In Friday's second day of the 50th annual Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo, there were some major shakeups at the top of the leaderboard at the Finney County Fairgrounds.
The most notable lead change belonged to Clayton Sellars from Fruitland Park, Fla., who not only had the best bull ride of the night but of the rodeo so far. His 85 put him ahead of last night’s leader and four time defending PRCA champions Sage Steele Kimzey, whose score of 84 now sits in second place.
Sellars wasn't the only one who had success on the bull Friday, as the field generally fared better than those from Thursday. After the bull riders were 2 for 15 on Thursday, the riders on Friday went a combined 7 for 12 on their bulls to the delight of the Garden City crowd.
Last year’s champion in this event, Tyler Bingham from Honeyville, Utah, scored a 78.8 in the first ride of the night, leaving him in third by the end of the night.
Local rider Laramie Mosley had a qualifying score of 76, which currently places him in eight place.
“(My ride) was all right. Bull wasn't much, but we got through it,” said the 22 year old bull rider from Sublette. “It's always different when you're close to home and you feel a little better. Your family is here to watch — it's fun.”
There was only one change in the top four in the steer wrestling event on Friday as Austin Eller of Glendo, Wyo., recorded the best time of the night, a 5.5, which placed him in the top four, but more importantly puts him in the running for the prize money. The time to beat is still Cody Doescher from Oklahoma City with an impressive time of 4.4
Team roping had a surprise in the event as a misfire from the No. 5-ranked team in the PRCA of Logan Olson and Matt Kanser failed to have a qualifying ride in the event.
It wasn’t only Kanser and Olson who had a hard time of it, as only four of the nine teams were able to rope their steer, and two of those four qualifying teams had a 10-second runoff penalty. The top four in this event remain unchanged.
The classic and original rodeo event, saddle bronc riding, did see another rider crack the top three as Jade Blackwell of Rapid City, S.D., had the best ride of the night, with a score of 80.
“It feels good,” said the 25-year-old Blackwell of his ride. “The last few horses I've been on have been kind of rough, so we got the kinks worked out and keep to keeping it simple and moving forward.”
Blackwell is also pretty confident his ride will finish in the money at the end of the rodeo.
“I’m sure it'll get something," he said. "There are a lot of good riders and good horses, and I'm just thankful for what it was and tomorrow is a new day.”
Cody Quaney from Cheney, who currently ranks 15th in the PRCA world rankings, is just barely hanging on to qualify for the National Rodeo as his score of 17.6 sees him outside of the top eight. The top fifteen ranked riders of an event at the end of the year automatically qualify for the PRCA National Rodeo in Las Vegas.
The girls breakaway roping event was a reunion of sorts, as three of the girls who competed in it had spent some time in Garden City. Lori Tierney and Ashlyn Moeder, who were both former Broncbusters, failed to tie up their calf.
Former Garden City Buffalo, Jayme Flowers, did not fare any better. The 22-year-old Western Oklahoma State College junior was not happy with her performance on Friday.
“I stupidly used a new rope, and i felt like I also sat down. I did have a good calf and I had a chance to do some good, but (it didn't work out)," she said.
Although it wasn't the performance she wanted, Flowers is happy to be able to participate in a rodeo that is close to home.
“It's awesome. I got some family up in the stands," she said. "I've always loved this rodeo. I've been watching it since I was young and getting to compete in the breakaway is pretty cool.”
Flowers also eyes to return to the rodeo next year in a different event.
“Next year, I hope to have my permit and run barrels, too,” she said.
Even though the three former Garden City products were unable to place on Friday, Kashly Schweer is keeping the title in Garden City at the moment as she still leads the field in the breakaway event with a time of 3.4.
The third and final day of the rodeo is Saturday, with the featured portion of the day beginning at 7 p.m. at the Finney County Fairgrounds.