SALT LAKE CITY — You know what they say, don’t mess with Texas.
The Lone Star State dominated in the third performance of the Days of ’47 Rodeo Thursday night as the Texans placed first in six of the seven events, falling just short in the team roping competition to Nick Sartain (Oklahoma) and Rich Skelton.
“I just wanted to go out there and do the best I could,” Sartain said of his 4.00 first-place finish. “Luckily, my performance was enough (to win) tonight.”
Caine Riddle of Vernon, Texas, got the evening started with another stellar performance in the bareback riding event, finishing with a score of 85 to land in second place in the overall standings behind Winn Ratliff.
The Texans’ night wouldn’t slow down from there, as they claimed the top spot in five of the next six events to end an impressive night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Jacob Shofner of Huntsville, Texas, kept things rolling with a noteworthy time of 4.10 in the steer wrestling performance to slip into a three-way tie for first place with Chance E. Howard (Cedarville, Arkansas) and Dirk Tavenner (Rigby, Idaho).
Howard, however, sits with the last laugh for now as he sits above both Shofner and Tavenner in the overall standings in third place with an overall score of 4.1 after three days of competition.
Texas’ Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn posted an impressive time of 4.20 in the team roping competition, only to be edged out by Sartain and fellow Texan Skelton.
Sartain and Skelton also sit in first place in the overall standings with a total score of 4.0, while Brown and VonAhn are nipping at their heels with a total score of 4.2.
Utah’s own Jake and Jesse Wright finished with scores of 78 and 76, respectively, to come in second and third place in the saddle bronc riding competition, trailing only Texas’ Bradley Harter, who claimed the top spot with a near-perfect score of 89. Harter remains the top man to beat in the overall standings with a total score of 89.
Texans Monty Lewis, Carley Richardson and Trey Benton III went on to win the final three events of the night in the tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding to top off a terrific night of rodeo competition.
Lewis edged Marshall Leonard to remain in first place in the overall standings in tie down roping, while Carley Richardson’s performance helped her claim the top spot in the barrel racing event with a time of 13:25.
Despite her impressive performance Thursday night, Richardson (13.25) sits in third place in the overall standings while Laura Kennedy (13.12) claims the top spot.
Trey Benton III capped off Texas’ dominant night in the final event of the night: bull riding. Benton dazzled the judges and scored an impressive 85.0 to earn the top spot of the night over Cole Echols, who earned a quiet score of 81. Benton’s performance helped him land in first place in the overall standings and showed everyone why they shouldn’t mess with Texas.
The Days of ’47 Rodeo continues Friday at 7 p.m. and will conclude on Saturday at 6 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since October 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724