NAMPA – Foster McCraw had to crawl into the closest bucking shoot to find safety. He then limped out of the arena while holding his arm in pain.
His score made things much more tolerable.
McCraw had an 88.5-point ride aboard Custer Vitalix to take the lead in the bull riding competition on the first night of the Snake River Stampede Tuesday at the Ford Idaho Center.
Shortly after the 8-second clock went off to make the ride official, McCraw was thrown from the bull and then appeared to be speared by one of its horns as he struggled to get away. He had to be helped out of the arena, but motioned to the crowd as they cheered for his first-place ride.
Assuming he is healthy enough to return, McCraw is almost assured to be back Saturday night for the finals. The top 12 scores from the first five performances (four nights and Saturday matinee) earn a spot in the finals.
Scottie Knapp was second in bull riding with an 87, while Ruger Piva of Challis was third with an 85.
Shane O’Connell had the high score of the night in bareback riding with an 86-point ride, while Jesse Pope was second with a 76.
In tie-down roping, Caleb Smidt took the lead in the second go-round with a time of 7.5 seconds, and took the overall lead in the average with a time of 15.5 seconds. Haven Meged sits in second place with an average time of 17.7 seconds after his time of 8.7 seconds on Tuesday.
Kolby Wanchuk had the high score in saddle bronc riding with an 85, while Bradley Harter and Cort Scheer tied for second with an 80.
Carly Taylor had the fastest time of the night in barrel racing at 16.20 seconds. Destri Devenport was second with 16.30 seconds.
The team of Robby Farias and Cole Wilson had a score of 5.4 seconds in the team roping competition to sit seventh overall in the second go-around.
Preston Rodeo Queen McKenna Ward was injured during a scary incident while riding around the arena prior to the start of the rodeo. She hit a guardrail and was thrown from her horse and had to be placed in a neck-brace and removed on a stretcher. She was conscious and talking with medical personal as she was placed in an ambulance, but no official word on her condition was available late Tuesday night.
MERIDIAN COACH STEPS DOWN: Matt Creech has spent nearly his entire life in the hallways and gyms of Meridian.
He’s finally getting a change.
The Meridian High graduate stepped down as its girls basketball coach Tuesday after three seasons and 11 years coaching at the school in some capacity.
“I don’t know if there is ever a right time, but things changed in my life that made it time for a change for myself and for Meridian,” Creech told the Idaho Press. “I got a 1-year-old daughter who deserves more of my time. Sometimes to learn and grow you got to take a step back and do something different.”
Creech inherited a program that had gone just 11-50 in the three years before his arrival in 2016. His team won seven games that first season before coming within a win from qualifying for the 5A District III Tournament in his first two years at the helm.
The third time around was the charm.
The Warriors went 15-14 and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in seven years this past season. He finished with a 30-43 overall record.
“Returning the program to its winning ways and getting to state and competing for a championship is certainly a high point for me,” Creech said. “It’s what I’ve been dreaming about doing since I first got into coaching when I was 18.
“But honestly, what I enjoyed the most was being able to go to work with my girls every single day. I was fortunate enough to have some pretty amazing girls play for me over the past three years since I took over and we had some incredible memories together that I will always cherish.”