The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s 2019 regular season concludes this weekend.
Some competitors have secured a berth in the Dec. 5-14 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas or the Nov. 22-23 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan. Others are on or near the bubble and they are traveling relentlessly as they attempt to earn a National Finals back number.
In order to qualify for the National Finals, a competitor must finish within the top 15 in an event when the regular season concludes on Monday, Sept. 30.
Mindful that PRCA/WPRA regular season closes this weekend, world class riders signed up to compete in rodeos in Stephenville, Kansas City, Mo., Omaha, Neb., San Bernardino, Calif., Mona, Utah, and in other cities such as Poway, Calif., and Mitchell, S.D.
One accomplished local cowboy to keep track of during the final weekend of the season is two-time National Finals qualifier Jeff Askey of Athens.
He was ranked No. 14 in the PRCA’s bull riding standings (released on Sept. 23) with $108,503.27. He was $4,225.36 ahead of No. 16 Trey Kimzey who had $104,207.91. Askey also was $14,507 ahead of No. 17 Ruger Piva who had $94,015.
With all that in mind, in reality it's safe to say that Askey will not be knocked out of the top 15 this weekend and that he has sewn up another National Finals berth.
Last weekend, world class cowboys and cowgirls aggressively competed in pro rodeos in Amarillo, Pasadena (Texas), Texarkana, Ark., St. Springhill, La., St. George, Utah, and in other cities.
At the Lion's Dixie Roundup in St. George, John Douch of Huntsville clinched the tie-down down roping title with a time of 8.9 seconds and earned $1,708. He also finished third at the rodeo with a 7.6 and pocketed $1,774.
After finishing in the money in the two late-in-the-regular-season rodeos, Douch was ranked 16th in the PRCA’s tie-down roping (Sept. 23) world standings with $80,567.70. He was $3,076.30 behind No. 15 ranked Shad Mayfield of Clovis, N.M., who had $83,644.00.
So, in order to qualify for the December National Finals, Douch must rally this weekend and move up at least one rung in the rankings and finish the season in the top 15. He is attempting to qualify for the NFR for the first time.
Mayfield also is attempting to qualify for the NFR for the first time. Last weekend, he tied for first at the Tri-State Fair Rodeo in Amarillo with a time of 7.5 seconds and earned $2,425. He also finished fourth at the Texarkana rodeo with a 7.9 and earned $1,461.
On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Chase Outlaw of Hamburg, Ark. clinched the title at the Sept. 21-22 Unleash The Beast tour stop in Fairfax, Va., in the Washington D.C. area and he earned $38,620. During the final round, Outlaw turned in a remarkable 90.25 aboard a bovine named Big Black (K-C Bucking Bulls/Joe & Nina Webb).
Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in the Decatur area, finished fourth in the title race in Fairfax and he was ranked No. 1 in the world title race with 6,106.66 points (in standings released on Sept. 22). Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, was ranked No. 2 with 5,080. Outlaw was ranked third with 4,925.
This weekend, the Unleash the Beast, the PBR’s top tier tour, stops in Portland, Ore. The PBR’s 2019 World Finals is scheduled for Nov. 6-10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Cutting horse update
On the National Cutting Horse Association circuit, veteran Michael Cooper of Weatherford and A Star Is Born clinched the 3-year-old Futurity open division title with a finals score of 222 at the Brazos Bash, an NCHA aged event at the Silvarado Arena near Weatherford that began Sept. 18 and runs through Sept 29.
The filly’s owner, the Belle Terre Ranch of Corinth, Miss., received the $20,000 prize.
According to a Sept. 25 ncha.com article by veteran equine journalist Sally Harrison, it was Cooper’s third consecutive 3-year-old open victory at the Brazos Bash. He was co-champion in 2017 aboard Gato Borracho and the outright winner last year atop Tears From Heaven.
The Brazos Bash’s win was A Star Is Born’s second in two starts. The first-year horse also clinched the 3-year-old Futurity title at the Sept. 1-8 Cotton Stakes in Downsville, La. with a 221.
The Belle Terre Ranch received $10,000 for that victory.
Email Brett Hoffman at email@example.com.