What a way to start a rodeo: A perfectly warm evening, Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame clown Flint Rasmussen sharing the stage with JJ Harrison and a Grand Entry that took the time to honor Kittitas County Deputy Ryan Thompson and City of Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez.

It’ll be difficult to top the emotions and energy of Patriot Night at the Ellensburg Rodeo.

Talk about a year of consistent energy for steer wrestler Riley Duvall.

It’s been a heckuva year for the Oklahoma cowboy. Duvall is sixth in the world standings, he’s drawing the right steers and keeps winning money.

So, it’s easy to assume he’s happy with knowing he’s coming back to Monday’s short round with a 9.0-second average on two runs.

“Honestly, I’m not,” he said after his 5.1-second run Friday night. “I had a really good steer tonight and I didn’t do very good.”

Coupled with his first round of 3.9 seconds during Friday morning’s slack he’s fifth in the average with two more performances to go.

“I’m happy to make the short round anytime, Ellensburg a great rodeo. I love to come back on Monday. Sure should be coming back first or second, but I’ll probably be coming back eighth or ninth.”

Waedler, Texas, cowboy Cade Goodman had a similar run on Friday. The steer wrestler stopped his steer in five seconds and sits third in the average with an 8.7 on two.

For the ladies, this is clearly Destri Devenport’s rodeo to lose. Fresh off Thursday’s first go-winning time of 17.10 seconds (for $2,552), she picked up right where she left off with Friday’s barrel pattern of 17.24 seconds, the best by two-tenths of a second. Her average of 34.34 seconds on two leads the average in a big way. Lacinda Rose, who placed in the first round with a 17.49, should also place in the second round as well after her 17.47 on Friday. She’s sitting good in the average with a 34.96 on two, but more than a half-second behind Devenport.

Texas bareback rider Tilden Hooper should also be coming back for Monday’s short round, but he felt like his 81-point ride on Daniel Beard’s Trailer Home – part of the Summit Pro Rodeo pen of horses – didn’t do justice to the horse. He probably left a few points in the arena dirt.

“It should give me another one,” he said of making the finale. “I plan on being here on Monday. I’ve been planning on being here. I was just planning on being more points today.”

Hooper’s traveling partner, four-time world champ Kaycee Feild, was one-point better with an 82 on Calgary’s Zastron Acres, but the leader going into today’s afternoon performance is three-time defending world champ Tim O’Connell who bested Korkow’s Redemption for 84 points.

Josh Frost was two points better, of course, that was in bull riding. Frost – ranked 10th in this week’s bull riding world standings – put 86 points on Flying 5’s Comet. Despite the crazy ride, it was probably more stressful prior to nodding his head. Friday’s performance opened with bull riding and Frost thought he was in the second pen at the end of the rodeo.

“I showed up about five minutes before I rode,” he said. “Maybe I should do that every time if it means a good ride.”

Whatever works.

“As for the ride, he blew out hard and went into a spin. I was able to settle in and make the ride. This is just my second time at Ellensburg and I’m happy.”

Ellensburg’s bull riding leader, however, is Trey Benton III. Corey and Lange’s Dude and Benton danced their way to 88.5 points.

Ryle Smith must be pleased with his second-round calf. The tie-down roper 7.6-second run will most likely be one of the best of the weekend. This, of course, is after Shad Mayfield’s 7.4-second run (just a tenth of a second off Tuf Cooper’s arena record) in the first round. Smith’s 7.4 is nearly a second ahead of Cory Solomon for second-round supremacy. The man to beat is Rhen Richard as the roper’s 17.4 on two leads the aggregate. He won money in the first round and could win a check in the second round as well.

Two cowboys share the lead in saddle bronc riding as Chet Johnson and Joe Harper finished with identical 84-point scores on their respective horses.

In team roping, Blake Teixeira and Jordan Ketscher’s 4.7-second steer was the best of the night on Friday, but only puts them in the middle of the pack in terms of second round times. Billy Bob Brown and Evan Arnold’s 4.2-second time leads the second round.

Teixeira and Ketscher’s 11.2 on two runs puts them in a tie for fourth. Tate Kirchenschlager and Buddy Hawkins II are the leaders with a 10.9.

Today’s performance begins at 12:45. Tonight’s Xtreme Bulls starts at 8 p.m.

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