RENO -- It was a Nevada cowboy who stood out in saddle bronc on Tuesday night but not the one many thought it would be. After getting bucked off only a few seconds into his ride, Ruby Valley's Charlie Gardner, who came into the 83rd annual Reno Rodeo ranked No. 15 in the world, still has some work left to qualify for another National Finals Rodeo appearance.
Fallon's Ryan Carey, meanwhile, is in a nice position to qualify for his first ever finals at the Reno Rodeo after scoring an 80 at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
"I don't know if it will (hold up), but I'm glad to have an 80," Carey said. "A lot of it has to do with the horse because there's so many good riders here that you better have something good underneath you."
Dan Mortensen, the top-ranked saddle bronc rider in the world, rode Classic Tottie for an 86 to take the 1st go round lead. Billy Etbauer and Cliff Norris are tied for second with 81s, leaving Carey in third. The top 12 riders will qualify for Sunday's final round.
Gardner definitely won't be there. He'll leave for Canada today for another rodeo, one he hopes will earn him enough money to keep him in the top 15 in the world rankings. Only the top 15 in the world qualify for the NFR, which he qualified for in 1999.
"Tonight I drew a good horse and just got bucked off," Gardner said. "You just try to correct your mistakes for the next one. I think I gave that horse too much reign. I should've been more patient and I was trying to make a good ride but he got out from under me."
In barrel racing, Jolee Lautaret equaled Monday's time of 17.12 seconds again on Tuesday. Her average of 34.24 seconds for her two rides makes her the current leader. In bull riding, a day after Colby Yates electrified the crowd with an amazing 91, none of the 14 cowboys recorded a score on Tuesday.
In steer wrestling, Rod Lyman, a former two-time Reno Rodeo champ and all around champ, recorded a time of 4.5 seconds in the 2nd go round on Tuesday. He's now in second place with an average of 9.7 seconds for his two gos. In bareback, Elko's Paul Jones thought he moved himself into second place with his 81. But after Royce Ford scored an 82, he dropped to third. Then after Shawn Minor scored an 83, Jones dropped to fourth. And once Will Lowe scored a crowd-captivating 86, Jones ended the night in fifth place.
That was it for Northern Nevada cowboys. None of them are happier, though, than Carey, who in his many years competing in the Reno Rodeo, had never scored an 80, meaning he's never rode in the finals. Now he'd like to do so on Sunday in front of his family and friends.
"I've had quite a few over the years (80s) but not as much as I'd like and none here," Carey said. "I'm only 60 miles from home and everybody I know is here watching me."
Battle Mountain's Matt Marvel will ride saddle bronc in tonight's main rodeo, which starts at 7 p.m.