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Cowboys take advantage of big purses

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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For the first time on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, two major winter rodeos – The American and RodeoHouston – offered $50,000 final round winner checks that counted toward the world standings.

A $50,000 win at either The American or RodeoHouston can help a competitor earn close to the prize money that it will take to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“The guys certainly appreciate it,” PRCA chief executive officer George Taylor said. “You know it matters. If you win rodeos, it should count.”

A $50,000 prize from either RodeoHouston or The American is almost enough to qualify for the National Finals. It might take $65,000 or $70,000 to qualify for the NFR in an event.

Four-time world bareback riding champion Kaycee Field took advantage of the big purses. The Utah cowboy earned $25,000 for a second-place finish at The American and $50,000 for winning RodeoHouston.

There have been other high paying winter rodeos this season in cities such as Denver, Fort Worth, San Antonio, San Angelo and Tuscon, Ariz., that will play a significant role in helping a rider qualify for the NFR.

Bareback rider Orin Larsen earned $29,500 for winning the San Antonio Rodeo and another $50,000 for winning The American. Tie-down roper Michael Otero of Weatherford pocketed $13,263 for winning the San Angelo Rodeo to add to the $50,000 from winning RodeoHouston.

RodeoAustin is another rodeo that could make a substantial difference toward qualifying for the NFR. The Austin rodeo began Saturday and runs through March 30.

HOUSTON WINNERS

Kaycee Feild, who is from Genola, Utah, clinched his fifth bareback riding title in Houston after turning in a final round score of 92. Ty Breuer of Mandan, N.D., and Richmond Champion of Dublin tied for second in the final with 90-point rides. Breuer finished as the reserve champion.

Michael Otero clinched the tie-down roping title with an 8.5. Cimarron Boardman of Stephenville finished second in the final with a 10.5. Tuf Cooper of Decatur came in third.

Ty Blasingame of Casper, Wyo., and Kyle Lockett of Visalia, Calif., won the team roping with a time of 5 seconds.

Jesse Wright of Milford, Utah, won the saddle bronc riding title with an 86.

Josh Garner of Live Oak, Calif., claimed the steer wrestling title with a 4.6.

Nellie Williams-Miller of Cottonwood, Calif., clinched her second consecutive RodeoHouston barrel racing title.

Trevor Kastner of Roff, Okla., was RodeoHouston’s top bull rider with a 90.

PBR UPDATE

On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Derek Kolbaba clinched the title at a Velocity Tour stop Saturday in Wheeling, Va., and earned $6,116. Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, finished second and pocketed $3,500.

Jose Vitor Leme, another Brazilian who lives in Decatur, clinched the title at a PBR Velocity Tour stop Saturday in Dayton, Ohio. He earned $7,300.

Leme earned 220 world points and is ranked third in the world title race with 1,981.66 points. Jess Lockwood leads the world race with 2,097.5. Joao Ricardo Vieira, who finished third in Dayton, is second with 2,050. He’s also a Brazilian competitor who is from Decatur.

TIMED EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP

Justin Thigpen, of Waycross, Ga., won the 2019 Cinch Timed Event Championship title and the coveted $100,000 average winner’s check March 10 at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie, Okla. All in all, he earned $107,000.

K.C. Jones, a former NFR qualifier from Decatur, received a $25,000 check for finishing second in the average.

The Timed Event Championship traditionally features credentialed pro all-around hands who compete in team roping heading and heeling, steer roping, tie-down roping and steer wrestling.

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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