By BUTCH THURMAN
For the Capital Press
Clint Cannon continues to cash in for more money this year in bareback riding.
The Waller, Texas, cowboy turned in an 84-point score on Four Star Rodeo's "Star Wars" to win the Walla Walla Frontier Days Rodeo over Labor Day Weekend. Cannon took home $2,323 for his efforts.
"I just want to say 'thanks' to Walla Walla for having me out," Cannon said. "It's been a pretty cool rodeo so far. It's my first time here."
Cannon beat out two-time World Champion Bobby Mote and was two points up on Ryan Gray. Cannon said he never heard of the horse.
"I was just here to try my luck and someone here told me that was a pretty-good little horse and I thought that is just what I need because I haven't drawn real well this week," he said.
Cannon comes from a rodeo family, but admits he got his start in a much different way -- moving over from the gridiron, where he played fullback. At 230 pounds, his first task was to drop some weight.
"All I did for a whole semester of college was train and eat right and run, run and run," Cannon said.
Cannon said he transferred from Stephen F. Austin in 2002 over to Prairie View College, where he earned a scholarship on the rodeo team.
"I loved paying football, but I found my real love in rodeo and I wish I would have been doing it my whole life," he said.
Cannon was a natural, he earned PRCA Rookie of the Year honors in 2003.
"The main thing is to be positive about everything in life. No matter what happens, things will always get better," he said. "The sun is always going to come up the next day."
This year he leads the PRCA World Standings with more than $170,000.
"I'm extremely excited. It's really been building up (to the Finals) and everybody's calling me now for tickets," he said. "It shows that it's starting to get here and I'm going to be riding in the big show under the lights with all of the eyes on me more so than if I was in the 15th hole and I'm just stoked and ready for it to happen."
Steer wrestler Trevor Knowles of Mount Vernon broke the arena record with a time of 3.5 seconds in the first round and then came back with another nice run of 3.9-second that gave him the win.
JoJo LeMond teamed with reigning World Champion Heeler Randon Adams for an arena record of 8.9 seconds at Walla Walla. The duo went on to win the average.
Arena records continued to fall as Nate Baldwin of Blackfoot, Idaho, turned in a time of 7.3 seconds in the first round of calf roping, before Timber Moore got the win in the average. Moore, of Aubrey, Texas, clocked 17.9 seconds over two rounds.
Tammy Kay Fisher won the barrel racing and Kanin Asay earned the title in bull riding.
Butch Thurman of Pendleton, Ore., has covered professional rodeo for 29 years. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org