Last weekend, the top cowboys and cowgirls who compete on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Texas Circuit congregated in Waco to ride and rope and in the Texas Circuit Finals.
In order to qualify, a competitor had to finish in the top 15 during the 2018 regular season at PRCA/WPRA rodeos in the Lone Star State. In other words, a strong finish at the Huntsville-based Walker County Fair Rodeo helped some competitors earn a trip to the Jan. 3-5 Waco-based Texas Circuit Finals.
The Texas Circuit is among multiple geographic regions that determines champions each year.
The average winners at the Texas Circuit Finals (the competitor who finished with the best aggregate score or time during the three-day rodeo) and the annual champion (the competitor who won the most money throughout the regular season and the Waco Texas Circuit Finals) in each standard rodeo event such as bareback riding and barrel racing will advance to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, which is scheduled for March 21-24 in Kissimmee, Fla., in the Orlando area. The Texas Circuit’s top finishers in steer roping advanced to the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping in Torrington, Wyo.
One high-profile competitor who advanced to the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping was 23-time world champion Trevor Brazile who lives in Decatur. Brazile earned a berth in the Torrington championships after clinching the Texas Circuit’s annual title in steer roping.
Other annual Texas Circuit champions who advanced to the nationals were bareback rider Tilden Hooper, steer wrestler Matt Reeves, saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley, tie-down roper Scott Kormos, barrel racer Hailey Kinsel, bull rider Cole Melancon and team ropers Clay Smith and Kory Koontz.
Unlike other events, the Texas Circuit’s top four steer ropers in the annual title race advanced to the Torrington championships.
In addition to Brazile, the other three who made the cut were J. Tom Fisher, Tony Reina and Tuf Cooper. Cooper, the 2017 world all-around champion, is a Childress native who has residences in Decatur and Weatherford.
The competitors who earned a trip the nationals on the basis of winning the average title at the Texas Circuit Finals were bareback rider Tilden Hooper (258 points on three rides); steer wrestler Don Payne (12.3 seconds on three runs); team ropers Clay Smith and Jake Long (15.1 seconds on three runs); saddle bronc rider Isaac Diaz (258 points on three head); tie-down roper Ty Harris (27.9 seconds on three rides); barrel racer Kelly Bruner (47.65 seconds on three runs); bull rider Cole Melancon (178 points on two qualified rides in three attempts) and steer roper Vin Fisher (34.4 seconds on three runs).
On the Professional Bull Riders’ circuit, 2017 world champion Jess Lockwood, a Montana cowboy, clinched the title as last weekend’s tour stop at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The New York show, which was Jan 4-6 was called the Monster Energy Buck Off At The Garden. It was the first tour stop during the 2019 regular season on the PBR’s Unleash The Beast is the association’s top tier tour.
When the title was at stake during Sunday’s final round, Lockwood clinched it in dramatic fashion with a 91.75 effort against a bovine named Prayer Warrior. Lockwood reached the final after turning in scores of 88.25, 86.5 and 85 in Round 1, 2 and 3.
Lockwood finished No. 1 in the title race after earning 895 points throughout the four rounds of competition. He also pocketed $118,350 in prize money. He is ranked No. 1 in the world title race with 895 points.
Email Brett Hoffman at email@example.com.