Utah bull rider picks up title, tab
On the night of the best bull ride of his career, Louis Schardine earned two titles — “Champion bull rider” and “The man with the tab.”
Schardine, from Spanish Fork, Utah, was the only cowboy to ride a bull in the short go of the seventh annual Mr. T. Classic. His eight-second mastery of Code Red earned him a score of 92 and $3,100 for 16 seconds of work.
“He had me in trouble,” Schardine said about his championship ride. “Somehow I held on.”
Schardine travels with a group of five bull riders from Utah. His posse was hoopin’ and hollerin’ after his ride.
The chorus of “Atta boy Lou” and “Yeah Louie, yeah,” from the Utah cowboys was in recognition of his victorious ride and of the party to come.
“The winner pays for the trip,” said Les Wilckens, from Duchesne, Utah. “The party’s on him.”
Schardine has been riding professionally for five years, but this was his first time to compete on bulls from the Burns Rodeo Company. Because a rider is scored on how well he performs and on how difficult the bull was to perform on, Schardine was more than complementary about the Burns bulls. Code Red brought him a career-best score.
“The bulls were rewarding for me,” he said. “There were some tough ones tonight.”
Just ask Craig’s Wayne Wagner, 24, about the challenge of the Burns bulls. In his short go ride, he was chased and nearly horned after he dismounted.
“I just got lifted up,” he said. “Then I turned, and he was comin’.”
Despite finishing out of the money, Wagner said he enjoyed the opportunity to ride for the hometown crowd.
“They cheered louder for me,” he said. “It’s nice not to have to drive 1,000 miles for a rodeo,”
Wagner has been riding for eight years and competes professionally on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit.
“I’d still like to see it beefed up more,” he said about the hometown competition. “It should be advertised as a more exciting event.”
Jed Moore of Cheyenne, Wyo., added excitement and color to the Mr. T in more than one way. One of the rodeo clowns scheduled for the event was injured this week, so Moore was asked to fill in by the Burns family.
“I told them I’d fight as long as I could ride,” he said.
So late in the first round, Moore, dressed in his rodeo clown outfit that consisted of a fluorescent green shirt and blue shorts, took a timeout from chasing bulls to riding one.
It was only the third time in his 11-year riding career that he wore shorts on a bull.
“I did it once on a dare,” he said. “The other time I filled in at last second because there weren’t enough riders.”
Moore rides the Burns bulls often and said that people would be hearing about the company more.
“The group of three-and four-year-olds they have is as strong as any group has been,” he said. “They’re tough.”
The future of bull riding was also at the Mr. T.
Tag Elliot of Thatcher, Utah, is a 16-year-old star in the making, according to Barbara Burns.
“He’s going to be good,” Burns said. “A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if we should let him ride, but he insisted, and then he won it all.”
He showed his ability with a first round ride of 91. In the short go, he never had control and was bucked off quickly.
Schardine was the only rider to score in both rounds.
Jackie Roberts, organizer and sponsor of the event, was excited about the turnout of nearly 800 fans.
“This has been the best in my three years,” she said. “Craig has really come out for all of the Grand Olde West Days this year. If you didn’t see (the bull riding) you missed a great event.”
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