Bulls rule on Clovis Rodeo’s opening night
And the winner of Thursday’s Professional Bull Riding event was … Da Bulls.
Eight of 10 riders were knocked off in less than 8 seconds during the final round at the Clovis Rodeo, and a ninth rider was called for an illegal touch after he accidentally hit the bull in the face, which canceled out his ride time.
That left Dave Kennedy as the lone cowboy to successfully complete the 8-second ride in the short round, as the Australian refused to fall from Juicy Vindication to score an 85 and take home about $12,000 in prize money.
“I needed this win probably a little more than the other guys,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know how I would have flown back home to Australia because I wouldn’t have been able to afford the flight.”
Juicy Vindication – a mean-looking bull armed with the type of horns that scream “Don’t mess with me” – had not been ridden a full 8 seconds in two years, the announcers said.
Kennedy, 26, said he knew immediately he was in for a tough fight. The three previous riders in the final round were all bucked off quickly. In the chute, Kennedy said, he could sense Juicy Vindication wasn’t wanting to cooperate much, either.
But with his left hand holding onto the rope strapped around the bull and his right swinging in the air for balance and showmanship, Kennedy adjusted to every buck, swirl and change of speed Juicy Vindication had to offer.
All the while, Kennedy’s cowboy hat stayed on his head the whole time.
“That bull, it was never easy on me,” said Kennedy, who took seventh at last year’s PBR event at the Clovis Rodeo. “They didn’t seem easy on any of us. He had me in trouble from the beginning. I know he doesn’t get ridden too often. I just held on and kept my balance.”
Jory Markiss of Missoula, Mont., said he didn’t even have to get on his bull to know he had a tough assignment in the final round.
Markiss had posted the second highest score during the first round (long round) in the 40-man field.
But against Pretty Boy Blue in the final round, Markiss stayed on a mere 2.76 seconds.
“I drew one of those bulls that everyone knows is a beast,” Markiss said. “Luck of the draw there. Had I stayed on him, I probably could have scored pretty high. Shame I couldn’t this time.”
Visalia’s Bobby Roberts failed to get out of the first round despite performing before family members and friends.
Roberts, 23, rode Chaos for 4.48 seconds before he got caught up on the bull’s second buck.
“It was fun riding here, basically in my backyard,” Roberts said. “But there’s more pressure when you’re riding at home. Wish I would have done better.
“Those were some tough bulls.”
By Bryant-Jon Anteola / The Fresno Bee