It could be said Cody waited a century for a ride like Orin Larsen’s Tuesday night, or at least close to half that long.
Larsen, 28, a bareback rider from Inglis, Manitoba drew a horse named Make Up Face on the second day of the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede Rodeo and it only took eight seconds for their partnership to ride into history.
When they finished churning up Stampede Park dirt together, their collaboration had produced a 93-point ride in the eyes of the judges. That established a new record for the event in the 43-year-old arena. The old mark of 91 points was set by Ty Breuer in 2013.
Two performances into the four-day 100th anniversary celebration rodeo, Larsen owned the highlight showing with the chief contenders being bull riders.
Parker Breding of Edgar, Mont. was leading the race for that title in the $400,000 one-header rodeo with a 92.5 ride Monday night. And he needed every point – and every half-point – to stay ahead of Stetson Wright of Milford, Utah, who scored 92 on Tuesday night.
Announcer Boyd Polhamus teased the man versus horse Larsen-Make Up Face contest because they both had worthy track records. Larsen is a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier and is approaching the rank of a $1 million cowboy.
“This is why you come to the Cody Stampede,” Polhamus said, “to see a match-up like this.”
Larsen said he had been on Make Up Face twice before, but without success and wanted another shot.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I’ll take this. Especially when it’s a rodeo like this.”
Polhamus was right about this showdown. “It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said. “It can’t get any better than that.”
At least it is unlikely to, too often.
Breding, 26, is in the midst of the best season of his career, ranked third in the PRCA standings and hungry to catch five-time world champion Sage Kimzey.
Glad to be back in rodeos in the Cody area during Cowboy Christmas, on Sunday night during Xtreme Bulls, Breding was easily tossed by a bull called Turnabout. He did not last for three seconds, never mind eight for a qualifying score, and was unnerved by the confrontation – for good reason. Breding was facing a ride on the same bull the next day.
Opportunistically, Breding experienced a turnabout on Turnabout and recorded the score leading the rodeo.
“That is a big turnaround,” said Breding with a big smile acknowledging what a difference 24 hours can make.
Cody fans have witnessed a hot streak in bull riding. There were four scores in the 90s in Xtreme Bulls on Sunday, Breding followed with his 92.5 Monday, and Tuesday night Stetson Wright was a whisker away from surpassing him on Judgment Day with a 92.
Wright, 18, is one of several members of his family, brothers, fathers, sons, and brother-in-law on the rodeo circuit out of Utah. All of the others, who are scheduled to pass through Cody during this rodeo, compete in saddle bronc riding only. This Wright does both saddle bronc and bull riding. He notched an 84 in saddle bronc Tuesday about an hour prior to his bull ride, topping brother Ryder’s 75.
Aware of Frontier Rodeo’s reputation as a stock contractor, Stetson Wright said he was counting on drawing a good bull and was aiming high.
“Frontier always brings the best bulls,” Wright said. “Hopefully, if you do your job right you can get a good score.”
Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Neb., took over the lead in saddle bronc with an 88.5 on a horse named Bad Intentions and one that seemed to have that outlook. Chase Brooks of Deer Lodge, Mont., trailed at 87.5 Tuesday and Colt Gordon of Comanche, Okla., was third from a Monday ride of 85.5. Stetson Wright was holding down fourth.
Scheer had scouted his horse via video.
“That horse had some moves,” he said.
For the first time in about a month, so did the cowboy. Scheer is nursing four broken ribs, missed three weeks of rodeo, and until July 1, the night before his Cody session, had to grab his shuteye in a recliner, not a bed.
“I could barely move,” Scheer said. “I’m much better now. You have to gut it out.”
Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, was leading steer wrestling with a time of 3.8 seconds. Kassidy Lovell of Madisonville, Texas, took over first in barrel racing in 17.35 seconds. Reese Riemer of Stinnett, Texas, was sitting first in tie-down roping in 8.2 seconds. There was a tie for the lead in team roping in 4.8 seconds between Brooks Dahozy of Window Rock, Ariz. and Walt Woodard of Stephenville, Texas, and the duo of Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla., and Jake Corkill of Fallon, Nev.
However, several ropers in tie-down lost battles to frisky calves, who kicked back at them. Even runners-up on bucking horses and bulls, animals that were out to get them, had better luck.
