Rodeo athletes making the grade

Bareback bronc rider Anthony Bellingham wows the crowd at the Fort Dalles Rough and Wild rodeo Friday night.

On an action packed night with plenty of chills, thrills and spills, the rodeo action reached its fever pitch on Day 3 of the 48th annual Fort Dalles Days “Rough and Wild” Rodeo at Milt Tumilson Arena in The Dalles.

Although there were no major shakeups in the standings, three events had some close calls and Terrebonne’s Shane Erickson jumped the pack with a time of 10.2 seconds in the calf roping competition.

Ricky Canton had a solid Friday run of 11 seconds, Brad Goodrich turned in an 18.3 and Bruce Hoctor finished with a 26.6, to mark the four participants out of nine to notch times.

Erickson’s marker surpassed that of Chase Richter, who put up a 10.3 on Thursday.

“I am so pumped up right now,” Erickson said. “I think this should hold up, but you never know. I got a guy today by .1, maybe I get caught tomorrow (Saturday). I would still put it up against anyone though.”

As it stood early Saturday morning, Erickson, Richter, Canton, Markus Hamlin (11.2), Justin Talbott (11.4) and J.W. Rose (13) were in the top-6 money rankings.

In Friday’s barrel racing run, Britni Carlson made things interesting, as she tallied a 17.54 to move into second place.

Sierra Ridley had a 17.65, The Dalles Wahtonka High School graduate, Hannah Olheiser, rode out to an 18.21 and Kasey Every hit on 21.58.

Crystal Beam (21.93), Katelyn Weedin (22.07), Kathy Grimes (22.67) and Kelsie Ritter (23.58) rounded out Friday’s field.

There were 12 participants still to go on Saturday. Each of them were chasing leader, Cindy Woods, who had a 17.44.

Carlson (17.54), Kyna Schrader (17.57), Ridley (17.65), Callahan Crossley (17.69) and Sammi Lane (17.7) remained in money contention.

After Michele Lyons put up an impressive time of 2.2 in breakaway roping Thursday, it appeared she was well on her way to top money without a hitch.

Friday, Jennifer Frohman made things interesting with a 2.3 in her try to move into second place with 10 riders still left on the docket.

“A lot of times it is luck. You come here with enough skill and you try to be as flawless as possible in your performance,” Frohman said. “It is all a matter of how it all comes together. I did good. Almost had it.”

Also on Friday, Sierra Ridley had a 2.9 and Jamaie Marts added a 7.3 to complete the trio of athletes finishing their runs, out of the nine who signed up.

Stephanie Holly (2.6), Ridley (2.9), Lacey Nauman (3.2) and Kelli Kamm (3.3) were in the top-6 Saturday.

With a shorter field set to work out Friday, it was Kennewick’s Seth Shelton, who had the best score of the night in bareback riding with a 78 to pull into a three-way tie for second.

Shelton, along with Mitchell Rickman and Kevin Lusk tallied 78s, Orlan McGuffin scored a 75 and Jared Bain had a 72.

None of those scores was good enough to catch Cheney, Wash.’s Nick Gutzwiler, whose 80 still had him on top of the leaderboard.

The only other rider to take the reins for a qualified time Friday was Anthony Bellingham at 68.

On the saddle bronc front, one of the five cowboys pulled through with a score, as Grant Tate forged a 58 to his record.

His tally was far behind the overall leader, Roy Johnson (79), out of Etna, Wash.

Mark Gage (77), Jacob Stacy (76), T.B. Hannan (76), Kade McLean (75) and Charlie Barker (73) represented the six in the top half of the leaderboard.

Tough-luck cowboys, Cody Lamb, Jasper Eshelman, Clint Johnson and Jimmy Grand also gave it their best efforts in Friday’s bullriding event, but they were bumped off.

These rodeo bulls have been a tough nut to crack for all of the 21 cowboys thus far with just one participant putting up a score.

Willy Gentry had a tenuous lead entering the final night at 77 for first place.

“Gold Buckle Rodeo Company has a fantastic set of bulls. They can go anywhere in the world with them and be competitive,” said Rodeo Association Board Member Jake Grossmiller. “These cowboys have had a rough go of it here.”

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