What started as a slippin’ and slidin’ morning at the 101st Clovis Rodeo ended with sunny skies and a capacity crowd cheering cowgirls and cowboys on day 2 of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association qualifying ahead of Sunday's finals.
Fallon Taylor, the defending world champion barrel racer and six-time World National Finals Rodeo qualifier, had to share the spotlight Saturday afternoon.
The 32-year-old rodeo star from Whitesboro, Texas, and her award-winning Babyflo — the 2013 American Quarter Horse of the Year — scored the second-fastest time of the day in muddy conditions, rounding the three barrels in 17.66 seconds. She was outdone by fellow Texan Jackie Ganter of Abilene who finished in 17.53.
Meanwhile, local cowgirl and two-time NFR qualifier Sheena Robbins of Fresno is headed back to the barrel racing finals for the third year in a row.
The action kicked off with Steven Peebles taking the bronc Wild N Blue for the full 8 seconds to score an 85-point ride. Fellow Oregon cowboy Brian Bain and Jake Brown each followed with 83-point rides, and all three secured spots in the final round.
The wet weather hindered more than one competitor during the timed events, with only a handful quick enough to end the day with prize money and a place in the finals.
In steer wrestling, Clayton Hass flipped his targeted animal in 4.5 seconds for the top time and the daily prize of $1,747. Hass, however, was the day’s only steer wrestler to reach the finals with the rest of the field more than 1 second behind. Others did qualify in the event Friday.
Team ropers Billy Bob Brown and Garrett Jess won the day money of $1,677 apiece with a 5.3 run.
Rhen Richard edged the competition in tiedown roping by three-tenths of a second, winning in 8.2 to claim the daily prize of nearly $1,800.
The day wrapped up with a strong bull ride from south Valley product Sammy Mathews, one of just two cowboys to hang on for all 8 seconds.
Mathews, of Springville, scored a 73 while holding on to one of Growney Brothers Rodeos’ bucking bulls. Tyler Smith was the other to go the distance, scoring a 59.
Final-day action gets underway at 10 a.m. Sunday with the Gold Card Team Roping slack — featuring cowboys 50 and older who want to prove they still have what it takes to stay in the arena.
A special kids rodeo, in conjunction with Break The Barriers, will start at noon. The PRCA rodeo finals will cap the day’s action beginning at 2 p.m.