BELTON — It was a cold evening outside Bell County Expo Center. And for much of Friday night, the action was even colder inside at the Bell County PRCA Rodeo.
However in the night’s final and arguably most popular event, bull rider Reid Barker turned on the heat, riding Lost Hotel to a score of 87 points to take over the lead with one more performance to go.
Barker, a 21-year-old from Comfort, was the 11th cowboy to ride. As soon as the 8-second buzzer sounded and he was able to dismount, he turned to the fans and made an enthusiastic double-punch motion to get the somewhat light and quiet crowd pumped up.
Prior to Barker’s ride, Corey Maier from Timber Lake, S.D., rode Crime Spree to an 86, which at the time tied Jacob O’Mara for the lead.
O’Mara, who had taken the lead on the first night of action Thursday, was trying to defend his Bell County title from last year. Now, he’ll just be hoping he stays tied for second.
Only two other bull riders scored on Friday, with Oklahoma’s Tate Stratton carding an 83, which put him in a three-way tie for fourth, and Jared Parsonage of Canada getting an 80.
But the bull riders fared much better than the cowboys in the opening event, the bareback.
Only one of the eight riders in bareback stayed on long enough to score, but Brody Cooper’s 61 wasn’t enough to put him in the money. Matt Bright still leads with a 79, and a rider would need a 68 in the final performance tonight to break into the money.
In saddle bronc, only half of the 10 riders recorded scores, but most of those who did are in the money heading into tonight. Utah cowboy Levi Berry took the lead with an 83 on Slappin’ Leather. Sam Spreadborough of Snyder moved into a tie for second with a 77 on Toot A Lou, matching early leader Kaleb Asay. Weatherford’s Bradley Harter had a 76 and Treyson Antonick of Overton is on the edge of the money with a 75.
In steer wrestling, Todd Suhn of South Dakota turned in the best time with a run of 4.3 seconds, one-tenth of a second off the early lead held by Nick Guy. Dean Stermer’s 4.7, Paul Melvin’s 4.9, and Ty Erickson’s 5.4 on Friday were all good enough to be in a money position.
In tie-down roping, Colby Walkoviak of Anderson took the lead with a time of 8.2, J.D. McCuistion of Collinsville followed with an 8.4 and Omaha’s Kolt Henderson tied for third with a 9.0.
In team roping, five of the 10 pairs failed to get a time and two had to add 10-second penalties.
It left Landon McClaugherty and Caleb Twisselman’s 5.0 as the best time of the night, but only good enough for third place. David Key and Jett Hillman had a 5.3 to move into fifth.
And in barrel racing, four of the eight racers knocked over barrels and none had a time good enough to crack the top six, with Jill Welch’s 16.81 being the top time of the night. A rider would need a 16.50 to make the top six tonight and a 16.30 to lead.
The annual rodeo concludes with tonight’s 7:30 p.m. performance.