In the wild spurring rodeo event of bareback riding, most world-class competitors are shorter and lighter.
But Brian Bain, who posted an attention-grabbing score in the event during the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo’s Thursday night show, is a rare exception.
Bain is 6-foot and weighs in the neighborhood of 180 pounds. But most of the time, the extra weight and height doesn’t deter the Oregon cowboy from rhythmically spurring a bronc from the point of its shoulders to the rigging, jump for jump.
Bain has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo twice, in 2011 and 2012.
At the 2014 National Finals, which was conducted Dec. 4-13 in Las Vegas, 14 of the 15 riders were under 6-foot.
“Being taller is a little bit of a hindrance because when you ride a smaller horse, it’s harder to get ahold or much,” Bain said. “But when it does go right, I think it looks better than a short-legged guy because there’s a lot more stuff going on.”
Bain’s more vivid spurring strokes impressed the Fort Worth Stock Show judges. He was given an 80, which tied him for second place in the first round.
Winn Ratliff, another former NFR qualifier who is built more like the typical bareback rider at 5-foot-5 and 135 pounds, also turned in an 80 during the same performance.
Both Bain and Ratliff are scheduled to make their second and third round rides at 2 p.m. Friday and again at 7:30 p.m. Friday. in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Because Bain is a larger-than-average rider, he prefers to draw larger horses.
“I like the bigger, stronger type of horses that other guys don’t like,” Bain said. “I get along with them better. If somebody runs in a little, tiny hopper in for me, I have trouble with it because my size just doesn’t fit well with its size and speed. When I draw a big strong horse in what is called ‘the eliminator pen,’ those horses don’t seem to bother me as bad.”
When he competed at the National Finals, Bain was given opportunities to thrive when he faced the bigger, stouter broncs who are placed in what it termed as the “eliminator pen.” They are often broncs that are difficult to ride because they weigh more, which means they give a rider a harder jerk when as they buck across the arena.
“When I’ve been to Vegas and they pick those horses for the eliminator pen and they are kind of the bigger, stronger horses,” “Bain said. “I’ve been on all 15 of them and have won money on them. But when they go to the hopper pen, I haven’t been on many of them and haven’t won much money on them.”
During the Stock Show’s Thursday performance, Bain made a strong, spurring ride on a bronc named Bad Medicine, owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co. He said the bronc was not overly large, but big enough to enable him do a fine spurring job.
“She wasn’t really big, but just a nice horse,” Bain said. “She was honest and just jumped and kicked and felt really good.”
Bain said he was able to rhythmically spur the bronc during the eight-second ride.
“She had a lot of timing to her,” Bain said. “That was the biggest thing. For not being a really big horse, she did have a lot to timing and was able to let me do my thing.”
In barrel racing, defending Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion Fallon Taylor of Whitesboro turned in a 16.62, which the fastest among the field of 10 riders who competed Thursday. She also took the lead in the first round after turning in a time of 16.62 seconds.
In tie-down roping, Sterling Smith of Stephenville turned in an 8.1, the fastest time of the performance. He also took the lead in the title race with a two-run time of 18.0. Smith, who qualified for the NFR in 2013, is expected to return to the Stock Show Rodeo on Feb. 7 to compete in the final round.
In team roping, partners Celeb Smidt of Bellville and Mickey Gomez of Holland turned in a 5.7. They took the lead in the average with a 12.2 on two runs. They also are expected to advance to the Feb. 7 finale.