Gordon looked more like an Olympic gymnast on his standing straight-up dismount than a guy being heaved from a horse. Polhamus joked, “You should get five points if you land on your feet and 10 points if you land on your head.”
Gordon scored high enough on a bucking horse of the year, Lunatic From Hell.
“I’ve been wanting to get on him,” Gordon said. When he found out a week early this was the horse he drew, Gordon said, “I was just grinning ever since.”
And he was still grinning after the ride.
Bareback Riding: 1, Taylor Broussard, Estherwood, La., 85 points;. 2, (tie) Mark Kreder, Collinsville, Okla., and Jamie Howlett, Rapid City, S.D., 81.5 each. 4, Tanner Phipps, Dalton, Ga., 80.
Steer Wrestling: 1, Heath Thompson, Enola, Ark., 6.1 seconds. 2, Chancy Winsor, Kaycee, 7.9. 3, Chet Boren, Vernal, Utah, 8.6. 4, Bart Slaney, Whitefish, Mont., 9.5.
Team Roping: 1, Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla., and Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 4.8 seconds. 2, Denver Johnson, Strathmore, Alberta and Tristen Woolsey, Nanton, Alberta, 5.9. 3, Braden Pirrung, Hartford, S.D., and Matt Zancanella, Aurora, S.D., 10.0. 4, Jesse Popescui, Glenworth, Saskatchewan and Trent Elmer Tunke, Canada, 10.7.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Colt Gordon, Comanche, Okla., 85.5 points. 2, (tie) Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa and Jade Blackwell, Rapid City, S.D., 8.5 each. 4, Tegan Smith, Winterset, Iowa, 79.
Tie-Down Roping: 1, Kalai Nobriga, Kealakekua, Hawaii, 14.4 seconds. 2, Mark Humphrey, Texarkana, Ark., 16.2. 3, L.D. Meier, Limon, Colo., 27.4.
Barrel Racing: 1, KL Spratt, Lysite, Wyoming, 17.39 seconds. 2, Kristen Zancanella, Aurora, S.D., 17.63. 3, Coralee Spratt, Shoshoni, 17.89. 4, Brittany Fellows, Loveland, Colo., 17.90
Bull Riding: 1, Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont., 92.5 points. 2, Tristan Mize, Bryan, Texas, 90.5. 3, Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif., 87. 4, Jake Peterson, Livermore, Calif., 73.
Bareback Riding: 1. Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 93 points; 2. Cole Reiner, Kaycee, 83.5.; 3. Pascal Isabelle, Okotoks, Alberta, 81; 4. (tie) Trenten Montero, Winnemucca, Nev., and Chance Ames, Big Piney, 74..
Steer Wrestling: 1. J.D. Struxness, Milan, Minn., 4.0 seconds;. 2. Chisum Docheff, Longmont, Colo., 4.9; 3. Billy Boldon, Oglala, S.D., 5.8; 4. Bridger Anderson, Carrington, N.D., 8.9.
Team Roping: 1. Cory Kidd V, Statesville, N.C., and Kory Koontz, Stephenville, Texas, 5.0 seconds; 2. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Paden Bray, Granbury, Texas, 5.3; 3. Colton Campbell, Klamath Falls, Ore., and Dalton Pearce, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 14.7; 4, Butch Levell, Fort Calhoun, Nev., and J.W. Beck, Moville, Iowa, 15.4.
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1. Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb., 88.5 points; 2, Chase Brooks, Deer Lodge, Mont., 87.5; 3. Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah, 84. 4, Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, 78.
Tie-Down Roping: 1. (tie) Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas and Blake Ash, Aurora, Mo., 20.0 seconds;. 3. Ike Fontenot, Ville Platte, La., 22.0.
Barrel Racing: 1. Kassidy Lovell, Madisonville, Texas, 17.35; 2, Teri Bangart, Olympia, Wash., 17.59;. 3. Amy Jo Reisdorfer, Cheyenne, 17.66.
Bull Riding: 1. Stetson Wright, Milford, Utah, 92 points; 2) (tie) Garrett Smith, Rexburg, Idaho and Koby Radley, Montpelier, La., 89.5; 4) Josh Frost, Randlett, Utah, 87; 5) Matt Palmer, Claremore, Okla., 84.