Cardoza off to sizzling start at Horse Heaven Round-Up

August 22, 2012 

— The Northwest has been very good to Russell Cardoza the last couple of weeks.

Cardoza, from Terrebonne, Ore., won the all-around title at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston two weeks ago, and he stands to make a little money at the Horse Heaven Round-Up after he turfed his white steer in a time of 3.8 seconds Wednesday night in the steer wrestling.

"It's pretty tough to be in the 3s in bulldogging," Cardoza said. "It's only the third time I've done it. I'm pretty excited. The Northwest has been pretty good so far."

Riding Bobby, a 16-year-old gelding, Cardoza got a quick start on his run.

"A good start and a slow steer is what it takes," Cardoza said.

Cardoza later teamed with Colby Lovell for a time of 5.1 seconds in the team roping for the third-best time of the night behind Brock Hanson and Ryan Mote's 4.6.

While Cardoza raked in the title and money in Hermiston, Australian saddle bronc rider Lucas Wilson couldn't pull off an eight-second ride.

Wednesday, the Aussie had better luck aboard bay gelding No Dice for an 81 to tie atop the leaderboard with traveling partner Tyrell Smith of Great Falls, Mont.

"Tyrell had that horse last week in Omak, and it was nice to be able to ask him about it," Wilson said. "The saddle sits a little weird on him, and it was nice to know that. It was a nice horse to get on, but there are still a hell of a lot of good bronc riders to come."

Smith turned in an 81 on a blue roan named Falling Timbers, but as excited as he was for himself, he was just as happy for Wilson.

"He's been having a rough string drawing nasty horses," Smith said of Wilson. "It's good to see him jump out and have a chance to win some money."

Smith, who is 14th in the world standings, has been traveling on and off with Wilson since 2009.

"I gained a pet Aussie in 2009," Smith joked.

Wilson missed time in 2010 because of a broken neck, and he currently is competing with a green fracture in his right femur and a torn knee ligament.

Ryan Gray of Cheney and Seth Hardwick of Laramie, Wyo., had 81s to lead the bareback event.

"I haven't had that horse (Spy) before, but I'd heard of him," Hardwick said as he unwrapped a mile of tape from his right arm. "This is just my second time here, and it's a lot better than it was last year."

Hardwick is 23rd in the world standings, abut $10,000 out of the top 15.

"This is just my second year (in the PRCA)," he said. "I'm just trying to make it."

Gray, 16th in the world standings and about $1,500 shy of 15th, hopes his score holds up for some money.

"That was a really good horse," Gray said of Moon Shadow. "The kind you want to get on and they let you do anything."

Ryle Smith of Oakdale, Calif., had an 8.3-second run to top the field in tie-down roping.

A trio of Northwest cowgirls dominated the barrel racing as Pamela Capper of Cheney had the hot run of 17.34 seconds. Jody Hale of Echo, Ore., was at 17.61, and Liz Combs of Eltopia was at 17.67.

Steve Woolsey of Payson, Utah, had a 70 to lead the bull riding on a night when the bulls were large and in charge. Only three of 12 cowboys posted a legal ride by press time.

Notes: In Tuesday's Xtreme Bulls event, Tate Stratton of Kellyville, Okla., had a score of 171.5 on two rides, earning a paycheck of $3,788. ... Bullfighter Loyd Ketchum got hit in the head during the Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday and received seven stitches in his forehead. He was back in action Wednesday.

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