RENO - Billy Etbauer rode Old Timer Friday night at the Reno Rodeo, and the horse bucked like it was on its last legs.
Etbauer, who led after the first round with a tremendous 90-point ride, scored just a 69 and fell into a first-place tie with Glen O'Neill in the saddle bronc riding entering tonight's finals (7 p.m.) at the Reno Livestock & Events Center.
Etbauer and O'Neill have 159 after two rides. A point behind is six-time world champion Dan Mortenson, who was idle Friday. Red Lemmel is fourth with 157.
"It (the horse) didn't make it easier," said Etbauer, who has won four world titles. "You've got to go with what you have. He didn't feel good and I didn't feel good. You can always ride better.
"I couldn't find anybody that knew him (the horse). A couple of people thought he was pretty weak. I knew it was far from over. I'm glad to be in the finals."
That's what makes rodeo a crazy sport. After the first night when Etbauer had a 90, many figured he would build too big of a lead for anybody to make a comeback.
"You never know," said Mortenson, who spent the night watching from the chute area. "You never know what's going to happen. He made a race out of it. It will be good riding tomorrow."
Paulo Crimber turned in a 79-point effort aboard Clearwater to post the highest bull riding score of the night. It moved him into ninth place.
Colby Yates and Brayden Buchanan are tied for first with 86. Dustin Elliott is at 85 and Case Drake and Fred Boettcher are next at 84. Yates and Buchanan each pulled in $6,392 for their efforts.
It's been a long road back for Crimber, who suffered a groin injury in October. He was out of action for five months, and is slowly rounding into shape.
"It was a pretty good ride," Crimber said. "Not as good as the 82 somebody got riding him the other day. He's a decent bull, but he's young."
The bareback riding is a three-way tie between Will Lowe, Kelly Timberman and Cleve Schmidt. All three collected 161 points. Both Timberman and Schmidt had scores adjusted from what was originally posted in the arena.
Schmidt had the best score of the night, posting an 82, but he was quick to point out that other riders don't come into the event feeling Lowe is the favorite.
"I would have liked to have won (the first two rounds), but I will take second any day," Schmidt said. "I've done pretty well (here).
"There are 20 to 30 guys that can win. Will is one of the guys that has been lucky in terms of his draw, and he's been riding well. It's all the luck of the draw."
Lowe said his horse was shaky in the chute, but he still managed to have a good markout. Lowe said his horse was young and inexperienced.
Janet Stover leads the barrel racers heading into tonight's final with a two-ride score of 34.28. Paula Seay is second at 34.49, Sharrin Hall is third at 34.55 and Eureka's Nina Moore moved into fourth at 34.56 after a 17.24, the best ride of the night.
Veterans Speed Williams and Rich Skelton, the reigning team roping champs, are the leaders going into the finals. They posted a 10.9 for their two runs. Steve Purcell and Britt Bockius are second at 11.9 followed by the duos of Frank Graves and Brad Culpepper, and Bert McGill and Joseph Shawnego. Both groups posted a 12.1.
Travis Carnine is the leader heading into the steer wrestling finals with a time of 9.5. J.R. Crozier is next at 10.1, followed by Sean Mulligan and Curtis Cassidy at 10.4.
Monty Lewis leads the tie-down ropers with a two-round time of 17.1. Bud Ford is second at 17.2 and former all-around champ Trevor Brazile is third at 17.4. C.R. Bradley had the best time of the night, clocking an 8.4.
Notes: A small amount of tickets remained for tonight's finals, according to rodeo officials ...Riley Azevedo of Carson City scored a 45 in the mutton bustin' and Gardnerville's Justin Blaha tallied 55.