PENDLETON — The Pendleton Round-Up Arena blurred by in front of Parker Breding’s eyes. Flashes of the open green pasture melded into hundreds of cheering faces before the cycle repeated itself.
The 20-year-old cowboy was trapped in a cyclone, his bull twirling fiercely. Though the world spun out of control, Breding kept his focus, spurring the animal onward. As the eight-second horn sounded the end of his ride Thursday, Breding sprung for freedom.
“That bull was spinning real fast and when I turned to go I was kind of facing the crowd but by the time I actually left him I was spinning so fast he flung me right into the chutes,” the Edgar, Mont., native said. “Nose first into the chute I guess; I busted my nose pretty good. But pain goes away when you’re winning.”
As Parker headed for the Justin Sportsmedicine trailer with blood gushing from his broken nose and split lip, a 92 shined triumphantly from the scoreboard.
The score landed him in first place in the bull riding event through two days of Breding’s first Round-Up. But it also marked a taste of revenge against Robinson Pro Rodeo’s bull Tight Rope.
“I’ve been to a lot of big rodeos this year and I’ve had a lot of good chances, I just haven’t connected on any of them,” he said. “That bull bucked me off a couple weeks ago and it felt really good to ride him there, at one of the biggest rodeos.”
The Round-Up has been good to the Breding family. The young cowboy’s father, Scott, won a bull riding title in Pendleton in 1996. He’ll be in town Saturday to watch his son compete in the short-go final round.
Breding spoiled another massive Pendleton Round-Up debut from minutes earlier in the day when Cheyne Oldney busted out the first 90-point ride of the week in any event. His put him in first ahead by two points over Day 1 leader Rhys Angland. Oldney had previously competed in the PBR Classic — the Round-Up week’s opener — a few times but had never ridden in the big arena.
“It’s quite a bit different. The (Happy Canyon) Arena over there is tiny,” said Oldney, of Kennewick, Wash. “This arena is so much more fun, it gets a guy ready to ride.”
Angland remains in third with an 88.
Bareback Riding: Cody DeMers didn’t separate himself from the pack Thursday, but there’s nowhere he’d rather be after his bareback ride at the Pendleton Round-Up. That’s because the list of riders is top heavy in the event so far.
DeMers posted an 83 on top of Sankey Rodeo Co.’s Daisy to further jumble the leaderboard. His ride — the best of the second day of the rodeo — creates a four-way tie for the top spot.
JR Vezain, Justin McDaniel and Winn Ratliff all equalled the score on Wednesday.
DeMers, a Helena, Mont., native who now resides in Kimberly, Idaho, said he felt like Thursday’s ride could have been a good one just based on his stock draw. But that was only judging by the reactions of his fellow riders.
“I knew that horse was a good horse,” he said. “Everybody that had seen what I had they would go, ‘Oh, oh that’s a nice one.’ They were right. I’d never been on him before but shoot he just jumps and kicks. You’d want him at any rodeo you’d gone to.”
Though DeMers was the top rider Thursday, the whole performance put on a show for the crowd. Twelve cowboys finished a full eight seconds on their broncs, including Blue Mountain Community College rider Austin Foss. The Terrebonne rider had the second-highest score, an 81, which came on a re-ride.
His first horse did less bucking and more flipping, rearing back and landing on Foss. The cowboy held on and finished that ride, though.
“When you get to see good rides before you and you know there’s going to be good rides after you, you’re pumped,” DeMers said.
Defending world champion Kaycee Feild rode to a 79, leaving him in another four-way tie for 10th place and on the cusp of missing the short-go finals on Saturday.
Saddle Bronc Riding: The Day 1 lead of 86 points by Bradley Harter in saddle bronc riding gave him a two-point cushion on the rest of the field. But all it takes is one rider to make up that difference.
That rider on Thursday was Cody DeMoss.
The Heflin, La., cowboy just edged past Harter for the two-day lead with an 87-point ride. DeMoss looked calm and collect while charging up the leaderboard as the bucking horse couldn’t even dislodge his hat or sunglasses.
“I keep all those things on. Just keep your chin down and it’s safe,” he said, flashing a smile as bright as the sun’s reflection caught in his aviator sunglasses.
DeMoss is a former Round-Up champion, winning the saddle bronc title in 2006. Pendleton is one of his favorite stops on the PRCA tour, a rodeo he looks forward to each year that he’s been riding professionally dating back to 2000.
“I’d love to win it again, it’s my favorite one,” the third-ranked saddle bronc rider said. “I love it. There’s something for everybody in Pendleton. No matter what stage in your life you’re in, there’s something here for you.”
Behind DeMoss and Harter sits a two-way tie. On Thursday, Curtis Garton matched Cody Wright’s 84 from Wednesday.
Rhys Angland, Chad Ferley and Brady Nicholes were the only other riders to break the 80-point barrier on the second day of competition. All three scored 81-point rides and sit in a tie for seventh place with one more day of rides left before the final round on Saturday.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at email@example.com or 541-966-0839.