Brothers-in-law tie for Rim Rock Rodeo win
When the occasional tie pops up in an NFL game, fans roll their eyes. A tie might as well be a loss. In most sports fans don’t care how many overtimes they have to watch, anything is better than the dreaded tie.
Bull riding isn’t most sports.
Tony Mendes threw his hat into the air in celebration when the announcer called out his score of 77 points. One of the first riders to ride, his score easily put him in the lead.
Next up, Jason Blasdel hopped on a bull named Dible Oil, and after the eight-second buzzer sounded, he too had recorded 77 points.
The two winners were all smiles when they walked out of the arena.
“I’ve tied a lot, and ties are good in our sport,” Mendes said. “It means that your buddy and you are both going home with something.”
This time, the other winner was more than just a buddy. Blasdel and Mendes are family.
Four years ago, Mendes met Blasdel’s sister at a rodeo. A few years later, he proposed to her at — where else? — a rodeo. Now, he and Blasdel are friends, competitors and brothers-in-law.
According to Blasdel, there is no rivalry between the two. They compete against each other, but Blasdel always supports his brother-in-law, and Mendes does the same.
“In our industry it’s an individual deal,” Mendes said. “You are against your bull, so I’m not riding against the other guys and worrying about how they’re doing, or where they’re placing. Me, I’m riding against my bull, and that’s all I can focus on to get it done.”
When Mendes prepared to ride his bull, Dillinger’s Gun, Tuesday night, he had to rethink his strategy. Mendes is an experienced bull rider who has competed in Brazil, Mexico, Canada and all over the United States, including 10 appearances in Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. He is used to riding “rank” bulls (the term used for bulls that are particularly dangerous and difficult to ride.)
“I train myself to ride the rank bulls, and then when they don’t buck hard, it makes me look like I haven’t been doing this long,” he said with a laugh. “So, today my strategy was to go ahead and sit up a little bit more and not ride him like he was a rank bull, just ride him jump for jump, and it definitely helped.”
Riding at the Rim Rock Rodeo is a risk for Mendes, but it is one he is willing to take.
“I could get hurt here, and it could cost me winning $4,000 in the next two days over 150 bucks,” he said. “But I love the hometown crowd. I’ve got a lot of friends here that support me.”
Saddle riding: Chad Shaw placed first and Brian Charles finished second.
Junior bull riding: Nate Hoey took first and Coy Bronson was second.
Calf roping: Ryan Canty was first and Jesse Cordova was second.
Ribbon roping: Reo Weisgerber and Hanna Weber finished first for the second week in a row. Chad Shaw and Krystal Hensely were second.
Breakaway roping: Haillie Taylor took first and Brannan Allen finished second.
Barrel racing: Sophia Wiltfang was first in 17.68-seconds and Ashtyn Hammer was a close second in 17.71 seconds.
No. 8 team roping: Brannan Allen and Kevin Norell were first in 20.62 seconds. Kyle Rush and Glen Younger finished second in 22.64 seconds.
No. 11 team roping: Kevin Norell and Kevin Kracht won and Norell also took second, teaming with Reo Weisgerber.