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Nisen matches record with 93-point bull ride.

Byline: Chris Hansen The Register-Guard

Markus Mariluch set a high standard when he recorded a 92-point ride to open the money round of the Firecracker Bull Ride on Sunday.

At the same time, somewhere in the row of chutes, Jeff Nisen was getting strapped onto his 2,000-pound bull and not paying much attention to what was happening in the arena.

"I can't even worry about what anyone else does," Nisen said. "I block all that out, because what it boils down to is you have to get your bull rode."

And ride him he did.

Nisen, 25, held strong as his bull, Buckaroo, did his kicking, spinning, snorting best to knock the cowboy off his back to no avail, and Nisen tied the Oregon Horse Center arena record with a score of 93 points.

Coupled with the 78 points he recorded in the first round, Nisen scored 171 total to limp away the winner of the fifth annual bull ride event, which consisted of 36 bull riders and 36 bulls. The seven cowboys who had successful rides in the first round advanced to ride one more time.

"That bull had a lot of buck and he's a bigger bull, which is just the type I ride best," Nisen said.

While most cowboys spend the Fourth of July weekend roaming from rodeo to rodeo, Nisen's only trip was to Eugene. A May graduate of Chico State in California with a degree in economics, Nisen has a day job that allows him to be a cowboy only on the weekend.

However, he's made the most of his limited time through the years, earning close to $100,000, including the $2,460 he took home Sunday.

For Mariluch, it was a bittersweet night. The 18-year-old from Elko, Nev., finished in second place for the second straight year. But unlike last year, when he was 20 points out of the lead, Mariluch lost by only one point this time around, scoring 170 points.

Mariluch, who was tied with Nisen at 78 points after the first session, picked up a check for $1,925.

"I was real happy with myself after that second ride," said Mariluch, who recently won his second straight Nevada High School championship. "But there were a few good riders out here, so I wasn't sure it would hold."

Nisen and Mariluch were the only two to complete a pair of rides.

Vic Dubray, who led after the first round with a score of 89, was bucked off in the second round and secured third place to win $1,530.

Still, Dubray, who came into the event nursing a bum hip after getting stepped on by a bull at the St. Paul rodeo earlier in the day, gained some satisfaction. He settled a score with the bull he rode in the first round, Bad LeRoy Brown, who knocked Dubray unconscious during a ride at a rodeo on Memorial Day.

"He was a good bull," Dubray, 36, said. "I feel a little better walking out of the arena this time."
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Title Annotation:Sports; The California cowboy barely edges Markus Mariluch in the Firecracker Bull Ride
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 5, 2004
Words:508
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