SHERIDAN — Chance Ames arrives in Sheridan Wednesday for the first day of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
Upon entering the Sheridan County Fairgrounds, Ames finds a spot behind the chutes worthy of his cumbersome gear bag and cowboy hat.
Ames’ patch of dirt is more than just a small plot of land. It’s a sanctuary where he preps for his first WYO Rodeo as a full-time professional.
The former Sheridan College bareback rider doesn’t socialize much with his competitors. He keeps to himself. He’s focused.
Ames sheds his maroon and blue shirt, wraps and tapes his body for his eight-second jaunt. As the announcer’s voice booms from the speaker system above, Ames is alone and calm in his thoughts.
He takes a moment to kneel and pray before observing the American flag and a national anthem that officially marks the commencement of the 2019 WYO Rodeo.
Ames stretches out his body before rigging up on Sign Language, a horse with oodles of energy that Ames will soon find out “has some moves.” The announcer gives Ames — a fan favorite for his work as an SC General — the introduction he deserves, which includes his hometown of Big Piney and a distinguished honor, reigning CNFR national champion.
Ames lowers into the chute and does what he’s paid to do — ride. Sign Language doesn’t make it easy for Ames, but the Wyomingite does his best for the partisan crowd.
A score of 79 is greeted by host of boos from the fans who thought a few more points should have been thrown Ames’ way. And while it wasn’t the score Ames wanted, he focuses on the glass remaining half full.
“Like I always say, ‘There’s always room for improvement,’” Ames said. “… (Competing at the WYO Rodeo) is almost kind of like rodeoing in your hometown. Going to school here for three years, it’s really pretty neat to come here and still rep Sheridan College like it’s my hometown.”
Ames’ score slated him fifth on the night in bareback. Steven Dent led the way with an 86-point ride, while Will Lowe and Zach Hibler rounded out the top three with scores of 84 and 80.5, respectively.
Lowe drove all the way up from Texas to compete Wednesday in a rodeo he’d never miss.
“Sheridan has always been a good rodeo,” Lowe said. “I’ve been up here quite a few times, and it’s close to these other (rodeos) going on, which makes logistics easy. Everyone up here is great, Sankey does a great job bringing horses in. It’s just a good rodeo all the way around. I don’t want to skip it.”
Karson Bradley leads after one go in barrel racing after recording a time of 18.85 seconds. Stetson Wright boasted a score of 86.5 to lead saddle bronc.
Jacob Elder sits atop the steer wrestling standings after two rounds with a 17.2-second aggregate. Cody McCartney leads in tie down roping after two rounds with an 18.9 aggregate. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira top the team roping standings following the first two rounds with a 15.6 aggregate, and Parker Cole McCown leads bull riding after logging an 83-point ride.
89th Sheridan WYO Rodeo Current Standings
1. Steven Dent 86; 2. Will Lowe 84; 3. Zach Hibler 80.5; 4. Kash Wilson 80; 5. Chance Ames 79; 6. Trey Moore III 77.5; 7. Tony Barrington 76.5; 8. Trenten Montero 75.
1. Karson Bradley 18.85; 2. Jessie Telford 18.86; 3. Rylee McKenzie 19.04; 4. LeAnn Smith 19.28; 5. Shea Durfey 19.87; 6. Jo Fisher 20.08; 7. Teri Bangart 31.10
1. Stetson Wright 86.5; 2. Kole Ashbacher 82.5; 3. Colt Gordon 80.5; 4. Treyson Antonick 75.5; 5. Parker Kempfer 74; 6. Tegan Smith 72; 7. Garrett Buckley 70; 8. Logan James Hay 68
Steer Wrestling (average)
1. Jacob Elder 17.8; J.D. Struxness 18.8; 3. Kalane Anders 19.5; 4. Nick Guy 23.1; 5. Matt Reeves 24.3; 6. Bridger Anderson 27.1; 7. Eli Lord 31.2; 8. Chet Boren 37.4.
Tie Down (average)
1. Cody McCartney 18.9; 2. Tyson Durfey 19.5; 3. Riley Pruitt 19.8; 4. Rhen Richard 26; 5. Owen Wahlert 26.8; 6. Tyler Milligan 29.8; 7. Marty Yates 31.7; 8. Reid Zapalac 33.8
Team Roping (average)
1. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira 15.6/2; 2. Charly Crawford and Logan Medlin 19.3/2; 3. Jake Orman and Tyler McKnight 4.5/1; 4. Tyler Wade and Billie Jack Saebens 4.7/1; 5. Kaden Richard and Brady Ramone 6.1/1; 6. Jake Cooper and Caleb Anderson 6.2/1; 7. Coy Brittain and Colton Brittain 10.8/1; 8. Billy Bob Brown and Evan Arnold 10.8/
1. Parker Cole McCown 83; 2. Roscoe Jarboe 82.