Ryan Gray isn’t scheduled to compete at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for another 10 days.
The six-time bareback riding qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo hasn’t been on a bucking horse since the second night of the 2010 championship, when he was bucked off, then stepped on and suffered a lacerated liver.
But I suspect Gray was pretty tickled when he learned of Wednesday’s third performance of RodeoHouston, where traveling partners Jason Havens, Bobby Mote and Steven Dent advanced out of Super Series 1 of the bracketed format. Havens won the second and third go-rounds, then added $4,000 for being No. 1 in the average for a total earnings of $8,500.
Mote scooted in with $4,750, followed by Justin McDaniel with $3,000 and Dent at $1,000 – Dent actually tied with Micky Downare in earnings, but the Nebraska cowboy advanced because he beat Downare by a point in the average.
Cody Ohl topped the list of tie-down ropers with $6,500, followed by Jerrad Hoffstetter at $2,750, Jake Pratt at $2,625 and Timber Moore at $2,500. Kelsey Parchman and Michael Jones took $14,000, the lion’s share of the prize money in team roping, followed by Charly Crawford/Russell Cardoza with $12,500, Keven Daniel/Caleb Twisselman at $5,000 and Tommy Edens/Cody Doescher at $3,000.
Oklahoman Sean Mulligan earned $5,500 to advance in steer wrestling, followed by Clayton Morrison, $4,500; Billy Bugenig, $2,750; and Olin Hannum, $2,500. Meanwhile, 2007 world champion Taos Muncy pocketed $6,750 to lead the way in saddle bronc riding, followed by Jesse Bail, $5,500; Chad Ferley, $2,000; and Isaac Diaz, $1,750. Ferley won the third go-round to earn his spot in the next round.
Luke Kelley was the only cowboy in the field of eight to ride all three bulls. He placed in all three rounds, including wins in Rounds 2-3, and won the average, earning $8,500. He moves on with Clint Craig, $4,250; Ardie Maier, $2,000; and Reece Cates, $1,500.
Minnesota cowgirl Jane Melby pulled in the biggest barrel racing paycheck, earning $7,000. She will be joined in the next round by Kassie Mowry, $2,750; Brittany Pozzi, $2,500; and Kenna Squires, $2,000, the same amount earned by Tammy Whyte, but Squires advanced by scoring better in the three-run aggregate.
Super Series II will take place over the next three days and will feature world champions Sherry Cervi, Luke Branquinho, Dean Gorsuch, Nick Sartain, Kollin Von Ahn, Ryan Jarrett and Fred Whitfield.