.5 points on Flying U/Rosser Rodeo Company’s Bring It, $3,118. 2, Tony Mendes, Fruita, Colo., $2,362. 3, Sunshine Swartz, Anoka, Minn., 80, $1,700.
Average on two: 1, J.W. Harris Mullin, Texas, 172.5 points on two bulls, $7,187. 2, Sunshine Swartz, Anoka, Minn., 162, $5,432. 3, Tony Mendes, Fruita, Colo., 125, $4,015. 4/5 (tie), Beau Schroeder, China, Texas, and Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla., 83.5 points each on one bull, $2,126 each. 6, Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo., 79, $1,181. 7, Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, 68, $945.