LANHAM RULES BULL RIDING
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
ELGIN He's barely 18, but high-schooler Zeb Lanham showed he belonged among the men Friday night.
The Emmett, Idaho, native rode two bulls for two of the top three scores at the fifth annual Mark Nichols Memorial Bull Riding that kicked off the Elgin Stampede.
He doesn't yet have his PRCA permit, but Lanham had won about $7,000 riding bulls before coming to Elgin.
His rides of 79 and 83 points earned him $2,400 more.
"It just feels good riding with these big dogs," Lanham said.
In the third section of riding, Lanham took the lead with his 79-pointer.
He was the next to last to ride in the short round, and he drew J10 Captain Hook, a Flying Five/Big Bend Rodeo Company bull he was familiar with.
"I rode him last week in Eugene for 81 points," Lanham said. "This go he was a little better. I just kept my hand closed and kept bearing down."
Lanham threw his hat in the air after somersaulting off the bull, and he was rewarded with an 83-point ride.
J.D. Wheeler was the only other cowboy to ride two heads, and though he almost fell off early in his short-round ride, he rode hard enough for 81 points and 154 on two. Wheeler earned $1,152.
Seven cowboys rode bulls in the first round. Wes Bilyeu shared first place honors with Lanham, earning $672. Cameron Mulrony and T.R. Wheeler, J.D.'s brother, split third place with 75-point rides and each won $288.
In the barrel racing, Debbie Stahl of Pendleton won $87.50 with a 17.80-second time. Rhonda Espinola of Cove was second at 18.31 for $52.50, and Susie Dade of Cove was third at 19.17 for $35.
The PRCA rodeo starts today, with slack this morning and afternoon and the main performance at 7 p.m. Sunday's show starts at 1:50 p.m. with the suicide race, and the PRCA rodeo begins at 2 p.m.