PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up’s logo is a bronc rider mounted high on his bucking horse, the perfect image for the bronc riding event, one of eight daily competitions during the four-day rodeo.
In Thursday’s field of 17 riders, bronc rider Jake Wright outlasted his horse Wiggle Worm to take a high score of 85, beating the field, including his brothers Cody, with a score of 82, and Jessie, 74.
There are five Wright brothers from Milford, Utah, competing in professional rodeo.
Jake Wright was followed by Heith Allan Demoss riding Sacred Mountain to an 83 score.
Cody Wright’s 82 was matched by Roy Johnson, Cort Scheer and Wade Sundell.
Like most rodeoers, Jake Wright gave a chunk of the credit for his excellent to his horse.
“Yeah, that’s a good horse,” he said. “He’s getting noticed and a few weeks ago a friend of mine had him. I was tickled to see I had him here in Pendleton. This is a great rodeo, the fans are awesome, the horses buck and you get paid good. In the short-go,” Wright said, referring to Saturday’s final event, “whatever I have, if I ride good I’m sure I’ll be alright.”
Clint Cannon and Austin Foss tied for first in the bareback event on Thursday with a judged score of 80 after both first scored a low 67. But both were given re-rides when their mounts were judged to have underperformed, and both rose to the occasion.
Thursday’s top tie-down roping competitors were Kass Kayser from Ellensburg, and Shane Erickson, who tied with a time of 10.7 and both currently are out of the top 12 aggregate positions (based on two events).
In steer wrestling, five out of 12 bulldoggers couldn’t get the task completed Thursday.
Of those who could, Stan Branco led the way by accomplishing it in 5.6 seconds, ahead of Touchet’s Taylor Gregg in 5.7, and Beau Clark’s 6.7.
In the only team sport at the rodeo, team roping, where the first cowboy, the header, ropes the head of a running steer from his horse, followed by the heeler, who ropes the hind feet, only six of 12 competing teams completed the task.
First was taken by header Clint White and heeler Brent Lockett in a time of 6.1 seconds.
Rodeo’s most famous roper, Trevor Brazile, and his heeler partner, Patrick Smith, are in 10th place with 18.
Clayton Foltyn, took the bull riding win on Thursday with an outstanding 91 score.
Brent Lewis roped his steer fastest, in a time of 13.4 seconds, to take first on Thursday in the steer roping event, while Spencer Mitchell did it in 15.0, followed by Mike Chase at 15.9.
In barrel racing, Cheney’s Pamela Capper took first with a time of 29.03 seconds in barrel racing.
All three leading finishers made it in less than 30 seconds, an unofficial cutoff time to win the event here.
Capper was followed by Jody Sheffield at 29.22, and Hermiston’s Jade Crossley at 29.36.
Crossley’s sister, Callahan, was making what might have been the best run of the session, reaching her third barrel in under 20 seconds, when her horse fell from under her as the animal leaned into the sharp u-turn. Local favorites from Hermiston, the Crossley sisters compete on the local Blue Mountain Community College rodeo team.
The barrel racing aggregate is led with a time of 28.62 by Christy Loflin, who won this event at the 2012 Round-Up.
Shada Brazile is No. 2 in the aggregate with a time of 28.74
The Pendeton Round-Up continues today and Saturday.