If anybody’s going to beat Tanner Baldwin and Nano Garza in team roping this afternoon, it’s going to take another arena record to top that duo as the Southwestern cowboys roped a 4.1-second calf during Saturday’s Ellensburg Rodeo.

The previous record of 4.2 seconds, held for nine years by Joel Bach and Paul Eaves, went down as quickly as Baldwin threw his rope out of the roping chutes.

In any other year, Clayton Van Aken and Trey Yates’ 4.4-second run also on Saturday probably would have won the round, however, not when Baldwin and Garza are throwing 4.1-second rounds.

Ellensburg team ropers Riley and Brady Minor – winners of the average here last year – roped a 5.8-second steer. The team is 11.9 on two (behind Tate Kirchenschager and Buddy Hawkins II, 10.9). The top 12 make Monday’s final round, and sitting in ninth right now, the Ellensburg team might be biting nails to see where they end up once today’s round wraps up.

There’s no question if Tucker Allen will make the short go. When you’re 8.3 seconds on two rounds of steer wrestling and No. 1 in the average coming into today’s final performance of the second round, he knows his Monday plans are set. His 4.3- and 4.0-second times are quick, but not quick enough to earn go-round money.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “There’s a lot of good steers and the best guys in the world are here. I don’t really try and look at it, I just worry about what I’ve got to do.”

What he’s got to do is keep winning. The 45th-ranked bulldogger won’t make it to the National Finals Rodeo, but paychecks here and throughout September will keep him in the top 50 in the world needed to be able to enter big rodeos.

“I can’t wait for that short go,” he said. “When the pressure is on, I love it. I can’t get enough of it.”

There’s pressure on Cade Swor to salvage a season that’s been sub-par. The Texas calf roper is 29th in this week’s tie-down world standings and $20,000 out of the top 15. Making that cut for the NFR might be out of reach, but he’s staying focused. His second-round calf on Saturday was good, and even stronger than he expected.

“I missed the barrier today. I had a good calf that I didn’t think was going to leave strong and she ended up being a little stronger than she looked. I missed the barrier eight to 10 inches and had to run her a little too far,” Swor said of his 9.3-second run. “I should’ve won top two in the round easy on that calf. You know what, I’m riding a green horse and it still worked out.”

It did work out. His 18.1 on two is second in the average behind Rhen Richard’s 17.4.

Ellensburg’s Jake Pratt suffered a no-time. The tall tie-down roper however is winning the second round at Walla Walla and is placing second in Filer, Idaho. He’s up in Lakeview, Ore., today.

Clayton Biglow and Pascal Isabelle supplanted three-time defending world champion Tim O’Connell’s 84-point ride on Friday. Isabelle opened the bareback event with an 85 on Flying 5’s Cougar Country, but Biglow’s 87.5 on Flying 5’s Barracuda is best on the weekend by 2.5 points.

“A buddy of mine just won Omak on her. It was a good one to draw,” Biglow said.

Biglow has had a great 2019. The second-ranked bareback rider has earned more than $168,000, just a good weekend of checks away from matching world leader Kaycee Feild. Both riders will battle rank horses in Monday’s short round.

“That’s the goal,” the 23-year old said with a grin. “Ellensburg’s the only thing I came to this week. I drew really good here.”

Another youthful roughstock rider enjoyed a similar fate as Biglow. 21-year old saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright topped Flying 5’s Can’t Wait for an event-leading 87 points on Saturday. It’s another quality horse for the Utah bronc rider who’s seen many incredible horses this year.

“It’s been really good. I’ve had a good year,” he said. “I’m drawing good horses it seems like pretty much everywhere. I feel like I’ve been riding pretty good.”

Everyone is still chasing Destri Devenport (34.34 seconds on two runs) and Lacinda Rose (34.96), but barrel racer Amberleigh Moore’s making it interesting. Moore covered Saturday’s cloverleaf pattern in 17.66 seconds and sits third in the average with a 35.23-second aggregate.

Cowboys are facing a similar uphill battle in bull riding as Aaron Williams rewrote the leaderboard with a 90-point ride on his unnamed Flying 5 bull. Williams won Ellensburg last year and the 26th ranked bull rider will need a bit of a miracle to get into the top 15 to make the NFR as he’s $27,000 behind the cut to make Las Vegas.

The Ellensburg Rodeo also highlights breakaway roping as the event has seen much more fan support and participation in the past few years. Rylee Potter’s 2.8-second calf on Saturday puts her at 5.2 on two runs. She’s the lady to beat for Monday’s short round thus far.

Today’s round begins an hour earlier, with an 11:45 Grand Entry start.


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