PENDLETON — It was a high scoring affair for the bull riders in the Round-Up finals. All of the riders who stayed on their bull for the full eight seconds received scores above 82, and three of those were a 86.5 — the best score of the day.
Back-to-back rides from Dakota Louis and Ty Wallace were the first two to get the Saturday high score from the judges, but after each entered with an 81 and 81.5 average, respectively, they were by no means comfortably in the lead.
The final rider to score an 86.5 was Challis, Idaho, native Ruger Piva and it was just enough to bump him up the leader board and earn him the 2017 Round-Up Bull Riding Championship.
The keys to Piva’s success were simple.
“It’s a lot of luck I would say more than anything,” he said after the 169 point win. “I got a little nervous when I saw the bull I drew today, it sure worked out for me.”
Although Piva has lived and mostly competed in the northwest, it was his first trip to Pendleton. He was competing with favorites like hometown boy Cody Ford of Hermiston and Joe Frost of Randlett, Utah. So when it was his turn to climb atop Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ Perculator, there were one of two outcomes. The first, was to stay calm and trust his instincts and the other was to get too excited and risk messing up. Piva is glad he didn’t do the latter.
Now, all Piva has to worry about is how he’ll fit all of his prizes into his small car.
Piva earned a payout of $4,975 and will also leave with a plethora of prizes.
Contact Alexis at email@example.com or 541-564-4542. Follow her on Twitter @almansanarez.
Bull riding: First round: 1. Joe Frost, 84.5 points on Korkow Rodeos’ Fire Dog, $4,975; 2. Steve Woolsey, 84, $3,814; 3. (tie) Ruger Piva, Nic Lica, Chase Robbins, Riley Blankenship and Elliot Jacoby, 82.5, $1,459 each; 8. Ty Wallace, 81.5, $497. Finals: 1. (tie) Ruger Piva, on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ Perculator, Ty Wallace, on Burch Rodeo’s Scarface, and Dakota Louis, on Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Mish Mash, 86.5 points, $1,267 each; 4. Steve Woolsey, 84, $600; 5. Chase Robbins, 83, $350; 6. Cody Ford, 82, $250. Average: 1. Ruger Piva, 169 points on two head, $4,975; 2. (tie) Steve Woolsey and Ty Wallace, 168, $3,316 each; 4. Dakota Louis, 167.5, $1,824; 5. Chase Robbins, 165.5, $1,161; 6. Cody Ford, 162, $829; 7. Joe Frost, 84.5 on one head, $663; 8. (tie) Elliot Jacoby, Nic Lica and Riley Blankenship, 82.5, $166 each.