ERA’s Premier Tour Opens in Salt Lake City
The Elite Rodeo Athletes (ERA) Premier Tour opened in Salt Lake City last night with several cowboys and cowgirls claiming their first win on the tour this year.
ERA Bull Rider, Neil Holmes, from Cleveland, Texas had a rocky start to the ERA tour, but last night he showed the crowd at the Maverik Center what he was made of when he drew a bull named Broken Arrow from Bar T Rodeo. With an 88.5-point ride, this left-handed bull rider who first made a name for himself in both the CBR and PBR has now made a statement that he will be a contender on the ERA tour.
The man that knows all too well what first feels like is Saddle Bronc Rider, Wade Sundell, who drew a horse named Frontier Justice from Burch Rodeo. Fresh off his Nampa win on Lunatic From Hell, this Iowa cowboy scored an 85.5, just narrowly edging out two-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, Taos Muncy, who scored an 85. The win puts Sundell in the top spot of the ERA World Championship Standings.
Jump for jump, Tilden Hooper and Dirty Rags from J-J Rodeo Company showed the fans in the Maverik Center what happens when you match up two incredible athletes. The Carthage, Texas cowboy claimed his first win with a score of 87 points. Right behind him were seven other 80-point rides, cementing this event as the most anticipated of the night.
Fans were waiting for five-time World Champion Steer Wrestler, Luke Branquinho, to strike in the ERA Steer Wrestling and last night he did not disappoint. He made a decision this week to ride fellow contestant Tyler Pearson’s horse, Scooter, and the switch in mounts proved to be a smart move. With six other steer wrestlers stopping the clock at the four-second mark, Branquinho’s 4.03 second win was not an easy one (just 2 one-hundredth’s of a second faster than Jake Rinehart).
The team roping saw new names on the leaderboard, though this team is not stranger to first place. World Champion Header Aaron Tsinigine and his partner, ERA Heeler, Ryan Motes from Weatherford, Texas stopped the clock with a 4.11 second run. After the run Motes commented that, “It feels great to finally have a win under our belt.” He went on to credit their fast time to having a great steer and to Tsinigine for getting a great start out of the box.
The Cooper boys put on a show in the tie-down roping last night and proved a little brotherly competition makes for some quick runs. Clif Cooper came out victorious last night with a 7.50 second run, but right behind him was his younger brother, three-time World Champion, Tuf Cooper, with a 7.76. The win last night pushed Clif to the top of the World Championship Standings.
Lisa Lockhart is back on her horse Louie and together they came out on top when they turned in a 13.27 in the barrel racing last night. Louie, who has his own fan following, holds a special place in Lockhart’s heart. When asked about him, she said, “My horses have all taught me or contributed to my success, but I have to say my horse, Louie, has changed my life. His outgoing personality is so much fun to be around.”
Right behind her last night with a 13.36 and still in the lead for the world championship is Ashley Schafer from Yoder, Wyoming.
Both nights of competition in Salt Lake City pay out $100,000 each night. The ERA Premier Tour has one more performance set for Saturday, April 9th in the Maverik Center before the athletes take a few weeks off and then head to Albuquerque, May 20-21. Fans can purchase tickets to the Utah event online at http://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 Salt Lake City event will air May 4th & 11th at 10:00 EST.
–Elite Rodeo Association