A pair of rookie cowboys enjoyed their first trip to the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo.
Waylon Guy Bourgeois (bareback riding) and Lane Day (steer wrestling) each recorded the best scores during the opening performance of the 49th annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo at Horseman's Sports Arena. The opening night drew 1,171 fans.
The cowboys were not only making their Corn Palace Stampede debut on Thursday, but both are also in their first season on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
"I have had some pretty good luck so far," Day said. "It's been an eye-opening learning experience, but it's been awesome. I am really embracing the new challenges that PRCA has to offer."
A former Chadron State College steer wrestler, Day said everything on the professional circuit is ramped up compared to college.
"It's just everything about the PRCA is professional and that's kind of the hardest thing to get used to compared to amateur and college rodeos," said Day, who is from Bartlett, Nebraska. "So it's been great. It's been an awesome experience."
Day continued his rookie season with a 5.2 second-run in the steer wrestling, which edged out Dupree's Kody Woodward for the best time of the night.
Woodward ran right before Day, but said he wasn't comparing himself to anybody else.
"I was just trying to do the best I could on my steer that they drew me and just go from there," Day said. "I just take what they give me. I am not trying to beat anybody. These are all my friends and I am just trying to do the best I can on the steer they draw me. I was just blessed (Thursday) to have a good run."
Day will be back on Sunday as the steer wrestling pays out an average winner. He'll also shoot for coming back to the rodeo in the future.
"It's a great arena and a great crowd," Day said. "I will definitely be back."
All the way from Church Point, Louisiana, Bourgeois scored a 78.5 on the Sutton Rodeo horse "Night Shift" and leads after the opening performance.
"She just come out and she felt kind of colty," Bourgeois said. "It was a good feeling. When I got off, I wasn't thinking that many (points). But it was good that it was."
He also praised the Mitchell rodeo and Sutton Rodeo for providing the bucking stock.
"They bring horses to the finals every year," Bourgeois said. "They are the real deal."
The first-year professional cowboy is currently 15th in the Southeastern Circuit standings.
"It's been all right," Bourgeois said his season. "I can't complain. I have been staying healthy and I thank God that he is keeping me on the road."