BELTON — Jacob O’Mara arrived in Belton last year and came away with first-place money in the bull riding competition at the Bell County PRCA Rodeo.
With two nights of competition remaining, the Baton Rouge cowboy is in position to repeat as champion.
O’Mara completed the 8-second term on a bull named Sanchez to a score of 86 and was the only rider to post a score Thursday night during the evening event at the Bell County Expo Center.
A dozen other competitors were unable to make their allotted time.
Last year, O’Mara rode Black Kat to a winning score of 90. Dallas’ Aaron Pass drew Black Kat, but couldn’t hang on. The same was true for Belton’s Pancho Flores, who couldn’t stick with Panther.
The scores were much tighter in both the saddle bronc and bareback competition on the stock provided by the Sammy Andrews Rodeo Company.
Wyoming’s Kaleb Asay grabbed the lead in saddle bronc with a score of 77. That proved to be two points better than Sulphur Springs’ Justin Caylor and three better than James Greeson of Huntsville. Canadian cowboy Clay Elliot is in fourth with a ride that earned a score of 73.
Matt Bright of Stafford scored a 79 on Shady Lady for the early lead in bareback riding. That was just ahead of Itasca’s Pier-Anthony Boudreau who posted a 78 on Trophy Wife and did Canadian Kody Lamb on Woodstock. Shelly Murphy, another Itasca cowboy, turned in a 73 on Spitfire.
The leadership in other events — steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and barrel racing — came during the slack competition earlier Thursday before the evening go-round.
Nick Guy of Sparta has the lead in steer wrestling with a time of 4.2 seconds followed by a 4.9 for Tyler Gibson of Huntsville and a 5.5 from Iowan Cody Kroul. The best time during the night portion came from Illinois cowboy Wade Steffen at 6.3.
Clay McGuiston of Sanger leads the way in tie-down roping in a time of 9.0 seconds just ahead of Stephenville’s Ian Welles’ 9.5. Justus Whitcher of Athens had the best run at night with a 10.4.
Austin Ball of East Bernard and Dee Rampy of Bertram combined for leading time of 4.8 seconds in team, just a fraction better than Chase Wiley of Charlotte and Ace Pearce of Washington in 4.9. Texans Tyler Waters and Richard Durham turned in a 5.1 in the evening.
The evening barrel racers were unable to overtake the two leaders from earlier in the day: Taylor Lansdon of Aubrey in 16.31 seconds and Carlee Pierce of Stephenville in 16.32. Boerne’s Callie Duperier put herself in the money later with a time of 16.41.
The team of Trinton Downing and Keith Stermer won the Bell County team roping competition.