RENO - Payback is sweet. Just ask Chad Ferley.
Ferley, who broke his leg two years ago at the Reno Rodeo, scored an 80 in the championship round to win the saddle bronc championship at the 87th annual Reno Rodeo Saturday night.
Ferley finished with a three-ride total of 247, edging Josh Reynolds and Steve Dollarhide, both of whom finished at 245 after impressive rides in the third round. Reynolds tallied an 86 on No Dice and Dollarhide and 84 on West Hills. Shaun Stroh was next at 244 after an 83-point ride on Major Disaster. Cody Wright was fifth at 243 after an 86-point ride aboard Kool Toddy.
"This is a real good deal after breaking my leg two years ago," Ferley said after receiving his spurs. It helps to get a little payback.
"I drew really well this week. I had some really good horses."
Reynolds was happy with his three-ride effort.
"Not bad," Reynolds said. "It was just like it was last year when I finished fourth. I'd seen him a bunch of times. He was bad out of the chute; he didn't start very good."
Defending champ Cody DeMoss was dumped by Cinnabar Kate.
Bareback riding got the evening off to an explosive start, as eight riders posted scores of 80 or better.
Will Lowe, one of the top riders in the world scored an 87 aboard Rio's Edge to win his first Reno Rodeo average title with a 253, an average of 84-plus per ride.
Lowe's ride enabled him to overcome Andy Martinez's final-go 89 aboard Miss Amertitle which put him at 250. Co-leader Tom McFarland scored an 83 for a 249, and he was third. Kyle Bowers, who was tied for fourth entering the finals, scored an impressiove 85 for 248. Veteran Larry Sandvick scored an 84 and was fifth at 247.
"I knew Andy (Martinez) had won on her in Nampa," Lowe said. "He's been pretty good from times people have seen the horse."
Martinez was obviously disappointed with being overtaken, but pleased to win the round. He has won the last two Pace Chute-out winter finales.
"I've seen that horse before, but never ridden her," Martinez said. "She knows how to buck. I just tried to have a good run.
"Whoever gets on her usually gets a pretty good score. There were so many good riders out there today. You had to bring your A game. You can have your best ride ever and still get beat."
Casey Baize won the bulls title with 170 on rides of 88 and 82, the latter coming on Saturday night aboard Rough and Ready.
"I had that bull last year, and he bumped me off," Baize said. "It was nice to come back and ride him again.
"The pen was very good in the short round. I couldn't have done it without him (Rough and Ready)."
Clayton Foltyn was second in bulls at 166 after his 84-point ride on Mr. Bond, and Jason McClain was third at 164 after a 77-point ride on Yellow Stinger. McClain suffered a tib-fib fracture when he fell at the end of his eight-second ride. He was transported by ambulance from the rodeo arena.
In steer wrestling, Canadian Lee Graves saved his best performance for last.
Graves entered the finals in fourth place, but his session-best 4.1 enabled him to win the event with 13.2 over three attempts. The Reno title was Graves' second of his career.
Spud Duvall and Curtis Cassidy, the co-leaders entering the final round, each put up a 5.5 and tied for second at 14.2. Rodney Burks scored a 4.3 en route to a 14.5 and fourth place. B.J. Mitchell was next at 14.6, and Reno's Tyler Fisher put up a 4.7 and a 15.0 for sixth place.
Graves, of Calgary, Canada, is a 10-year veteran of the sport and has competed in the Reno Rodeo nine years. He won in 1999, and again this year.
"It's just as good as it was the first time," he said. "Anytime you win in a rodeo like this and get spurs, it's good. When you're done rodeoin', the money will probably be gone, but the spurs won't. You can keep them forever."
Wade Wheatley and Kyle Lockett, tied for first place with Tanner Bryson and Byron Wilkerson in team roping.
Wheatley and Lockett are no strangers to the Reno Rodeo.
"We've been coming to the Reno Rodeo since we were little kids," Lockett said. "We watched our dads rope here."
For Bryson and Wilkerson, it was their first time roping together in the Reno Rodeo - and it worked.
"We both have similar goals and work ethics," Bryson said. "It's going to be a good season for us, I think."
Neither had won spurs before in Reno.
"It's awesome," Wilkerson said. "(The spurs) are a treasure that will be on my wall 'til I'm dead and gone."
Houston Hutto compiled a 10.3 on his final attempt to win the tie-down roping title. He had a three-round total of 28.9. Justin Macha was second at 29.2, Blair Burk third at 30.4 and Fred Whitfield fourth at 30.6.
Terry Kaye Kirkland won the barrel racing with a 51.42 for three rounds. She was the only rider to break the 17-second barrier all week. Mary Burger clocked a 17.09 and finished at 52.0 along with Vickie Solomonsen.
B.J. Campbell, who competed in steer wrestling and team roping, was named the all-around winner. Cody DeMoss won the title in 2005.