RENO -- Elko bareback rider Paul Jones knew once he drew Border Town for Saturday's ride his chances of being a repeat champion at the Reno Rodeo were diminished. Turns out he was right.
Jones, who became the first Nevadan since Danny Brady in 1987 to win the bareback competition in 2002, only got a 68 during his second go-round ride at the Reno Livestock Events Center. Coupled with his first go-round score of 80, Jones finished with a total of 148, two points away from being in the top 12 and advancing to today's short round.
"Well, I felt I rode that horse pretty good," said Jones, who vaulted into the top 20 in the world rankings after last year's win in Reno. "I just thought that if I rode that horse, I'd get a 73 or 74. I am disappointed. I really thought that if I just rode that horse I'd be here tomorrow. Now I'll go up to Greeley (Colo.) and go again on Tuesday."
Jones said Border Town has a reputation to frustrate most bareback riders.
"Nobody really wants to ride him because he's real big and strong and tough to ride," said Jones, who won close to $9,000 at last year's Reno Rodeo. "That's just the problem with that horse. It can be hard to get a score on him."
Jones also missed a chance to become the only the fifth repeat bareback champion at the Reno Rodeo in its 84-year history. Jeff Collins did it in 1999 and 2000, 'Brady in '86 and '87 and Bud Lindderman back in '52 and '53. Clint Corey won three straight bareback titles between 1988-90.
Former Canadian and collegiate champion Davey Shields rode Montego Bay for an 82 on Saturday and to finish first in both the second go-round and the average (169) in bareback.
In saddle bronc, Jesse Bail and Shaun Stroh both finished with 165s in the average. But Bail's 83 on Toddy Mountain tied him with six-time world champion Dan Mortensen for first place in the second go-round. Battle Mountain's Matt Marvel received his second 65 this week, this one coming after an unspectacular ride on Katy Bar The Door.
Fernley's Jake McCullar received a time of 15.3 seconds in tie-down roping, which left him out of the money in the go-round and today's short round. Former world champion barrel racer Kelly Kaminski was the first cowgirl to push second go-round leader and average leader Brandie Halls. Kaminski, who's currently ranked fourth in the United States, received a time of 17.11 seconds, which put her second in the second go-round and tied for second with Megan McLeod in the average with a total of 34.49 seconds. Halls won the average (34.35) and the second go-round (17.08).
Bull rider Terry Don West's electrifying 91 on Wednesday night held up for the week's top score. Defending world champion bull rider Cody Hancock on Taylor, Ariz., was the only bull rider to receive a score on Saturday. He used his re-ride option for an 83. The ride got him into today's short round, where the top 12 in each event will compete for the coveted Reno Rodeo silver spurs and the biggest checks of the week.