The bronc riders saved the best until last, with C.R. Kemple in bareback and Kevin Small in saddlebronc winning the eighth go-rounds with the best scores of the rodeo on the final night of the Days of '47 competition in the Salt Palace.
Both bronc riders beat scores Monday that had stood as the best since opening night, July 18.Kemple, of Durango, Colo., scored 81 points in bareback on a horse called "High and Mighty."
Following his ride, Kemple took some good-natured shoves from three-time defending world all-around champion Lewis Feild of Elk Ridge. Feild and Danny Brady of Henderson, Nev., had each scored 77s on opening night, and nobody topped them until Kemple came along.
"I knew he was a bucking son of a gun," Kemple said of High and Mighty, a horse he'd seen dump cowboys at the National Finals Rodeo in the past. "I tried to help him, be in his rhythm and stay with it. A pretty ride like that is a combination of everything going right."
Kemple said there was "nothing wrong at all" with his ride, and he anticipated another good horse at the Cheyenne Frontier Days today.
Feild and Brady split second-place average money in the event, each winning $2,922.61 to Kemple's $3,557.96.
Feild was in the Salt Palace again Monday to compete in saddlebronc riding and for his second try at team roping. He and Elk Ridge partner Pat Johnson had a shot at winning the team title, having roped in 7.9 a week earlier. World champions Clay O'Brian Cooper and Jake Barnes, who had set an arena record of 6.6 seconds on opening night, missed the dally on their second steer and took no time Monday, leaving Feild and Johnson as possible winners. But Feild caught only one hind foot, and the five-second penalty put the team out of the running.
The event was won by Clay Del Hurst of Illinois and Jerold Camarillo of California in 15.1 seconds on two head. They took home $1,139.26 each.
Feild's saddlebronc ride Monday was a 66, mostly because his horse, Tom Horne, wasn't stylish.
Small, however, found himself aboard one of the best, a locally bred animal named Reception. It was astride Reception last Monday that 18-year-old Ty Murray of Texas scored a 79, which held as the best of the rodeo through seven go-rounds. Reception produced the rodeo's saddlebronc winner last year, too, said Small.
"I knew a week ago he was the best horse," said Small, 29.
"I felt like I had to go for it all," said Small, adding that he had stayed high on the bronc's shoulders because he'd misjudged the length of rope he would need and it was a little short.
The $4,019.68 he won should put him into the PRCA's top 20 earnings list, said Small.
It was not a time for ropers, bulldoggers or bull riders. Monday's final performance saw a 7.6 take the team roping and 9.3 take the calf roping when times a full second faster had been recorded earlier in the week. In the seventh go-round on Monday afternoon, 9.0 and 7.1 took calf and team roping, but 5.3 took steer wrestling (4.8 Monday night). A 3.5 was turned in on Friday by Doug McMillen of Sidney, Neb., who took the rodeo average with 8.0 seconds on two head.
The bulls won 11 of the 12 contests Monday night, with only Chuck Simonson staying to the horn for a 68. In the afternoon, former world champ Don Gay scored 77. The 86 scored by Oklahoman Gary Toole July 19 remained the rodeo's finest, and Toole took home $4,236.39.
Barrel racing, absent without sponsorship from the Days of '47 for several years, made its comeback, and Fort Duchesne's Suzzanne Fausett took advantage to win Monday's final go with a 14.09-second time. That was second overall to the 13.91 turned in Saturday by Maureen Eddleman of Ramah, Colo. She took home $2,467.68, and Fausett, who arranges her racing around chores on her parents' horse farm, won $1,953.68.
Fausett said the earnings will probably move her up in the standings from 14th. She's been rodeoing in Canada recently and found opposition easier and purses good.
Fausett's gone to the NFR the last three years with a horse she calls "Black," who was obtained in a trade with a family that found him too rank for their daughter. She began running him locally, not thinking about the pro circuit until a friend, Lori McNeil, talked her into it.