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Berts feeling bullish

OAKDALE — The Bert brothers of Modesto batted a respectable .500 against the bulls Saturday afternoon at the 56th Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo.

Thomas Bert, not fazed by a steady rain, negotiated an appropriately-named Watersport for a score of 74, one of only five qualified rides out of 23 attempts. He's in third place going into today's closing performance at the saddle-club arena.

Brady Scott Williams of Snelling whipped Water Works for 79 points and the lead.

The Bert family spends most of its time as stock contractors for rodeos throughout California. Its affection for bull riding, however, hasn't changed. Thomas, 25, barely missed a berth in the National Finals Rodeo in 2004.

"We're just trying to make a little money and have fun right now. We're trying to enjoy life while we can," Thomas said. "We're doing a few PBRs (Professional Bull Riders events), a few pro rodeos. You'd like to keep running at it (the NFR), but you gotta quit and take care of what you neglected."

Ted Bert wasn't as fortunate as his brother. He quickly hit the dirt vs. Black Dancer.

Steady rain forced a small crowd to huddle beneath umbrellas during Saturday's show. It was rewarded by former Fresnan David Motes, a 1977 team roping world champion, who logged a nifty 5.7 with partner Matt Kasner. They could place in the second go-round pending today's results.

Father-son tandem Mike and Brandon Beers recorded a no-time, a far different result from its surprising victory last month in Houston. Mike Beers won all-around cowboy honors in Oakdale in 1989.

In bareback, Utah cowboy Jess Davis — ranked fifth in 2007 after his sixth-place finish at the National Finals Rodeo last December — matched wits with Scorpion for a 76 and second place behind Zac Compton's 82.

Paul Jones of Elko, Nev., was knocked unconscious for a few moments after he and Wild & Waspy fell onto the arena floor. Jones eventually walked away.

Modesto's Justin Spence and team roping partner Evan Arnold of Santa Margarita were timed in 6.2 and tied for third during the first go-round.

Oklahoma barrel racer Mary Burger, the reigning world champion, is in second place thanks to her time of 18.43 on Thursday. She trails Jana Jarreau, currently ranked eighth, who was clocked in 18.23.