Cardoza and Mitchell posted a time of 6.0 seconds to win the team roping event at Wednesday's opening performance of the 91st Molalla Buckeroo PRCA Rodeo.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Action in the 91st Molalla Buckeroo PRCA Rodeo got underway Wednesday with the first of five performances.  Russell Cardoza has been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo three times in the last five years and is in position to make a return trip to Las Vegas for another run at a gold buckle.

Cardoza, the 27-year-old team roper from Terrebonne, and partner Spencer Mitchell of Colusa, Calif., helped their cause in Wednesday’s opening performance of the 91st Molalla Buckeroo PRCA Rodeo when they won the team roping competition with a time of 6.0 seconds.

The duo is scheduled to return for Saturday morning’s slack round to complete the two-head competition, but are already guaranteed to cash after winning Wednesday’s round.

Russell Cardoza“You never know here,” Cardoza said. “Some years, 6.0 seconds might win the round or it might not place at all. We’re sitting good for the average and hopefully we’ll place in the first round, the second round, and the average.”

Heading into what is one of the busiest week’s on the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s calendar, Cardoza ranked third in the all-around world standings with $38,864.72 and was No. 10 among heelers with $28,348.79, while Mitchell ranked No. 9 among headers with $31.281.59.

Some shuffling of the current world standings is a given between now and the Dec. 4-13 Wrangler NFR -- the Super Bowl of pro rodeo -- at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, but Cardoza and Mitchell are in a good position.

“The season started off really good, and then here the last couple weeks, it’s been a little slow, but that’s rodeo,” said Cardoza, who also competes in steer roping, steer wrestling, and tie-down roping. “We made a little bit last week at Reno, but other than that it’s been pretty good.”

Cardoza, who qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2009, 2010 and 2012, said now is the time to try and solidify a spot in the top 15 of the world standings.

“This next month, things could change,” Cardoza said. “We could move up to second or third, or we could move down to 23rd. As long as we keep placing and catching, we should be all right.”

Cardoza and Mitchell planned to fly Thursday night to Prescott, Ariz., then return to compete at rodeos in Vancouver, Wash., Molalla, Eugene and La Pine, before heading out next week to Casper, Wyo., and Vernal, Utah.

“We usually come here every year, because I live in Oregon and Molalla is a really good rodeo,” Cardoza said. “We usually come here every year if we can make it, but sometimes it’s hard to make it.

“For me, it’s a good rodeo because it’s on our (Columbia River) circuit and it helps with our circuit money. And it’s two head and it’s usually a little bit easier here, because it’s a little tougher conditions (at night, under the lights) and if you just knock two down, you usually win yourself a pretty good check.”

Molalla has a second performance scheduled at 8 p.m. tonight, followed by two shows at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Fourth of July, and a final performance at 8 pm. Saturday.


July 2 results (first of five performances)

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Caleb Bennett, 82 points on Big Bend Rodeo's No. 007; 2. Seth Hardwick, 81; 3. Steven Dent, 79; 4. Orin Larsen, 74; 5. Clint Laye, 67.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Blake Knowles, 4.6 seconds; 2. Trevor Knowles, 5.2; 3. (tie) Clayton Morrison and Buster Barton, 5.7 each; 5. Taylor Gregg, 14.5; 6. Dalton Massey, 16.0.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Spencer Mitchell/Russell Cardoza, 6.0 seconds; 2. Jesse Northrop/C.J. Crume, 15.9.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Sterling Crawley, 85 points on Flying 5 Rodeo's Rough Going; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 83; 3. (tie) Allen Boore and Isaac Diaz, 75 each; 5. Bradley Harter, 73; 6. Landon Mecham, 71.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Marcos Costa, 9.2 seconds; 2. Roger Nonella, 9.4; 3. Sean O'Neil, 17.8; 4. Clint Robinson, 20.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Brenda Mays, 17.42 seconds; 2. Sammi Bessert, 17.90; 3. Wendy Wilson, 17.99; 4. Rose Miller-Jones, 18.04; 5. Samantha Lyne, 18.05; 6. Kathy Grimes, 18.88.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Cody Teel, 87 points on Flying 5 Rodeo's Snap; 2. Mike Sparks, 85; 3. Austin Meier, 83; 4. Colby Reilly, 60; 5. Brennon Eldred, 52.

Total payoff: $123,105. Stock contractor: Big Bend Rodeo. Sub-contractors: 4L & Diamond S Rodeo and Flying 5 Rodeo.

-- Jim Beseda / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(503) 829-2301

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