Hear TheseTop Performers On Saturday’s Rodeo On The Radio
Roughstock Events – Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Bull Riding:
Few saddle bronc riders are hotter this summer than Chad Ferley. The 33-year-old 2006 world champion from South Dakota will go to his seventh NFR in December. He’d already won the big rodeos in Reno, Nev., and Greeley, Colo., earlier this month before scoring 87 points yesterday to rake in another $4,734 in the first round here. Today, he’s drawn a bronc named Cherry Velvet – and needs an 82 to move into the overall lead. He’s in the top four in the world standings, roughly $20,000 behind leader Cody Wright.
The man with the appropriate name is out again in bareback riding and will try to garner another paycheck to match his $3,669 in round one. Winn Ratliff, the third-year bareback rider from Alabama, is actually named Winn First Ratliff. He was the all-around champion cowboy at the 2011 College National Finals Rodeo, and should qualify for his second straight NFR. He’s currently 12th in the world standings, less than $30,000 behind leader Kaycee Feild. Today Ratliff has drawn Jail House Rock, and needs an 88 for the second-round win or an 83 to take over the overall lead heading into Sunday’s short round. And check out the son of pro rodeo Hall-of-Fame bareback rider Marvin Garrett – 27-year-old Weston Garrett, who is a Wyoming native.
Plus, don’t count out world standings leader Cody Wright. He’ll need an 82 or better to get one more ride at Cheyenne on Sunday. He and his brother Jesse Wright, the reigning world champion each scored 77 points yesterday. They had the high marks out of the four Wright brothers that are competing here.
In bull riding, all eyes will be on 26-year-old Beau Schroeder today, as he tries to duplicate his 86-point effort from yesterday (which was worth $3,973). He has drawn Frontier’s Little Blackie, which is short for Little Black Jacket. The bull has a 62 percent buck-off rate in 2013 and produces an average score of 86 points. Schroeder is just coming off of injured reserve. He was competing at the Fort Mohave (Nev.) Xtreme Bulls when he got stepped on. He suffered two collapsed lungs and a torn trachea. Justin Sports medicine team was able to put him back together but he has had a long road to recovery. Parker Breding scored 85 points on Little Blackie earlier this month in Cody, Wyo. Schroeder would like to make his second straight NFR and defend his 2012 NFR average championship.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Steer Roping, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing:
Nobody was more emotional yesterday than Dru Melvin of Nebraska, who turfed his steer just eight-tenths of a second off the 13-year-old arena record of 5.1 seconds to earn $6,619. Melvin is trying to qualify for his first NFR in seven years – and his second ever – despite tragically losing his good horse Moonshine in a freak steer wrestling accident in January. He and his wife are expecting their first baby a month from now. This week in Cheyenne, Melvin is riding Bray Armes’ horse, Sambo, with Sean Mulligan doing the hazing. Together, Armes and Melvin earned $10,648 on the horse in the first round.
Four-time NFR steer wrestler Matt Reeves is the other cowboy out today with great chance to take over the overall lead. Reeves needs an 8.3 to unseat Clayton Hass as the leader heading into Sunday’s short round, while Melvin can take the lead with a short nine-second run.
Two-time world champion Scott Snedecor is hungry to get back to the NFR after 11 straight qualifications. He currently is ranked seventh in the steer roping world standings. A solid run of about 18 seconds today will land him in the middle of the pack tomorrow in the finals where he could earn up to $12,000.
The only team with a chance today to make Sunday’s short round is Landon McClaugherty and J.W. Borrego, who need to rope in under 7.3 seconds. Otherwise, all the teams out today are gunning to beat that 7.8-second time that’s winning the second round. The two greatest heelers in the business suffered some bad luck yesterday – Clay O’Brien Cooper roped a leg when his steer crowded the fence, and Rich Skelton’s steer made an unorthodox circle before he and former world champ Nick Sartain had a chance to rope. Those two teams should look sharp today, going for broke.
In tie-down roping, watch for 21-year-old sensation Riley Pruitt to capitalize on his 9.9-second run from yesterday, with which he earned $7,645. Pruitt’s dad, 1990 world champion tie-down roper Troy Pruitt, will get a good view of his boy’s performance – he’s Cheyenne’s timed-event Chute Boss. Riley, who went to college at EWC in Torrington, is less than $7,000 out of the top 15 on a quest for his first NFR qualification. He can earn that with a run of 11 seconds or better today.
In barrel racing, the top money-earners from the first round are out today including Nikki Steffes, who was second in the first round, and Paige Conrado, who was fourth. In addition to 70-year-old former NFR cowgirl June Holeman, who runs first, pay attention to the run of defending world champion Mary Walker, who made even the bull riders cry last year when she accepted her buckle for winning Cheyenne in 2012.