Oklahoma's Graves hitches ride from buddy

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

Considering the last name is the same, you'd think Stockton Graves was calling in a favour from his brother.

He's been using Lee Graves' horse Jesse during his time at the Calgary Stampede in the steer wrestling events.

Only thing is, Stockton Graves is from Newkirk, Okla. Lee Graves is from Calgary.

But they are brothers from different mothers, with a common bond -- Jesse.

Stockton Graves's usual mount, Zan, suffered an injury in Reno, Nev., so he turned to Lee for this week.

"Jesse's a great horse, maybe even better than Zan, so it's pretty nice when you can get off a great one and get on another great one," he said.

Great enough for Stockton Graves to score a 3.3-second run in yesterday's wildcard round and earn one of the berths in Showdown Sunday.

Graves, who has been battling torn ligaments in his ankle, had one good round during the Pool B action but broke the barrier one day and was done in by a runner of a steer another time.

He made up for those troubles yesterday with a steer that did just what he hoped.

"They've been 4.5 and 5-flat (with him) and told me he was better than that and, by golly, he was," Graves said.

Cash Myers of Athens, Texas, earned the other wildcard berth with a clocking of 3.6 seconds yesterday.

Graves has reached the Sunday action a few times. Last year, he split fourth/fifth in the round of 10 but didn't advance to the $100,000 round due to a tiebreaker.

"Hopefully, this year, we'll get our butts in there," he said.

Curiously, Myers also advanced using Jesse -- which means at least three competitors today will be using the horse since Lee Graves is also among the final 10.

"I'm probably going to sleep in his stall to make sure I can ride him," Myers said. "He's a good horse. It's the first time I rode him. I've watched him a bunch and knew him and I knew what I was getting into."

Myers' own mount wasn't up to snuff in the first few days of action, so he also turned to Lee Graves.

"It just seemed I was almost there but just couldn't get over the hump," Myers said. "The good thing about here is you get a lot of chances to come back. I felt I was competing pretty good, just wasn't winning as good as I should."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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