Battered Benton Finds Gin and Juice a Perfect Elixir

PRCA ProRodeo Photo by Larry Smith

Battered Benton Finds Gin and Juice a Perfect Elixir

by Susan Kanode

LAS VEGAS – A sympathetic doctor might recommend downing gin and juice – along with some aspirin -- from time to time to help deal with the pain of a broken leg.

Riding a bull named Gin and Juice, however, would most certainly not be the doctor’s orders. But Championship Bull Riding standout Trey Benton III did just that, taking the Andrews Rodeo bull for a stellar 8-second ride that culminated with 90.5 points - the highest marked ride of the 2013 WNFR so far - and a first-place finish in the fifth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Monday night.  

“He’s just a great bull,” said Benton, who is just three months removed from a broken femur. “He was stepping ahead and spinning. It felt good.”

That’s what an $18,630 check can do for a bull rider’s attitude. But Benton was definitely feeling the effects of earning that check.

“It’s hurting. My leg hurts pretty bad right now,” he said. “But you’re not gonna miss this rodeo, that’s for sure. You’ve just got to tough it out. Tonight, I loosened up and just reacted.”

The bull rider from Rock Island, Texas, cashed in for the first time this week while moving to 11th place in the world standings with $91,959. He’s stayed aboard two bulls so far, and pain or no pain, he believes he’s just getting started.

“I’ve made it through five rounds, so I’m sure I will make it through 10,” he said. “Anything can happen when you pay $18,000 a round.”

Benton is definitely eager to cash a few more of those first-place checks, since he already knows where his first WNFR payout is going.

“It’ll definitely pay the doctor bill,” he said, managing a smile.

Benton was one of five riders to make it to the whistle. J.W. Harris from Mullin, Texas, finished in third with an 82.5-point effort on King of Hearts from Corey & Lange Rodeo. The $11,118 helped him maintain his lead in the race for the world championship. He has $182,667 in season earnings so far. 

The number two man in the world is Tyler Smith from Fruita, Colo., who also rode on Monday. He scored 89.5 on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Wish This to win $14,724. 

Harris also leads the overall standings with 345 points on four bulls. Shane Proctor from Grand Coulee, Wash., is second with 335, thanks in part to a 76.5-point ride on Monday. They are the only two men to have ridden four out of five bulls. 

Western Rodeo’s Mr. Clark was named bucking bull of the night after ejecting Parker Breding of Edgar, Mont. Only five bull riders made it to the whistle Monday.

Official third round results courtesy of PRCA:

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas - Round 5

Bull riding: 1. Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas, 90.5 points on Andrews Rodeo’s Gin and Juice, $18,630; 2. Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo., 89.5, $14,734; 3. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 82.5, $11,118; 4. Cody Campbell, Summerville, Ore., 79, $7,813; 5. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 76.5, $4,808. 6. (tie) Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla.; Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas; Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas; Cooper Davis, Jasper, Texas; Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah; Tyler Willis, Wheatland, Wyo.; Cole Echols, Elm Grove, La.; Elliot Jacoby, Fredericksburg, Texas; Josh Koschel, Nunn, Colo.; and Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont.; NS.