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Brazile qualifies for circuit finals

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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The top cowboys and cowgirls on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Texas Circuit congregated in Waco this past weekend to compete in the Texas Circuit Finals.

A competitor had to finish in the top 15 during the 2018 regular season at PRCA/WPRA rodeos in the Lone Star State to qualify.

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 event will advance to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo March 21-24 in Kissimmee, Fla.

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 Decatur’s 23-time world champion Trevor Brazile. He 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.

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 Decatur’s Tuf Cooper.

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).

PBR UPDATE

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.

It was the first tour stop during the 2019 regular season on the PBR’s Unleash The Beast.

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 atop the title race after earning 895 points throughout the four rounds of competition. He also pocketed $118,350 in prize money.

Lockwood is ranked No. 1 in the world title race with 895 points, more than twice as many as second-place Claudio Montanha Jr., a native of Brazil who lives in the Decatur area. Montanha finished second at the New York show and earned $20,100. He’s earned 405 world points in 2019.

This weekend, the Unleash The Beast tour stops in Rosemont, Ill. The UTB tour also stops in Oklahoma City Feb. 1-2.

The PBR also will conduct a major show at the Arlington-based AT&T Stadium on Feb. 9-10. The show is an international team competition called the Global Cup.

GENEROUS GIVING

Instead of asking for wedding presents, two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bareback riding qualifier Bill Tutor of Huntsville and his wife, Ashlyn, asked that donations be made to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, which provides financial aid to rodeo athletes who have experienced hardship.

“We just didn’t need anything,” Tutor said. “I know sometimes people want to give when you get married, so we figured the JCCF is a great organization, and they could certainly use it more than we could.”

Unlike mainstream pro sports, rodeo athletes don’t get paid when they are sidelined. Since its inception in the early 1990s, the JCCF has assisted more than 1,100 injured rodeo athletes and their families with more than $8 million, according to the PRCA.

The Tutors were married Nov. 3. Donations came in before and after the wedding. Bill and Ashlyn Tutor don’t know how much was donated to the JCCF on their behalf, but they said it’s a decent amount based on the letters they received letting them know who donated.

Bill Tutor is expected to return to competition at the end of this month during the 2019 Stock Show Rodeo in Fort Worth.

For information about JCCF or to donate, go to justincowboycrisisfund.org.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades.

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