Bull rider Wesley Silcox has made 10 trips to the Horse Heaven Round-Up, but he has never won and what few paychecks he has earned, have been paltry.
All that changed Friday night.
After Garrett Smith put up an 82-point ride, Silcox, the last man out of the chutes, turned in an 84 on Tapatio to take over the lead with night to go.
“I’ve never seen that bull before, but my traveling partner Steve Woolsey had him and said he spins and bucks,” Silcox said. “That was a nice bull. There were a lot of guys who rode tonight. This is a good rodeo, and the fans are great.”
Silcox is sitting 32nd in the world standings, $17,247 out of 15th. He has five weeks to try and build up his bank account for his seventh trip to the National Finals Rodeo.
“I gotta win,” Silcox said. “The next three weeks are real crucial. I had an 89 in Bremerton last night and I was winning. The last chance is Omaha, and that pays $10,000 or more.”
Fellow bull rider Beau Hill stayed on 8 seconds for a 78, which puts him in the top five, but it was his 5-year-old son Jory who stole the show Friday.
After a little cowgirl backed out of the mutton bustin’ at the last minute, Jory took her spot.
The little cowboy from West Glacier, Mont., rode his sheep all the way across the arena, with perfect form. He set a HHRU record with 95 points.
Idaho cowboy Wyatt Smith took over the lead in the second go-round of the steer wrestling, turfing his yellow steer in 3.8 seconds.
“I’m happy with that,” said Smith, who got a helping hand from his 7-year-old gelding, Leb. “That steer wasn’t supposed to be that good, but it turned out good.”
Smith, who has been to Kennewick four times, has never done well in the first go, but has had success in the second. He hopes his time holds up for the top check in the round.
“This is my best year,” Smith said. “I’m in the top 10 right now (he’s 11th), and tonight puts me one step closer to some money.”
Smith is shooting for his first NFR, and his lead over the no. 15 man is just $4,600.
“I still have my fingers crossed,” Smith said of a trip to the Finals. “There’s a lot that can happen in five weeks. Anyone five to 20 has a chance of making the finals.”
Bobby Mote, the No. 5 man in the bareback world standings, had the top ride of the night with an 80-point score on Major F.W. to move into second place in the event.
“That horse is a challenging type of horse,” Mote said. “For a lot of guys, this isn’t their favorite horse, but he bucks and the officials give him points.”
K.C. Miller had the top fun of the night in the tie-down at 7.6 seconds, but was well short of go-round leader Randall Carlisle’s 6.8-second run on Thursday.
The cowboys had a tough time in the saddle bronc, with just five guys staying on 8 seconds. Christian Stremler turned in a 77, which has him in the top five.
Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager turned in a 4.7-second run in the team roping, while Mary Walker ran the barrels in 17.50 seconds.
Bareback riding: Bobby Mote, 80; Ryan Gray, 77; Grant Denny 74.
Tie-down roping: K.C. Miller, 7.6 seconds; Brad Goodrich, 7.8; Jordan Weaver, 10.0
Steer wrestling: Wyatt Smith, 3.8 seconds; Cody Kroul, 4.0; Clayton Moore and Sean Santucci, 4-1.
Saddle bronc riding: Christian Stremler, 77 points; Cort Scheer, 76; Ryan Mackenzie 74.
Team roping: Turtle Powell-Dakota Kirchenschlager, 4.7 seconds; Jake Cooper-Keagan Duncan, 4.9; Rhen Richard-Jeremy Buhler, 9.8.
Barrel racing: Mary Walker, 17.50 seconds; Christy Loflin, 17,84; Karla Lane, 17.84.
Bull riding: Wesley Silcox, 84 points; Garrett Smith, 82; Dakota Beck and Steve Woolsey, 81.
Bareback riding: Steven Peebles, 82 points; Richmond Champion 77; Taylor Price, 74.
Tie-down roping: Randall Carlisle, 6.8 seconds; Blair Burke, 8.9; Russell Cardoza, 9.2.
Steer wrestling: Stan Branco and Austin Manning, 3.9 seconds; Sam Mackenzie, 4.3.
Saddle bronc riding: Heith DeMoss, 84 points; J.R. Berg and Sterling Crawley, 76.
Team roping: Levi Simpson-Ryon Tittel, 4.6 seconds; Chance Thompson-Jett Hillman, 4.8; Spencer Mitchell-Russell Cardoza, 5.1.
Barrel racing: Tami Semas, 17.39 seconds; Benette Little, 17.51; Pamela Capper, 17.52.
Bull riding: Aaron Pass, 70 points.
Steer wrestling: First round: 1. Andy Weldon, 3.8 seconds, $1,946; 2. Jake Rinehart, 3.9, $1,692; 3. (tie) Wade Sumpter, Gary Gilbert and Christian Radabaugh, 4.0, $1,184 each; 6. (tie) Dalton Massey, Trevor Knowles and John Franzen, 4.1, $423 each.