SHERIDAN — Devan Reilly had a little trouble sleeping Thursday night. The Sheridan product would awake, fall back asleep, awake and fall back asleep.
After a few rounds of sleepless stretches, Reilly threw in the towel and eagerly started his day.
The Sheridan WYO Rodeo means more to Reilly than his other stops along the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. It means family time, catching-up-with-friends time and more fun.
“It’s my favorite week of the year,” Reilly said. “It’s better than Christmas.”
But with that joy comes pressure. Reilly is the hometown hero, the cowboy sponsored by the Sheridan WYO Rodeo and the cowboy that rides last to set the stage on a warm Friday night at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.
“There’s probably more pressure here than anywhere else I ride,” Reilly said. “Tonight, I made sure I tightened my rigging up a little more, put more tape on my arm, made sure my hand wouldn’t come out. I don’t ever want to let anyone down.”
And while Reilly would have liked to squeeze a couple more points out of Exotic Blonde, the fans made sure they serenaded their local cowboy with unabated appreciation.
“I just feel honored and blessed to have the support that I do from Sheridan County, and everyone, all the fans of the WYO Rodeo,” Reilly said. “I just feel blessed. There’s no other way to describe it.”
Reilly finished with a score of 79.5, which positions him just outside the money. Cole Reiner claimed best ride of the night, tallying 84.5 points.
Friday marked Reiner’s second WYO Rodeo. The former Sheridan College General competed as a young teenager last year, and felt much more comfortable this time around.
“I have a lot more confidence than I had last year,” Reiner said. “I’m riding with a different attitude toward rodeo and bareback riding. Last year, it was really cool to be here, and this year, I thought, ‘It be real cool to win it.’ I didn’t win it, but to pull some money out of here is really cool.”
Reiner rode Bronc Riding Nation, which hasn’t been a bareback horse for that long. He gathered as much information about the horse as he could before, and it did not disappoint.
Reiner was enjoying the battle in the arena so much he almost lost himself.
“I just went after him and tried to get as many points out of him as I could,” Reiner said. “About halfway through, I was having so much fun that I forgot to spur. He was a lot of fun. It was just really fun. … It’s such a cool rodeo. It’s unique because there’s nothing like it with the Indian Relay races, and on Friday night, this place is packed.”
Steven Dent remains atop the standings with 86 points. Trevor Brazile leads in steer roping with an average of 68.6/4.
Blair Jones holds top honors in steer wrestling at 9.1/2 average. Caleb Smidt leads tie down roping with a 17.9/2 average.
Brothers Riley and Brady Minor hold the top spot in team roping with a 10.8/2 average, and Parker Cole McCown leads bull riding after logging an 83-point ride.