RENO - The Ford family is trying to turn the bareback riding competition into a family affair.
Royce Ford, who put together a two-day total of 158 (84-74) on Sunday and Monday, watched his cousin, Heath, put together an 81-point effort aboard Nasty Nugget in his first go-around Tuesday night on the third night of the annual Reno Rodeo at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
A third member of the Ford family, Jarrod, competed in bull riding on Tuesday.
Heath Ford chalked up his score thanks to being given a re-ride by rodeo officials. He scored a 72 aboard Spring Fling, and he was none too happy to get another chance.
"I've been here and had a 72 before," Ford said. "If you are given an opporftunity to do more, you've got to take it. You cant worry about what you have to do. I came here to do a full day's work and I didn't get a full day's work. I had him (Spring Fling) in Pocatello. I was really riding him well and my glove ripped. He can be a little scary.
"It was a good start. We (Royce) grew up wanting to beat each other, It's neat for both of us when we compete to each other. We root for each other, though. He helped me get the horse ready."
Ford said he didn't know anything about Nasty Nugget, but he said that isn't a big deal because a horse has a mind of its own, and some horses relate to some riders better.
The 81 put him on his way to a spot in the finals, which means he has to finish in the top 12.
"It will probably take 158; right around 157-158," Ford said. "Averaging 78 or 79 is about right."
Ford's effort was the second-best on the night. He trailed Rowdy Buechner, who scored an 82. Buechner has had so-so success in Reno.
"I had a really good horse," Buechner said. "I thought I had No. 33, but it didn't have a name. There was a mix-up, and it was 330. I had him at Union two weeks ago. I was really happy to get the horse.
"The first time I was fourth in average and I won about $5,000. I didn't do well last year. Hopefully I'll have more success this year."
In saddle bronc riding, Cody Demoss, who is No. 1in the world, played beat the clock in scoring a first-go 85. The score was three points better than Cody Wright's 82.
Demoss was thrown from Rolling Cloud, a colt, just a split second after the eight-second buzzer sounded.
"It's a good thing they have stop watches back there," Demoss said. "I think this is the best start I've had in Reno. Usually I'm coming in here on a slow spurt. This year I'm coming off it a little sooner.
"It's a disadvantage (to ride a horse you don't know). You don't know how much rein to give them and what they're going to do."
The second-best score of the round was turned in by Battle Mountain's Matt Marvel, who turned in a tough 81. His horse, Faded Dice, seemed skittish in the chute, and Marvel appeared to hurt his back.
Officials gave him several minutes to catch his breath, and then he was back on the same horse with much better results.
"He knocked the wind out of me," Marvel said. "It's a little bit unnerving. You get the wind knocked out of you. Right now I'm pretty stiff."
Charly Crawford and Richard Durham clocked a 5.7 in team roping for the top mark of the evening performances. They were the only cowboys to record a time on Tuesday night. Derek Hee and Ryan Easton and Jay and Ryon Tittel both clocked 7.3s in earlier performances.
Jake Wade of Alamo became the new leader in bull riding with a sensational 92, which put him ahead of Wesley Silcox, who had an 88. Only two other riders - Matt Austin (85) and Kenny Drayton (77) - posted scores. Silcox won the Extreme Bulls competition last weekend.
There is also a new leader in steer wrestling, as Brad Gleason was timed in 4.1, a shade over two seconds better than Kyle Whitaker's 6.2. Jason Lahr has a 4.6, Lee Graves a 4.7 and Gabe LeDoux has a 5.4 in previous performances.
In tie-down roping, Stran Smith has two nice efforts, 10.8 and 9.6. Phy Lord and K.C. Jones turned in 11.8 efforts last night.
Laurie Sutton, who rode on Monday, has the lead in barrel racing with a two-run total of 34.46. She is .08 ahead of Kelly Kaminski, who is ranked No. 1 in the world. Stephanie Jones is currently third at 34.74. Piper Levandoske had the quickest time on Tuesday, clocking a 17.20.
Notes: Abbie Van Curen, a member of the Reno Rodeo flag team for 10 years, accepted a marriage proposal last night from fiance Ben Shelton ... The Reno Rodeo held its annual kids rodeo prior to the evening performance ... Tie-down roping and team roping slack starts this morning at 7 a.m.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281