As the Thunder on Hooves series comes to a conclusion at the Texas Longhorn the bulls remain hot and the riders efforts are strong. The series finals have been moved to Jan 16. As the final session approaches the lead has changed from the last session and there only two points separating first and second place. The action last Friday was as fast and hard as any professional bull riding. The 13 riders came ready to rope up and ride. 

Shane Young brought another hot pen of SYJ Productions bulls. The action started with David Stephenson coming out on a bull that made a hard crow hop out of the chute and then went into a hard spin. Stephenson made a great effort but only made about six seconds of the required eight. He hit the ground, rolled and walked away while bullfighter Kyle Copeland distracted the bull. Eddie Garcia, riding in his pink Breast Cancer Awareness gear was the next rider out. Garcia drew a hard bucking bull that made high moves with bone-jarring landings. Garcia hung on for his eight seconds, but trouble started when it was time to dismount. The bull drove into the corner by the exit gate and Garcia was thrown into the fence on the bull’s right side. 

As Garcia attempted to dismount, he got tangled in the rope and fell off between the bull and the fence. With no room to regain his footing he rolled under the exit gate. All three bullfighters moved in and moved the bull away so the crew could open the gate and Garcia could get away. To add a little difficulty to the situation, Garcia broke his right jaw at the last bull riding and had four teeth pulled Friday morning before coming to the Longhorn. His ride was easiest the “Hard Luck Ride of the Night.” 

On the good side, his ride earned him 72 points, $486, and put him in first place by two points when the night was over. Dawson McKee was in a tie for first place when the night started. McKee’s big brown bull made some tough, fast moves when he got away from the chute and McKee was flung and slung for a no score. That would put him in a tie for second place when the scores were totaled by Secretary Elizabeth Jackson. Nathan Dupry, Cory Hebert and Connor Wood would all come out and go down a few seconds shy of eight. No scores for any of them and no change in their positions for the championship buckle and the big payoff. Josh Durant drew a big bull with a lot of white hide and black speckles. The ride was hard from the get-go but Durant hung on for the required time. When the time came to get off and go home Durant was into the fence. He grabbed an arm load of top rail and the bull moved away. The bull then turned and came charging back at Durant. Durant climbed high and fast and when the action stopped he was standing on the top rail. The speckled bull looked at him and merely turned and headed to the exit gate. Judges Peanut Bullion and Custer Coleman gave Durant 68 points. That earned him second place for the night and put $324. The 10th rider was newcomer Brett Lejeune. Lejeune looked stiff and a little tentative on his ride. He is evidently new to the sport. Overall he looked like there is a future for him. He made a decent account of himself on a good bull. Timothy Faul was tied for first place with McKee going into the night. Faul had the same tough luck as McKee and got bucked off. He and McKee are now tied for second place and only two points behind Garcia. As the final night approaches, Garcia has 28 points followed by Faul and McKee with 26 apiece. Durant has 19 points for third place with Dillon Delaney in fourth with 16 points. A buck off by the leader and a covered ride by any of the other four can change the lead and make anyone the winner of the $500 Broken Arrow buckle and the $2,000 prize money. The finals will start at 9:30 p.m., followed at 10:30 by B.J. Thomas in concert. It will be a night of hot action followed by great entertainment. Rodeo Director Coleman Peveto is already working on the next bull riding series scheduled to start Feb. 6. “I haven’t named it yet,” said Jackson.