For bareback rider Steven Dent, the second round of the Justin Boots Championships turned into a waiting game.
After the cowboy from Mullen, Neb., was awarded a re-ride after his first horse, Sinner, was judged to have underperformed, his subsequent horse wasn’t much better.
The re-ride resulted in his second horse head-butting a gate and backing off, which resulted in another re-ride for Dent.
Rather than hold up the event, officials of the River City Rodeo determined the re-ride would occur after the steer wrestling and team roping events.
Dent decided to make sure the wait was worth it for his home-state CenturyLink Center crowd of 11,319, turning in a score of 85 about an hour after the other competitors finished to best three other cowboys’ scores of 84 to win the second round.
The win gave Dent an aggregate score of 165 after tying for fourth in the first round.
That was good for third overall and two-day winnings of $5,970 as Dent goes into the semifinal Saturday.
Dent, who won Omaha in 2010 and 2011, had a chance to make it three straight last year.
But he was disqualified in the semifinal when it was determined that he didn’t have his boots against the shoulders of his bronc on its first hop out of the chute. Dent, who entered this weekend in 11th place in the PRCA bareback riding world standings, said the disqualification isn’t a factor in his determination to win Omaha again.
“You know, that was disappointing, but at the same time, this rodeo’s always been good to me,” Dent said. “I mean I’m not going to dwell on missing a horse out. I think that’s one of maybe two horses I’ve ever missed out in my life.”
Earlier, Bobby Mote, Will Lowe and Ryan Gray looked as if they would have a three-way tie for first with 84s.
Because of the number of re-rides, Dent was able to make his winning ride on the same bronc, Hostage, that Mote scored an 84 with earlier.
“I was happy when I had seen that they had drawn her,” Dent said. “She’s a nice horse, and she’s old. And I’ve never not seen that horse not do it.”
While Dent’s home town of Mullen may be a six-hour drive from CenturyLink Center, he said he feels like he always has an advantage in Omaha.
"You know, Omaha’s probably my favorite rodeo,” Dent said. “It pays good. It’s a finale. It’s got good stock, and it’s the top 12 guys in the world.
“Every time I ride, that coliseum gets louder than I’ve ever heard it. When the fans are on your side, it just makes you perform to the best. The horses buck better for you. It’s all good positive energy, and it just seems to all work out.”
Steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb., nearly missed making the semifinal after finishing third in the first round by grounding his steer in 3.7 seconds. Gorsuch turned in the third lowest score of the second round.
That gave him an aggregate time of 18.5 seconds, which was good enough to nab the eighth and final spot in the semis, 2.5 seconds ahead of Straws Milan.
Casey Martin tied for first in steer wrestling with Tyler Pearson in the second round with times of 3.6 seconds. Martin enters the semifinal with an aggregate score of 7.0 seconds and winnings of $9,374 to lead all bulldoggers.
Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Neb., tied for sixth in the saddle bronc event with a score of 77. His aggregate score of 155 was good enough to put him into a tie for fifth and vault him into the semifinal, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Isaac Diaz and Cody Wright tied for first in saddle bronc with scores of 82.
Cooper Davis, 19, of Jasper, Texas, led all bull riders with a score of 91 aboard Sankey Pro Rodeo’s Inigo Montoya.
The brother tandem of Riley and Brady Minor turned in the fastest time in the second round of team roping as they roped their steer in 4.1 seconds.
Two-time defending world champion Tuf Cooper took first in tie-down roping, securing his calf in 7.4 seconds, while Jane Melby grabbed the fastest barrel racing time, making her round in 13.68 seconds.