Jory Markiss must like riding bulls in Union County.

The Redmond product, who just four weeks ago won the Ed Miller Xtreme Bull Riding at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show, was the champion of the Mark Nichols Memorial Bull Riding Thursday night at the Elgin Stampede.

And he pulled off the feat on his 28th birthday, no less.

“It’s been great,” Markiss said of a recent run he’s been on. “Flying 5’s got great stock. Summertime’s started, and I felt like I’ve started to heat up a little bit. It’s been awesome.”

Markiss was one of only two riders to complete a ride in both the first round and the finals. He finished with a two-round total of 154, just ahead of runner-up Sid Britt, who turned in a score of 152.

Markiss, the first rider of the evening, kicked off the action with an opening-round score of 74. The score held up for fourth-best during the first round, with Austin Covington (80 points), Britt (78) and Justin Schmitt (75) taking the top three spots into the finals.

“My first bull was really good. He just kicked out of there and spun low on the ground to the right,” Markiss said. “I got off clean, so glory to God for that.”

In the finals, Markiss was even
better, recording an 80-point ride to set the standard even higher.

“He (jumped) up in the air, came around short and just finished out in a good spin,” Markiss said of the final bull.

Britt followed with an equally strong ride to challenge for the crown, but his final-round total of 74 left him just short.

Markiss said a month ago at the EOLS that he believed that victory could be the beginning of a momentum boost, and Thursday night was evidence of that.

“I’d like to think it has (given me a boost),” he said. “I’ve come off some bulls, but I’ve been more consistent than I imagined I could be, so I hope to carry on with that.”

Markiss came away with a payday that totaled more than $4,200.

A couple of riders had close calls, as well. Covington, on the 80-point ride that netted him the lead in the first round, was actually tossed off his bull as the horn sounded, but was ruled to have completed the ride. Paul Coppini was on the wrong side of the horn, getting tossed on a promising ride with just a second to go. Local professional rider Cody Campbell also had a potentially high-scoring ride going in the opening round, but was bucked shortly before the buzzer.

In the barrel racing, Julie Williams kicked off the action with a sprint through the
cloverleaf pattern that
nobody could touch, and ended up winning with a time of 16.76 seconds.

A trio of other riders broke the 17-second barrier and came close, including Lexi Burgess, who was nipping at Williams’ heel during her race before finishing in 16.80 seconds. Bobbie Correa (16.92) and Whitney La Valley (16.99) rounded out the top four. Cove High School’s Taylor Baremore led the local scene with a time of 17.41 seconds to take seventh — just one spot out of the money.

The night kicked off with two qualified rides in the miniature bulls. Riley Barg was the winner of the round with a score of 65, and Kobie Olsen took second at 59.

The action continues today and Saturday.