HERMISTON — Unlike some cowboys, Montana bronc rider Chase Brooks didn’t bother to check in to see which horse he drew at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo on Saturday prior to making the trip in to Hermiston.
When Brooks did show up and saw he would ride Yesterdays Delivery from the Calgary Stampede pen, he didn’t have any first-hand knowledge of the horse. However, Brooks quickly gathered info from his fellow riders that had seen it perform that it was a “crazy good” horse, which got Brooks pumped up.
When it was finally Brooks’ turn to ride, Yesterdays Delivery leaped out of the chute and made a hard right turn towards the west end of the arena, bucking hard and doing everything it could to get Brooks off of its back. But Brooks hung on for an exceptional ride and was rewarded by the judges with 87.5 points that earned him the Farm-City saddle bronc championship.
“That horse bucked like hell,” Brooks said with a big smile, “and she was electric. She kind of surprised me that first jump, she tail whipped me and I was kind of like ‘Oh, I’m going to really have to catch up.’ I had a feeling it was going to be quite a good (score) because I had to bust my butt to stay on her.
“But this is a cool rodeo and I’m glad to stay on one for the first time.”
Brooks’ score was just enough to overtake Kolby Wanchuk (85.5) for the title and earn a $5,330 payout. That check is a huge boost for Brooks, a 24-year-old from Deer Lodge, Montana, in his goal of a National Finals Rodeo berth, as it helped him move up one spot in the RAM World Standings and now has a $10,000 cushion to go with it.
“This gives me a little bit of a cushion, but not enough,” he said. “I just gotta keep busting my butt and keep going and hopefully the end of the season plays out right. But it’s been a damn good year and I can’t complain no matter what.”
On Saturday night at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, traveling partners and bull riders Jordan Spears and Chase Dougherty not only shared a ride into Hermiston, but the duo shared the same score as well as a victory lap around the arena after both bull riders scored 83.5-point rides to win the performance and secure fourth place finishes in the rodeo.
“To split the high score of the night with my travel partner Chase is cool,” Spears said. “We both had great bulls and we did our job, they didn’t perform to their ability quite like they can, but we both placed at the rodeo and it’s great to split with my partner.”
Spears rode Scared Famous from Corey and Lange, managing a few big leaps and some quick bucks for his score, though he said the bull “just didn’t have the trip that he usually has.” Spears, who lives in Terrebonne, Oregon, was very familiar with Scared Famous, as he rode the bull for 86 points last year and Dougherty just rode it for 87.5 points to win the California Rodeo Salinas on July 22.
Dougherty, a western Oregon native from Canby, rode Corey and Lange’s Tequila, which was a bull he was looking forward to riding.
“It’s a bull I’ve always wanted to get on,” he said. “I’ve seen him a lot, a good rodeo bull that bucks really cool around to the left, up and down, my kind of bull.”
Both riders leave with $1,548 each in their pockets with the fourth place finishes, which will help their cause for NFR berths as Dougherty is now ninth in the world and Spears is 18th.
Wyatt Covington earned the bull riding title and a $5,161 payout with his 86.5 points from Friday and Walla Walla’s Derek Kolbaba finished third.
The 2018 season has not gone the way Steven Peebles would have liked, as the Redmond bareback rider came to Hermiston on Saturday 25th in the world standings more than $26,000 away from the final qualifying spot to the NFR. Though Peebles is a likely longshot to make the NFR with the season starting to wind down, he did get a boost on Saturday as he scored an 87-point ride to finish tied for second with Steven Dent at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo.
“I’ve needed a big hit like this,” Peebles said after his ride, “so to come out here and do this was pretty awesome.”
Peebles rode Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll for his second-place score, which earned him a $3,657 payout and moved him up one spot in the standings to 24th.
“This pays pretty good, but there’s still a lot of rodeo left and still a lot of climbing to do,” Peebles said.
Orin Larsen’s 88.5 points from Friday’s performance was enough to win the championship and a $5,485 payout.
Tuf Cooper certainly lived up to his name at Farm-City on Saturday night.
The night’s tie-down roping event was slow to start, with most competitors either receiving no-time or clocking in the double digits. It wasn’t until the Decatur, Texas cowboy took to the arena when the crowd got what they came for.
Cooper tied his calf in just 8.3 seconds, which tied him with Ty Baker for the top time in the round and earned him $1,699.
As Cooper, 29, made his victory lap around the arena, announcer Randy Corley noted his “million-dollar smile,” and Cooper charmed the Hermiston crowd even further when he proclaimed that Farm-City is his favorite rodeo in the Northwest. This was his tenth year at Farm-City.
“This is one of the bigger and better rodeos that I’ve been to,” he said. “It’s great to show up again at the same rodeo under the same great conditions.”
Cimarron Boardman took the title in the average with a time of 17.8 seconds on two head.
For Erich Rogers of Round Rock, Arizona, and Clint Summers of Lake City, Florida, their first time rodeoing at Farm-City was a success.
Saturday night’s team roping competition was tight, with Rogers and Summers clocking in at 4.3 seconds, edging out Brady and Riley Minor of Ellensburg, Washington — the No. 8 and 9 contenders in the world standings — by just 0.1 seconds.
“This is the first year we’ve been roping together,” Summmers said. “This is an awesome rodeo — it pays great, and to get support like this is just amazing.”
However, the big winners overall were Lane Ivy and Blaine Vick of Dublin, Texas, who were crowned the Farm-City team roping champions. The team clocked in at 4.4 seconds in afternoon slack to finish tied for first in the first round, and their 4.7 seconds in the main event was enough for third place. Their time of 9.1 seconds on two head put them first in the average and allowed both to leave town with $6, 318.
West Point, Mississippi’s Will Lummus earned the top time of the night with a 4.0-second run to earn the $100 nightly bonus and bottle of Chute 8 whiskey.
However, the run only netted Lummus — currently ranked No. 5 in the world — a $623 payout because of the even faster times set earlier in the week.
Heppner’s Blake Knowles hung on to win the steer wrestling title with his time of 7.4 seconds on two head and he leaves town $5,101 richer. It was a big boost for Knowles, as he moved up three spots to 10th place in the world standings as he tries to qualify for his fourth NFR and first since 2015.
Jessi Fish and her 10-year-old horse named Showoff put together a really good run in the barrel racing performance on Saturday, completing the course in 17.10 seconds.
But even though the time netted her the top time of the night, it was only good enough for a third place finish in the overall standings. Jennifer Barrett put together a 16.83-second run in afternoon slack to win the title and a $4,213 payout, knocking off Jessie Telford and her 16.89-second time from Wednesday.
After dazzling the crowd on Thursday with top rides in both bareback and saddle bronc, Steven Dent’s performances held up through the rest of the week and earned him the coveted Farm-City All-Around title and trophy saddle.
Dent, from Mullen, Nebraska, finished tied for second in bareback and tied for third in saddle bronc, earning him a combined $6,144. It’s the fourth all-around title for Dent this season, joining the Lexington (Kentucky) Rodeo, Roughrider Days Rodeo (Dickinson, North Dakota) and Kit Carson County Fair and Rodeo (Burlington, Colorado).