ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Cade Swor loves the Ellensburg Rodeo and so far, the Ellensburg Rodeo’s been loving on him this weekend. The Texas tie-down roper will come back to Monday’s short round finale after roping two calves in 18.1 seconds, including Saturday’s 9.3-second round.
Swor knew his calf would give him a chance at money Saturday, but he was playing catch up right from the start, misjudging how hard the calf would escape the chute. A rookie roper might try and force the run to happen, but not the veteran Swor.
“Today I just knew not to panic. I just knew to run, rope the neck and tie that calf down,” he said in a matter of fact tone. “That calf was outstanding on the ground. When I knew I was behind, you just have to give up on the day money and just make sure you go make the short round. On the bright side I got another chance to rope for big money on Monday.”
He does. His 18.1 on two runs places him second behind Rhen Richard’s 17.4 with just Sunday’s performance to go before Monday’s finale.
Joining Swor is California bulldogger Tucker Allen. Like Swor, the second-year professional steer wrestler wasn’t lightning fast in either round, but what he did show was consistency. Saturday’s 4.0-second steer matched well with his 4.3 in Friday’s slack. Tanner Brunner (9.2 seconds on two) and Blake Mindemann (9.7) both ran Saturday and are at the tail end of the top 12 in their event to make Monday’s short round.
Sunday’s round is the final day of the first round for roughstock events, whereas it’s the final day of the second round in timed event disciplines.
It took a lot of discipline for Amberleigh Moore and her mare to blaze around the barrels on Saturday. Moore’s 17.66-second round might win second round money, however, it more importantly puts her third in the average on two runs with a 35.23 aggregate. Destri Devenport — who won the first round and leads everyone in the second round — of course still has a commanding advantage in the average with a 34.34.
Keeping with the idea of commanding leads, that nod goes to Tanner Baldwin and Nano Garza. The team ropers put their names in the Ellensburg Rodeo record books with their 4.1-second steer, a tenth of a second better than the nine-year record held by Joel Bach and Paul Eaves. It overshadows Clayton Van Aken and Trey Yates’ 4.4, which would have been a round-winner many times in the past.
Ellensburg’s Minor brothers, Brady and Riley Minor, were 5.8 seconds on Saturday and 11.9 on two, currently ninth in the average. Average leaders Tate Kirchenschlager and Buddy Hawkins II still lead with a 10.9.
It’s a new leader in all three roughstock events. Clayton Biglow (87.5, bareback), Ryder Wright (87, saddle bronc) and Aaron Williams (90, bull riding) all jumped to the top of their respective leaderboard with Saturday’s performance. Regardless if they win the round, all three will be back for Monday’s short round.
“Yeah, it’s always nice to know you’ve got the short round coming up,” Wright said. “It’ll be a good pen of horses, there probably won’t be a bad one in there.”
Sunday’s performance begins at 11:45 a.m. with the Grand Entry.