SHERIDAN — A few simple words from a friend a couple years ago steered Sheridan-born Weston Mann away from roping and into the bucking chutes. Mann had roped his entire life, but upon going to college in Texas, he found a new calling.
“One of my buddies told me I was too big of a wuss to get on a bronc, and that set it off,” Mann said.
Those condescending, yet motivational, words led Mann to a successful collegiate career en route to the professional ranks and eventually to the Sheridan Fairgrounds Friday night for his first Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
And the hometown boy didn’t disappoint.
Mann saddled up Sacred Mountain and logged a 78.5-point ride, placing him fourth on the night.
“I’m happy with it,” Mann said. “It was my first hometown rodeo. … It was cool, and I loved every bit of it.”
Friday didn’t mark Devan Reilly’s first WYO Rodeo; however, it did encompass a seldom seen tip of the hat. The Sheridan native — atop a bucking horse, with his hand still firmly jammed inside his rigging — used his one free hand to raise his hat toward the crowd to show his appreciation.
“Only for the WYO fans,” Reilly said. “I try not to do that. I try to stay pretty humble. But these guys come out for a show. That’s the reason for rodeo, so they can see some good rides and wild buck-offs and throwing cattle down and all the good stuff. It’s fun. I had to get into it and getting off I got even more into it. I’m still on cloud nine.”
Reilly has competed in countless competitions all over the continent and numerous WYO Rodeos in his career, but the feelings at the Sheridan Fairgrounds remain the same.
Reilly could barley sit still all day Friday leading up to his eight-second bareback ride. Some difficulty getting his rigging around Great Nation delayed his go-round, and the nerves and excitement inside Reilly only amplified.
He battled those internal butterflies and easily recorded the best ride of the night. The hometown favorite scored 83.5 points, marking the only rider to eclipse the 80-point threshold Friday.
“I’ve always said, ‘I get more nervous here than anywhere else in the world,’” Reilly said.
“You can’t beat the fans. Without them showing up here, we wouldn’t ever have a rodeo. I appreciate them coming out, and they always get me jacked. … I’m just blessed to have such a great community of support here in Sheridan.
“There’s no other place in the world I’d rather ride. If I could ride here every time, I would.”
Reilly currently sits in fifth with one night of rodeo still to go.
Cody DeMoss of Heflin, Louisiana, boasted the best saddle bronc ride of the night, scoring 85.5 points. Cole Melancon from Batson, Texas, recorded a score of 88.5 in bull riding to take first Friday. Blake Mindemann of Blanchard, Oklahoma, wrestled his steer down in 3.9 seconds to top the field. Kaycee native Reo Lohse roped his steer in 11 seconds, which marked the best time Friday. Stevi Hillman from Weatherford, Texas, recorded a time of 17.37 seconds in barrel racing to place first. Oral, South Dakota, product Clint Kindred tied his calf in 8.8 seconds to top the field. Team ropers Riley and Brady Minor, along with the team of Joshua and Jonathan Torres, logged times of five seconds, which topped Friday’s performances.
The Sheridan Wyo Rodeo concludes Saturday with the final performance kicking off at 7 p.m.