GUNNISON, Colo. – Orin Larsen had every reason to be excited about his Friday night ride at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo.
He matched moves with Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s JBC Bent Rail Sourdough for 88 points to move into a tie for the bareback riding lead with rookie Cole Reiner, who earned his 88 in Thursday’s first performance. For Larsen, the big score means a chance at big bucks in Gunnison, but it also means a lot more.
“I really want to win that rifle,” he said of a specialized gun that is awarded to the top-scoring bareback ride. “This is a great rodeo, but it’s a rodeo I’ve never been to. I know the committee has done a really good job of trying to get it going with the whole COVID deal going on. I know they moved on from their original dates and worked hard to make it happen.
“Like a lot of rodeos that have worked to go on through this year, it means a lot to us that they went ahead and had the rodeo.”
Like most professional sports, the global pandemic has turned rodeo on its side. More than half the rodeos on the 2020 schedule were canceled, while others, like Cattlemen’s Days, were postponed. That affects the bottom line of the cowboys and cowgirls who make this game their business. A year ago at this time, Larsen had secured more than $100,000 in earnings.
This year, though, he’s quite content with the $55,181 he’s pocketed; he sits seventh in the world standings and just needs to close out the final 25 days of the regular season to secure his sixth straight berth to the National Finals Rodeo.
“Everybody’s just scrambling right now,” said Larsen, 29, of Inglis, Manitoba, now living in Gering, Nebraska, with his wife, Alexa. “We’re all going to the same rodeos. It’s kind of a grudge match with everybody going to the same places. It makes rodeo a little more exciting.”
It was pretty exciting Friday. JBC Bent Rail Sourdough has been around for years, and Larsen recalled getting on the big horse a few years ago at the NFR.
“Everyone I talked to said that would be a really good horse to have here,” said Larsen, who earned $123,000 in 10 nights at the NFR last December and finished as the No. 2 bareback rider in the game. “She took a pretty long scoot and had a wild jump, but after that she was just up and down and felt really good. It was the perfect horse to have here.
“This has been a hard year to make a living rodeoing. You’re going to every rodeo, so you’re spending money to get there. A lot of committees have had to drop their sponsorship money, so it’s hard to make money. I try to look at things half full; I get to go to rodeos I’ve never been to. I try to make the most of it and have fun with what you’re having to deal with.”
That’s why he’s still finding success.
Bareback riding leaders: 1. (tie) Cole Reiner, on United Pro Rodeo’s Pow Wow Nights, and Orin Larsen, on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s JBC Bent Rail Sourdough, 88 points; 3. Wyatt Bloom, 87.5; 5. Shane O’Connell, 85.5; 5. Tim O’Connell, 85; 6. Pascal Isabelle, 84.5; 7. Donny Proffitt, 82.5; 8. (tie) Jamie Howlett and Zach Hibler, 82.
Steer wrestling: 1. Jesse Brown, 3.7 seconds; 2. Bridger Anderson, 3.8; 3. Cody Devers, 3.9; 4. Winston McGraw, 4.0; 5. (tie) Cade Staton, Landon Beardsworth and Will Lummus, 4.1; 8. (tie) Kodie Jang, Bill Glaunch and Dirk Tavenner, 4.2.
Team roping: 1. (tie) Levi Simpson/Shay Carroll, Jake Cooper/Lane Mitchell and Aaron Tsinigine/Kyle Lockett, 4.5 seconds; 4. Tanner Tomlinson/Brady Norman, 4.7; 5. Matt Sherwood/Trey Yates, 4.9; 6. J.B. James Jr./Brock Hanson, 5.2; 7. Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes, 5.3; 8. Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 5.4; 9. Pedro Egurrola/Trevor Nowlin, 5.5; 10. Clay Norell/Jesse Sheffield, 6.0.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Ryder Wright, 87.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Flashcard Champ; 2. Cody DeMoss, 86.5; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 86; 4. Shorty Garrett, 85; 5. Spencer Wright, 84; 6. Wyatt Casper, 82; 7. Rusty Wright, 80.5; 8. Isaac Diaz, 69; 9. Taos Muncy, 78; 10. Stetson Wright, 77.5.
Tie-down roping: 1. Trampus Quarnberg, 8.6 seconds; 2. (tie) Tyler Prcin and Ike Fontenot, 8.7; 4. Marcos Costa, 9.0; 5. Luke Potter, 9.1; 6. Charlie Gibson, 9.3; 7. Shad Mayfield, 9.5; 8. (tie) Ty Harris and Caleb Smidt, 9.8.
Barrel racing: 1. Shali Lord, 17.48 seconds; 2. Nicole Drigggers, 17.50; 3. Sherry Cervi, 17.65; 4. (tie) Brittany Barnett and Nicole Waggoner, 17.67; 6. Megan Champion, 17.74; 7. Emily Miller, 17.76; 8. Lexie Goss, 17.87; 9. Lori Todd, 17.89; 10. Andrea Busby, 17.98.
Bull riding: 1. Ty Wallace, 87.5 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Buck Jam; 2. Roscoe Jarboe, 87; 3. Chase Dougherty, 85.5; 4. Cole Meloncon, 85; 5. Garrett Smith, 84.5; 6. Brady Portenier, 84; 7. Chance Ekins, 83.5; 8. Daylon Swearingen, 82.