By: Kendra Santos
When you’re hot, you’re hot. Just ask bronc rider Brody Cress, who’s riding the wave of a rodeo roll that includes the big win at last week’s Calgary Stampede up in Canada. He rocked right on Thursday night here at the $562,500 Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo in Salt Lake City, and after racking up 89 points on Flying U Rodeo’s Colt 45 will be back for Saturday night’s Gold Medal Round, from which someone in each event will leave Salt Lake $25,000 richer.
“Whenever you get your momentum going and get to riding good—where things are just falling into place—it’s awesome,” said Cress, who’s ridden at the last four straight Wrangler National Finals Rodeos and is also sitting good at the rodeos in Ogden and Spanish Fork, Utah right now. “You just have fun, take it one horse at a time, don’t overthink stuff or worry about things to fix. I’m focusing on every horse and every situation, and just doing the best I can with everything I get on.
“That horse I got on tonight, he’s a bucker. He’s got stats like a bucking bull, where he bucks off more than half the guys who get on him. So I knew going in that I was going to have to hustle and do my job. He ended up having a really good day, and I was able to keep things going.”
The eliminator pen was out Thursday night. A fair fighting chance is all any cowboy ever really asks for.
“The eliminators don’t bother me,” said Wyoming native Brody. “We see that at a lot of places, and it’s good at a rodeo like this one with a bracket format, where you have a whole pen of those kinds of horses instead of just one in there. When you show up and know everybody’s getting on a good one, you just have to get things rolling and stay aggressive.”
It’s unanimous among contestants that this rodeo could not have been more conveniently scheduled.
“These (World Champions Rodeo Alliance) rodeos are awesome,” Brody said. “Getting to ride for this much money is great. They bring in a lot of good stock contractors, and it’s right in the middle of all these rodeos that are right around here, so it fits perfect into the schedule.
“If you can get to these rodeos, draw good horses and make the most of whatever you get on, then this is a really good deal. It’s never a bad thing to put more money in your pocket.”
The skies opened up over the Utah State Fairgrounds Thursday night, which forced a 30-minute rain-delayed start time. The storm seemed to have moved through, but lightning, high winds and heavy rain caused a weather time-out partway through the team roping.
“We kind of got out there at the perfect time,” Brody said on behalf of the bronc riders, who followed the finish of the team roping. “We were saddling right as the rain was getting over, so it wasn’t bad. That horse I got on has been around enough that I wasn’t worried about him keeping his footing out there. I focused on staying warmed up and being ready, and not being sleepy when I got up there on the chute, so I could just take care of business.
“I’m from Wyoming. We’ve ridden in the rain and the snow. You’ve just got to clear your head, not think about it and focus on what you’re trying to get done.”
The only event that was not contested during Thursday night’s performance was the barrel race. In keeping with the WCRA’s contestant-friendly #AllForRodeo way of doing business, management met with the barrel racers before the rodeo and for safety sake Thursday night’s barrel racers decided to run during the day today (Friday).