Pro rodeo has shifted into high gear.
Between now and Sept. 30, numerous Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association athletes will travel aggressively to rodeos in North America as they attempt to qualify for the Dec. 5-14 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
In order to earn a trip to the WNFR, a competitor must finish in the top 15 in a single event when the regular season concludes on Sept. 30. Competitors continually enter numerous higher paying rodeos throughout the regular season as they attempt to accumulate enough earnings to qualify for the WNFR.
One of the larger rodeos of the year is the Reno Rodeo in Reno, Nevada, which traditionally is the first major pro rodeo of the summer.
“This is where the after burner kicks in,” said Bob Tallman, who is serving as an announcer for the 2019 Reno Rodeo.
The 100th annual Reno Rodeo (June 22-29) is offering competitors in the neighborhood of $475,000 in prize money throughout its 2019 edition. It’s billed as the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West.”
“To win [the Reno Rodeo] can help finance your whole summer,” Tallman said.
A win at the Reno Rodeo can be a big help toward qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo. Last year, Tyson Durfey of Brock won the tie-down roping title at the Reno Rodeo and earned $13,004 on his way to qualifying for the National Finals. Jeff Askey of Athens clinched the bull riding title in Reno and pocketed $12,248 en route to qualifying for the NFR. Bill Tutor of Huntsville finished fifth in the bareback riding title race at the Reno Rodeo last year and earned $3,681, which helped him qualify for the WNFR.
The 2019 Reno Rodeo has drawn credentialed competitors such as Aaron Tsinigine and Patrick Smith, who is from Lipan. The former world champion cowboys turned in a speedy first round time of 4.6 seconds during Monday’s performance.
Last year, Tsinigine and Trey Yates clinched the team roping title at the Reno Rodeo and each cowboy earned $10,432. The money helped both Tsinigine and Yates qualify for the 2018 WNFR. The 2019 Reno Rodeo also drew former College National Finals Rodeo qualifier Kody Lamb, who has turned in impressive bareback riding scores of 83 and 86. Lamb, a former Tarleton State star, will advance to the June 29 final round with a two-ride aggregate score of 169.
Lamb, who is from Sherwood Park, Alabama, is ranked 39th in this week's bareback riding world standings with $16,350 in regular season earnings. He would make a big jump in the world standings if he wins the Reno Rodeo this weekend.
After competing in the Reno Rodeo this weekend, competitors will ride and rope in July 4 rodeos in cities such as Greeley, Colorado; St. Paul, Oregon; Cody, Wyoming; and Prescott, Arizona. The Independence Day week is called Cowboy Christmas because there’s more enticing July 4 rodeos than competitors can travel to.
Competitors also work other larger July rodeos cities such as Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Salinas, California. In late July, competitors saddle up for the renowned Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming.
Tallman said the Reno Rodeo begins an important segment of higher-paying summer rodeos.
“I look at this [the Reno Rodeo], it’s the start and Cheyenne is kind of the end of this bracket,” said Tallman, a Poolville resident who snared the PRCA’s Announcer of the Year award last year.
As the Reno Rodeo celebrates its centennial this weekend, it joins other rodeos in cities such as Fort Worth; Pecos; Cheyenne; Calgary, Alberta; Salinas, California; and Pendleton, Oregon.