Rodeo: Injuries just part of game
LAS VEGAS - If championship buckles were handed out for true grit, Oakley saddle bronc rider Anthony Bello would have earned one at the 50th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which concluded Saturday night.
Despite being plagued by injuries for the last month, Bello was the No. 4 qualifier for the National Finals after earning $91,768 during the regular season. He was not 100 percent physically, however, and failed to finish better than ninth in the first four performances.
In Round 5, Bello failed to complete his eight-second round and, after he was thrown to the ground, his horse "stepped on my face, . . . just really worked me over."
Bello may or may not have broken ribs. He planned to check after returning home Sunday.
Still, Bello kept riding, even though he was "bruised and sore" and his rib injury made it hurt to "sneeze or cough." Amazingly, he earned an $11,628 paycheck by finishing tied for second in Round 9 on Friday.
Holding his ribs and shoulder as he talked to reporters, Bello was pleased he wasn't shut out at the National Finals but disappointed his injuries prevented him from challenging Milford's Cody Wright, who won the saddle bronc world title.
"To make it here, you want to do well," said Bello, a transplanted Australian. "Sometimes you don't do as well as you expect to do and you get a little down. But then you realize there's always next time."
Bello finished 10th in the final world standings, with season earnings of $110,690. Eagle Mountain's Rusty Allen finished 14th with earnings of $89,445. He placed in four of the 10 rounds.
"I made some mistakes," Allen said, "and it's tough when you make mistakes here; these are all good bucking horses. If you make a mistake, it's usually a short night."
In the bull riding, Payson's Steve Woolsey won two rounds and finished fourth in the world ($158,190). Tooele's Shawn Proctor also won two rounds and ended up seventh in the world ($147.278). Payson's Wesley Silcox, just back from a double fracture in his leg, won Round 5 and finished eighth in the world ($132,473).
In bareback, Elk Ridge's Kaycee Feild won Round 6 and collected $37,049 at his first National Finals. In the world standings, he finished ninth ($127,904).
Payson's Jessy Davis finished second in Round 2 and pocketed $13,251, but he separated his shoulder while doing so. Davis tried to keep riding but withdrew after failing to complete rides in Rounds 3 and 4.
In the tie-down roping, Spanish Fork's Clint Robinson earned $42,728 at the National Finals and finished 10th in the world ($114,511).
Robinson ended up sixth in the world all-around standings with earnings of $140,751 in tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling.
The 2008 PRCA world champions, with hometowns and season earnings:
* All-Around: Trevor Brazile (Decatur, Texas), $419,868
* Bareback: Justin McDaniel (Porum, Okla.), $216,967
* Steer Wrestling: Luke Branquinho (Los Alamos, Calif.), $242,018
* Team Roping (Headers): Matt Sherwood (Pima, Ariz.), $189,568.
* Team Roping (Heelers): Randon Adams (Logandale, Nev.), $189,568.
* Saddle Bronc: Cody Wright (Milford), $247,416.
* Tie-Down Roping: Stran Smith (Childress, Texas), $181,401
* Barrel Racing: Lindsay Sears (Nanton, Alberta), $323,570.
* Bull Riding: J.W. Harris (May, Texas), $208,437.