Performance No. 1 is in the books.
A mixture of Wilderness Circuit cowboys and those traveling the whole country put on a show at the Cache Country Rodeo Thursday night. Several competitors from just over the hill in Box Elder County fared well.
Trevor Mark Knighton turned in the best time in the steer wrestling with a 4.2-second run. The cowboy from Riverside had the top run by four-tenths of a second early in the rodeo.
Just a little bit south of Knighton lives Tim Bingham, who calls Honeyville home. Bingham made the only qualifying ride in the bull riding, covering Picacho for a 67-point score.
“They told me he (Picacho) started this year like that, but he has been really good the past few outs,” Bingham said. “Being 30 minutes from where I live, it doesn’t really matter, I’ll show up. ... It was all right. It’s not going to win the rodeo by no means, but it might hang in there for one of the bottom holes.”
Bingham had the option for a re-ride since his bull banged into the fence and was not at his best. The three-time qualifier to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) thought about it for a minute, but then decided to decline the chance at a better score — he could also be bucked off and end up with no mark.
“There was a mix of things that made me decide not taking a re-ride,” Bingham said. “I like getting one rode and I’ve had a pretty bum shoulder since the Fourth of July. Couple of nights ago I got slammed pretty good in New Mexico and messed up a rib or two on my left side. ... I just wanted to keep the score with a bunch of rodeos coming up over the next 15 days.”
There is no time to take a break and heal with the rodeo season is winding down.
It’s been a bit of a tough time in 2018 for Bingham, who finished 12th in the world a year ago. He began the week in 37th place. The top 15 qualify for the NFR. Bingham is just trying to get back on track and finish this season strong.
“It feels pretty good to get a ride under my belt,” Bingham said. “It’s been pretty hit and miss this year. ... This is the roughest year I’ve had to go through. Health has something to do with that, and a tough year getting draws. I’m up to 12 or 13 re-rides already this season. You don’t see that.”
Bingham hopes getting a bull covered will spark him to finish the season strong.
Jessy Davis is hoping the same thing as he was hurt at the end of June and is just now starting to feel better. The cowboy who calls Power, Montana, home now, but grew up in Utah County, is in 31st place in the bareback riding. Davis edged a competitive field of riders Thursday night as all five who competed in the event made the eight-second ride.
Davis drew a NFR horse in War Widow and powered his way to a 82.5 score. The seven-time NFR qualifier was happy for the horse he drew.
“When I found out, I was pretty excited,” Davis said. “He is a good one to have at any rodeo. I was happier than hell. ... Everything worked out tonight. The other guys rode outstanding too. I’m sure happy to be here and doing what I love.”
He was greeted by his wife and twins, who are two-and-a-half years old, after making a ride around the arena for having the top score in the event. It’s a family affair this year in traveling around the country.
The bareback riders certainly gave the fans something to cheer about and as rodeo announcer Reed Flake said as the night began: “Put your hands together when you see something you enjoy tonight.”
There was plenty of applause throughout the night. However, some of that was all the team ropers would leave with. Six of the 10 teams that competed left with no times, including a team that had 22-time NFR qualifier Joe Beaver.
There was a star-studded field Thursday night, including the top ranked team in the standings. Kaleb Driggers from Hoboken, Georgia, and Junior Nogueira Presidente Prude from Brazil had the fastest run of the night, stretching their steer in 5.7 seconds. However, the best time was turned in Thursday morning in the slack — where extra competitors compete. Kolton Schmidt of Barrhead, Alberta, Canada, and Cole Davison of Stephenville, Texas, had a time of 4.9 to lead the event.
In another timed event, the cowboys had a tough time getting times in the tie-down roping. Half of the 10 cowboys took goose eggs as some had calves get up after being tied. Jesse Loveless of Payson and Ty Baker of Van Horn, Texas, tied for the best times at 8.7 seconds.
“It’s loud here, so a lot of times the horse have a hard time working,” Loveless said. “I was lucky to draw a good calf and get by one. ... I’ve been on a bit of a dryspell, so it felt good to get one.”
“This set of calves is a little older and know what they are doing,” Van Horn said. “I had a pretty good one tonight. ... I just tried to make the best out of what I had.”
Loveless and Baker are actually tied for third as the two fastest times came in the slack. Tyson Durfey of Weatherford, Texas, has the best time with a 7.8. Durfey started the week No. 1 in the world standings.
In the saddle bronc event, the scores were close until Zachariah Phillips rode Paper Clip to a 82 mark. The Gillette, Wyoming, cowboy kept his emotions in check when he found out the horse he had drawn.
“I got a nice, older horse that has been around a long time,” Phillips said. “I’ve never seen him, just heard stories. I was excited to get on him. He was really nice. It worked out.”
Does he think his score will earn him a check?
“If it’s the Lord’s will,” Phillips said. “I’m not worried about it. ... I’m grateful to be healthy.”
Phillips, who also rides barebacks, has been to Cache County in the past and has even won some money here.
“We love coming here, love the mountains,” Phillips said. “The crowd is always great here. I do remember that. We were excited to come back.”
Fans Thursday night were witnesses to a rare happening as saddle bronc rider Audy Reed of Spearman, Texas, got to climb on three horses. His first horse didn’t buck, his second fell down after coming out of the chutes. He final got a clean ride and rode to a 78.5 score.
In the lone event for the women, Lauren Butler turned in a blazing run in the barrel racing. The Provo cowgirl did the clover leaf patter in 17.35 seconds.
Once again the rodeo fans were treated to Kids Mutton Bustin. Ava Israelsen set the high mark with a 92 and took home the big trophy.
The Cache County Rodeo continues Friday and Saturday night with the performance beginning at 8 o’clock.