It was Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Horse Heaven Round-Up on Thursday, and two cowboys who had a tough time getting to the rodeo, ended up being the biggest heroes of the night.
Bareback rider George Gillespie VI of Placerville, Calif., had transmission problems and he practically willed his car into Kennewick because he so wanted to take an 8-second ride on Cajun Queen.
The two combined for the top score of the night with an 83.
“When I saw last week week that I got her, I shouted out in the car, scaring my girlfriend,” Gillespie said. “I was so excited. She was awesome. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten on her. I saw Bobby Mote get an 87 on her. She was everything I expected her to be.
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“I was pleading with my car to get me to Kennewick so I could get on that horse.”
Gillespie sits second in the event behind Kaycee Feild, who had an 85 on Wednesday.
“If I can get second here, I’ll be excited,” Gillespie said. “I’m trying to make up some ground. I’m hoping to get back on a hot streak and this is a good start.”
For his efforts, Gillespie, and all the go-round winners, received a custom Tough Enough to Wear Pink belt buckle and a $200 bonus.
Gillespie said he’d give the buckle to his mom Monique, who is a breast cancer survivor, and he gave to check back to the BFFR committee to add to their cause.
Since the BFFR committee started its Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, the money raised has helped more than 450 women in the Mid-Columbia.
Saddle bronc rider Louie Brunson of Interior, S.D., also had car troubles. His car died, so he borrowed one from a friend. That car too died, leaving Brunson stranded in Superior, Mont.
With a good horse — Kool Toddy — waiting for him in Kennewick, Brunson plunked down $2,000 on a 1988 Pontiac and headed down the road.
He will more than make back his money after posting a 90-point ride, taking the lead in the event on the back of the 12-year-old mare who has performed at the National Finals Rodeo.
“That horse got out good,” said Brunson, who also donated back his bonus check. “That one, and Spring Planting, are the ones you want. Don (Hutsell) as the best horses.
No one knew what the arena record was Thursday night, but Brunson has to be near or at the top.
Washington bull rider Shane Proctor has the top score of the night, turning in an 82 on Guaconator, while barrel racer Pamela Capper of Cheney had the hot run at 17.15 seconds.
The barrel racers only have one run at the HHRU, and Capper took the lead from Kim Schulze, who had a 17.56 on Wednesday.
Dru Melvin of Hebron, Neb., was the last man out of the gate in the steer wrestling, and while his time of 4 seconds bested the field, it still was behind second-go leaders Jake Rinehart and Tyler Waguespack, who each had a 3.5 on Wednesday.
In tie-down roping, Cody Ohl had the top run of 7.7 seconds, and Cody Solomon took the lead on two at 16.9 seconds.
“I’m 17th in the standings and fighting to get in the top 15,” Solomon said. “This is my third or fourth year coming up here and I usually do pretty well. Most of the money is in the average and that’s where you want to be.”
Jack Fischer and Cully Stafford teamed for a 5.9 run in the team roping.
Thursday’s performance winners
Bareback — George Gillespie VI, 83 points. Tie-down roping — Cody Ohl, 7.7 seconds. Steer wrestling — Dru Melvin, 4.0. Saddle bronc — Louie Brunson, 90 points. Team roping — Jack Fischer and Cully Stafford, 5.9. Barrel racing — Pamela Capper, 17.15. Bull riding — Shane Proctor, 82.
First go-round leaders
Tie-down roping — Cory Solomon 7.8 seconds. Steer wrestling — Seth Brockman, 3.6. Team roping — Luke Brown and Kollin Von Ahn, 5.0.
Second go-round leaders
Tie-down roping — Tuf Cooper, 7.7 seconds. Steer wrestling — (tie) Jake Rinehart and Tyler Waguespack, 3.5. Team roping — Keven Daniel and Chase Tryan, 5.3.
Average on two
Tie-down roping — Cory Solomon, 16.9 seconds. Steer wrestling — Wade Sumpter, 7.8. Team roping — Brady Tryan and Matt Robertson, 11.3.