RENO - You can't blame Chad Ferley if he didn't have good memories of the Reno Rodeo before Wednesday. A broken leg will do that to a cowboy.
The memories may get better after Ferley compiled an 86 aboard Smokin' Smurf to grab the saddle bronc lead at the 87th Reno Rodeo at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
Ferley has a two-ride total of 166, putting him five points ahead of Battle Mountain's Matt Marvel, who is tied for second with Steve Dollarhide at 161. Dollarhide put together a nice 82-point ride aboard Sagebrush. Josh Reynolds is fourth at 159 following an 80-point effort in the second round. Cody Wright is now fifth at 157.
"I've seen him quite a few times," Ferley said. "He was a real good horse. I was happy to have him. It's good to ride a real good horse like that at a big rodeo like this.
"I landed crookedly on my leg (last time in Reno). I didn't start up again until late that fall."
The biggest name in saddle bronc and defending Reno Rodeo champion - Cody DeMoss - rides for the first time tonight.
The top of the leaderboard in bareback riding remained unchanged. Tom McFarland and Will Lowe lead the way at 166, followed by Wes Stevenson at 164. All three travel together on a regular basis. Kyle Bowers, who had an 87 on Tuesday, is fourth at 163. Veteran Larry Sandvick, after an 84-point ride on Spider Monkey, moved into fifth at 162. He's followed by Andy Martinez at 161.
"He was good," Sandvick said, referring to Spider Monkey. "I was on him one time before. I was tired and it was the latter part of the year. I felt pretty good today for an old fart.
"You have to make the best of the opportunities you have. When you get a good draw you have to try and keep everything together."
Sandvick would like nothing better than to cash a big paycheck here. That would go a long way in determining his future schedule. He said he could be a lot more particular on where he goes.
"It's (toward) the end of my career," Sandvick said. "I've been doing 40 or 50 rodeos the last five or six years and that's worked good.
"This sets me up for a pretty good win. It would help out my schedule. I could go to better rodeos."
Martinez, who rode Johnny Cake, was pleased with his ride. He's within striking distance and a pretty safe bet for the finals.
"It went well," he said. "This was a good, strong horse. It kept bucking the whole eight seconds.
"I don't worry about the competition. If I do really well, winning will take care of itself. I'm just worried about my next ride."
For the second straight night, the bulls dominated the riders. Sonny Murphy, who finished second in the Xtreme Bulls Hard to Ride Tour last week, posted an 83. Clayton Foltyn had an 82.
Trent Cormier remains the leader with an 88, followed by Jason McClain 87, Mike Chaffin Jr. 85 and Justin McDaniel 84. Murphy and Cory Melton are tied for fifth at 83.
"I'd seen him (Frosty), but I'd never been on him," Murphy said. "He did surprise me. He went out there and spun. The other times he went back and forth four or five times and then spun."
Danyelle Campbell turned in the best time among the barrel racing competitors with a 17.33, followed by Codi Baucom at 17.41 and Trisha Wirth at 17.52.
Terri Kaye Kirkland still leads barrel racing at 34.14, followed by Lindsay Sears at 34.24. Vicki Solomonsen is third at 34.54. Baucom moved into a tie for sixth at 34.82.
The tie-down ropers had a tough time. Todd Hughes had the best time at 14.9 and Joe Hoffman was at 15.1. There is a three-way tie for first at 18.6 for two rides between Joseph Parsons, Ryan Jarrett and Houston Hutto. Trevor Brazile, one of the favorites, is ninth at 21.7.
Carson City's Tye Fitzpatrick and Yose Campbell of Stagecoach were the only team ropers to post a score (9.6) last night.
The leaders - Wade Wheatley and Kyle Lockett - are at 11.1 for two rounds and Turtle Powell and Mickey Gomez are at 11.3.
Bret Ellis and Chad Hagan posted the top steer wrestling marks of the night at 4.1 and 4.3, respectively.
Curtis Cassidy and Spud Duvall are tied for the steer wrestling lead at 8.7. Lee Graves is third at 9.1 and Trevor Knowles is fourth at 9.2.