Round-Up rounds start early Monday

<p>SarahJones-- Sarah Jones eyeing the east end barrel during barrel racing slack on Monday.</p>

The 99th running of the Pendleton Round-Up began Monday with steer roping and barrel racing slack at Round-Up Stadium.

While the stands are a lot less crowded early in the week, the pay checks are still good and two-time defending world champion steer roper Rocky Patterson added a cool $4,041.43 to his season earnings as he chases down world leader Trevor Brazile.

The Pratt, Kansas, cowboy roped his steer in 12.4 seconds to set the bar in the first go.

He is third in the world standings, about $20,000 behind Brazile — who finished with no time in his run on Monday.

Patterson is the only non-Texas roper in the world top five, but only one Lonestar State cowboy was in Monday’s top five.

Casey Tillard of Glenrock, Wyo., was second at 12.5 seconds, Shandon Stalls of McLean, Texas was third at 13.3, Mike Beers of The Dalles was fourth at 13.5 and Rick Kieckhefer of Prescott, Ariz. was fifth in 13.8.

A?30.9 on two head was the low bar for last year’s steer roping short round and all of Monday’s top 10 finished quicker than 15 seconds.

Barrel racers also got their first crack at Pendleton’s famed grass infield on Monday.

A?29.27 was the time to beat to make the 2010 Round-Up short round and several riders made sure that bar is at least matched this year with fast runs on Monday.

Nicole Deason had the time to beat with a 28.61 on the largest clover-leaf pattern in rodeo.

The Granbury, Texas, cowgirl bested a pair of Women’s Professional Rodeo Association top-20 competitors as Angie Meadors (16th) was second in 28.67 and Jane Melby (13th) was third in 29.76.

Sydni Blanchard was the only other barrel racer to break the 29-second barrier on Monday with a 28.84.

Jody Sheffield won last year’s title with 57.42 on two runs. Her 28.32 in the short-go was the fastest run of the rodeo last year.

The first round slack in timed events continues today at 8:30 a.m.

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