GIRARD — Boots, spurs and plenty of cowboy hats descended on Bill Peak Arena at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Wednesday for the first night of the United Rodeo Association and Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo.
Cowboys and cowgirls competed in several events to lock in the best scores before a new round of competitors have the opportunity to unseat them in the second round Thursday.
The evening started with a bang, as Colt Eck launched out of the chutes for a 67-point bareback bronc ride. The second rider of the evening, Dylan Cutshaw, did not fair as well, failing to stay on the full eight seconds and receiving a no score.
Thursday night, two more bareback bronc riders will try to take the top spot from Eck.
The saddle bronc riding event saw less success with both riders failing to receive a score. Three riders will hope to stay on the full eight seconds and take the championship home during night two.
Connor Gentry was the lone steer wrestler at Wednesday’s first round. The young cowboy failed to hold onto his steer and received a no time.
Team Ropers Ty Bryant and Lyndon Stueve started the first night of team roping strong with a 5.5 second run. Chris Vitt and Rio Esquiel came in second on the night with a 7.5 second run.
The cowgirls came out fast for the barrel racing with Meredith Evans finishing on top after the first night with a run of 16.343 seconds. Melanie McGee took second with a time of 16.54, followed by Samantha Melburn with a time of 16.83.
Round one ended with six cowboys taking on the toughest sport on dirt — bull riding. Creek Young fired out of the chutes first, locking in a score of 80 points. Young was sitting pretty to finish round one on top with four riders earning no scores until United Rodeo Association No. 1 Bull Rider Coy Pollmeier took his seat on a bull.
Pollmeier held on the full eight seconds to end the night with a score of 84 points. Six more riders will take their chance to unseat Pollmeier Thursday night.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.