Reno Rodeo gives 'hometown' feel

Paul Jones lives a long way from Reno, but during the rodeo it doesn't seem like it.

"It's awesome. It's kind of like a hometown rodeo for me," he said. "The city has treated me real well here and the crowd treats me good."

The Elko cowboy won last year's bareback event.

Carson City team-roper Tye Fitzpatrick, definitely felt the home-court advantage during his first round.

He and his partner, Justin Martins, of California, received the fastest time during their night of competition. However, their second performance was not fast enough to secure a time in the championship round.

But the full-time excavator and part-time rodeo cowboy was happy to have been able to ride in Reno.

"I love it," said Fitzpatrick, 29. "I made the short round four years ago and I sure enjoy coming back. My dad was here and he pushed our steer out for us."

Jeff Begovich, who grew up in Gardnerville, also feels more at home at the Reno Rodeo, the largest rodeo he attends all year.

"All your friends and family are here cheering you on," he explained.

Begovich, 37, competed in tie down roping and team roping but did not advance to the finals.

He's gearing up for the Fourth of July, when he will compete in five rodeos around Folsom, Calif. over the weekend.

"I get with different guys and we travel together," he said. "It depends on who's going in which direction."

The Reno Rodeo wraps up today with the championship round beginning at 1 p.m. in the Livestock Events Center.

Jones, 24, is proud to represent his home state.

"Most of these Nevada cowboys have grown up around horses and ridden their whole lives," he said. "This is just a way of life for most of us."


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