With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, two East Texas cowboys are fighting to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

They are bull rider Jeff Askey of Athens and tie-down roper John Douch of Huntsville.

In order to earn a trip to the Dec. 5-14 Las Vegas championships, a competitor must finish within the top 15 in an event when the 2019 regular season concludes on Sept. 30.

Askey, who is attempting to earn a third NFR berth, was ranked No. 15 in the PRCA’s 2019 title race in the world standings that were released on Sept 9 with $98,495. He was more than $1,300 ahead of No. 16 ranked Daylon Swearingen, the 2019 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association bull riding champion who is attempting to earn a first NFR berth.

Askey improved his chances of qualifying for the National Finals by clinching the bull riding title at the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 Ellensburg Rodeo at Ellensburg, Wash.

Askey turned in a score of 88 during the Sept. 2 final round and clinched the title with a 174 on two rides. He earned $7,111.

When the PRCA’s world standings were released on Sept. 9, Douch was ranked 16th in the tie-down roping world standings with $72,816 in regular season earnings. He was almost $6,700 behind No. 15 Shad Mayfield.

Douch improved his chances of qualifying for the National Finals by finishing in the money at the Sept. 5-8 Pro Rodeo Tour Finale in Puyallup, Wash. After faring well in the prelims and advancing to the semifinal, Douch finished fourth in the semifinal round on Sunday with a time of 8.0 seconds. But during the final, he fell short in his attempt to earn more prize money. However, he earned $3,414 throughout the rodeo.

During the waning moments of the regular season, Askey must hold his position within the top 15 in order to advance to the NFR. Douch must rally and move into the top 15 by Sept. 30 in order to earn a NFR back number.

Wright riding tough

Stetson Wright, a 20 year-old rookie who is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2019 world all-around title race, clinched the saddle bronc riding title at the Pro Rodeo Tour Finale on Sunday in Puyallup, Wash., with a unusually high finals round score of 93.5. He earned $10,701 throughout the Sept. 5-8 rodeo.

Wright, who is from Milford, Utah, busted a bronc named Yesterday’s Delivery, which is owned by the Calgary Stampede. His 93.5 broke the previous Puyallup rodeo record of 91.

The Puyallup rodeo began with 24 competitors in each event who had qualified by finishing in the top 24 in standings from 54 rodeos that were designated ProRodeo Tour shows. In order to clinch a title, a competitor had to qualify for the Sunday four-person final round and then win the short round.

In steer wrestling, Hunter Cure, a former Texas Tech star from Holliday, clinched the title with a finals round time of 3.8. Cure earned $9,068. He was ranked No. 2 in the PRCA’s 2019 steer wrestling world standings (Sept. 9) with $104,567.

According to prorodeo.com, the other winners at the $253,600 Puyallup rodeo were bareback rider Clayton Biglow (90.5 points on Calgary Stampede's Zulu Warrior); barrel racer Ivy Conrado (14.16 seconds); bull rider Jordan Hansen (89 points on Bridwell Pro Rodeos' Catfish Clinger); tie-down roper Haven Meged (8.3 seconds) and team ropers team ropers Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan (5.9 seconds).

PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Jose Victor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, clinched the title at an Unleash The Beast tour stop last weekend in Anaheim, Calif. He earned $42,660.

Leme turned in scores of 88.25 and 88.75 in the first and second rounds. During the Saturday night final round, he turned in a lofty score of 90.

Alisson De Souza finished second in the title race and earned $20,100. João Ricardo Vieira finished third and pocketed $12,500.

Leme was ranked No. 1 in the world title race with 5,181.66 points (in the world standings on Sept. 8).

Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, was ranked No. 2 with 4,730. Chase Outlaw was No. 3 with 4,362.5. Vieira was ranked No. 4 with 3,717.5.

This weekend, the PBR's Unleash The Beast, the association's top tier tour, stops in Springfield, Mo. The PBR's 2019 World Finals is Nov. 6-10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Email Brett Hoffman at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

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