PENDLETON — There will be a new bull riding champion this year at the Pendleton Round-Up.
Two-time defending champion Sage Kimzey (Strong City, Oklahoma) competed in Thursday’s performance, trying to start his road to a third straight Round-Up title. However, Kimzey drew an average bull in VooDoo Too from Sankey Rodeo which failed to produce any speed with big spins, bucks or twists that help riders earn good scores. The ride produced a mediocre 72.5 point score for Kimzey, placing him outside of the top 12 cutoff line to make the short round.
Kimzey tried pleading with the PRCA pro judges for a re-ride option, but he was unsuccessful. Afterwards, the look of disappointment on Kimzey’s face was clear. He said he had been looking forward to this Round-Up as soon as he hopped off the horse from his victory lap in 2016.
“It’s never fun to lose, but not making the short go here at Pendleton, it just hurts that much more because this place is so special,” Kimzey said. “It’s a bitter taste, but it is what it is. I thought I should have got a re-ride and the judges didn’t see it that way, so I understand. It’s just one of those kind of deals.”
But instead of hanging his head too much, Kimzey did find a positive out of his Round-Up week ending early.
“Headed home for a couple of days now,” he said. “It’ll be the first time I’ve seen home since the middle of June, so I’m pretty excited about that.”
While Kimzey faltered in bull riding Thursday, it was Randlett, Utah, cowboy Joe Frost that rode into the spotlight. Frost, currently sixth in the world standings, rode Four Star Rodeo’s Hot Rod for 84.5 points to jump into the top spot for the long round.
“It felt really good,” Frost said of his ride. “To be leading and leaving here knowing I’m going to make the short round and come back and get a chance to ride for some more points is great. It’d mean a lot to win this rodeo, it’s one I’ve always wanted to win.”
Frost came to Pendleton from the New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo in Albuquerque where he earned 84 points. He will now drive down to the Dixie Roundup Rodeo in St. George, Utah, on Friday before making it back for Saturday’s short round. He last made the short round at the Round-Up in 2013.
“Unless they get extremely carried away tomorrow I’m going to be able to make it back,” Frost joked, “and that’s exciting.”
Behind Frost on Thursday, the bull riders put on a fun show for the crowd. The trio of Ruger Piva (Challis, Idaho), Chase Robbins (Marsing, Idaho) and Riley Blankenship (Kildeer, North Dakota) all scored 82.5 points to go into a tie for third place and Ty Wallace (Collbran, Colorado) scored 81.5 points to jump into the money.
But as good of a day as the bull riders had, the bareback and bronc riders left the fans wanting more. Just one bronc rider scored at least an 80 point ride, and that was Heath DeMoss (Heflin, Louisiana) with 80 points on Sankey’s Sacred Mountain. Other than that, 10 riders combined for an average score of 74.25 and there were nine buck-offs.
“There was some bucking ponies, no doubt about it,” DeMoss said. “It’s all about the match ups and who has what, who’s style fits what horse.”
DeMoss had one of the good match ups, as Sacred Mountain was a horse he was eyeballing for awhile on the circuit.
“She was pretty quick coming around there,” DeMoss said of the ride. “I’ve been messing with a groin (injury) lately so to keep up was a heck of a feat for me.”
He was happy with his ride and also happy that he came out on top of his older brother, Cody, who finished with 77 points, saying “of of course, I like (Cody) but I love me.”
Bareback riders had nearly as much trouble, with just two riders going over 80 points and the rest of the 12 qualified rides pulling an average score of 74.71. Orin Larsen took the top ride of the day with 82.5 points on Brookman Rodeo’s Lunatic Clown, putting him in third place for the long round.
“It’s a great privilege to be a part of Pendleton and to hopefully make it back to the short round is a dream come true,” Larsen said. “I hope I can capitalize on Saturday.”
In the timed events, it was another frustrating day for the cowboys as the stock did not cooperate enough to allow many qualified runs on Thursday.
Just 3 of 11 bulldoggers, 3 of 10 calf ropers, 3 of 10 steer ropers and 7 of 11 team ropers turned in times, instead watching the stock make hard turns and other unusual actions once they hit the grass infield running —or in bulldogger Coltin Hill’s case — miss the steer and then have the animal run over you.
Pendleton’s own Tom Sorey was one of the steer ropers that had fits on Thursday. He was one of the few that actually got the rope around his steers’ horns but after getting yanked to the ground Sorey’s trip rope didn’t stay down and his steer got up.
“I drew what I thought was a pretty good steer,” Sorey said. “He came off to the left pretty hard, had him roped real good — he just kind of darted away from me just as everything come tight.”
Two of the three steer ropers that did qualify were Heppner’s Jason Stewart and Quay Howard (Canyon, Texas) who both put up 13.1 seconds on back-to-back turns. Their times jumped them both into a tie for second place in the second round.
In calf roping, Hermiston’s Brad Goodrich was the 10th-and-final roper to go and turned in the fastest time of 10.7 seconds to move into sixth place in the second round. Jared Parke (Gooding, Idaho), a former Blue Mountain Community College rodeo team member, had the second-fastest time of the day at 12.6 seconds.
Team roping saw two fast times Thursday with Blake Teixira (Tres Pinos, California) and Monty Joe Petska (Turlock, California) roping in 5.5 seconds and Jake Stanley (Hermiston) and Brent Falon (Yakima, Washington) roping in 5.8 seconds. The times put the teams into second and sixth place for the second round respectively, while Stanley and Falon moved into first place in the average with 13.7 seconds on two head.
