Tyler Berghuis already had the first 80-plus bronc ride of the College National Finals Rodeo under his belt, posting an 81 during Tuesday’s slack to win the second go-round. Tuesday night, he added another.
The Tarleton State bareback bronc rider scored 80 points, a mark that remains unmatched by any other rider in either bareback or saddle bronc riding, to extend his lead in the rodeo’s first performance.
He thought he knew what he was in for, watching a video of Frontier Rodeo’s Cash Deal shortly before his ride.
“I knew what he was going to do,” Berghuis said. “But that was not the trip that he had. So he kind of caught me off guard. He went out straight. Things got a little fuzzy out there. I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I was glad to get it done out there.”
Berghuis, who led by 3.5 points after the second round, had a quick turnaround between his two rides Tuesday.
“With that ride coming off this morning, I felt really great,” Berghuis said. “It was really fresh in my head still what I needed to do, and I just capitalized on it.
Berghuis now has 239 points in the aggregate, increasing his lead to six points ahead of Doane College’s George Shadbolt, who posted a 77.5 on Tuesday night. Jesse Pope, who had a 78 in the performance, sits 1.5 points behind Shadbolt in the average.
Qualifying for Saturday’s final go-round shouldn’t be an issue for Berguis. In the meantime, after two 80-point rides Tuesday, he’ll get a chance to rest.
“Yeah, I’ll have to get in the hot tub later and get some ice,” he said. “It will feel good. I’ll be ready to go for Saturday.”
Saddle Bronc Riding
Much like earlier that day, rider after rider was bucked in the saddle bronc riding at Tuesday night’s performance.
Montana State’s Keenan Reinhardt didn’t let it get to him, though.
“A little bit,” Reinhardt said of the anticipation of waiting. “Not as much as it used to. I’ve been able to calm my nerves now, and it works well.”
Gradually, the riders began to gain ground on the broncs, and Reinhardt helped the group finish well. He had the section’s highest score, a 74, in its last slot.
“I didn’t know much about that horse,” he said of Frontier’s Baywatch. “They just got him, I think. And man, it’s just nice. The whole time, there’s timing to her, and so it’s just pick it up and just keep going.
“... On a horse like that, if you’re not going for a big-point ride, it’s harder to stay on. But at the same time, they’re giving the capability of going for a high-point ride, because they’ve got the timing.”
Reinhardt now sits second in the field with 201.5 points.
“It feels great to have three covered this early in the week,” Reinhardt said. “Now, I’ll be safe for now and sitting good in the average.”
Reinhardt trails Panhandle State’s Dawson Dahm, the first saddle bronc rider to cover three. Dahm currently has a 17.5-point lead on Reinhardt after a 67-point ride Tuesday night. He tied Will Centoni to win the first go with a 78-point ride. In the second go, he was fourth with a 74.
Reinhardt will keep an eye on the leaderboard during the next three performances, but he isn’t too worried.
“I think I’ll be all right,” he said. “It’s hard to tell here. They bring 12 (riders) back (for the final go-round), so anything can happen.”
Reinhardt took ninth at last year’s college finals, his first, with a total of 208 points. He also covered his first three horses that year as well, but failed to ride in the final go-round. He hopes to add one more horse to that tally this time around.
“The first time, it’s like, ‘I’m here,’” Reinhardt said, wide-eyed. “The second time, it’s a little more calm.”