The Bit-A-Bling grand entry team kicked off the night. (Samantha Anderson)

Cloverdale Rodeo kicks off to sunny weather, fair crowds

Barrel racer Lisa Anderson and bronc rider Caleb Bennett pull ahead in Friday opener

The 72nd-annual Cloverdale Rodeo kicked off on Friday night, to sunny weather and fair crowds.

Riders and audience alike were warming up during the evening performance, which was the first of four qualifying rounds before Monday’s finals. The stands gained more viewers as the rodeo went on, and the audience had broken out of its shell by the last event, due to the help of rodeo clown Ricky Ticky Wanchuk and his generous giveaways.

Only a single cowboy broke the 90-point mark at the opening performance. Bareback bronc rider Caleb Bennett, out of Tremonton, Utah, came in at an even 90.

Each rough stock event is scored out of a possible 100 points — 50 points are awarded for the rider’s performance, and 50 points go to the bronc or the bull.

Bennett hit his stride in 2016, taking in a season total of $374,272 and coming out with a fourth-place finish in the world standings. So far, he’s the bareback bronc rider to beat — he’s sitting first in the Pro Rodeo standings for 2018, and he’s leading the bareback bronc category at this year’s Cloverdale Rodeo.

Saddle bronc riders Tyrel Larsen and Mitch Pollock tied for first place standing at 87 points, and Layton Green and Preston Burr tied for third at 85 points. Last year’s Cloverdale Rodeo champion in saddle bronc, Cort Scheer, came sixth with a total score of 83.

Lisa Anderson, from Bozeman, Montana, pulled far ahead of her fellow competitors in barrel racing with a time of 15.991 seconds. If anyone hopes to overtake her, they’ll have to break that 16-second mark.

Bull riding saw plenty of non-qualifying runs, as the Kessler family’s infamous rough stock kept bucking their riders before they could hit the eight-second whistle. Stetson Wright was one of a handful to stay on his bull, pulling in a score of 89.5.

Friday, May 18 results

Bareback Bronc Riding

1. Caleb Bennett – 90

2. J.R Vezain – 86.5

3. Clayton Biglow – 86

4. Connor Hamilton – 85.5

4. Ky Marshall – 85.5

6. Wyatt Denny – 84.5

6. Cole Goodine – 84.5

Saddle Bronc Riding

1. Tyrel Larsen – 87

1. Mitch Pollock – 87

3. Layton Green – 85

3. Preston Burr – 85

5. Cole Elshere – 83.5

6.Cort Scheer – 83

Ladies Barrel Riding

1. Lisa Anderson – 15.991

2. Angela Ganter – 16.144

3. Sydney Daines – 16.264

4. Callahan Crossley – 16.43

Bull Riding

1. Stetson Wright – 89.5

2. Boudreaux Campbell – 86

3. Nate Perry – 81

4. Brett Custer – 76

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The bulls of Friday night’s opening Cloverdale Rodeo performance came out on top. Only four riders made qualifying runs. (Samantha Anderson)

As always, Mutton Bustin’ proved an audience favourite. (Samantha Anderson)

A rider makes a swan dive off the back of bronc at the opening performance at the 2018 Cloverdale Rodeo. (Samantha Anderson)

Taylor Manning, 14, entered the barrel racing at the opening performance. Although she didn’t make a top score, she was by far the audience favourite. (Samantha Anderson)

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