RENO, Nev. --- The Wrangler NFR has nothing on the first performance of saddle bronc riding at the 90th Reno Rodeo.
Phenomenal rides by five of the best bronc riders in the world – and spectacular buckoffs by five others – were predictably topped toward the end of the event by the legendary 46-year-old Billy Etbauer on Big Bend Rodeo’s young Devil Lady. The five-time world champion scored 89 points on the mare that had bucked him off at the 2008 Wrangler NFR.
Defending world champion barrel racer Lindsay Sears of Canada is out to sweep both rounds of her event. Sears, who went to the lead in the first round this afternoon, turned around to clock a smoking 16.96-second run tonight on the regulation pattern in Reno to go to the lead in that round, too, also by more than two-tenths of a second.
Another likely lock on first place in the round might belong to world champion bull rider J.W. Harris, who made up for his no-score in last night’s Xtreme Bulls by combining with Big Bend’s Major Shock for a whopping 91 points in the rodeo’s first round.
In team roping, Texans Travis Tryan and Michael Jones continued a streak they started in Oregon this month by going to the lead in the first round and in the average of their event. Their 4.9-second run in slack was combined with a 6.9 tonight in the second round on a stronger steer that crowded them into the left fence. But their 11.8 seconds on two gives them a good chance to make next Saturday’s finals.
In the bareback riding, Big Bend Rodeo’s phenomenal 16-year-old bucking mare, Spring Fling, combined with a kid just a few years older for 82 points to give Utah’s Ethan McNeill an early lead in the first round. Spring Fling is a three-time Bronc of the Year in two events. She went unridden at the 2001 Wrangler NFR and, still going strong, packed Bobby Mote to an NFR-record 91.5 points at last year’s NFR.
Steer wrestlers Rhett Kennedy and Jake Hannum were going for go-round money and look to have secured it with tough runs of 3.8 and 3.9, respectively, in the second round of their event, while homestate tie-down roper Jason Vohs, with his runs of 9.7 and 9.3 today, took a commanding lead of the average in his event.
Bareback Riding: 1, Ethan McNeill (Grantsville, UT), 82 on Spring Fling; 2, Ben Londo (Pendleton, OR), 78; 3/4, Randy VandenBos (Valier, MT) and Dustin Mulrony (Pomeroy, WA), 73; 5, Jessy Davis (Payson, UT), 72, 6, James Sursa (Bluebell, UT), 70.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Rhett Kennedy (Chowchilla, CA), 3.8; 2, Jake Hannum (Ogden, UT), 3.9; 3, Casey McMillen (Craig, CO), 4.7; 4, Luke Branquinho (Los Alamos, CA), 5.2; 5, Ethan Thouvenell (Menifee, CA), 6.1; 6, Gabe Ledoux (Kaplan, LA), 15.0; 6, Sean Mulligan (Coleman, OK), 15.7; 7, Billy Bugenig (Ferndale, CA), 24.5. First Round Leaders: 1/2/3, Brad Johnson, Joey Bell Jr., and Jason Reiss, 4.7 seconds each. 4, Jule Hazen, 4.8. 5, Sean Mulligan, 4.9. Second Round Leaders: 1/2, Rhett Kennedy and Wade Sumpter, 3.8 seconds; 3, Jake Hannum, 3.9; 4, Jake Rinehart, 4.2; 5, Joey Bell Jr., 4.4; 6, Casey McMillen, 4.7. Average Leaders: 1, Joey Bell Jr., 9.1 seconds on two; 2, Jason Reiss, 10.4; 3, Brad Johnson, 11.3; 4, Blake Brown, 11.8; 5, Ken Lewis, 12.3.
