HERMISTON — Sometimes a Gamble pays off.
Five-time world tie-down champion Cody Ohl, who missed significant time this season with an injury, returned to action two weeks before the doctor would have liked.
The result? Wins at the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho, and the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo. Those two rodeos put $14,500 in his pocket and have him sitting 27th in the world standings.
Ohl, who took a horn to the midsection from one of his own cows and shattered a rib in 17 places, looked in top form Wednesday on the opening night of the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, posting a 9-second run in the tie-down event.
The run placed him second on the night but gave him the lead in the average at 19.2.
“It’s been a long road,” said Ohl, who made his run on a 12-year-old bay horse named Gamble. “I came back a couple of weeks earlier than the doctor wanted, went to Nampa and won. I went through a dry spell, then won at Dodge City.”
Marty Yates had the hot run of the night in the tie-down at 8.3 seconds, also riding Gamble.
“Marty is a great friend of mine, and it’s nice to see him do so well,” Ohl said.
Ohl, trying to rake in a pile of money before the end of September, is $12,578 out of 15th place. He said he will compete in 10 rodeos over the next 14 days.
In the bareback event, JR Vezain not only had the top ride of the night on Alley Trail with an 86, but his ride was the Coca-Cola Showdown, earning the Wyoming cowboy an extra $500 to tuck in his pocket.
“I know that horse, but I’d never been on her before,” Vezain said. “I was excited and I had big expectations.”
Vezain is sitting 15th in the world standings, and a nice paycheck from the FCPR would go a long way in trying to earn his third trip to the National Finals Rodeo.
“I haven’t drawn so good lately and I’ve had equipment problems,” Vezain said. “I changed my rigging, and I’ve been blessed with a few food horses.”
Pendleton cowboy R.C. Landingham turned in a 78 on September Skies to finish fifth.
“It just wasn’t a good horse,” Landingham said. “She was too easy. I rode her here a couple of years ago for a 75. It felt better today, but she didn’t get enough air and kick hard enough. I’ve never done very good here.”
Nine cowboys tried their luck on the bulls Wednesday, but only two had any luck, with Shawn Proctor taking an 8-second spin on Range Boss for 79 points. Chase Robbins had a 77 on Uno.
In the saddle bronc, veteran cowboy Cody DeMoss and Troy Crowser each turned in an 80 to share first place.
There were three lightning-fast runs in the team roping, but Coleman Proctor and Jake Long finished on top at 4.7 seconds. Brady Tryan and Tommy Zuniga were at 4.8, and Shawn Bird and Justin Viles got the job done in 5 seconds, and also lead the average with a 10.3 on two runs.
Carlee Pierce of Stephenville, Texas, had the hot run of the night in the barrel racing at 16.92 seconds, just shy of the arena record of 16.81, set by Lindsay Sears in 2006.
The steer wrestlers joined the bull riders as the tough luck bunch of the night. Five cowboys turned in runs, with Tayor Gregg of Touchet topping the go at 6.5 seconds, but the other four were timed in more than 13 seconds.