Rockin' rodeo

Steamboat bull provides winning ride; Oklahoma's Corey Navarre takes title

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For the second time in three years, Steamboat Springs' own Panda provided the winning ride at the Steamboat Pro Bull Riding Classic.

But that doesn't mean the two-time winner was happy following Sunday night's performance.

"I think he's still a little angry," Broken Arrow Comp-any contractor Dona Vold Lar-sen said after the rodeo. "Panda doesn't like to be ridden, but I couldn't be any prouder. I don't mind it when a quality cowboy like Corey Navarre rides Panda. He had a great ride and Panda did a great job of bucking. I couldn't ask for anything more."

Panda was Navarre's fourth bull of the evening. The Oklahoma cowboy was only required to ride two bulls to win Sunday's U.S. Smokeless Tobacco's Cha-llenger Tour event, but he got on the back of four en route to winning this event, thanks to two re-rides in the long go of the Professional Bull Riders sanctioned event.

The bull accounts for half the bull rider's score. So if a bull fails to buck to its potential, falls or hooks the cowboy on the chute, the judges can grant the rider another ride. Navarre was allowed a third ride after his first two attempts were unsuccessful.

When he finally got a bull he could ride, he made the most of it by scoring 85.5 points in the long go-round. The score helped him advance to the finals with nine other riders.

It was then that Navarre's luck changed, and he drew the only bull he really needed to get on all night -- Panda.

The Vold Larsen bull, which was born in the Yampa Valley, put on another great show in the finals, and Navarre held on to net the highest score of the night at 89.5. The score helped him finish with 175 points to win his first title in Steamboat.

"I had never seen that bull before, but I had heard a lot about him," Navarre said. "I knew I was having a good ride, but you never know if it's enough to win at this level."

Sevi Torturo placed second at 171, and Jason Bennett, who turned down the option of a re-ride in the finals, placed third with a score of 160.

After the event, however, the person with the biggest smile at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena was Larsen. Not only did her bull win the Steamboat Pro Bull Riding Classic for the second time in three years -- Cody Custer rode Panda to a 94-point ride at the Steamboat Pro Bull Riding Classic three years ago -- but another one of her bulls, Hard Copy, set the mark in the long go-round when Beau Lindley rode to an 88.5

"It was a fabulous way to wrap up the rodeo season here in Steamboat," Vold Larsen said. " It was a great night because Corey needed to win, and it's good for Panda to be ridden every once in a while."

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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