Team roping: 1, Cody McMinn (Caddo Mills, TX) and Joe Day (Howe, TX), 5.8; 2, Wade Wheatley (Hughson, CA) and Cody Cowden (Merced, CA), 6.4; 3, Travis Tryan (Billings, MT) and Michael Jones (Stephenville, TX), 6.9; 4, Charly Crawford (Prineville, OR) and Russell Cardoza (Farmington, CA), 11.1; 5, Nick Sartain (Yukon, OK) and Kollin Von Ahn (Durant, OK), 14.5; 6, Chase Wiley (Charlotte, TX) and Ricky Joe Lee (Charlotte, TX), 16.5. First-Round Leaders: 1, Travis Tryan and Michael Jones, 4.9 seconds; 2, Charly Crawford and Russell Cardoza, 5.8; 3, Wade Wheatley and Cody Cowden, 6.1; 4, Quincy Kueckelhan and Bobby Baize, 6.5; 5, Jon Stafford and Patrick Woodcock, 7.6. Second-Round Leaders: 1, Cody McMinn and Joe Day, 5.8; 2, Kaleb Driggers and Brad Culpepper, 5.9 seconds; 3, Dustin Bird and Caleb Twisselman, 6.2; 4, Wade Wheatley and Cody Cowden, 6.4; 5, Travis Tryan and Michael Jones, 6.9; 6, Stafford and Patrick Woodcock, 7.6. Average Leaders: 1, Travis Tryan and Michael Jones, 11.8 seconds on two; 2, Wade Wheatley and Cody Cowden, 12.5; 3, Kaleb Driggers and Brad Culpepper, 13.2 seconds on two; 4, Cody McMinn and Joe Day, 14.0; 5, Jon Stafford and Patrick Woodcock, 15.2.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Billy Etbauer (Edmond, OK), 89 points on Big Bend Rodeo’s Devil Lady; 2, Justin Arnold (Santa Margarita, CA), 88; 3, Wes Burns (Stephenville, TX), 85; 4/5, Levi Berry (Morgan, UT) and Cody Wright (Milford, UT), 81; 6, Bradley Harter (Weatherford, TX), 80.
Tie Down Roping: 1, Trevor Thiel (Greeley, CO), 8.6; 2, Jason Vohs (Las Vegas, NV), 9.3; 3, Jake Hannum (Ogden, UT), 10.8; 4, Brady Brock (Justin, TX), 11.2; 5, Seth Hopper (Stanfield, OR), 15.5; 6, Michael Otero (Foley, AL), 17.7. First Round Leaders: 1, Adam Gray, 9.5 seconds; 2, Jason Vohs, 9.7; 3, Mike Arnold, 9.8; 4, Jake Hannum, 10.4; 5, Jack Vanderlans, 10.5. Second-Round Leaders: 1, Trevor Thiel, 8.6; 2, Casey Wilson, 8.9 seconds; 3, Jason Vohs, 9.3; 4, Fred Whitfield, 9.5; 5, Paul Cope, 9.9; 6, Ricky Canton, 10.0. Average Leaders: 1, Jason Vohs, 19.0 seconds on two; 2, Ricky Canton, 20.7; 3, Jake Hannum, 21.2; 4, Mike Arnold, 21.3; 5, Clint Cooper, 24.1.
Barrel Racing: 1, Lindsay Sears (Nanton, Alberta), 16.96 seconds; 2, Kelli Tolbert (Hinckley, UT), 17.27; 3, Layne Kight (Summerfield, FL), 17.44; 4, Danyelle Campbell (Beaumont, CA), 17.48; 5, Angela Gilliam (Pelahatchie, MS), 17.54; 6, Megan McLeod (Star, ID), 17.64. Average Leaders: 1, Lindsay Sears, 34.03 seconds on two; 2, Kelli Tolbert, 34.75; 3, Danyelle Campbell, 34.93; 4, Megan McLeod, 35.00.
Bull Riding: 1, J.W. Harris (May, TX), 91 points on Big Bend Rodeo’s Major Shock; 2, Ted Bert (Modesto, CA), 78; 3, Nathan Klassen (Broken Arrow, OK), 72.