By Ruth Nicolaus/for the St. Paul Rodeo committee - Courtesy PRCA
ST. PAUL, Ore. – The elements from two continents and three countries came together to make the high score in the bareback riding during the first night of the St. Paul Rodeo.
An Australian cowboy rode a Canadian horse at a rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon.
Anthony Thomas, from Kimberly, Australia, paired up with the Big Stone Rodeo’s Easy Money from Alberta to score 82.5 points and take the lead in St. Paul.
The 28-year-old cowboy hurried out of the arena, on his way to another bareback horse at the Molalla, Ore., rodeo, pleased with his ride even though it started out a bit rocky.
“I was lucky enough to draw a really nice Canadian horse,” he said. “It took me a little while to get out on him in the box. He tried to squat and was leaning really bad.”
But the end result was good. “I got right with her, and it couldn’t have gone much better for me, and I’m really happy.”
The Australian is having the best year of his rodeo career. He’s sitting in the top 25 in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings, and he hopes to add to his earnings throughout Cowboy Christmas. After he and his traveling partner, Shane O’Connell, compete at Molalla, they’re on to Prescott, Ariz.; West Jordan, Utah; Livingston, Mont.; on July 3rd, and Red Lodge, Mont., and Cody, Wyo., on the Fourth.
In 2011, he was the Australian Pro Tour Champion Bareback Rider, and had climbed as high as he could go in the sport in Australia. So he came to the United States, “so I could be the best in the world, and make a good living doing what I love to do.”
When he’s not rodeoing, Thomas trains horses and makes his home wherever the job takes him. This year, he’s lived in Oklahoma and Texas.
Other high scores and fast times from the July 1 competition at the St. Paul Rodeo were accomplished by steer wrestler Andy Weldon, Greenleaf, Ark. (4.8 seconds), bull rider Colten Jesse, Konawa, Okla. (83 points), tie-down roper Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif. (7.8 seconds), saddle bronc rider Joaquin Real, Santa Paula, Calif. (85.5 points), team ropers Lane Santos-Karney, Creston, Calif. and Jordan Ketscher, Squaw Valley, Calif. (5.2 seconds), and barrel racer Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas (17.11 seconds.).
Tomorrow’s rodeo is at 7:30 p.m., with performances following on July 3-4, at 7:30 p.m. each night and a 1:30 p.m. matinee on July 4. Tickets are still available and range in price from $18 to $30 and are available online at StPaulRodeo.com and from the ticket office at the rodeo grounds. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website or call the rodeo office at 800.237.5920