Pro-rodeo highlights for early September
Steer wrestler Baylor Roche was perhaps the happiest cowboy on the rodeo trail this weekend, as he put himself in a great position to qualify for his first Wrangler NFR. The 26-year-old native of Tremonton, Utah, placed second in Puyallup, Wash., and at Utah’s Own Rodeo in Salt Lake City. He also split fourth at the Lewiston (Idaho) Roundup, which added up to weekend earnings of $10,226 and moved him from 19th to 13th in the Sept. 14 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings. The other large earners in bulldogging were J.D. Struxness, who collected $11,622 to move from 24th to 18th and Clayton Hass, who earned $11,101 and went from sixth to second.
Saddle bronc rider CoBurn Bradshaw – the 2014 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association champion saddle bronc rider – is making a strong case to join several members of his extended family at the WNFR. The 20-year-old split wins in Salt Lake City and at the Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo in Blackfoot, Idaho, while also placing third in Puyallup and Lewiston. Bradshaw totaled $7,414 and moved from 18th to 15th in the Sept. 14 world standings as he seeks his first WNFR bid. As it stands now, he would join brother-in-laws Jake and Spencer Wright in the WNFR field, as well as nephew Rusty Wright. The other two Wrights with a chance of making the field are 2012 World Champion Jesse Wright, who dropped from 15th to 17th, and two-time World Champion Cody Wright, who has some work to do, sitting in 25th.
Bull rider Ty Wallace had one of the best weekends on the roughstock end of the arena, and put himself into the top 15. The Collbran, Colo., cowboy took the title in Puyallup by winning both the semifinals and finals with a pair of 87-point rides. Wallace earned $5,601 in Puyallup, and added $2,616 between the rodeo and Xtreme Bulls event in Lewiston, Idaho. His total came to $8,217, which moved him from 19th to 11th in the Sept. 14 world standings as he attempts to make back-to-back WNFR qualifications.
Tie-down roping veteran Tyson Durfey may have clinched his eighth WNFR bid after earning $6,086 over the weekend. The 31-year-old tied for second in both Spokane, Wash., and Fort Madison, Iowa, while taking fifth in Lewiston, Idaho. He moved from 16th to 13th in the Sept. 14 world standings as he looks for his third straight WNFR appearance and eighth in nine seasons. Two tie-down ropers who were already safe bets for WNFR spots made moves up the standings this weekend to strengthen their positions as world title contenders. Three-time WNFR qualifier Timber Moore took first in Puyallup and second in Fort Madison to earn $15,174 and move from fourth to second in the standings. Brazilian Marcos Costa stamped his spot in his first WNFR by winning $12,864 with three top-three finishes, and moved from 12th to sixth in the world standings.
The only lead change in the world standings came in steer roping, where Vin Fisher Jr. overtook Mike Chase. Fisher, an 11-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier, has $61,490, which is just $401 ahead of Chase.