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State champ is riding high

Hernando County's Lee Pedone, the state bareback riding champ, put himself in position to challenge for a national championship by scoring a 73 on the first of his two rides Tuesday.

Pedone, 16, was the top scorer in the morning session and ranked second overall. Riders can earn 100 points per attempt.

Pedone's eight-second trip ended just in time, as he was bucked off as time elapsed. His last ride will be Friday.

Clint Corey, a bareback rider ranked 17th on the professional tour who instructed Pedone in his rodeo school, expects nothing short of a championship from his protege.

"He's a very good rider, a very serious young man at what he does," Corey said. "He's going to have himself quite a future in this sport if he wants it."

The county's other participant in the finals, barrel racer Joy Benedict, is scheduled to compete today.

Florida's 43-person team ws tied for 21st after two days.

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