Kruse goes out on top in saddle bronc event
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO ” It was an eventful first trip to Reno for Jesse Kruse.
The diminutive Kruse, called Minnie Me, by some of his competitors, set an arena record with a 91 aboard Spring Planting to win the saddle bronc title at the 89th annual Reno Rodeo Saturday night at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
The other winners were Bobby Mote (bareback, 255), Fred Boettcher (bulls, 176), Nick Sartain and Rhen Richard (team roping, 17.6), Mary Burger (barrel racing, 51.11), Wade Sumpter (steer wrestling, 8.20) and Josh Peek (tie-down roping). The all-around title went to Peek, who participated in steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
It was an interesting final in saddle bronc, as Jesse Bail, Billy Etbauer and then co-leader Jake Hayworth fell. Earlier, Anthony Bello had thrown down the gauntlet when he put up an 86 aboard Spring Blues to move into the lead. It forced Kruse to score an 85 to tie and an 86 to win.
All Kruse did was go out and have the best ride of his professional career, which was made even more impressive by the fact that his horse stalled in the chute.
“You just have to go on with it [when that happens],” Kruse said. “I’d heard she was good. It felt very good. “
Kruse said he once scored a 92 on a Flying Five horse, but not at the professional level.
“It means a lot [to win the silver spurs],” Kruse said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been to this rodeo.”
Last year, Kruse finished in second place at the College National Finals Rodeo behind Taos Muncy, from Corona, N.M. Muncy went on to win the world championship in 2007. Kruse is hoping that after winning the saddle bronc riding here he might have similar success.
Prior to the Reno Rodeo, Kruse was 20th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Crusher World Standings. The $9,983 he won here will move him up in the standings. If he can keep the momentum going through the lucrative Fourth of July holiday, he will most likely qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
The bareback event also went down to the wire. It was a matter of one-upsmanship down the stretch.
It started when Chris Harris scored an 85 aboard Miss Amertitle to move into the lead with a 249 on three rides. Not to be outdone, Tim Shirley popped an 87 on Cajun Queen to move two points ahead of Harris.
Three riders later, it was Mote’s turn. He needed an 82 to take the lead. The veteran in search of his first title and first set of spurs at Reno, scored an 85 aboard Sundance to take the lead with a 255.
Jared Smith followed, needing an 85 to tie and an 86 to win. Smith had a nice ride aboard Peppy Bound, but fell a point short with an 84.
“I was excited,” said Mote when asked about his draw. “My traveling partner Ryan Gray rode him around San Antonio, and that was the only time I’d seen the horse. I knew it was a good horse. I was happy to get to the short round.”
Obviously Smith was hoping for an 85 or 86, but he admitted he felt he had fallen short.
“I kind of thought it wasn’t going to be enough,” Smith said. “I knew when I got off the horse.”
Boettcher entered the short round in a three-way tie with Clayton Foltyn and Sonny Murphy, all of whom scored a 90.
Shawn Proctor put pressure on the field when he recorded an 87 on Backdraft for a two-ride total of 170. B.J. Schumacher recorded his second consecutive 87 for a 174 and the lead.
Defending champion Wesley Silcox had the misfortune of drawing Troubadour, arguably the best bull in the world. The bull made short work of Silcox, leaving it up to the tri-leaders.
Foltyn had a solid 80-point ride, but Boettcher one-upped him with an 86 aboard Gambler to grab the lead with a 176. Victory was Boettcher moments later when Murphy was dumped just a few seconds into his ride. It was Boettcher’s first victory at Reno.
“This is great,” Boettcher said. “I’ve never won Reno in my life.”
Sumpter scored a 4.5 in the short round for a total of 12.8, edging Jason Miller (13.2), who entered the short round in the No. 1 spot. Cody Glover and Ken Lewis tied for third at 14.1.
“I’m really excited,” Sumpter said. “This is a good start to the July 4th [Cowboy Christmas]. I knew I had to be fast. I’m glad I got the bull I did. I’ve never made the short round here.”
Sumpter rode a different horse than he expected, though the horse he rode he’d been on before.
“I’d ridden the horse a lot,” Sumpter said. “My other horse had surgery at UC Davis and is done for the year. We’ll have to go the rest of the year with this one.”
In barrel racing, Tammy Key-Fischer, seeded third entering the short round, recorded a 16.99 to momentarily take the lead with a 51.53. Mary Burger came back with a 17.09 for a 51.11. Fischer’s time was one of the best on tour this season.
It was the first career win for Sartain and Richard as a team. The duo was seeded fourth entering the finals.
“My partner had been here, but I hadn’t,” Richard said in a telephone interview while the duo headed for Greeley, Colo. “We stayed with our plan and made a businessman’s run.”
This is the third rodeo that the pair have been in together.
– Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or (775) 881-1281