Koby Radley and Clayton Sellars should be in a good mood for their road trip Thursday.
The cowboys from Panola Junior College and Western Texas College, respectively, were the only two bull riders to stay on for 8 seconds in Wednesday night’s College National Finals Rodeo performance.
Thursday, they’ll ride together to Reno, Nevada, for the Xtreme Bull Riding rodeo.
“If you fall off,” Radley said, “it’s never a fun road trip.”
Radley was the first to ride Wednesday.
“I kind of like it,” he said. “I’d rather go ahead and get it done with. I don’t want to stay back there and think about it too long.”
He was also the best to ride Wednesday. His 75 was the highest bull riding score of the night and the second-best of the third go-round altogether. Mid-Plains Community College’s Garrett Wickett was the only bull rider to score Tuesday. He chose to keep his 52.0 points, and his second score of the rodeo, instead of taking a re-ride.
Wednesday, Radley rode Triple V’s Poker Face.
“I knew a little bit about him,” the freshman said. “I knew he was probably going to turn back to the right in the gate, and that would fit me pretty good. But it all worked out.”
Radley took a little while to get the bull out of the gate.
“I think I was being a little bit picky,” he said. “Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad.
“... (I’m trying) Just to get him standing straight. I don’t like him to be leaning on the back of that bucking chute. Because then he’s a step ahead of me, and when the bull’s a step ahead of you, you don’t have a chance.”
After being bucked off on his first ride, Radley has now covered two straight, putting him in third place in the average at 138.
“I had a little tough luck on my first one, but got my second one rode, got my third one rode,” he said. “So I’ve got to ride one more now.”
Despite being a freshman, Radley has big goals for his first CNFR.
“It’s definitely a big accomplishment for me, but it would be a better accomplishment to win the whole deal,” he said. “... That’s been my goal all growing up through high school was to go to college and win the region and win in the finals.”
His traveling partner, Sellars, was the second and last bull rider to cover Wednesday night.
“Man, it feels good,” he said. “Feels right at home. Feels like it should. Glad to come in here and get them knocked down.”
Sellars rode Harry Vold’s Wizard for a 73.
“That wasn’t actually his normal trip,” he said. “They say he’s supposed to be a little bit better than he was. I knew a little bit. I knew he’d be all right to ride, and I just got by him.”
Like Radley, Sellars was bucked off in the first go and scored in the second and third. He is now in second place with 147 points, trailing Cuesta College’s Will Centoni, who had a no-score Wednesday after scoring a combined 155 points in the first two rounds.
“Just staying on top of my mental game,” Sellars said of what has worked for him. “Just keep working on it every day. Don’t take any slack. Don’t take any days off. Keep hammering on it, and it works out.”
Sellars and Radley will try to keep their hot streaks going in Reno.
It might seem odd to leave for another rodeo smack-dab in the middle of the biggest college rodeo of the year. But Sellars views it as a benefit.
“It keeps you on your toes,” he said. “We’ve been going so hard all summer, and you come here and you get to kind of rest for a couple days. You get lazy. So it actually feels good to get up and keep going.”