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Cheney cowboy shows guts after liver injury

HERMISTON -- It took Ryan Gray six months to recover from a lacerated liver, but it has only taken two months for the Cheney cowboy to move into the top 20 in the world bareback standings.

Gray turned in an 86-point ride Friday night at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo to move into second in the standings behind Clint Cannon's 88.

"I lacerated my liver at the NFR last year when the horse stepped on my back," said Gray, who is 17th in the world standings and less than $2,500 out of the top 15. "It was pretty severe. I'm thankful to be able to come back and do what I love to do. I feel as good as I have in five years this time of the year.

"My goal was to come back strong, make the finals and have fun doing it. I've had a great summer."

While Gray has been picking up weekly paychecks, roper Trevor Brazile surpassed the $4 million mark for career earnings last month. He is the only cowboy to reach the milestone.

After his 8.8-second run in the tie-down roping, Brazile likely will add to his winnings.

"I've had such a blessed career," Brazile said. "I started out thrilled to make a living at what I love. To be able to go above and beyond is a dream come true. I surround myself with great people, and my family is so supportive."

The bull riders had a tough go of things Friday night, with just two cowboys managing to hang on for the full 8 seconds.

Sev Carden of Omak held on for an 84 on Little Rascal, moving him to No. 2 in the FCPR standings behind Clayton Savage (87).

"I haven't been on these bulls," Carden said of the Korkow Rodeos stock. "I pretty much do the Columbia River Circuit. There were some good riders here and if they were bucking them off, they were some good bulls."

Little Rascal was just the ninth bull Carden has been on this season. He broke his femur last August and is just getting back in the chute.

"That was my first big ride since I got hurt," said Carden, who works construction by day. "A paycheck here would be nice. It would turn my season around."

Troy Crowser, the 2010 PRCA rookie of the year in the saddle bronc, posted a top score of 78 on River Rat on a night where high marks were hard to come by.

"This is my first time here and I really enjoyed it," said Crowser, a native of Whitewood, S.D. "I'd hoped to draw a better horse, but I knew coming in he wasn't one of the top ones. I felt like I rode pretty good. Everyone over the last couple of days that have gotten good scores had good horses."

In the steer wrestling, there were four broken barriers, which adds 10 seconds onto the run. Avoiding the penalty for a top time of 4.7 seconds was Les Shepperson of Wyoming.

Matt Sherwood and Cory Petska had a 5.1-second run in the team roping, and lead the event with a 9.7 on two head.

In the barrel racing, Texas cowgirl Benette Barrington had the hot run of 17.56 seconds.


To infinity and ...: Carson, dressed as Buzz Lightyear for the mutton bustin', backed out at the last minute, leaving his sheep all alone in the chute. Not timid of her woolly ride was Emily Smith, 7, of Hermiston. Emily tuned in a score of 85, making it the second night in a row that a girl has turned in the top score.

In tribute: Friday's opening ceremonies included a tribute to Janice Davis of Hermiston, who died in a plane crash in June. Davis was one of the original FCPR Ladies and a former barrel racer.