Rodeo fans might want to get to know Will Centoni’s name this week. That’s probably a good thing, considering the number of times it was called Monday.
The Cuesta College junior, who hopes to make a run at the all-around title at the College National Finals Rodeo, had a busy day Monday, being dealt two re-rides in saddle bronc riding. Centoni also clocked a 7.3-second run in team roping Monday with Clovis Community College’s Wyatt Adams.
Centoni’s first ride was an obvious dud, producing a score of 27.5.
“I kind of roughlocked him a little in the chute,” Centoni said, “and he didn’t like it and kind of flipped over. He didn’t want to buck.”
Getting a re-ride option on his second horse wasn’t as much of a given.
“It felt good to start,” Centoni said, “and he just kind of weakened at the end and dropped my score quite a bit because the horse kind of quit me a little bit. But it felt really good, honestly.”
That ride produced a 65. Centoni had a decision to make: Stick with an average of 143 on two head or ride again and risk getting bucked?
“Well, there’s just a lot that goes through your brain,” he said. “... It’s my last year here, so I was just thinking, ‘I might as well just take another re-ride and try to get more points,’ and that’s what pretty much went through my head. Previously, I probably would’ve kept my score, but I had to try it.”
Riding just minutes later, he scored a 70.
“Five points is a huge difference,” he said, “and it could potentially be. So that was huge, I think.”
This time, the score stuck, as there was no re-ride option.
“I thought the last one might not have been as strong as the second one,” Centoni said. “But they might have been pretty kind to me, too, because I was trying so hard at getting on. I’m not sure, but it worked out, I guess.”
Even if he did have to ride three broncs within a span of less than an hour.
“I don’t mind it, just because it keeps me not thinking about stuff,” he said. “But I’m pretty used to it, because I like to do that at practice, just keep getting on and keep getting on and not thinking about much. And so I was used to it. ... I mean, it could’ve went worse for sure.”
As a competitor in multiple events, Centoni is accustomed to getting ready on the spot.
“Yeah, like last night I got on a bronc ... and immediately after, I put on my bull-riding stuff and got on a bull,” he said. “I mean, I don’t mind it, just because in my region, I actually compete in pretty much all the events except bareback riding. So, I’m used to just keep going.
“I don’t really think about much. Just do what I’ve been practicing and stay consistent. I try not to do anything crazy fast and just get everything caught and rode. It seems to be working out.”
If it continues to work out this week, Centoni could find himself in contention for an all-around title.
“I always try to win that,” he said. “I really like the bronc riding. The bull riding I kind of just do as an extra event, and I like team roping. I’ve got a lot of chances to try to win the all-around. Just got to stay consistent, get times and scores and everything. That’s what I’m shooting for.”
Gillette College’s Carter Elshere currently leads the saddle bronc with an average of 154 after scoring 76.5 on Harry Vold’s Grand Valley on Monday.
“I kind of had to ride ‘er out of there, and he ended up being really nice,” Elshere said. “He kind of had me beat for a couple jumps and had me a little behind, but it felt good after, kind of around the corner there after a couple jumps.”
Elshere plans to attend a bronc ride in Philip, South Dakota, after his third go-round and hopefully return for the short go. He leads Panhandle State’s Dawson Dahm (152), Sam Houston State’s Parker Kempfer (148.5) and Centoni (148).
Dahm scored a 74 on Brookman Rodeo’s Double Double Feature in his second go.
“He left good and just took a kind of a stride scoot,” Dahm said, “and then kind of sat up and was really good and came into the fence. I just kind of got him off the fence, and he kept going, and it felt really good. He stayed hooked. He’s a good little horse.”
As a freshman, Dahm is making his debut at the national finals.
“The crowd’s really electric and there’s some really good bronc riders here that make a really good competition,” he said. “Make you ride to the best of your abilities.”