Junior Saenz wins bull riding at Ventura
By Joe Naiman
Junior Saenz won the bull riding competition at Ventura County Fair Rodeo.
The 2000 Ramona High School graduate not only won the average with a score of 150 points on two head but also won the second go-round and placed second in the first go-round.
“Lucky enough to get it done over there,” he said. “I got two pretty solid bulls.”
Saenz rode in both Saturday performances on Aug. 13, scoring 73 points in the afternoon and 77 points in the evening. In recent years riders have been able to assess bulls’ past performances on the Internet, but Saenz uses his cell phone to go online and his connection was frozen until he figured out how to re-set it. Saenz determined his strategy on a (bull) jump-to-jump basis. “Sometimes it works better that way,” he said.
Saenz was also dealing with the impact — literally — of his unsuccessful ride in Norco the previous week. “My ribs are really bruised up,” he said.
In a rodeo bucking event, a rider must stay on his animal for 8 seconds to make a qualified ride. Scores are given for the animal’s performance and for the rider’s performance, and those scores are added to give the rider his final score.
Josh Garner of Live Oak won the first go-round with a 79-point ride while Saenz received 73 points along with $339 for his go-round position. “The first one was a nice ride,” Saenz said. “Smooth ride, just clean bucker.”
Saenz drew a bull called Gold Coast for his second ride. “The second one was a mean little sucker,” he said. “He was raring up and down in the chute.”
If the judges believe that the animal did not buck sufficiently, the rider is given the option of keeping his score or making a re-ride for a new score if he makes a qualified ride. A rider who is “fouled in the chute” automatically receives the option of a re-ride. Gold Coast committed such behavior. “He messed up my foot,” Saenz said. “They actually wanted to give me a re-ride.”
The re-ride was offered before Saenz and Gold Coast were let out of the chute, but with a complication for the rider. Two re-rides had already been accepted, and arena director Reno Rosser told Saenz that a re-ride would have to take place the next day. Saenz rhetorically asked whether the rodeo would pay for his hotel and meal before officially declining the re-ride and remaining on Gold Coast. “I was so mad because my foot was hurting really bad,” Saenz said.
“He went into my hand and I gave it to him, I guess, really good,” Saenz said of his ride. “I guess it worked out to be mad.”
His 77-point ride earned $452 for the top score in the go-round. Garrett Lange of Reedley scored 71 points to take second place in the go-round. Saenz also earned $452 for his average win; Sammy Matthews of Springville, who was third in both go-rounds, placed second in the average with 138 points.
The Ventura rodeo also saw Ramona’s Marcus Battaglia place in the tie-down roping event. Battaglia’s time of 8.8 seconds placed second in the first go-round and gave him $295. His time of 11.2 seconds in the second go-round failed to place, but his two-head average of 20.0 seconds shared third place and gave him another $147.
- Ramona High graduate wins second at Lakeside Rodeo
- Battaglia, Saenz place at Lakeside Rodeo
- Top bull riders drawn to Ramona, Pala contests
- Elstons win high school rodeo averages at Brawley
- Deskovick wins go-round at Oakdale
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