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Denton scores bullriding win
Blankenship out after first ride
A bull rider’s career is filled with a lot of hard licks, some heartbreak and a few good rides mixed in between.
After an awesome first-round start, where four cowboys scored, including three 80-plus point rides, first-day leader Chad Denton’s two-round total of 160 points looked to be in jeopardy.
However, the bulls were are little nastier in the second go-round and just two of the eight cowboys who rode scored, including Australian Heath Shrimp in his first event in the United States.
After scoring an event-high 84 on Harley D in the first round, Shrimp definitely looked poised to top Denton’s total. But his second-round bull didn’t perform as well as it should have, and his score suffered, as he was given a 72.5.
The 156.5 two-round total was good enough for third place for the Aussie.
First-day rider Melmo Quintero beat out Shrimp by 0.5 points for second place with a 157, and Denton, who qualified for the 2002 PBR World Finals and finished 12th in the rankings at the end of the year, took home the winner’s share of the $7,500 purse and the gold and silver buckle.
Defending 2006 event title winner Scott Blankenship of Smartville took a hard lick in his first ride and then suffered heartbreak after he waved his second-round ride due to an injured wrist, which he suffered in last year’s event.
Blankenship sat dejected near the stock pens with his head down and his arms resting on his knees after he decided he couldn’t make his second ride.
“It sucks. The only thing I want to do is come out and ride,” Blankenship said.
His first ride didn’t go as planned after a bull named Waterfall jumped out strong and tossed Blankenship off his left side. Blankenship got hung up in his rope for just a second before finally getting whipped down to the arena floor.
The trauma was too much for his wrist to take.
“My first bull just dropped me in the well and hung me up, and I didn’t get on the second one. I tweaked my wrist,” Blankenship said. “It’s been bugging me.”
Corey Cetwood set the standard in the first round with his 82-point ride, and then it was Evan Matthews’ turn. His bull came out of the chutes with a high jump-kick and then settled and spun to his right several times before the 8-second whistle and a 72-point ride.
Texas cowboy Zack Sorrenson then gave Cetwood a run after riding Muddy Water for an 83.5 points. Muddy Water came out with a high kick and then started spinning hard and flat to the right as the whistle blew.
“He’s just a good bull. He come around right there, and that’s the way we like them,” Sorenson said. “He was a little hard to ride at first and then he mellowed out just a little bit, and I got to have a little fun on him.”
Shrimp topped them all with his beautiful and tough ride on Harley D near the end of the first go. The bull jumped out hard, turned right and shifted Shrimp, but he corrected and settled back on top as the bull turned back left, and he rode it out with good balance for the excellent score.
“He mixed it up a bit. I didn’t know anything about him,” Shrimp said. “He was pretty grumpy, come around to the right, then it was nice and he sort of shortened it up and gave me a good trip.”
Shrimp needed a 77 or better to top Denton in the second round, but he had to settle for the 72.5.
“He didn’t have a good day,” Shrimp said of his second-round bull. “He was supposed to be a pretty good fella, but he had a bad day. He got off and flattened out.”
Eric Ferera was the only other rider to score in the second round, and he took a 66.5.
Ryan Dearman of Stonyford jumped on four bulls after getting two re-rides, but he took no-scores on each of his re-ride attempts. His final ride of the night left him dazed after he went off the back of his bull and got kicked in the back of the head with both feet.
He stumbled to the chute gate and walked out of the arena under his own power.
Frankie Freitas, of Reno, was bucked down hard on both of his rides. He is a former Sutter resident.