Arizona bull riders get by first-round draws at junior high finals
By Quentin Jodie
CHURCH ROCK, N.M., June 27, 2013
F or eight seconds at a time, the Arizona contingent of bull riders are getting things done at the 2013 National Junior High Finals Rodeo at Red Rock Park.
The three qualifiers covered their respective bulls during the first round action at this year's finals, which concluded on Wednesday morning.
Tonalea, Ariz., cowboy Ky Farland heads the pack with a 75-point ride, which placed him seventh in the go round.
Gila River/Tohono O'odham bull rider Skye Joaquin finished 16th overall with a 56-point ride while multi-event qualifier Rory Billie Jr., posted a 43-point effort in Sunday's night opening performance.
"He was a pretty good bull to get on," Farland said. "I talked to the stock contractor before the rodeo and he told me that he'll turn either way so I had to ready for it."
Farland, who earned his second NJHFR qualification by placing second in the year-end standings during the season, said he was propped up for the most part but at the end of his ride his bull strung him out.
"The way he was bucking, I'm just happy that I got him rode," Farland said.
At last year's finals the Tuba City Boarding School eighth grader didn't have the success he's having now and he credits the hard work he put in this year.
"I've gotten better but the experience from last year helped," Farland said.
As always the top 20 bull riders after two rounds get invited to participate in the short round. Heading into the next round, Farland is in good position to contend for this year's national title as the point spread between him and event leader Boudreaux Campbell Jr. of Texas is only seven points.
"There are some good riders here and I'm trying to make the short round so I don't want to get ahead of myself," he said. "I still have to ride my second bull and then we'll see where I stand."
His is scheduled to take his next ride on Friday night. As for Joaquin, he received his second go round bull last night while Billie is competing in the last performance of the rodeo on Saturday morning.
Billie, who qualified as the No. 3 bull rider in Arizona, made the most of his bull before his animal stopped working.
"He was came out strong but at the end he kind of stopped," Billie said. "They asked if I wanted a reride."
He declined their offer and took the 43-point score that was given to him, which placed him 19th in the go round.
"I didn't take it because I want to make it back to the short round," he said, while adding that in the past some of the short round qualifiers made the championship round by covering one bull.
That was what he did one year ago as made the short round with a 70-point score. Billie said he's hoping to cover his bull so that he can make the short round.
"I'm going to take it jump for jump and see what happens," he said.
In Tuesday morning's performance, the Dilkon, Ariz., cowboy fared much better in the boys breakaway roping.
After settling his horse down in the roping box, Billie got his calf roped in 3.007 seconds. That run placed him ninth overall in the first round.
"The main thing about roping is you need to make sure your horse is sitting good in the box," Billie said. "That was what I had to."
Earlier in the week though, his horse – Cash – was uncooperative as he was assessed a 10-second penalty in the boys' goat tying and finished his run in 31.164 seconds.
"He crossed the line but I still got him tied," he said.
When asked to assess his week, Billie said he's doing really well.
"Last year I made it her but I was real nervous," he said. "This year I think I'm a little more calmer."