Dustin Bird isn't one for excuses, but the flu had him down and out for two nights heading into Round 1. So it makes sense that heading into Round 2, feeling 100-percent, he'd be ready for a comeback.
So at eighth out. with Charly Crawford and Joseph Harrison's 4.5 winning the rodeo, Bird and Cardoza stopped the clock in 3.9 seconds, worth $26,230.77 a man.
"I thought he was about the right speed. He kind of went to the right a little bit and gave us more room," Bird, who rode his grey gelding Yahtzee, said.
Cardoza, aboard his bay mare Tara, was in a good spot when the steer went right, so he was able to help the run come together pretty quickly.
"As soon as he stepped there he had it on him," Cardoza said. "He came across the arena perfect and I was in good position so we come tight fast. When they step to the right here you can get finished better instead of getting into the fence over there and not be able to get faced."
Bird and Cardoza plan to split up after the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, with Bird heading for Jake Minor in 2018 and Cardoza heeling for Garrett Rogers.
Five teams took a no-time in the second round, already bumping Bird and Cardoza back up to eighth in the average at a very early point in the week, despite that no-time. Bird is now fifth in the PRCA world standings, up from 13th just yesterday, and Cardoza is fourth, up from eighth yesterday. They have $114,518.89 and $136,004.41 won, respectively.
Notably, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira fished on a head loop to save their spot in the average with a heroic 22.20 second run. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves now lead the average, with 9.20 seconds on two head and are second in the PRCA world standings with $154,401.78 and $158,519.39 won, respectively. Charly Crawford and first-time WNFR heeler Joseph Harrison are second in the average with 9.30 seconds on two head and have earned $39,615.38 so far this WNFR. They're now sixth and seventh in the world with $113,821.26 and $118,062.54, respectively.
Second Round Results
1. Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza, 3.9, $26,230.77 each
2. Charly Crawford and Joseph Harrison, 4.5, $20,730.77 each
3. Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, 4.6, $15,653.85 each
4. Dustin Egusquiza and Kory Koontz, 4.7, $11,000.00 each
5. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 4.8, $6,769.23 each
6. Chad Masters and Travis Graves, 5.1, $4,230.77 each