Marvel leads saddle bronc
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Tom McFarland, Will Lowe, Royce Ford and Wes Stevenson are the best of friends in and out of the rodeo ring.
All four are ranked in the top 40, and the quartet hold down the top four spots in the bareback riding standings after the first performance at the 87th annual Reno Rodeo at the Reno Livestock Event Center Friday night.
McFarland, currently ranked 39th, turned in an 89, followed by No. 2 Lowe at 86, No. 20 Ford at 85 and Stevenson, ranked fourth, scored an 80. All four will ride again tonight.
McFarland was aboard Lady Red Hawk, a horse he rode back at the 2003 National Finals Rodeo. He got spun around in tight circles several times.
“I didn’t make out very good (the first time),” McFarland said after accepting congratulations from nearly every cowboy in the chute area. “I’ve been waiting three years to get her back.
“The bull is strong. It’s strong out of the gate and then lines out.”
Lowe was the second rider in the group, and he had a solid ride aboard Lady Blackhawk.
“I was excited to have him in the draw,” Lowe said. “It’s tough not to get pumped up.”
Lowe has had some good success here in Reno, and it’s one of his favorite spots.
“Reno has always been good to me,” Lowe said. “It’s a big rodeo.”
Two other riders – Colby Olsen (79) and Scotty Drennan (77) – also completed their rides.
The scores in saddle bronc were rather unimpressive.
Matt Marvel, a third-generation Nevadan from Battle Mountain, leads the way with an 83, followed by Kalon Downing 76, Bold Butler 74, Justin Arnold 73 and Scott Miller 71.
What made Marvel’s ride all the more impressive is that his ride, West Hills, constantly kicked the gate, and at one point had his left hoof over the railing. Cowboys had to reach in and grab Marvel to keep him on the horse.
When the chute opened, West Hills took Marvel for a ride and then some. It was one twist and turn after another. Marvel ended up with 83. He got a nice ovation and a bottle of Jack Daniels from Cotton Rosser, the stock contractor.
“He (West Hills) beat me up pretty good the last time,” Marvel said. “I had him the other day in Santa Maria and I was off after two jumps.”
Marvel said West Hill’s behavior got him pumped.
“I was focused a little more after that (outburst),” Marvel said. “I didn’t get hurt.
“He (almost) jerked the reins out of my hand. He’s a pretty good horse.”
Marvel went on to say that it could have been a problem if he had gotten hurt while the horse was acting up in the chute.
The big news was that veteran and five-time world champion Billy Etbauer took a spill on Sam’s Town. Etbauer, ranked No. 4 in the world, went right over the top of the horse, and that you don’t see very often.
Some of the event’s biggest names – Cody DeMoss, Dan Mortensen, Rusty Allen, Cody Martin, Chad Ferley and Rod Hay – compete later in the week. Hay won the Pace Chute-out in May.
DeMoss is the leading money winner thus far with $81,116. Mortensen is next at $53,348.
The bull riding scores also were a tad low. Only seven of the 12 riders lasted eight seconds, and only three riders, Steve Woolsey (82), Wesley Silcox (81) and Judd Mortensen (80) scored 80 or better.
Monty Shaack (76), Chad Besplug (74), Kanin Asay (69) and Travis Sellers (69) were well back of the leaders.
Silcox has had good success in Reno. He won the 2005 Xtreme Bulls crown. He recorded an 80-plus score at Thursday’s Xtreme Bulls competition.
Jake Rinehart is the steer wrestling leader after one go, clocking an impressive 5.7. J.C. Malone was second at 6.0 and Cash Myers was third at 6.2
Only half of the team roping combos scored. Chad Masters and Cole Bigbee clocked a 5.9, nearly a full second ahead of Michael Snooks and Ellis Yates, who were timed in 6.7. The teams of Wade Kreutzer and Mark Kersting and Kevin Daniel and Nick Simmons were timed in 7.0.