Miles Switzer nearly turned in the second-fastest time of the week in steer wrestling as he jumped off his horse and flipped the steer in 5.1 seconds. But the time was short-lived as Switzer broke the barrier and was handed a 10 second penalty. Ross Mosher (Augusta, Montana) ended up with the fastest time of the three on Thursday with 7.5 seconds.
The final day of the long round picks up Friday at 1:15 p.m.
Standings through Thursday
First round leaders: 1. Jake Vold, 85 points on Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Dancing Queen; 2. Shane O’Connell, 83; 3. Orin Larsen, 82.5; 4. Tim O’Connell, 80.5; 5. (tie) Justin Miller and Caleb Bennett, 80 each.
First round: 1. Cody Cabral, 5.3 seconds, $3,849; 2. (tie) Kody Dollery and Nick Guy, 5.7, $3,096 each; 4. John Green, 6.5, $2,343; 5. (tie) Cameron Morman and Josh Peek, 6.6, $1,590 each; 7. Colin Wolfe, 6.8, $837; 8. Dirk Tavenner, 7.1, $335. Second round leaders: 1. Tom Lewis, 5.0 seconds; 2. Timmy Sparing, 5.4; 3. Cody Kroul, 5.5; 4. Clayton Hass, 5.7; 5. Cody Cabral, 6.2; 6. (tie) Travis Taruscio and Blaine Jones, 6.4 each. Average leaders: 1. Cody Cabral, 11.5 seconds on two head; 2. Tom Lewis, 12.5; 3. Clayton Hass, 13.8; 4. Blaine Jones, 14.3; 5. Nick Guy, 14.5; 6. J.D. Struxness, 14.9.
First round: 1. Clayton Hass/John Robertson, 5.6 seconds, $4,294 each; 2. Tyler Milligan/Shank Edwards, 5.7, $3,734; 3. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 6.1, $3,174; 4. Austin Stafford/Dayton Stafford, 6.2, $2,613; 5. Jesse Northrop/Kurtis Barry, 6.3, $2,053; 6. David Temple/Tee Jay Brown, 6.4, $1,493; 7. Justin Farber/Garrett Busby, 6.7, $933; 8. (tie) Rhett Anderson/Brady Ramone, Bryce Palmer/Bo Patzke and Logan Olson/Kyle Lockett, 6.8, $124 each. Second round leaders: 1. Jason Stewart/Bucky Campbell, 5.4 seconds; 2. Blake Teixeira/Monty Joe Petska, 5.5; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 5.6; 4. (tie) Brandon Beers/Cesar de la Cruz and Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 5.7 each; 6. Jake Stanley/Brent Falon, 5.8. Average leaders: 1. Jake Stanley/Brent Falon, 13.7 seconds on two head; 2. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 13.8; 3. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 14.2; 4. Richard Eiguren/Chase Hansen, 14.4; 5. McKennan Buckner/Bill Justus, 14.7; 6. Brett Sheehan/Jared Parke, 15.2.
Saddle bronc riding
First round leaders: 1. Hardy Braden, 85 points on Sankey Pro Rodeo & Robinson Bulls’ Sheridan Wyo’s Tango; 2. Brody Cress, 83; 3. Sterling Crawley, 82.5; 4. Isaac Diaz, 82; 5. Clay Elliott, 81.5; 6. Cort Scheer, 81.
First round: 1. J.C. Malone, 8.5 seconds, $3,597; 2. Tuf Cooper, 8.7, $3,128; 3. Hunter Herrin, 9.6, $2,659; 4. Shane Hanchey, 9.9, $2,190; 5. (tie) Jake Pratt and Chad Finley, 10.3, $1,486 each; 7. Justin Smith, 10.6, $782; 8. Jordan Ketscher, 10.7, $313. Second round leaders: 1. Alwin Bouchard, 9.3 seconds; 2. Shane Hanchey, 9.5; 3. Trevor Brazile, 9.7; 4. Matt Shiozawa, 10.0; 5. Jason Schaffer, 10.4; 6. Brad Goodrich, 10.7. Average leaders: 1. Shane Hanchey, 19.4 seconds on two head; 2. Hunter Herrin, 20.8; 3. Ace Slone, 22.8; 4. Matt Shiozawa, 22.9; 5. Brad Goodrich, 23.0; 6. Jake Pratt, 23.1.
First round leaders: 1. Kimmie Wall, 28.54 seconds; 2. Sydni Blanchard, 28.81; 3. Jackie Ganter, 28.91; 4. Ericka Nelson, 28.95; 5. Courtney Frazier, 28.96; 6. Jody Tucker, 28.97.
First round: 1. Tuf Cooper, 13.1 seconds, $3,769; 2. Shay Good, 13.8, $3,277; 3. Trevor Brazile, 14.0, $2,786; 4. Will Gasperson, 14.8, $2,294; 5. Tim Tillard, 15.4, $1,802; 6. Dave Sedar, 15.6, $1,311; 7. Roger Branch, 15.8, $819; 8. Shorty Garten, 15.9, $328. Second round leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 12.7 seconds; 2. (tie) Quay Howard and Jason Stewart, 13.1 each; 4. Shay Good, 13.3; 5. Cody Lee, 13.5; 6. Bill Benson, 14.5. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 26.7 seconds on two head; 2. Shay Good, 27.1; 3. Will Gasperson, 33.2; 4. Todd Dickson, 36.7; 5. Gabe Richardson, 38.5; 6. Scott Stickley, 39.4.
First round leaders: 1. Joe Frost, 84.5 points on Korkow Rodeos’ Fire Dog; 2. Steve Woolsey, 84; 3. (tie) Ruger Piva, Elliot Jacoby, Riley Blankenship and Chase Robbins, 82.5 each.