PRESTON — Competing in one event as a professional cowboy can be tough.
How about trying to do three? That’s what a cowboy from Randlett does as often as he can.
Josh Frost was in town for the start of the 84th edition of That Famous Preston Night Rodeo. The 24-year-old was in the steer wrestling, tie-down roping and finished off his night in the bull riding. Thursday was just another night for the northeastern Utah cowboy.
“I grew up doing it and it kind of keeps the bull riding off your mind until your bull is in the chute,” Frost said. “... It’s been going really well this year. I’ve got a real good shot of making the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) this year. There are still two good months of rodeos left, so I need to hammer down and keep riding them. It’s been going good so far.”
Frost began the week in sixth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) all-around standings. He is No. 11 in the bull riding standings. He tries to do all three events in Wilderness Circuit rodeos.
“I enter the bull riding everywhere and try and make the circuit finals in tie-down roping and steer wrestling,” Frost said. “It keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve been roping and steer wrestling my whole life, so I really enjoy it.”
He began his night in the steer wrestling. He got out fast — too fast — as he broke the barrier and was assessed a 10-second penalty. That essentially knocked him out of the running for earning a paycheck in the event.
Next up was the tie-down roping. Once again he got out fast, but had some trouble throwing his calf. He did clock in at 11.4 seconds, but was fifth on the night with two more days of rodeo to come.
Frost can take a little solace in the fact some of the best tie-down ropers were in town Thursday night but will not be earning any money either. Several former world champions in the event did not even get a time, and they had won more than a million dollars in the event during their careers. Some nights are like that.
Lane Livingston had the best run of the night in the tie-down roping with a 8.1. The Seymour, Texas, roper was fast and efficient.
Frost capped his night in his signature event. He drew the bull Big Easy and saved the best for last. He has won more than $76,000 in bull riding so far this year and will most likely add to that total after this weekend.
Frost turned in a score of 87.5 to the delight of the packed stands. His score was the best of the 10 who attempted the event.
“That my friend is how you ride a bucking bull,” PA announcer Andy Seilor said.
Shortly after Frost rode, his younger brother Jate Frost also made the eight seconds and earned a score of 86.
“My brother has been doing well,” Josh Frost said. “... My main goal is to make the NFR. I’ve been close a few times, but injuries have slowed me in the past. I’m hoping this is the year. I’ve been healthy and riding well. My ultimate goal would be to make the NFR in bull riding and calf roping within the next three or four years.”
While tie-down roping and steer wrestling didn’t go as planned, Frost is still among the leaders in the circuit in tie-down roping.
He said he mainly does three events to try and win the Linderman Award, which goes to the cowboy who wins the most money in three events, but is required to win at least $1,000 in all three events. Another requirement is one event has to be timed and one a roughstock event.
“I’ve been trying to win my $1,000 in steer wrestling,” Frost said. “I’ve won one check and I’m sitting in second at another rodeo right now.”
Frost makes sure to keep Preston on his list or rodeos to hit.
“It’s That Famous Preston Night Rodeo, everybody knows about it,” Frost said. “It’s the only rodeo in the U.S. that starts at 8:30. It’s a great rodeo. The stands are always packed and there is great energy here.”
Frost has never won the bull riding at Preston, but has placed. Perhaps this is the year he takes home the biggest check in that event.
The action began Thursday night with the bareback riding. Grant Denny covered City Lights for the required eight seconds and had the highest score of the night with a 82. The horse is a converted saddle bronc animal, so a bit larger than the average bareback horse.
“I had seen him on video and was excited to get him,” Denny said. “It was a sweet ride and worked out really good.”
The Minden, Nevada, cowboy is hopeful the ride will earn him some money by the end of the week. He came to Preston from Iowa and was in a hurry to get going as one of his buddies was getting married Friday in northern California.
“The drive is going to be fun,” Denny said. “I’m in the wedding, so we are going to drive all night.”
A new event at the Preston rodeo was breakaway roping. There are 35 PRCA rodeos giving the ladies a chance to compete in something other than barrel racing.
A pair of sisters from Grantsville had the best times Thursday night. Anna Bahe was the final competitor and turned in a scorching time of 2.4. Cassie Bahe was second at 2.8.
“It’s incredible that they are allowing breakaway to be in the PRCA,” Anna Bahe said. “It’s super exciting. It has grown the last three years. … We are trying to make it to another rodeo tonight in Grace, so we were going fast.”
In the classic event of saddle bronc riding, a cowboy from Paradise Valley, Nevada, had the best score. Like Anna Bahe, Sam Harper was the final competitor in his event and knew the mark he had to aim for. He rode Mirror Man, who took some big strides, to a 84.5 score.
“I’ve seen that horse a bunch and he can be really good or not so good,” Harper said. “He was good today. … I’m glad we came here.”
Other top performances Thursday included Tanner Stanger (Murtaugh, Idaho) in the steer wrestling with a time of 4.4. Tanner Baldwin (Vail, Arizona) and Nano Garza (Las Cruces, New Mexico) had the best run in team roping with a 5.1. In the barrel racing, Carly Taylor (Andersonville, Tennessee) had the best time with a 17.11.
There were speciality acts, clown shennigans and of course mutton bustin Thursday night. The rodeo will continue with performances Friday and Saturday night. The action begins at 8:30.