RENO - Davey Shields Jr. is no stranger to the Reno Rodeo.
He won the 2003 bareback bronc title, and if his first two nights this year are any indication, he could return home to Canada with another title in hand.
Shields, who posted a score of 80 on Monday, came back with an impressive 83 aboard Runaround Too Monday for a qualifying score of 163, five points ahead of first-day leader Royce Ford, who followed his first-day 84 with a 74.
"I had him when I won here and I knew he was good," Shields said. "The horse I had today, I looked on the computer to see what he'd done. He averaged 76. I figured 80 and 78.
"For sure (it should be enough for the finals). Usually 158 will make the finals. A 163 is really good. It should put me in the middle (at the worst)."
It certainly is a nice start to the summer season. Shields competed in just six rodeos during the winter. He used to ride in 15 or 20.
"I just rode in the big ones," said Shields, who has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times. "I didn't do all that good. Two rodeos is all I did good at."
Shields, the 1995 Rookie of the Year, won't spend the next few days scoreboard watching.
"I've got stuff to do" Shields said. "I have kids and responsibilities at home. I'll call Friday and see what horse I drew. I guess I'll call and get my airline ticket."
Shields knows there is some tough competition awaiting with Kyle Bowers, Kelly Timberman, Eric Swenson, Bobby Mote, Clayton Foltyn and Bo Casper yet to compete. All are in the top 30 in the world.
In saddle bronc riding, Fallon's David Howard leads with 158 points after a 78-point ride aboard Tip. It's been 11 years since a native Nevadan has won a saddle bronc title.
Howard leads Cody Wright and Morgan Forbes by a point. Dan Erickson is fourth at 152 followed by Bryce Miller at 150. Miller and Forbes, who are traveling partners, recorded 81s to tie for the top score of the round.
"There is a lot of rodeo left," Howard said. "There are some outstanding guys coming in the next two groups. "
That group includes Cody DeMoss, the current world leader, No. 4 Ryan Mapston, No. 7 Chet Johnson, No. 10 Bradley Harter, No. 13 Dan Mortenson and Glen O'Neill.
Still, Howard admits he's very excited. It's the best start he's had at the Reno Rodeo in his career.
"Usually I have one good ride and the next one is so-so," Howard said. "I think about it (winning) every time I come here. It's pretty exciting."
Howard said he did some homework on his horse when he got home on Monday night.
"The older horses, most of the guys know them," he said. "They keep books on them. The colts, nobody really knows. This was an older horse. It (the score) was almost right."
Forbes, aboard Western Hills, said he got a little tip from Miller about the horse.
"He's (Western Hills) been the winning horse at Red Bluff the last four years," Forbes said. "Bryce rode him last year. He has a couple of tricks in him. He wants to stop and turn back. Once you get out, you have to be aggressive with him."
Forbes said this is the best he's done in Reno.
"I haven't done real good," Forbes said. "I don't think I've pulled a check out of here. I haven't drawn many good horses."
Wesley Silcox is still the leader in bull riding, as his first-night 88 stood up. Only two of Monday's 13 riders were able to post a score. Ardie Maier, the first rider of the night, posted an 83. Trent Cormier finished with a 75.
In steer wresting, Jason Lahr turned in the best time with a 4.6, followed by Gabe Ledoux at 5.4 and Roger Anderson and Bill Pace at 5.6. Lee Graves dropped to second with his first-night 4.7.
In team roping, Travis Tryan and Allen Bach are still in first with their 5.9. Derek Hee and Ryan Eaton recorded a 7.3, the top score on Monday night.
Jake Hannum won the tie-down roping with a 10.3, followed by Cade Swor at 12.1. Ryan Jarrett still leads at 8.7 with Clint Cooper at 9.0. Both of those cowboys competed on Monday.
Laurie Sutton leads the barrel racing after two rounds with a 34.46 after a 17.27 effort last night. Terri Kirkland, who won the round with a 16.97, is in second place. Holly Foster and Paula Seay, who is ranked fourth in the world, both recorded times of 17.31.
NOTES: It was a tough night for former Carlin native Ira Slagowski, who failed to post a score for the second straight night. He came into the event ranked fifth in the world. He had his left knee scoped about a week ago, and he fell on that knee last night. ... Billy Etbauer, who won the saddle bronc competition last year, turned out for the Pace Chuteout and apparently won't ride here in Reno,
n Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 881-1281.