CASPER, WYO. - If Blue Mountain Community College freshman R.C. Landingham is able to win national title in bareback riding at the College National Finals Rodeo today, it will have to come at the sake of two very close friends.
Landingham is second going into tonight's short go in Casper, Wyo., and needs to pick up just half a point on Feather River College's Danny Webb.
The two have know each other since Landingham first began competing in high school rodeo in California.
Tied with Landingham in second place is Walla Walla Community College's Steven Peebles, who has known Webb his entire life and Landingham since he moved to Oregon.
"It's really awesome. There's a lot of guys here and they're riding really good and it's kind of cool that we're all sitting up here as a clan fighting for it,"?said Peebles, who is 30th in the PRCA?bareback standings.
"It's going to be tough, it ain't going to be no walk in the park for dang sure,"?said Webb, a sophomore at FCC. "If Steven or R.C.?wins I'm going to be happier than heck. We're all friends and we're all going to be friends afterward. That's the cool think about rodeo is you compete against all these guys but you can be friends too. All of us grew up together rodeoing together and it's even cooler now that we're all three within half a point of each other."
Webb claimed the lead with a 77.5 in the third round Friday to lead with 233 points. He started the week with an 81, but Peebles won Round 2 wiuth an 82 to take the points lead headed into Friday.
Landingham started his week with a 75.5 but scored a 79 in Round 2 and then won Round 3 with a 78. The three are five and a half points ahead of the third place rider so barring any failed attempts in the finals should only have to worry about each other.
"I?never thought that it would be us three in the top three so far ahead of everybody else,"?Landingham said.
"We'll definitely be rooting for each other,"?Peebles said.
While the rider's in the short go are the best of the best, so are the stock and the three said they expect some high scores in the finals.
"I imagine with the horses that will be in the short round there should more than three or four 80 point rides,"?Landingham said.
"There's a few horses out there all of us were really wanting and Steven got one of them,"?Webb said.
Peebles drew Hypnotic from CNFR?contractor Harry Vold Rodeo Company. Hypnotic was the horse that won the short round at last year's CNFR.
Webb also was happy with his draw - Pilot Point, which went to the PRCA's National Finals Rodeo two years ago.
Landingham drew Vold's Billy the Kid, which Bryan Jones covered for 82 points to win the first round.
Landingham also was entered in bull riding but failed to record a score in any round.
"It's all mental stuff. It's just my head wasn't in the bull riding this week,"?he said. "Now I'm just going to forget about that and focus on the bareback."
Peebles said he and travelling partner Wes Stevenson, of Lubbock, Texas, plan to hit the road hard in the upcoming weeks as they try to make the NFR in December. Stevenson is 10th in the world in bareback.
While Peebles is the only one of the three with his tour card, Ladingham and Webb don't anticipate much longer wait for theirs.
Webb said he expects to see the three battling for a PRCA?title one day too.
"Hopefully next year,"?he said.
The final round at the CNFR?will start at 7 p.m. (MST).