RENO - Chris Harris loved playing football at Winston High in Texas, and he was good enough to rush for 549 yards in a single 6-man football game.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Harris said after posting a solid 74 in his second go-round in bareback riding Saturday night at the 87th annual Reno Rodeo at the Reno Livestock Event Center.
"We had this fullback who was about 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, but he wouldn't hit anybody. The coach put this young black kid in. He was a good athlete. The first play we ran a sweep and he hits the middle linebacker and knocks him down. After I saw that, I knew nobody was going to stop us."
Harris said he had a few offers after averaging nearly 300 yards a game, but he couldn't turn away from his love of rodeo.
It was a good decision. He has won nearly $500,000 in prize money thus far, and the 29-year-old shows no sign of slowing down or diminished skills.
Harris' 74 was the fifth-best round of the group, trailing the 84 of Wes Stevenson, an 80 by Will Lowe, 77s by leader Tom McFarland and former world champ Marvin Garrett. Harris and Royce Ford each had a 74.
Harris' father, Chris, is a state senator in Fort Worth, Texas.
"He loves what I do," Harris said. "He always supported me in everything I did."
BAD EVENT FOR ETBAUER
Billy Etbauer, ranked No. 4 in the world in saddle bronc riding, posted a no score for the second straight night, which is a rare happening.
Etbauer was knocked off Cinnabar Sal after 5.19 seconds. Cotton Rosser, the stock contractor for the Reno Rodeo, gave the veteran rider a bottle of Jack Daniels.
"I've seen him get bucked off," said Battle Mountain's Matt Marvel. "It doesn't happen twice to him very often."
The Reno Rodeo has some of the most unique first and last names that you will find in any sport.
There are Becca Fullenwider, Dude Overton, Jenna Cadwallader and Piper Levandoske, all of whom are barrel racers.
In the bareback division are Forest Bramwell, Rowdy Buechner, Stetson Herrera and Cimarron Gerke.
Cooper Kanngiesser, Ian Male, Jackson Stoney, Howdy Cloud and Spud Whitman are all bull riders.
The best names among saddle bronc riders are Stormy Sagers, Bold Butler, Shane Odenbush, Jeremiah Diffee, Sam Spreadborough and Steve Dollarhide.
This is the sixth year that the Reno Rodeo has partnered with the Black Stallion Literacy Program.
The program offers first-grade instructors a different method to get their students to read. Two times a year, rodeo members visit various schools and usually bring a couple of horses with them. The students are given books, authored by Walter Farley.
According to rodeo members, 22 schools were visited and more than 1,600 students participated in the program.
TAKING ON THE CAUSE
The Reno Rodeo committee is urging all fans, volunteers and contestants to wear pink shirts for the finals on June 24. Part of the proceeds from the sale of all pink shirts sold at the rodeo will be turned over to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Fallon's Larry Bute was hired by the rodeo to create a painting, which is being used as the official poster of the Reno Rodeo.
•Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281