Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 | 12:26 a.m.
Cooper Kanngiesser's first-place finish in Round One of the Championship Bull Riding World Championship 7 Friday at the South Point Hotel and Casino not only gave him a dose of pride, it gave him a shot at some extra cash.
The purse hinged on one more ride for the night. He was to take a turn on the previously unridden bull Shakedown. If he could stay on the bucking bull for a full eight seconds, he would leave with $25,000 in his pocket.
As the bull flew out of the gate, Kanngiesser seemed to be up for the challenge. He countered the bull's movements skillfully and maintained a steady handle with his right hand. But just as it looked like Kanngiesser would be the first cowboy ever to stay on Shakedown for eight seconds, the bull got the best of him: Shakedown shook Kanngiesser to the dirt and left him with a painful souvenir.
When Kanngiesser lost his grip, the bull jerked back and a horn caught the cowboy across his mouth and lip.
"I thought I had him," Kanngiesser said. "I just hung on long enough for a horn to get me in the mouth."
The horn cut Kanngiesser just above his lip seriously enough that he went to get stitches.
Despite the late injury, Kanngiesser said he doesn't expect the cut to affect his standing Saturday. He's trying to hold onto his lead as he competes for the world championship.
"I'll go get stitched up and be ready to go tomorrow," he said. "I got a shot at the world title, and that's every person's dream."
On Saturday, all the cowboys get another ride. The top 15 finishers overall will compete against each other in a battle for the championship. Kanngiesser's high score Friday of 92 was one of only three scores over 90.
"That was really good," Kanngiesser said. "I had a bull that I had rode before and that was a bull a lot of people wanted to ride."
Finishing behind Kanngiesser was Logan Knibbe (91), Laddan Ledbetter (90.5), Spud Jones (89.5), Trent Cormier (89.5), Wesley Silcox (89.5), Chance Smart (89), Cody Hancock (88), Zack Oakes (88), Cody White (87.5), Kenny Westrope (87.5), Danell Tipton (86.5), Danny McDowell (86), Elliot Jacoby (86), John Jacobs (85.5), Luke Kelley (85.5), Josh Call (85), Travis Sellers (82) and Dave Samsel (78).
Many of the riders didn't register any scores Friday because they didn't stay on the bull.