Puyallup Rodeo

This is Jon. I decided that a week's worth of rodeo entertainment in Ellensburg wasn't enough so I headed to Puyallup for a big rodeo there. Throughout the year within the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, there is a ProRodeo Tour which designates certain rodeos as "tour" rodeos (Ellensburg is the final tour rodeo of the year) where the money earned on the tour qualifies you for a tour playoff (top 24 in the tour standings) and tour championship (top 12 in the tour standings). The playoff is this weekend in Puyallup. The tour championship is in two weeks in Omaha (I'll probably not make that one).
I'll save you from all the nitty-gritty details, but basically, there is a ton of money to be won in Puyallup this weekend. Guys have turned around their seasons with a win at Puyallup. In 2009, defending world champion calf roper Stran Smith needed a big payday to keep his season going. I called him two days prior and asked him if he felt like his back was against the wall. He told me "Big players make big plays on big days." That's actually one of my favorite quotes. How can you not like a guy like that? He won the rodeo and made $17,000.

This is Jason Havens. He's a bareback rider out of Prineville, Ore. He and his travel partners are some of my favorites: Great personalities, always have time for me and my reporter things and they have an on-going video blog of some of their antics on and off the road. Anyway, Havens had a tough go of his first horse on Friday afternoon, so much so that he was offered a re-ride, since the horse didn't buck as well as he should have and thus cost Havens some points, which ultimately means costing him some money. You take re-rides. I've never seen a guy not take a re-ride.

This is Havens later in the afternoon as he's nodding his head to get the chute gate open. Like pretty much everyone, Havens is a pretty cool guy, but he's very intense the seconds before the chute opens.

This is his re-ride. It's a Calgary Stampede horse named Hurricane Terry. Ironically, Havens drew Hurricane Terry last Sunday in Ellensburg, scoring him for an 80-point ride (Havens would later win Ellensburg that Monday). He scored 85 to lead the first round in Puyallup on Friday. Great horse. Calgary Stampede has some of the best.

The start of steer wrestling, or as it's commonly called bulldoggin'. I wasn't trying for this photo, but it shows the rope around the steer's neck breaking (which also pulls the rope in front of the horse to pull away) instantly before the steer wrestler crosses that plane. It allows for the steer to get an adequate head start. If a cowboy breaks the barrier, it adds 10 seconds to your time, which means no money.

Ellensburg's Riley Minor (in red with the rope) in team roping with older brother Brady Minor (not in the picture). Like steer wrestling immediately above, the steer in team roping gets the head start as well. This is right before the steer breaks free. Unfortunately for Riley, he broke the barrier and ended up missing his steer anyway for the no-time. Tough luck. He's not riding his horse, Dollar. His main horse is at a vet in Snohomish with some gland problems in his neck which makes it difficult for the horse to breathe, which obviously means you don't ride him. These guys take better care of their horses than they do themselves.

Ellensburg calf roper Jake Pratt seconds before he nodded his head to start his run. Pratt is definitely up and coming, as one of the better rookies in 2010. Now, Pratt is trying in vain to get to the National Finals Rodeo. He made two solid, clean runs to position himself in second place going into today's rounds. If he stays among the best, he'll make between $5-$15 depending on how well he does overall. If he is on the heavier end of that scale, I'm thinking he'll need to plan to go to the NFR in Vegas. With the Minor brothers (and some cousins as well) and Pratt, Ellensburg has some great ropers and the Kittitas Valley is known as more of a roping town (although bull rider Allen Helmuth is having a great year). It seems like many successful saddle bronc riders come out of South Dakota. Every calf roping world champion since 1995 has called Texas home. It's interesting how there are distinctive regional areas for certain events. Alright, it's interesting to me at least.

14-time world champion Trevor Brazile. He's won eight all-around titles (meaning he won the most money out of everyone combining multiple events), three steer roping titles, two calf roping titles and one team roping title (with Patrick Smith). He's won the most money of all time ($4 million +) and is just 3 months older than I am, so like Dad and Bruce Willis/Kurt Russell, we have a lot in common. Days like Friday, though, prove that everyone is human. Brazile didn't have a world championship type of day and will leave Puyallup without a check. This guy is a perfectionist, without being a jerk, but of course, if you don't win, you don't make money and that can weigh on a guy. Just a few minutes after this photo was taken, he was hanging out behind the chutes with his wife and two young kids laughing and playing. That's another reason why I like rodeo, it's so family oriented.

Tyson Durfey, however should leave Puyallup with a big check. The Colbert (near Spokane) calf roper is leading the two-head average (ahead of Ellensburg's Pratt) going into today. You'll notice Durfey is wearing a pink shirt. Breast cancer awareness is a big deal to him and he donates a lot of time and money to the cause. He again gives me whatever time I need, but yesterday I wasn't there as a reporter, I was there just to hang out with a bunch of ropers and riders behind the chutes.

Lee Ann Rust. She's a rookie barrel racer this year...........and she's 53-years old. A couple of years ago (after some life lessons, I'm trying to put together a story on her because she's a kick) she decided to hit the road full time. She's doing very well. She hasn't sealed up her bid to the NFR, but she's very close. She did alright in Puyallup but probably won't make very much, if anything. Here she's rounding the second barrel.

You see a bull with no rider here.........oh there he is, seemingly flying in the air. That first bump was a bad one.


We'll end with something tastier. A Sales Family Super Burger with extra grilled onions. It tasted dang good..............and I'm still feeling it 18 hours later.


Nana said…
oh my goodness, the RODEO(s) and again after 10 years of living over here in Cle Elum I didn't make it BUT...I did buy a cow"girl" hat and decorated it by beading...looks real cool (or so I'm told). Geez, my Texas clan will be disappointed in me for not being there!!! Thanks K Town gang for representing the Texans!

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