It wasn’t his night.
Well, actually it wasn’t anybody’s night on the bulls Thursday, as the Kaw Valley Rodeo opened at Wells Arena in CiCo Park.
Seven rode and seven were bucked off, giving the clean sweep to stock contractor Dell Hall, who brings his bulls to Manhattan from Tahlequah, Okla., every year.
“You don’t see this a lot,” said Will Crain, who lasted longer than anyone, but still didn’t record a score. “I mean, this guy has a really good pen of bulls — big props to the stock contractor for bringing a pen of bulls like this. He’s got bulls that guys want to come get on.
“Me and my partner, John Young, we want to come get on bulls like these because if we’re the only ones to ride, we get all the money, instead of another rodeo where maybe six guys ride.”
Crain thought he had the bull, Seeing Red, right where he wanted him. He survived the initial few jumps out of the chute and then found a groove when the bull started a series of twists to the right. But the rope slipped and Crain got in trouble, coming up just short of the required 8 seconds to score.
“I had him,” said Crain, who was stepped on and hooked by the bull. “He wasn’t going to buck me off, and I don’t know if its kind of humid of what, but my rope slipped and got loose on him. I was trying to pull myself to stay on him, but it slipped down his side and that’s what got me down in the well.”
“I felt like there was nothing that bull could do to buck me off. I was riding him good, sitting in the middle, but the rope slipped in my hand.”
It was Crain’s first trip to Manhattan, but just one of many rodeos planned in the coming months. Crain, who is from Farina, Ill., rodeos with Young, who is from Orient, Iowa, and also didn’t score Thursday. The two left Iowa on June 27 and have only been home two days since. They’ll stay on the road until Aug. 10 — hitting Cheyenne Days in Wyoming, the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo and others — before heading home to Illinois for another two days and then doing it all over again.
“Nights like tonight are hard, but like I said, I was doing everything right on that bull,” Crain said. “I had him rode. You just have to look for the positives and move on after a night like this. He just blew and then the rope slipped. I tried hanging on, but that got me stepped on and hooked.”
It wasn’t all zeros Thursday, though, as all three bareback riders scored. Justin Lindquist, from Lindsborg, scored a 69 on Dark Water for the top score on opening night. James Carter and Andy Carter — both from Ellsinore, Mo. — scored 60 and 59, respectively.
There were three scores in the saddle bronc event, as Ryan Bestol (Hyannis, Neb.) and Casey McGooden (Doniphan, Neb.) both rode to 79s. James Greeson (Hunstville, Texas) scored a 77.
Colt Stearns (Freedom, Okla.) had the best time in steer wrestling at 13.8 seconds, while Jeremy Bullard (Wilburton, Okla.) did in 17.5 seconds.
Kincaid’s Cole Wilson posted the best time Thursday in tie-down roping at 13.2 seconds, just edging Jason Childers (Mead, Okla.) at 13.4 seconds.
There were four times in team roping, led by Trey Harmon and Jace Crabb — both of Oklahoma — at 5.6 seconds. Jake McCullough (Conway Springs) and Troy Gaston (Hutchinson) posted a time of 5.9 seconds. Justin Turner (Vinita, Okla.) and Tyler Worley (Miami, Okla.) came in at 6.2 seconds. Andrew and Reagan Ward of Edmond, Okla., finished in 7.2 seconds.
Molly Childers (Mead, Okla.) took the top spot in barrel racing at 18.24 seconds, just edging Mulvane’s Katharine and Cynthia Wall, who came in at 18.28 and 18.29 seconds, respectively. Micah Samples (Abilene) finished at 18.55 seconds, while Ashlie Whithrow (Henryetta, Okla.) was at 18.90 seconds. Emily Holton (Tonganoxie) finished at 23.71 seconds.
Tonight’s performance begins at 8, as the Kaw Valley Rodeo celebrates ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ night at Wells Arena.