NAMPA, IDAHO (April 2, 2016) The Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) Premier Tour opened in Nampa, Idaho last night and showcased the biggest names in rodeo. Ride after ride the athletes proved to the Gem State why the world calls them Elite Rodeo Athletes.
Derrick Begay and Clay O’ Brien Cooper win ERA Premier Tour Rodeo #2 in Nampa, Idaho
Six-Time World Champion, Cody Ohl, might not have had the night he was hoping for in the tie-down roping, but came out on top in the bull riding as his bull, Wolverine, was ridden by super talent, Ty Pozzobon from Merritt, British Columbia who scored a 82.5. Pozzobon, started his professional rodeo career in Canada and then made his way on to the PBR Tour before joining the ERA. When asked what he loves about bull riding the he said, says, “The adrenaline and when you step off a bull after your ride and the feeling you get knowing you just conquered a beast.”
Bradley Harter from Weatherford, Texas brought home his second ERA Premier Tour win when he rode Twice Shy from Bar T and received an 87-point score. His victory was well earned, as every Saddle Bronc rider that nodded his head last night not only made it to the whistle, but turned in a high score, with nine riders landing in the 80-point territory.
Last night, fans in the Ford Idaho Center realized why ERA saves the Bareback Riding for the end of the show. With amazing athleticism on display from both animal and cowboy, every rider turned in a show-stopping ride. Bringing home his second ERA tour stop win was Will Lowe from Canyon, Texas who rode American Thumper from Outlaw Buckers and scored an 87. Lowe who shares the world record for the highest bareback ride (94 points) shared that his game plan doesn’t change much ride after ride. “I think about the basics. I need to get a great start and ride them jump for jump.”
The timed event side of the arena set the stage for a comeback last night, as crowd favorite and three-time World Champion, Tuf Cooper, shook off his Redmond missteps and brought home the win. Riding his horse, Topaz, they stopped the clock with a run of 8.06. Cooper has commented in the past that Topaz hates to loose, so it is no surprise that the two of them had a game plan to win coming into Tour Stop No. 2.
“Go at every steer and don’t back off a bit,” is Tyler Pearson’s motto in the Steer Wrestling. This Louisiana cowboy was the last man out in Steer Wrestling and watched as eight of his comrades dogged their steers in five seconds or less. Knowing that he would have to be a 4 to even take home a check, he delivered with a 4.18 second run.
Derrick Begay from Winslow, Arizona and Seven-Time World Champion, Clay O’Brien Cooper, from Gardnerville, Nebraska increased their already commanding lead in the World Championship Standings when they stopped the clock with a 4.29 last night. The pack was right behind them with five other four-second runs and a close second place finish by Turtle Powell and Jhett Johnson with a 4.34.
The ERA promises fans only the top talent in rodeo and has brought a few names into the spotlight that fans might not be as familiar with, but will quickly learn why they are considered elite. One such name is Ashley Schafer from Yoder, Wyoming who is a top talent in the barrel racing futurity world. With the only 13-second run (13.83) of the night she is not only won, but put herself in the number one spot in the ERA World Championship Standings.
When asked why she is excited about being a part of the ERA Premier Tour she said, “Due to my career as a futurity trainer I don’t get to go to enough rodeos to have a shot at making other finale events that require traveling a majority of the year. Being a part of the ERA has given me an opportunity to compete at a high level of competition for a big purse without taking away from my family and business.”
Both nights of competition in Nampa pay out $100,000 each night. An athlete with a first place finish took home $3,625 last night. The ERA Premier Tour has one more performance set for Saturday, April 2nd in Nampa, Idaho before the athletes head to Salt Lake City, Utah for the tour events that take place next weekend, April 8th and 9th. Fans can purchase tickets to the Utah event online at www.smithstix.com, over the phone by calling 1-801-355-SEAT or in person at the Maverik Center Box Office.
Fans can watch the “Elite Rodeo Championship Race to Dallas,” which will air on FOX Sports 2 every Wednesday night in April. The Nampa event will air April 20th and 27th at 10:00 EST.
The Elite Rodeo Athletes is a “League of Champions” where only the world’s best rodeo athletes and livestock will compete against each other at every tour stop and rodeo. The tour was created with rodeo fans in mind, so they can easily follow their favorite athletes throughout the tour, which will host 15 regular-season events culminating with a 5-day World Championship event in Dallas, November 9-13, 2016 at the American Airlines Center. Fans will be able to watch only the best athletes and animals compete against each other, either in person or by watching the journey on FOX Sports.
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