The opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo is in the books as Rogers/Petska set the pace in team roping tying last year's winning time

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Cory Petska takes aim during his and teammate Erich Rogers' run in team roping during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo. The duo tied last year's winning time with 4.9 seconds, sitting in the lead early on.

The powerful duo of Erich Rogers and Cory Petska wasted no time in climbing to the top of the leaderboard in team roping during the opening night of the 94th annual Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo Saturday night.

Rogers and Petska, who have combined Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association earnings totaling more than $2.7 million and have been partners in the event for the past few years, set the pace for the Buckeroo on the first team roping performance of the night, tying last year's winning time of 4.9 seconds right out of the gate. Rogers and Petska finished the 2016 ranked fifth and seventh in the world standings place, respectively.

Their performance was the only one that contended with last year's winning run in all seven of the events, but that doesn't mean there weren't some great performances from all the athletes. Dillon Holyfield and Garrett Busby were close behind the team roping leaders as they clocked 6.1 seconds, followed by McKennan Buckner and Bill Justus in third with a ten flat.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Steven Dent holds on tight in his run of the bareback riding during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo. He currently sits in first place with a 76-point score.

Steven Dent took the early lead in bareback riding as he scored 76 points on Big Bend Rodeo's Commotion Toddy, followed up by Matt Turner in second with a 57 as the only two athletes with qualified rides. Last year's winning ride came from Winn Ratliff with 88 points.

In the steer wrestling, Wayne Schaffeld set the pace with a time of 4.7 seconds, followed by Ryan Grenell with a six flat, and Greg Schaffeld as the final athlete with a qualified time of 15.3 seconds. Last year's winning time was 3.9 seconds by Jason Thomas.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Nick LaDuke took the lead Saturday night with an 82-point performance in the saddle bronc riding during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo.

As the final rider in the saddle bronc riding, Nick LaDuke surpassed Samuel Kelts' score of 80.5 set earlier with an 82 on Big Bend Rodeo's Kool Toddy, showing that the best are sometimes saved for last. Jacobs Crawley follows with a 79.5, Jake Wright with a 79, Joe Harper with a 73, and Call Marr with a 70.5. Last year's winning score was 87 points from Rusty Wright.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Tyson Durfey, last year's tie-down roping champion, is currently on pace to defend his title as he sits in first with a time of 8.6 seconds during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo.

Tyson Durfey, who was last year's champion in the event, set the pace in the tie-down roping with a time of 8.6 seconds, .9 seconds slower than his winning time last year. Coming up behind him was Cory Solomon with a ten flat, Jacob Paul with 11.5 seconds, Nolan Mobley with 11.9, and J. Cody James with 19 seconds to round out the qualified riders.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Carley Richardson currently sits in first in the barrel races with a 17.57 second run during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo.

In the barrel racing, Carley Richardson stole the lead with a 17.57 second ride just after watching Salem's Amberleigh Moore clock 17.75 seconds. Jessi Fish stand sin third with a time of 17.98 seconds, while Sherrylynn Johnson clocked 18.04, Shea Dufrey hit 18.08, and Kelly Collier took an 18.23.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Jordan Hansen is sitting at the top of the bull riders with an 85-point performance during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo.

The most crowd-pleasing event of all, the bull riding, did just what it's supposed to do and brought the fans to their feet when Myrtle Point's Justin Schmidt was tossed into the air after completing his ride. He did a full backflip and landed on his feet, managing to evade the bull as the clowns did their jobs, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS  - Justin Schmidt was skyrocketed after his run of the bull riding during the opening night of the 2017 Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo. He did a full backflip and ended up landing on his feet, earning him a standing ovation.

Much to the crowd's disappointment, however, his backflip stuck-landing didn't earn him extra points as he currently sits in third with 75 points.

Jordan Hansen took the early lead with an 85-point performance on Big Bend Rodeo's Black Belly, followed by Jory Markiss in second with 77 points. Rylan Wright took 70 points for fourth place as the final qualified rider.

The rodeo returns July 2 at 8 p.m.

Standings through one performance

Bareback riding leaders: 1. Steven Dent, 76 points on Big Bend Rodeo's Commotion Toddy; 2. Mat Turner, 57; no other qualified rides.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Wayne Schaffeld, 4.7 seconds; 2. Ryan Grenell, 6.0; 3. Greg Schaffeld, 15.3; no other qualified runs.

Team roping leaders: 1. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 4.9 seconds; 2. Dillon Holyfield/Garrett Busby, 6.1; 3. McKennan Buckner/Bill Justus, 10.0; no other qualified runs.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Nick LaDuke, 82 points on Big Bend Rodeo's Kool Toddy; 2. Samuel Kelts, 80.5; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 79.5; 4. Jake Wright, 79; 5. Joe Harper, 73; 6. Call Marr, 70.5.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Tyson Durfey, 8.6 seconds; 2. Cory Solomon, 10.0; 3. Jacob Paul, 11.5; 4. Nolan Mobley, 11.9; 5. J. Cody Jones, 19.0; no other qualified runs.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Carley Richardson, 17.57 seconds; 2. Amberleigh Moore, 17.75; 3. Jessi Fish, 17.98; 4. Sherrylynn Johnson, 18.04; 5. Shea Durfey, 18.08; 6. Kellie Collier, 18.23.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Jordan Hansen, 85 points on Big Bend Rodeo's Black Betty; 2. Jory Markiss, 77; 3. Justin Schmitt, 75; 4. Rylan Wright, 70; no other qualified rides.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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