The top cowboys and cowgirls have descended on Reno for the 87th edition of the Reno Rodeo at the Reno Livestock Center.
Action begins Thursday night at 7 p.m. with the Xtreme Bulls Hard to Ride Tour at the Outdoor Arena. Official PRCA competition, which kicks off the summer season, begins Friday at 7 p.m.
The Reno Rodeo ranks in the top five in rodeos, and this year there is more than $500,000 in prize money at stake.
All of the defending champions have returned to defend their crowns - Cody DeMoss (saddle bronc), Steve Purcella and Britt Bockius (team roping), Royce Ford (bareback), Todd Suhn (steer wrestling), Monty Lewis (tie-down roping), Linda Vick (barrel racing) and Dustin Elliott (bulls).
Here's a look at each event and some of the top competitors:
Bareback riding - Andy Martinez won the Pace Chute-out title, and looks to continue his winter success. He'll be riding on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Other top entrants are Will Lowe, a former 2003 world title winner; Wes Stevenson, who had a 94-point ride aboard Cover Girl back in 2002; Ryan Gray, who was ranked 22nd in 2004; Bobby Mote, a 2002 world title holder; and Jason Havens, who won nearly $100,000 in 2004.
Steer wrestling - Suhn, who wasn't ranked in the top 10 at the end of the winter season, pulled off a minor upset when he won the Pace Chute-out crown in May. Suhn also is looking to defend his Reno title.
Suhn will have his hands full with the likes of Dean Gorsuch, Sean Mulligan (10th in the 2004 NFR, 2nd on winter tour), Wade Sumpter (3rd on winter tour), Ronnie Fields (4th on winter tour), Luke Branquinho (2004 world title) and Shawn Greenfield.
Saddle bronc - DeMoss is the defending Reno champ and he was third during the regular portion of the winter tour.
DeMoss is a talented cowboy, as he also won the all-around title in Reno last year. However, he's up against a talented field, including Dan Mortensen and Billy Etbauer, who were 1-2 during the regular portion of the winter tour. Both cowboys have won nearly $3 million during their careers. Also expected to challenge for the top spot are Cody Martin, Rusty Allen and Rod Hay, who won the Chute-out title in May.
Bull riding - This is probably the toughest event to predict, because so much relies on what bull the rider draws.
Elliott is back to defend his Reno title, and he's expected to get some stiff competition from Matt Austin, Jarrod Ford, Wesley Silcox, Sonny Murphy and Jake Wade. Keep an eye on Zach Oakes, who won the Pace Chute-out title.
Barrel racing - Vick had a disappointing winter season, but she is back to defend her Reno title.
Mary Burger, who finished second in the regular-season winter standings, is coming off a Pace Chute-out victory. Burger will be challenged by Brittany Pozzi, Denise Fea, Andrea Jones, Kim Squires and Jana Jarreau. Carson City's Lita Scott was 28th during the winter season.
Tie-down roping - Lewis has been on fire. He won the Reno title last year and won the Pace Chute-out in May.
To defend his title, Lewis must beat out the likes of Trevor Brazile, Cody Ohl, Fred Whitfield, Cade Swor, Matt Shiozawar, Blair Burk and Ryan Jarrett. Brazile has already won several all-around titles in his short career.
Team roping - Purcella and Bockius won the title in Reno last year, and the duo finished in the top 10 during the winter season.
Speed Williams and Rich Skelton are probably the odds-on favorites in the event. Brazile also is entered in this event, and some of the other top ropers are Travis Tryan, Colter Todd, David Key and Matt Sherwood.
WHAT'S IN A NAME
Ever wondered what the most popular last name is at the Reno Rodeo this year?
If you guessed Miller, go to the had of the class. There are seven competitors with the last name of Miller - Bryce (saddle bronc), Wes (team roping), Rose (barrel racing), Jason (steer wrestling), Kyle (bull riding), Scott (saddle bronc) and J.D. (event not known).
The next most popular names are Campbell and Johnson (6 each) followed by Brown, Cooper and Davis (5 each) and Ford (4).
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
87th Reno Rodeo
When: June 15 to June 24
Where: Reno Livestock Events Center, 1350 N. Wells Avenue
Time: Nightly performances begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets: For the Xtreme bulls tickets range from $15 to $25. Tickets for the sanctioned PRCA events range from $8 to $19 depending on what performance you attend. For more information on tickets, call 1-800-225-2277 or 329-3877.