RENO - It was payback time for Fallon's David Howard.
Howard, riding Wide Country, posted a first-night score of 80 in saddle bronc riding at the opening night of the Reno Rodeo Sunday night at the Reno Livestock Center.
The score put Howard in a second-place tie with Rawley McFarland. The pair trail Cody Wright, who posted an 82. It was a nice start and a nice homecoming.
"It (the ride) felt good," Howard said. "I had the same horse last summer in Eugene, and it didn't go so well; he got me pretty bad. He's a little bit tough to get out on sometimes. I was thinking about that in the back of my mind. The horse came around and got me (pinned) against the gate.
"It's nice to be home; to be with my family. The kids (three daughters) were all here. I could hear my kids screaming."
Howard will be back in action tonight for his second go around. Another good score, and he could make the finals on Saturday.
"I don't think it matters," he said. "I like it, competing on back-to-back nights instead of waiting a couple of days between rides."
In fact, all of the contestants will compete on back-to-back nights because the competition has been pared from nine nights to six nights due to the Pace Chuteout on Friday and Saturday.
Morgan Forbes (76), Dan Erickson (75) and Rod Warren (72) are in the next three positions.
Royce Ford enjoyed another successful night in bareback riding, posting a nice 84 on his first ride, taking a four-point lead over Davey Shields (80). Silas Richards was third at 79, and Cody Demers and Will Lowe are at 77.
Ford, the current world leader, has finished third and fourth in the last two years.
"You bet it's a great start," Ford said. "You never know what's going to happen, but it is a solid start. I hope I can have another good ride so I'll be here on the weekend.
"It's been a great three years. I've been able to make a living doing rodeo. This year has been going great, and hopefully it will continue."
Ryan Gray, who is ranked second behind Ford, had a rough night. His first two efforts to get out of the chute failed, because the horse didn't cooperate. He finished with a 74, good for seventh place.
"That happens a lot," Ford said. "Sometimes they just don't want to cooperate."
In bull riding, Wesley Silcox continued his impressive run with an 88, taking a two-point lead over Dustin Elliott. Of the 13 riders, only five posted scores. At one point, seven straight riders failed.
Silcox won the Extreme Bulls competition last Thursday.
Terri Kaye Kirkland is the first-night leader in barrel racing with a 16.97. Sweet Al Freeman was second in 17.36, followed by Dude Overton (17.49), Sue Smith (17.53) and former Fernley resident Cathy Cagliari was fifth at 17.64.
Travis Tryan and Allen Bach clocked an impressive 5.9 in team roping, taking a slight lead over Colter Todd and Cesar De La Cruz (6.5). The local tandem of Bryce Barnes (Minden) and Casey Glazier (Gardnerville) failed to post a time.
Ryan Jarrett leads the tie-down roping with an 8.7, just ahead of Clint Cooper (9.0).
NOTES: Two bulls escaped the chute area, but were quickly caught by rodeo officials ... Jason Jeter, one of the favorites in bareback, was a no-show. Officials speculated he could return, hinting he may not have liked his draw ... Christina Spitale was named 2006 rodeo queen.
n Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 881-1214.