Caldwell crowns first Playoff champions |

Caldwell crowns first Playoff champions

The hits just keep coming for roughstock cowboy Steven Dent. The Mullen, NE cowboy won another major bareback riding title on Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Caldwell (ID) Night Rodeo, the first event on the four-leg Ariat Playoffs Series.

Dent, whose 2008 highlights include bareback riding victories at such lucrative rodeos as RodeoHouston and Dodge City, KS, saved his best for last in Caldwell. He won the four-man final round with an arena-record, 91-point ride aboard four-time and reigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year Grated Coconut of the Calgary Stampede string.

Dent placed in all but one round and won $11,320, further extending his lead atop the Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings to $22,000 over Royce Ford as the ProRodeo season enters its homestretch run.

Dent wasn’t the only top-ranked cowboy to take home Caldwell hardware and extend his lead. Trevor Brazile, the five-time and reigning World Champion All-Around Cowboy, won the tie-down roping crown and $9,812. Brazile, of Decatur, TX, didn’t place in the first two rounds, but qualified for the eight-man semifinal after a fourth-place showing in the two-head average.

That’s when Brazile took off, winning both semifinal and final rounds, clocking times of 8.8 and 8.5 seconds, respectively.

Another cowboy, team roping header Jake Stanley, perhaps punched a ticket to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a Caldwell victory. Stanley, of Hermiston, OR, joined forces with Jade Corkill of Fallon, NV to earn $8,679, clinching the title with a sizzling, 4.5-second run in the final round.

Stanley, who entered the weekend ranked 16th in the world standings – just one spot out of Wrangler NFR qualification – vaulted to No. 10 after the Caldwell windfall. Corkill, another RodeoHouston champion to also claim a Caldwell title, remained No. 3 among heelers, but moved to within $700 of standings leader Michael Jones.

Reigning World Champion Steer Wrestler Jason Miller and saddle bronc rider J.J. Elshere further cemented their solid Top 15 status and added to their stellar seasons.

Miller, of Lance Creek, WY, earned $8,050, winning the semifinal round and tying for the final-round title. Miller was declared the Caldwell champion based on a tie-breaker that reverts to the top score or time of the previous round. Miller moved into seventh place in the world standings after his lucrative weekend.

Elshere, of Quinn, SD, didn’t place in the first round, but didn’t miss the rest of the way. He won $12,076 in Caldwell, highlighted by his final-round, 87-point ride aboard renowned Burch Rodeo bronc Blood Brother. Elshere, the 2006 Wrangler NFR saddle bronc riding average champion, strengthened his hold on the No. 3 spot in the world standings.

The only cowboy not to leap into the Top 15 was bull rider Brian Curtis of Belle Fourche, SD. Curtis earned $9,812 that bumped him to 31st in the world standings, but Curtis will get a few more shots to improve on after winning the Caldwell title and earning an automatic berth into the second Ariat Playoffs event at the Puyallup (WA) Rodeo, Sept. 5-7.

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