HERMISTON — In his fifth appearance at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, Clayton Biglow decided to open the show in record fashion.
The Clements, Calif., cowboy not only won the bareback riding title with his 89-point ride Saturday night, but also moved into a three-way tie for the event’s arena record.
Biglow, 23, matched Andy Martinez’s 2006 ride, as well as Austin Foss’ in 2017.
“It’s great just to be in first,” Biglow said. “It’s awesome. But tying a record is just the cherry on top right there.”
At a young age, Biglow has already established quite the name for himself in the world of rodeo. He’s the No. 2 bareback contender in the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association World Standings, and has amassed $140,166.43 in earnings so far.
“I just gotta keep doing this,” he said. “I’m second in the world, so my year’s been going pretty good.”
Biglow’s talent is hereditary — his father, Russ, competed in the PRCA as a bareback rider and team roper from 1980-1995.
“The Northwest is my favorite place to come rodeo,” Biglow said. “My dad rode up here a lot. I spent a lot of time up here as a kid. There’s nothing like it.”
Biglow’s record was set on the back of Asian Orchid. He’ll get a bit of a break before his next performance, which is scheduled for Thursday.
“I have some friends that live around here, so I’ll stay with them,” he said Saturday. “I’m just going to hang out and work out until my next rodeo.”
Clint Robinson of Spanish Fork, Utah, won the all-around title, earning money in tie-down roping and team roping. Robinson, who competed Wednesday, was the 2014 FCPR tie-down champion.
The big beasts ruled the event this week, shutting out the cowboys on two nights.
Saturday night, Josh Frost of Randlett, Utah, was not going to be frozen out of a paycheck. He turned in an 87.5-point ride on the back of Damn Right to win the night and the FCPR title in the event in his first trip to Hermiston.
“This is one of the biggest rodeos going on right now,” Frost said. “It is a privilege to be here in Hermiston. The ring setup is cool, and there is a lot of energy in the crowd,” I’ll be back.”
Frost sits 13th in the standings, and the $6,838 from the FCPR will go a long way in helping him earn his first trip to the NFR.
“It couldn’t be any better,” he said. “It’s been a really good year. Now, you have to hammer down and finish with some wins. It’s been a slow week, so Hermiston will help me out a lot.”
Saddle bronc riding
Ryder Wright got a good luck kiss from his 2-year-old daughter, Bexley, before he competed Saturday night. It’s a ritual they have when his wife, Cheyenne, and his daughter join him on the road.
That kiss seemed to do the trick as Wright posted an 82.5-point ride on Dirty Little Secret for the mark on the night, and a fourth-place finish overall.
Dawson Hay, who turned in an 86 on Friday, walked away with the title and $5,640.
“There’s always a little pressure when there’s a big number on top,” Wright said.
Speaking of on top, Wright, 21, leads the world standing with $192,479 — more than $33,000 more than the second-place man.
Wright, who comes from a long line of saddle bronc riders, broke the regular-season earnings record for saddle bronc riding with $184,880 as of July 30. The Utah cowboy surpassed Jacobs Crawley’s 2017 total of $184,052.
“I definitely have an advantage,” he said. “I have had awesome bronc riders as coaches my whole life. If I need anything, they are just a phone call away.”
There were a lot of great runs Saturday night, but the hot run belonged to Tyler Pearson, who turfed his steer in 3.6 seconds.
The Mississippi cowboy had the top time in the second go-round, and also picked up the $100 bonus for the top time of the night. He said the cash was much needed.
“I lost my wallet the other day,” he said. “I needed some cash bad.”
The go-round money ($1,899) is nice, as is the average money ($1,363). Pearson was 16th in the standings at the beginning of the week — less than $2,000 out of 15th. He is looking for his third consecutive trip — and fourth overall — to the NFR.
“Every dollar counts,” he said. “It’s nice to get a win. That was a good steer.”
Jesse Brown of Baker City, who had a time of 7.6 seconds on two runs, won the event and pocketed $4,914, which included money in each go-round.
“I knew I had to be fast,” he said. “That steer was fast; it worked out great.”
Brown, who turned 27 earlier in the week, is ranked 39th in the world standings, and leads the Columbia River Circuit.
“It’s been all right,” Brown said of his season. “I’m just chipping away.”
Rodeo fans will see Brown next month at the Pendleton Round-Up.
“Pendleton is one of my favorites,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss it for nothing.”
Lane Ivy and Cesar de la Cruz may have had the hot ride of the night, roping their steer in 4 seconds flat, but it was Charly Crawford and Logan Medlin who won the title with their 5.8-second finish on Friday night.
Of the 14 competitors in Farm-City’s final team roping event, four teams received penalties and seven received no time, leaving it wide open for Crawford of Prineville and Medlin of Tatum, New Mexico, to claim the title.
Pendleton’s own Clayton Morrison, teamed with Prineville’s Sean Santucci, provided some Eastern Oregon representation for the event, but were one of the unlucky groups who failed to rope their steers.
Two cowboys tied for the tie-down roping’s top spot, but only one rode off with the title.
Richard Newton of Portales, New Mexico, and Reese Riemer of Stinnett, Texas, each clocked in at 8.1 seconds, but it was Riemer’s 17.8 average that earned him the 2019 title.
For Riemer, the victory was seven years in the making. He’s been a Farm-City regular since 2012, but this year was his first as a champion.
“The money keeps me coming back,” he joked. “It’s a great rodeo with a great committee. It’s just one of those rodeos that everyone has on their lists to ride in every year.”
With $50,326.71 in PRCA earnings, Riemer is No. 21 in the tie-down world standings. His goal, he said, is to crack the top 15.
“I just gotta keep doing what I did tonight,” he said. “It’s one check at a time, and one rodeo at a time. I’ve seen guys in my position try too hard and end up making mistakes. I just have to take it easy from here on out.”
Stevi Hillman came all the way from Weatherford, Texas, to win Farm-City’s final barrel race.
On the back of her 12-year-old horse Cuatro Fame, she finished at 17.13 for the night’s best ride. Brittney Barnett of Joilet, Montana, earned the title with her 17.01-second finish on night one.
“A 17.01 ride is fast,” Hillman said. “To win third is great. There’s some phenomenal horses and jockeys here.”
Of the ten racers on Saturday night, four received penalties. Vale’s Danyelle Williams closed the night with a 17.42 finish for Saturday’s second-best ride.
“He took off a little sooner than I wanted,” Hillman said of Cuatro Fame. “He’s a big, strong horse. He feeds off the crowd’s energy. He won’t do what you tell him to do. The crowd was amazing tonight.”
Hillman has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the past three years, and is looking to do it a fourth.
“We’re looking good here,” she said. “Now we’ll just have to see if we have good consistency.”