Tuesday night’s bull riding performance featured more re-ride options than scores.
Mid-Plains Community College’s Garrett Wickett and Lamar Community College’s Nate Hoey each had the option of giving their third go-round a second go at the College National Finals Rodeo. Hoey took the option, an easy decision after he was bucked off during the initial ride. He was also bucked on the re-ride, which was held at the very end of the performance, when the majority of the crowd had already left the building.
Wickett had a more intriguing choice. He scored a 50.5 on his initial ride — not an eye-catching score, by any means. But in staying on for those 8 seconds, he became the second rider of the rodeo to cover two bulls. He was happy to keep the points, which were later changed to 52.0.
“For me, it was a pretty easy decision just to keep my score,” he said.
It was the only bull riding score of the night.
Southwick’s Outlaw lost his flank during the ride, which created the choice of a re-ride. Wickett, who rode to a 74 on Monday, was content to take second place for now.
“I just figured, take my chances with the scores. Last year, they won it on two head,” he said, referring to Cole Melancon’s championship score of 161.5 for Hill College. Seven riders covered two bulls, but none were able to ride three.
“I’d rather get two rode going into the short round,” Wickett said, “get my third bull covered in the short round and go from there. I thought maybe (the score) was going to be a little bit more. I didn’t realize the flank had come off. The bull started out good, felt good. I got a little scared at the end. He got me lifted up a little bit, but I feel good.
“I just thought he was still bucking. It kind of got weird. I don’t know if he just had one of them quirks. I guess that’s one of them things.”
Outlaw had thrown a few competitors that Wickett knew, but he chose not to reach out to them for research.
“I figured, eh, why not,” he said. “The stock contractor came up to me and said, ‘You’ve got a good one drawn,’ when I was putting my rope on.”
Wickett will head to a pro rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska, on Thursday.
“I’m feeling good going into there and coming back Saturday for the short round,” he said.
His 126 points, now 29 behind Cuesta College’s Will Centoni, mark a nice turnaround from Sunday, when Wickett was bucked and his bull stepped on his back.
“I’m feeling really good after Sunday,” he said. “I’m really not sore at all from that. My back’s feeling good, head’s feeling good, so I’m excited to be coming back Saturday, hopefully.”
Centoni, a contender for the all-around competition, was scheduled to take his third ride in Wednesday night’s performance. He had a 77 and 78 in his first two rides, respectively, giving him 155 points.
Hoey, West Alabama’s Lance Daniel, Panhandle State’s Callum Miller, Montana State’s Kelly Murnion, Clarendon College’s Colton Kelly, Cuesta College’s Jake Peterson, Chadron State’s Dakota Rice and Howard College’s Dalton Kasel were all bucked off Tuesday night. The third go resumes with Wednesday night’s performance.