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The Days of '47 Rodeo had a distinct Utah flavor Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena, courtesy of Tim Bingham and Cody Wright.
Bingham, a bull rider from Honeyville, topped the fourth round with a score of 85 to move into a three-way tie for lead in the Days of '47.
Wright, a two-time world champion from Milford, posted a round-best 88 in the saddle bronc to take over second place with one performance remaining.
For Bingham, his effort aboard a bull named Mud Man got off to a rocky start.
"First thing is, when I left the chute, he really squished my foot on the post," Bingham said. "He almost ripped me off right there. But I guess that's why I stayed on. I wasn't thinking about riding. I let my natural instincts take over."
Bingham's effort assured him of a hefty paycheck at the Days of '47 as he continues a possible march toward his first Wrangler Nationals Finals Rodeo. He ranks 10th in the season standings with earnings of $42,555. The top 15 qualify for the National Finals.
"Ever since I was about nine or 10 that's when me and my brother started riding that's been a life's goal," he said.
Bingham, who graduated from Fremont High School in Plain City in 2010, finished 77th in the world standings last year.
Why the improvement?
"I've stayed way more consistent than ever before," he said. "And I haven't taken any doctor's releases, either. So that's probably the main reason right there."
While Bingham is seeking his first trip to the NFR, Wright is trying to punch his ticket for the 12th time.
Currently, he ranks third in saddle bronc with $60,760. But he could move up after assuring himself of a nice payday in Salt Lake City aboard a horse named Gone Wild.
"Things have been good," he said. "Just trying to plug away. Getting a little money here and there. I've been rodeoing with the family the last month and it's been pretty dang fun."
Wright and three brothers Spencer, Jesse and Jake are all ranked in the top 17 in the world standings.
In the fourth round at the Days of '47, the family was also well-represented. Rusty Wright, Cody's son, scored a 77. Spencer Wright did not finish his ride.
"I usually get more nervous before Rusty rides," Cody Wright said. "But maybe not tonight. I was more nervous than usual because I didn't know what to expect. That horse I was one is a little bit wild."
Still, Cody Wright was happy with his draw.
Gone Wild "has been good horse this year," he explained. "Guys have been getting a lot of points on him all spring. He's just a little bit wild in the chutes, so I tried to sneak out on him."
No such luck.
"He really jumped out of there and then kind of sucked back," Wright said. "It got a little crazy. I was a little lucky to be still there at the end."
O Saturday, 6 p.m.
Where • EnergySolutions Arena