HERMISTON — Taylor Broussard has been competing in the PRCA for eight years, but it hasn’t been until recently that he’s had much luck.
The Louisiana cowboy, who sits 14th in the world standings, turned in a score of 83 on Wednesday night in the bareback riding to open the Farm-City Pro Rodeo.
His ride came on the back of Xplosive Skies.
“I have seen him before and he’s a bucker,” Broussard said. “He’s one you want to draw every time.”
Broussard, who is bucking for his first trip to the NFR, has about a $5,000 lead over the man in 15th place.
“I need to keep riding good and win a little here,” he said. “Heck, a big paycheck would be nice. Every penny counts.”
Brossard’s rodeo career got off to a slow start. He got hurt his rookie year and had to have elbow surgery and missed eight months. Once that healed, he broke his wrist and was out a few more months.
“Praise the Lord, this has been my year, so far,” he said. “This is the furthest I have ever been in trying to make the NFR.”
The little black calf never stood a chance against Matt Shiozawa.
The Idaho cowboy made quick work of the calf, turning in a time of 7.5 second to post the hot run of the night.
“This rodeo is a roller coaster,” Shiozawa said. “I didn’t perform very well earlier today (in the first round), but to come back and win a go-round is still good.”
Shiozawa is 30th in the standings, but just $16,000 out of 15th place. He is looking for his 12 trip to the NFR.
“We are still in the third quarter,” he said. “There are a lot of big rodeos still coming up. It just takes a few good hits to get back in the mix.”
Rhen Richard and Clint Robinson each had 8.1-second runs to finish tied for second on the night.
It was a tough night for the ropers, with three teams recording scores.
Billy Bob Brown and Evan Arnold combined for a run of 4.5 seconds to win the go-round.
The duo, which has been roping together since May, had a no time on their first run, but were happy with their second.
“We have struggled, but it’s there,” Brown said.
The team split the $500 bonus for the event.
“We are very thankful for that,” Arnold said.
They save the best for last, and Wednesday night, it was the bulls who left the arena with their heads held high.
Of the nine men who paid their fee to ride, not one posted a score.
Walls Walla’s Derek Kolbaba was the last man up, but Chicago Gangster only allowed Kolbaba about 4 second before he tossed him to the ground.
Wednesday night’s steer wrestling victory was clinched by just 0.1 seconds, and a local cowboy was able to take home the honors.
Stanfield’s own Travis Taruscio turned in a 4.5-second time to earn first place, beating out Benton, Arkansas cowboy Jason Thomas (4.6) and Cody Cabral of Hilo, Hawaii (4.8).
“I drew a really good steer,” Taruscio said. “I should have made a better run, but hopefully, my time holds up through the rest of the week.”
Wednesday’s competition was full of hits and misses — the night opened with Belgrade, Montana’s Josh Clark receiving a 10-second penalty for breaking the barrier. Four other riders, including two from Touchet, Washington, received no time for failing to bring down their steer.
But Taruscio beat the odds and tackled his steer just a hair faster than his closest competition, even if the run wasn’t perfect in his own eyes.
“I was able to get a really good start,” he said, “but I would have liked to have gone a little faster.”
Although three more days of steer wrestling still lies ahead, Taruscio can bask in the glory of taking home first place, a $100 cash prize, and a bottle of Chute Eight whiskey in front of his local fans.
“It feels great,” Taruscio said. “I have a bunch of friends and family down here. It feels good to do this well in front of them.”
Taruscio has been in the rodeo game for 19 years, and he said that Wednesday was one of his best showings at Farm-City so far.
“This is definitely one of the better shows in the Northwest,” he said. “It has a nice set up, a nice arena, and a great crowd.”
Saddle bronc riding
Juntura cowboy Martin Joyce held the lead for the majority of Wednesday’s saddle bronc round with his 79.5 score. But Allen Boore, who rode near the end of the night’s bill, beat him out at 80.5 to win the top spot.
The Axtell, Utah cowboy also surpassed former world champion Taos Muncy, who turned in a 79-point ride.
“You gotta be confident in yourself,” Boore said. “You have to know when it’s time to go out there and do your job. The chips will fall into place.”
Like many rodeo cowboys, Boore’s schedule never rests. After Wednesday’s victory, he hit the road to Boise, where he’ll fly out to Minnesota for his next saddle bronc performance.
“It was a slow winter for me,” Boore said, “but this summer’s been good. I’ve got a little making up to do.”
Brittney Barnett’s barrel race at Farm-City was one of many firsts. It was her first time at the Hermiston rodeo, her first Farm-City on her horse Paint, and it saw her take home first prize.
The Joilet, Montana, cowgirl crossed the finish line at 17.01 seconds to claim the top spot, edging out six other racers who all clocked in within 17 seconds.
“I think it’s awesome,” Barnett said of Farm-City. “When I looked at the map (of Hermiston), I thought there was nothing here, but it’s a cool little town.”
While many cowgirls travel with a team to help with the day-to-day, Barnett flies solo. She hitches up a big trailer full of four horses and treks across the country, from rodeo to rodeo.
“It’s so busy,” she said with a wide grin. “I’m excited. I’ve had a great year so far. I’m in the bubble to make the National Finals Rodeo (in Las Vegas). This helps a lot.”