Title in California tops a big week for Elshere
At $220,005 the Mission Rancho Viejo Rodeo is the richest two-day event sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Cole Elshere’s shared win in the saddle bronc riding there helped make him the week’s richest PRCA cowboy. Period. End of story.
By the time he arrived in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., on Aug. 25, Elshere had already had a very good week with two wins and a second-place finish in PRCA rodeos. He transformed it from good to great with an 84-point ride on Flying U Rodeo’s Long Walk Home that allowed him to tie Sterling Crawley for the championship.
“I knew that if I did good at San Juan, I could end up doubling what I had already won for the week,” Elshere said, “but I knew what I was up against. I drew the same horse at San Juan that I had there a year ago and he bucked me off (then). I was glad to get him again because I knew if did good on him, I knew I’d have a chance to score well.”
In the end, Elshere did a bit better than double his week’s earnings. The $7,074 he received for his tie with Crawley at the RMV Riding Park brought his total for the week to $13,663, jumping him from 12th to seventh in the world standings and locking up his second consecutive berth in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“Yeah, I think I should be OK now,” Elshere said. “That was a good four days. It sure helped. All I’m trying to do now is keep winning and keep trying to climb the ladder.”
Actually, it was a good and very busy week that would see him travel by ground and air a total of 4,638 miles to compete in five rodeos in four states and one Canadian province while also finding time for ranch work and even a bit of time with friends. It went like this:
* Monday, Aug. 19: Met up with some of his buddies from his high school football days and took a road trip from his home near Faith, S.D., to the lake in Keyhole State Park near Moorcroft, Wyo.
* Tuesday, Aug. 20: Back home in Faith, Elshere gave shots to calves and performed other ranch work.
* Wednesday, Aug. 21: Jumped in the van with traveling partner Troy Crowser and made the 1,040-mile drive to Kennewick, Wash., for the Kitsap Stampede. It would be the one off note of the week, with Elshere drawing a horse who had trouble getting settled in the chute. “The judges said I could have a re-ride or I could give the horse one more chance … I decided to stay with the horse I had and he reared up in the chutes and slammed me into the post. It looked worse than it was, but I ended up with a no-score … so, not a good start.”
* Thursday, Aug. 22: Things pick up. A trip to Lethbridge, Alberta, for the Whoop-Up Days Rodeo produces a winning 82-point ride on Kesler Rodeo’s Paper Clip and a check for $2,098.
* Friday, Aug. 23: Elshere gets a ride to Great Falls, Mont., and there takes a flight to Salt Lake City for the Golden Spike Rodeo in Tremonton, Utah. An 83-point ride allows him to finish second to two-time World Champion Cody Wright and earn another $2,198.
* Saturday, Aug. 24: Flies out of Salt Lake City to Rapid City, S.D., for the Range Days Rodeo, where he has the top performance of the rodeo – in any event – with a 90-point ride on Burch Rodeo Company’s Iron Maiden. Elshere celebrates by driving all night to Denver.
* Sunday, Aug. 25: Catches an early morning flight from Denver to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., arriving at 10 a.m. with a few hours to spare before his return engagement with Long Walk Home. “The ride in Rapid City was definitely the best one of the bunch,” Elshere said, “but San Juan was the hardest. That horse is really a handful. There was a very different style of riding those two days, but I was able to adapt and make it all work.”
The other champions in San Juan Capistrano were bareback rider Will Lowe (89 points), steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch (3.9 seconds), team ropers Aaron Tsinigine and Clay O’Brien Cooper (4.3 seconds), tie-down ropers Clif Cooper and Randall Carlisle (7.9 seconds each) and bull riders Cole Echols and Tyler Smith (84 points each).