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CNFR - Thursday

Tarleton State bareback bronc rider Kody Lamb holds tight to Zebra on Thursday at the College National Finals Rodeo.

Kody Lamb is just making the most of the hand he’s been dealt.

The Tarleton State bareback bronc rider wasn’t happy with his 71.5-point ride Thursday at the College National Finals Rodeo, but it left him in fifth place in the aggregate, nonetheless. Lamb, who had rides of 77.5 and 66.5 the first two rounds, trails Lane McGehee, Tristan Hansen, Rio Lee and Cache Hill.

“I’m fairly confident (in making the final go-round), but that’s not what I come here for,” Lamb said. “This is my fifth time, and I come here with one aim in mind. We’ll see what happens on Saturday night.”

Lamb wasn’t a great fit for his draw Thursday, Silver Creek Rodeo’s Zebra.

“I mean, I’m a pretty big guy, and that horse is real small, so I knew what I was up against there,” he said. “But when they spin like that it’s generally not as good as when they just go straight.

“... He was out Tuesday morning, I think. Another boy got on him and he did the exact same thing. Threw the boy off, so I was glad to get around there and get him rode, but would’ve liked to have a little more horse today. But I can’t pick the stock. I just try to do my best with what I get.”

So far, he’s done enough to keep his week alive, most likely.

“I mean, it’s been a challenging week for me,” he said. “I haven’t drawn the caliber horses that I know I’m capable of putting big scores on, so I’m just trying to stay focused on the things I can do. Making good rides and not worrying about what the judges say and what the scores come out as.”

Lamb’s score was the second-best of the bareback section in Thursday’s performance; Fort Scott’s Layne Graham put a 77 on the board. His previous scores, however, have him out of the running for the short go.

He rode atop Silver Creek’s My Hero on Thursday.

“I got along with him really well and I fit him just fine,” Graham said.

The sophomore is making his debut at the CNFR.

“I broke my arm last year, halfway through the season,” he said. “... It pumps me up. I love this atmosphere.”

He hopes his strong third go at this year’s college finals will carry over to the next.

“I’m pumped going into next year,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be back.”

Wyoming native Chance Ames lived up to his name Thursday night. After his first bronc left him with a re-ride option, Ames hopped on his second-chance bronc during the same section and rode him to 70 points.

He didn’t mind the quick turnaround.

“Because everything’s moving so quick,” the Sheridan rider said. “You don’t have time to think about anything else. It’s just get off and go again.”

His first bronc sent him flying off the rear, and his back landed right on the Casper Events Center dirt.

“That last rip, I took with my feet,” he said. “Everything kind of just came with him and my hand popped out and I kind of rung my bell a little bit. Then that second ride, I was pretty winded off the first one, then had to just give it all the rest I had.

“I come here to show everybody what Wyoming’s for and what they’re about.”

Ames, a freshman, is a graduate of Big Piney High School, where he played football.

“I liked hitting people,” he said. “That’s about all I was good for. Couldn’t run, couldn’t do nothing else but hit people.”

Thursday, he was a hit in front of his own people.

“It’s always fun,” Ames said. “They’re pretty fun to be around. It’s nice.”

Bull riding

Ezkiel Mitchell’s intel was off, but he still did something no one else did Thursday during a rough bull riding section: stay on for 8 seconds.

“I knew something about him, and he did something complete different than what he was supposed to do,” Mitchell said. “He was completely off the script. He was supposed to be a lot better than that. He wasn’t bad, but he was supposed to be a lot better than that.”

Mitchell, who is currently ninth in the aggregate standings, was atop Frontier’s Flat Broke. The Hill College freshman scored a 71.5.

“He was supposed to be there right there in the gate around the right, just kicking and spinning really good,” Mitchell said. “But he decided to take a lap around the arena. So we had to make do with what we had.”

Saddle bronc riding

Will Centoni hasn’t had the all-around week he had hoped for, but he’s sitting all right in saddle bronc riding.

The Cuesta College sophomore scored a 68.5 on Thursday, enough to leave him 1.5 points out of first place in the aggregate scoring.

“As long as I make a good ride in the short ride, it should play,” Centoni said. “Could be worse. I know that.”

Centoni is also competing in the team roping and bull riding.

“I guess it’s just nice to know that you go in more than one event, you’ve got more than one chance to win in a different event,” he said.

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Follow University of Wyoming athletics reporter Brandon Foster on Twitter @BFoster91

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Managing Editor

Brandon Foster is the Star-Tribune's managing editor. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 as the University of Wyoming sports reporter after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years.

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