RENO -- After a Tuesday night that saw nobody ride a bull, fans on Wednesday at the Reno Rodeo were treated to five bull riders get scores. None of them were better, though, than Terry Don West, the No. 1 ranked bull rider.
"I really didn't know my score was going to be that good until I nodded my head afterwards," said West, who has already earned $96,705 in prize money this year. "I looked good riding him but we were fighting a little bit there. He kind of caught me off guard because he was tougher than I thought he would be."
West rode Chili Hopper for a 91 at the Reno Livestock Events Center, which moved him to the top spot in the first go-round standings. On opening night last Saturday Robey Condra rode Black Jack for an 89. Condra's score looked as if it would hold up all week. After all, none of the 12 bull riders even received a score on Tuesday night.
But leave it up to West, who was the 1996 world champion, to change all that. Dallas' Bryan Richardson moved to second place in the first go-round standings after riding Gas A Haul for an 87 on Wednesday. It was a score that roused the near capacity crowd. However, Richardson, who is ranked No. 42 in the world, was just setting things up for West, who was the last to ride.
"Every time you're ranked No. 1, you know you're doing something right," said West, whose score of 91 was the third time this year he's scored in the 90s. "I've just been drawin' some good bulls. I don't really think about it (being No. 1) when I'm out there. I'm just trying to focus on riding a bull."
In steer wrestling, another new go-round leader was also established. Greg Clark of Wichita Falls, Texas, was quick out of the gate and recorded a time of 3.9 seconds, three-tenths of a second faster than previous leader, Randy Suhn.
"Actually, believe it or not, I got a 3.9 at my last rodeo in Weatherford, Texas," said Clark, who ranks No. 37 in the world standings. "I never thought I'd get the same here in Reno. But I drew a good steer and wanted to win the round, so I was pushing the barrier for sure."
Clark, though, won't get a chance to win the big money during Sunday's short round. He didn't receive a time in the first go-round. Only the top 12 average times for both the first and second go-rounds qualify for the short round. Clark, though, doesn't mind. He wasn't even sure if he was going to be in Reno this week. Now he'll move on with some kind of check, perhaps a decent-sized one if his time holds up to win the second go-round.
"We weren't even sure if we had enough money to go out on the summer circuit," said Clark, whose ranked No. 5 on the Texas Circuit with over $9,000 in earnings this year. "But this check here should help. This should help me move up in the world standings, too. My two traveling partners are with me here. One is ranked fourth and the other 10th in our circuit, so we pump each other a lot. That helps."
The only Nevada cowboy to compete on Wednesday was in bull riding. Alamo's Jake Wade was bucked off after about a six-second ride on Sharp Shooter. Layne McCasland of Sayre, Okla., rode Jak A Roo for an 81, which moved him into a three-way tie for third in the first go-round standings. Canadian champion Robert Bowers rode Cold Cash for a 76 and Beau Hill of West Glacier, Mont., rode Spin Drift for a 74.