Pojanowski rides Magnum Force to bull riding lead.
By BRETT MARSHALL
There is an adage that says, "Good things come to those who wait."
It was never more appropriate late Friday night on the last bull ride of the night at the Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo at the Finney County Fairgrounds Arena.
Matt Pojanowski, a self-described rider for life, capitalized on getting a second opportunity after his first bull, Little Rascal, didn't meet the judging standards for a certified ride.
Pojanowski, of Woodbury, Minn., took advantage of that second chance to score an 87-point ride atop Magnum Force to move into the lead of the bull riding after two nights of competition. It was good enough to take a three-point lead over Trey Benton III, of Rock Island, Texas, who had scored an 84 earlier Friday on Lucifer's Leap. Rorey Maier of Timber Lake, S.D., and Sage Steele Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., the day one leaders, dropped into a tie for third at 83 points.
For Pojanowski, Friday's ride culminated the end to one of his best weeks after tying for first at an Extreme Bull competition on Wednesday in Gladewater, Texas.
"I can't complain," Pojanowski said after finishing his ride. "One of the bullfighters told me that the re-ride bull was a good one and that I should give him a go, and if I had a good ride, I'd have a chance to get a good score. It sure worked out."
Pojanowski said he had never seen the bull, which is out of the Anchor K Ranch of Korkow Rodeos of Pierre, S.D.
"He just said take it (re-ride) and you can win," Pojanowski said. "I'm glad I listened."
The appearance in Garden City was the first for Pojanowski since he was riding in the junior college ranks in the late 1990s for Fort Scott Community College.
"It's a good arena," Pojanowski said. "That bull was big, and he blew out hard. He hit to the left, and I thought I was gonna lose him. I thought he had me beat. I just kept working hard to stay in the middle and stick to the basics. Bull ridin' ain't easy, but it's simple and that's what you have to do. Don't overthink what you're doing."
Up until that final ride, Benton had taken the lead from the two Thursday night riders.
Benton, the PRCA Rookie of the Year in 2012 at age 20, is one of the top young bull riders in America despite the fact that he's competing with a torn ACL, MCL and miniscus in his right knee, an injury he sustained in a nasty fall last August in Fort Madison, Iowa.
"The bull threw me about 12 feet, and I ended up landing in a hole," Benton said. "I knew immediately I was hurt. But I didn't want to do surgery because of the NFR (National Finals Rodeo, in December, in Las Vegas). No sense in doing the surgery. I just get it wrapped up and go ride."
In a sport where rides and good scores can be rare, Benton had nearly a 40 percent success rate in 2012. But the injury has not slowed him in 2013.
He had won a CBR event in Del Rio, Texas, at the end of April and then won at Cloverdale, Canada, in mid-May.
"You just want to stay consistent on the ball and make sure you stay on," Benton said. "I had no idea what he (Lucifer's Leap) looked like. You just get yourself on the bull, and hope for the best. I spurred him a bit at the end and tried to stay in the middle."
Benton is on his way to the National College Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., which gets under way on Sunday. Taylor Jacob, a Texas A&M team member, continues to lead the women's barrel racing with a time of 17.26 seconds while Lizzy Ehr of Abilene, Texas, had Friday's top time of 17.52, moving her into second place ahead of Brittany Pozzi of Victoria, Texas.
For Holcomb's Dalton Davis, a sophomore at Garden City Community College, Friday's saddle bronc event provided the Broncbuster team member with a good warm-up before he, too, headed off to Wyoming for the CNFR. He scored a 78 on Wasabi, but was just out of the top, which was at 80 points.
"I like riding here because it's a really good rodeo," Davis said. "They've got good stock. It was a decent ride, but he (Wasabi) was a little slow at the start and wasn't jumping."
But Davis is looking forward to his CNFR competition this coming week.
"I'm really excited," Davis said. "Jim Boy (GCCC coach Jim Boy Hash) has done a ton for me, so this is really a nice opportunity for me to give something back to him."
Ty and Casey Breuer of Mandan, N.D., remained on top of the bareback riding with 83 points. Ethan McNeill of Gransville, Utah, cracked the top 10 with a score of 74 points to move into seventh while Taylor Price of Huntsville, Texas, shared eighth place with Frank Morton of Wright at 69 points.
Louie Brunson of Interior, S.D., is still in first in the saddle bronc riding with 85 points.
Jessica Miller of Madison clocked 2.7 s to take the lead in the ladies breakaway roping competition while Garden City's Kashlee Schweer was second at 2.9 seconds. Another Garden Citian, Shelly Meier, was fourth at 3.2 seconds, and Mandy Michaelis of Lakin was sixth at 4.2 seconds.
Justin Smith of Castle, Okla., and Seth Brockman of Wheatland, Wyo., share first in the steer wrestling with times of 4.2 seconds. Cody McCartney of Ottawa Lake, Mich., and Charley Russell of Shamrock, Texas, are first and second in tie down roping with times of 9.8 and 9.9 seconds.
In the team roping, Chase Wiley of Charlotte, Texas, and Ace Pearce of Washington, Texas, still lead at 4.9 seconds, while Bubba Buckaloo of Kingston, Okla., and Cole Davison of Madisonville, Texas, moved into second with a time of 5.0 seconds.
The PRCA Rodeo concludes at 7 tonight, and the rodeo will honor local veterans and military organizations.