“Do good, Lonnie,” one Canadian cowboy hollered over to the next chute.
“Do good, Jordy,” another answered.
Standing in front of both cowboys as they waited behind the chutes on Friday evening were thousands of pounds of bull -- and a potential payday. With packed grandstands overlooking and a storm threatening overhead on Tough Enough To Wear Pink Night at the Last Chance Stampede, Jordan Hansen was tough enough. And he did good.
Hansen scored just the second qualified bull ride of the three-day rodeo, gripping his ride, Kesler Rodeo’s Slim City, to an 82-point score. He bettered Edgar Durazo’s Thursday night score of 73.
“I didn’t really know that bull too good. I wasn’t sure what his track record was,” Hansen said. “He kinda had a couple rolls and jump-kicked me, and then spinning around to the right. Toward the end he was just kind of blowing up and pulling the spot again, and then came back to the right again.”
Hansen’s ride came before Lonnie West’s, his compatriot and traveling partner. West didn’t fare as well, losing his grip and hobbling out of the arena. The two talked afterward, and hoped for the best regarding an injury. Their third traveling partner, Jared Parsonage, scratched on Friday, dealing with an undisclosed injury.
The trio had ridden together from Cheyenne, Wyoming, Deadwood, South Dakota, and Lewistown. Hansen had a small breakthrough in Lewistown, placing fourth. Helena, pending Saturday night’s ride, could be an even bigger ascension.
“This is my first time ever,” Hansen said of being in the Last Chance Stampede “It really isn’t even that fair from my house (Okotoks, Alberta) considering the rest of them. This is the first time I’ve made it. The crowd is awesome here. The weather is awesome. Great stock.”
While Hansen stole the show late, it was Montana star bareback rider Jessy Davis who revved the crowd up. Davis scored the highest ride of the day with his 79-point effort on Kesler Rodeo’s Pacific Coast. It put him behind Tristan Hansen’s 81-point Thursday ride.
“I didn’t know that horse,” the five-time championship qualifier said. “It’s a younger horse. I guess they’re breaking it out. I guess I was the test dummy. He started pretty good there at first and then he kind of weakened there at the end. He was acting like he wants to buck. But only time could tell.”
After an injury-filled 2016 season, Davis said his body is “doing pretty good right now, especially this time of year.”
“I’ve been on probably like 10 head of horses in the last two weeks, just every other day.”
Davis anticipates giving rodeo another two full seasons before really considering hanging up his boots.
In the meantime, he’s got his sights locked on Deadwood, and then he’ll be off to Glasgow, Sydney, Idaho Falls and Great Falls.
Davis led the bareback riding group on Friday, a group that featured Kenny Haworth who scored a 86, and Nick Gutzwiler who scored 73 and David Peebles who scored a 72.
Jacob Talley of Keatchie, Louisiana, surged to the top of the bulldogger board, and he didn’t even have the luxury of his own horse. Talley’s horse had thrown a shoe Thursday night, so he improvised, something he’s done at many rodeos, and rode Nick Guy’s horse, Tucker. Talley roped his calf in 4.3 seconds.
“I knew that steer was good,” Talley said. “They were 4.3 on him last night. Nick had actually run him at Napa in the short rail. That’s the second time I’ve ridden Nick’s horse. The other time was this morning.”
The 26-year-old said he’s “seen it go a million times.”
“I kind of know how it is. I like getting on one in the box. I can get back there and see my start.”
Talley’s improvisation has him in the money, and likely will move him higher on the PRCA standings, where he currently sits in 16th.
Following Talley were Sterling Lambert and Trevin Baumann, who each clocked a 4.2. Jacob Shofner was right on their tails in a time of 4.3.
Cody Wright and his son, Ryder, had the top performances in the saddle bronc on Friday, putting up an 84.5 and 82, respectively. Spencer Wright followed that up with a 78. There were no other qualified rides.
In the team roping, Pace Freed and Jade Anderson had the best time on Friday as they finished in six seconds. Ryan Reed and Cody Pearson followed that up with a 6.1. Cory Kidd V and Cole Davison had a 11.3. Rhen Richard and Rich Skelton were in fourth.
Brittany Pozzi Tonzzi of Victoria, Texas, put up a 17.41 second time in the barrel racing to clock the best time on Friday, and second best overall. A local mother-daughter combo were on her heels, as Rene Cloninger placead second on the evening in a time of 18.01 and Shelby Blixt finished with a time of 18.09. Maria Taylor of Saco, Montana, finished in fourth with a 18.20 time.
Saturday night the Last Chance Stampede will honor 4-H. The rodeo gets started at about 7:30 p.m.