Five cowboys make final week pay off with Wrangler NFR berths | TSLN.com
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Five cowboys make final week pay off with Wrangler NFR berths

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – As happy as Jerrad Hofstetter was to make the field for the Justin Boots Championships, he just saw it as one more chance to earn some big checks before he went home to Portales, NM, “to ride some horses and put on my roping schools.”

He says it never occurred to him he might have a chance to make the tie-down roping field for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo until he qualified into the final four at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

“It was kind of a shock,” Hofstetter said. “To be honest, I didn’t think I had competed well enough this year where I even deserved to be in Omaha. This was going to be my little NFR. I never for a minute thought I would be in this position.”



“This position” is 13th in the final (unofficial) world standings, earning him a spot in his third Wrangler NFR berth in four years.

He was one of five cowboys to use the final week of the season to springboard them all the way to Las Vegas, joined by saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt, steer wrestlers Blake Knowles and Seth Brockman and bull rider Tate Stratton.



Nobody had farther to go than Hofstetter. He started the week 21st in the world standings, $17,813 out of the 15th spot held by Ryan Jarrett.

“I wasn’t happy about the way I’d roped this year,” Hofstetter said. “My goal really was to get out cleanly four times, catch four calves and do the best I could, so I at least could feel good about myself going into the offseason.”

Of course, he did a great deal better than that. Hofstetter was third in each of the first two rounds and second in the average to qualify for the eight-man semifinal, and then got the last spot in the final by finishing fourth in 8.2 seconds.

“(Wife) Brittany was listening to the webcast back home, and the announcer didn’t know at first that Tyson (Durfey) had broken the barrier,” Hofstetter said. “Brittany thought I was out, so she called her family to let them know that I was coming home.

“She left the Internet on, though, and a few minutes later she heard I’d had a 7.7 in the finals. She kind of went from depressed to excited in a matter of a few minutes. And then she had to call her family back and let them know what happened.”

That 7.7-second run held up for second place in the finals, and his total earnings of $21,906 for the weekend was second in the event only to Omaha champion and world standings leader Tuf Cooper.

“I figure I made about $40,000 in three rodeos – Cheyenne (WY), Puyallup (WA) and Omaha – and only about $25,000 in everything else,” Hofstetter said. “It’s nice being the Cinderella qualifier, and it comes at a good time. My wife and I are having our first child in February. This will pay for some diapers.”

Hofstetter finished 13th in the world standings with $65,109, bumping Justin Macha out of the tie-down roping field in Las Vegas.

Knowles and Brockman, like Hofstetter, made the great majority of their final week windfall in Omaha. Knowles won the final and finished second in total money to reigning World Champion Dean Gorsuch with $19,763, and Brockman leaped all the way from 17th to 13th in the final week with earnings of $7,480. They took the spots held by Stan Branco and Wade Sumpter at the start of the week.

Stratton was an odder case. He qualified for the Justin Boots Championships, but failed to cash any checks there.

He knocked Travis Atkinson out of the last berth in the Wrangler NFR field by winning the Oklahoma City Xtreme Bulls Tour Division 2 event while also earning money at both Pasadena, TX, and Anadarko, OK.

The only cowboy to make the field “the hard way” – that is to say, without access to the $724,688 treasure chest in Omaha – was Schmidt, of Keldron, SD.

Schmidt earned checks at Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX; Pasadena, TX, and Texarkana, AR, to climb to 13th in the world standings and knock out Rusty Allen.

There was one other narrow miss. Jake Wright, bidding to join his brothers Cody and Jesse in Las Vegas for the first time, fell just $85 short of overtaking 2009 World Champion Jesse Kruse for the 15th spot.

Wright simply ran out of rodeos. He had paychecks in five events the final week, but had to unofficial two of them that would have put him over the top.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – As happy as Jerrad Hofstetter was to make the field for the Justin Boots Championships, he just saw it as one more chance to earn some big checks before he went home to Portales, NM, “to ride some horses and put on my roping schools.”

He says it never occurred to him he might have a chance to make the tie-down roping field for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo until he qualified into the final four at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

“It was kind of a shock,” Hofstetter said. “To be honest, I didn’t think I had competed well enough this year where I even deserved to be in Omaha. This was going to be my little NFR. I never for a minute thought I would be in this position.”

“This position” is 13th in the final (unofficial) world standings, earning him a spot in his third Wrangler NFR berth in four years.

He was one of five cowboys to use the final week of the season to springboard them all the way to Las Vegas, joined by saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt, steer wrestlers Blake Knowles and Seth Brockman and bull rider Tate Stratton.

Nobody had farther to go than Hofstetter. He started the week 21st in the world standings, $17,813 out of the 15th spot held by Ryan Jarrett.

“I wasn’t happy about the way I’d roped this year,” Hofstetter said. “My goal really was to get out cleanly four times, catch four calves and do the best I could, so I at least could feel good about myself going into the offseason.”

Of course, he did a great deal better than that. Hofstetter was third in each of the first two rounds and second in the average to qualify for the eight-man semifinal, and then got the last spot in the final by finishing fourth in 8.2 seconds.

“(Wife) Brittany was listening to the webcast back home, and the announcer didn’t know at first that Tyson (Durfey) had broken the barrier,” Hofstetter said. “Brittany thought I was out, so she called her family to let them know that I was coming home.

“She left the Internet on, though, and a few minutes later she heard I’d had a 7.7 in the finals. She kind of went from depressed to excited in a matter of a few minutes. And then she had to call her family back and let them know what happened.”

That 7.7-second run held up for second place in the finals, and his total earnings of $21,906 for the weekend was second in the event only to Omaha champion and world standings leader Tuf Cooper.

“I figure I made about $40,000 in three rodeos – Cheyenne (WY), Puyallup (WA) and Omaha – and only about $25,000 in everything else,” Hofstetter said. “It’s nice being the Cinderella qualifier, and it comes at a good time. My wife and I are having our first child in February. This will pay for some diapers.”

Hofstetter finished 13th in the world standings with $65,109, bumping Justin Macha out of the tie-down roping field in Las Vegas.

Knowles and Brockman, like Hofstetter, made the great majority of their final week windfall in Omaha. Knowles won the final and finished second in total money to reigning World Champion Dean Gorsuch with $19,763, and Brockman leaped all the way from 17th to 13th in the final week with earnings of $7,480. They took the spots held by Stan Branco and Wade Sumpter at the start of the week.

Stratton was an odder case. He qualified for the Justin Boots Championships, but failed to cash any checks there.

He knocked Travis Atkinson out of the last berth in the Wrangler NFR field by winning the Oklahoma City Xtreme Bulls Tour Division 2 event while also earning money at both Pasadena, TX, and Anadarko, OK.

The only cowboy to make the field “the hard way” – that is to say, without access to the $724,688 treasure chest in Omaha – was Schmidt, of Keldron, SD.

Schmidt earned checks at Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX; Pasadena, TX, and Texarkana, AR, to climb to 13th in the world standings and knock out Rusty Allen.

There was one other narrow miss. Jake Wright, bidding to join his brothers Cody and Jesse in Las Vegas for the first time, fell just $85 short of overtaking 2009 World Champion Jesse Kruse for the 15th spot.

Wright simply ran out of rodeos. He had paychecks in five events the final week, but had to unofficial two of them that would have put him over the top.


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