HEMPSTEAD, Texas – After two and a half years away from the game he loves, Yance Day has returned with a vengeance.
He showed it Friday night, when the Oklahoma cowboy took the bareback riding lead at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo with an 85-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s YoYo. In doing so, he made an emphatic statement that he is back to chase his dreams.
“I want that gold buckle,” said Day, 29, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. “That’s what I see in my head, and I’m going to do what it takes.”
The proof comes in the way he’s conducted himself since his return. It’s paying off when he arrives at the arena. He liked the little he knew about YoYo, a horse that has bucked at the National Finals Rodeo.
“All I knew is just what I’d seen on the stock stats, and I saw a lot of 21s and 22s (based on scores of up to 25 for each judge),” he said. “I was pretty excited to see those numbers, and I was more than happy to make the trip down here.
“I went over to Leesville (Louisiana) and was 82 and winning it when I left, and I’m winning it when I leave here, so I’m pretty tickled.”
Day left rodeo to help out his family back home, but after time away, he realized he needed to return to the sport. He received assistance from a couple of former bareback riders, Brody Cooper and D.V. Fennell, the latter of whom is a two-time NFR qualifier.
“Brody took me under his wing, and I just started working out like crazy,” Day said. “He pushed me, irritated me on some days, but for the most part he helped me out a bunch.
“With D.V., it started out when Brody took me under his wing. I started driving a truck for him, and we’d talk about things.”
After retiring from rodeo, Fennell started Mane Line Transportation, a trucking company based in Oklahoma. While he made ends meet behind the wheel, Day gathered lessons while crossing the country and having conversations with his boss.
“We’d talk about what I was doing, and I’d be driving past Colorado Springs, and he’s say, ‘Champ there; my name’s on the wall.’ That helped me more than anything. Him telling me stuff that he’d won kept it in my mind. I want to be able to say that.”
If he finishes the 2020 regular season the way he’s started it this week, he might say that quite often over the next 12 months.
Waller County Fair and Rodeo
Bareback riding: 1. Yance Day, 85 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s YoYo; 2. (tie) Craig Wisehart and Cole Reiner, 82; 4. (tie) Waylon Guy Bourgeois and Anthony Thomas, 79; 6. Leighton Berry, 78; 7. Tim Murphy, 77; 8. Tyler Berghus, 76.5.
Steer wrestling: 1. Dylan Schroeder, 4.2 seconds; 2. Jacob Edler, 4.5; 3. Ben Goodman Jr., 4.6; 4. (tie) Heath Thomas, Levi Rudd and Chase Crane, 4.7; 7. Garrett Oates, 4.8; 8. A.D. Davis II, 4.9.
Team roping: 1. Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long, 3.8 seconds; 2. Lane Ivy/Dillon wingereid, 4.4; 3. Garett Chick/Walt Woodard, 4.5; 4. Mason Boettcher/Ty Arnold, 4.6; 5. (tie) Reno Cash Stoebner/Colton Brittain and Cody Snow/Travis Graves, 4.7; 7. (tie) Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins II, Andrew Livingston/Seth Smithson and Tate Kirchenschlager/Ross Ashford, 5.0; 10. Cyle Denison/Lane Mitchell, 5.2.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Jacobs Crawley, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Mike and Ike, and Sterling Crawley, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Brown Eyed Girl, 82 points; 3. (tie) Logan Hay, Dean Wadsworth and Roper Kiesner, 75; 6. Riggin Smith, 73; 7. Toby Collins 70; 8. Ben Andersen, 61.
Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Marcos Costa, 8.4 seconds; 2. (tie) Clint Singleton, 8.5; 3. Blane Cos, 8.6; 4. Sy Felton, 8.7; 5. (tie) Tanner Green and Tyler Prcin, 8.8; 7. (tie) Charlie Gibson and Hudson Wallace, 8.9.
Barrel racing leaders: Kelly Bruner, 15.27 seconds; 2. (tie) Amanda Cupp and Lauren Davang, 15.54; 4. Stephanie Fryar, 15.60; 5. Jimmie Smith, 15.63; 6. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, 15.64; 7. (tie) Ashley Castleberry and Abby Phillips, 15.65; 9. (tie) Taryn Boxleitner and Jessi Fish, 15.66; 11. (tie) Abby Pursifull and Kelsey Knight, 15.68.
Bull riding: 1. Creek Young 82 points on Lancaster & Jones’ Mr. Jones; 2. Laramie Mosley, 81; 3. Jacob O’Mara, 80; no other qualified rides.