The opening night of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo featured an explosive start to 20 days of competition.
In fact, the top two bareback riding scores make up the last three world championships and five overall. Four-time champ Bobby Mote, who has won the last two gold buckles, and 2008 titlist Justin McDaniel spurred their horses for 82 points to win bareback riding in the opening round of Super Series I.
They each earned $1,500, while Jason Havens, who had an 81, pocketed $500 for third place.
Each contestant will have three tries in each of the five Super Series, so every cowboy and cowgirl who was in Tuesdays’ field will compete again Wednesday and Thursday. The top money-earners in each event in each Super Series advance to the semifinals in the bracketed format.
Six-time world champion Cody Ohl posted an 8.7-second run to win tie-down roping and the $2,000 first-place check, while the tandem of Charly Crawford and Russell Cardoza scored a 5.8 to win team roping. North Dakotan Clayton Morrison won steer wrestling in 4.5 seconds, while Clint Craig’s 88 won bull riding; Jane Melby rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 14.03 seconds to win barrel racing.
A trio of Oklahoma Panhandle State rodeo team alumni finished 1-2-3 in saddle bronc riding, with Jesse Bail earning the top prize with 83.5. Jeff Willert, the 2005 world champion, had an 81.5 to finish second, while Taos Muncy, the 2007 world champ, scored 80.5 for third.
Now we can see why this series is super.