HERMISTON — When Tuf Cooper shows up at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, he leaves with a check. OK, there was that one time in 2009, but let’s not dwell on the past.
Cooper, 24, trussed up his calf in 7.9 seconds Saturday night and finish second overall in the second go for a hefty chunk of change.
“This is my rodeo,” Cooper joked. “In 2009, I didn’t win any money, but from then on, I’ve always gotten a check.”
Cooper, who leads the world standings, missed his first calf Saturday, but there’s always a silver lining in Cooper’s world.
“I’ll never be able to get that calf back,” said Cooper, who rode Seth Hopper’s horse Jasper during his run. “I lost a little bit of my sight on my goals. Every day is an opportunity. When you do bad, there’s a little course you can take to get back on course.”
Cooper has a $17,687 lead over No. 2 Matt Shiozawa, who was up Friday in Hermiston, but did not make any money.
Catfish Brown, who is in the running for PRCA tie-down rookie of the year was third Saturday night with an 8.4-second run and will pocket a few hundred dollars for his effort.
Brown is second in the rookie standings with $25,370, just $2,032 behind leader Marcos Costa, who competed in slack Friday but did not earn a paycheck.
“I was leading all year until about a week ago,” said Brown, who was making his first appearance at the FCPR. “There are a lot of rodeos left. I’ll get there.”
In the bareback event, Bobby Mote and Kaycee Feild left Friday night tied with 86 points and were looking for their first FCPR title, even if they had to share.
But the minute they left town, Steven Peebles was stealing the title right out from under them with an 87-point ride on Special Delivery.
“That horse just bucks,” said Peebles, who is ranked third in the world standings. “It’s a big stout horse. He is the definition of a bucking horse.”
Peebles and Special Delivery teamed for a win in San Antonio earlier this year, putting $24,000 in Pebbles’ bank account toward the National Finals Rodeo.
“When I found out I had him here, I screamed out loud,” Peebles said. “I’m winning in Omak right now, and this should help put me in the top two.”
Jake Rinehart won the most coveted award at the FCPR — the Mike Currin Memorial Buckle, which goes to the steer wrestling champion. He had a time of 12.6 seconds on two head.
Mike Currin of Heppner, Ore., was just 25 years old when he died in a plane crash on Mt. Rainier on July 2, 1990, along with Dave P. Smith, Randy Dierlam, Davis Bowen and pilot Harry Card. They were flying from a rodeo in St. Paul, Ore., to compete in the final round at a rodeo in Ponoka, Alberta.
It was a family affair in the saddle bronc as 18-year-old Rusty Wright turned in an 83 to share the FCPR title with Samuel Kelts.
Rusty, a two-time high school national champion in the saddle bronc, bested his dad Cody, who had a 76, and uncle Spencer Wright, who also had a 76.
“There aren’t any bragging rights,” said Rusty, who filled his PRCA card in January. “They have won a whole lot more than me.”
Rusty, who turned in his winning ride on Tokoyo Bubbles, said there is an advantage to traveling with his uncle and his dad, a two-time world champion and an 11-time qualifier for the NFR.
“It’s a blessing,” Rusty said. “It’s an advantage to travel with guys who have been there, done that. It’s a rookie’s dream.”
Rusty is in the running for the saddle bronc rookie of the year title, which his uncles Spencer and Jesse won in the past. He has more than a $10,000 lead over the No. 2 rider.
“I’m so proud of him,” Cody Wright said of his son. “He has been riding good. I’m excited for him. He’s moving up the ladder.”
Five of the 11 bullriders posted legal rides Saturday, with veteran Steve Woolsey taking Wild Eyes for an 88-point spin for the title — his first in Hermiston.
In the team roping, Charly Crawford and Shay Carroll had a run of 4.2 seconds, and paired with their first go of 5.2 seconds, they won the second go and the average on two at 94 seconds.
“It means a lot to win this rodeo,” said Crawford, who has been coming to the FCPR since 1996.
Kelly Carrington had the hot run around the barrels, crossing the finish line in 17.31 seconds.
Rhen Richard (team roping and tie-down roping) won the all-around title and a custom saddle for his efforts.
Note: Addison McClure, 5, of Hermiston, won the Mutton Bustin’ title with a 90-ride, mostly under her sheep, but the little gal never let go.