Hopeful finalists head into championship rounds at the 104th Pendleton Round-Up
The 104th Pendleton Round-Up on Friday continued to narrow the number of competitors who will make it to Saturday’s finals for the championships for its eight nationally sanctioned rodeo events.
Friday’s results help to determine who can return on Saturday to compete for the championship in each event and for the All Around title for the cowboy with the most winnings. First to find out if they would return on Saturday were the bareback riders and the top finisher was a relative unknown.
Grant Denny, 21, Minden, NV, a two-time Nevada high school champ, still competes for his college rodeo team, Feather River College, Quincy, CA—in fact, as recently as this June, where he took 9th in bareback in the College National Finals Rodeo. With a small, $15,000 in winnings in 2014, he is ranked 50th in the PRCA, with a bright future in the sport.
Denny’s Friday score of 82 got him into the bareback finals on Saturday, just ahead of three men who finished with 81 earlier in the week, Tim O’Connell, 22, Zwingle, IA; Tilden Hooper, Carthage, TX; and local favorite Austin Foss, 22, Terrebonne, OR. Five men made the bottom positions with scores of 76 for Saturday’s 14 positions but a great ride on Saturday could clinch a victory for just about any of them.
One of those is Cody DeMers, 35, a familiar face at the Round-Up, where he won the bareback title in 2005. DeMers, Kimberly, ID, is ranked 27 in the world standings and made Saturday’s listing with a score of 79, second on Friday.
Surprisingly, two brothers will also be on Saturday’s list. Ty Breur, 24, Mandan, ND, a professional since 2010, when he was bareback rookie of the year, and with nine rodeo victories this year, will be joined by his younger brother, Casey. Ty has won $45,742 this year, not counting his Pendleton Round-Up winnings, to place 20 in the world listings for the event, while Casey has won $29,466 to put him 28th.
Four of the 14 Saturday bareback competitors rank in the top 10 world standings, Foss, #3; Will Lowe, Canyon, TX, #5; O’Connell, #7, and Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, UT, #8.
The hopes of a dozen competitors were dashed on Friday when none of the tie-down roping contestants scored well enough to make Saturday’s final. The list for Saturday holds a dozen cowboys who made it through their scores from earlier in the week. That list includes Trevor Brazile, Decatur, TX, possibly the world’s most famous rodeo competitor and the winner of the All Around award at the Round-Up three times, including the past two years, plus numerous event titles. Brazile currently ranks 4th in the world standings with $77,797 in tie-down winnings this year.
However, ahead of Brazile in the world standings for tie-down is Matt Shiozawa, #2 with $109,014 in 2014 winnings, and also in the list for Saturday’s Round-Up tie-down competition. Shiozawa, Chubbuck, ID, tied for the tie-down title here in 2009 and has won 12 rodeos in 2014 to Brazile’s 30+ for the year, won with competitions in three roping events: tie-down, team roping and steer roping.
With six of Saturday’s 12 competitors from Texas, the world’s leading rodeo state, it’s quite probable the winner will be a Texan, although locals are holding out hope for Roger Nonella, Klamath, Falls, Oregon. Nonella, 27, won the event last year. Ranking 36 in the world standings with $30,000 in winnings for the event this year he’s a long shot but then that was his status last year. And he’s had the third best times in two tie-down qualifying events, 20.6, compared to Brazile at #6 with 21.2, and Shiozawa at #10 with 22.2 seconds.
The lead, going into Saturday, with a 2-event time of 20.1, belongs to Riley Pruitt, 22, Gering, NE., one place ahead of Nonella in the world standings, at #35. Pruitt has competed professionally since 2010 but has a modest record to date. His rodeo idol is his dad, Troy, who was the 1990 tie-down roping world champion.
Casey Martin, 33, Sulphur, LA, rode his arena record-tying time from Thursday, 3.8 seconds, to finish first in steer wrestling in Saturday’s finals list with an aggregate time of 10.8 for two qualifying steer wrestling events. The Saturday list does not include the cowboy who originally set the record in 2002, K.C. Jones, 43, Decatur, TX, despite Jones fine time of 5.5 seconds in one qualifier on Wednesday. Martin finished 4th in 2013’s world standings and is currently ranked #3 with nearly $70,000 in 2014 winnings in the event, just behind #2 K.C. Jones.
In second place on Saturday’s final list was Curtis Cassidy, 35, Donalda, AB, with an aggregate time of 13.3, followed by a fellow Albertan at 13.5, Tanner Milan, 31, Cochrane, AB. Cassidy is currently 13 in the world rankings and Milan is 46. Cassidy has earned nearly $1.3 million in his 16-year professional career while Milan, a professional competitor for 11 years, has taken in just over $250,000.
On the list of 12 for tomorrow’s competition are several other world-ranked competitors, Clayton Hass, Terrell, TX, #4; Nick Guy, Sparta, WI, #7; Dakota W. Eldridge, Elko, NV, #8, and #23, Beau Clark, Belgrade, MT.
The three top-finishing teams on Friday found themselves on the list of 12 teams to compete in Saturday’s finals in team roping, the only event with more than one contestant. In team roping the first cowboy, the header, puts his rope around the steer’s head as it runs from him. If all goes well he turns it so his partner can rope the steer’s hind legs. Do that, hold the steer in the right position for a few seconds and the team will earn a time. Given the times that win, that time had better be well under 10 seconds.
The Northwest’s own Minor brothers, Riley, 26, and Brady, 29, Ellensburg, WA, finished first Friday with a time of 7.1 to enter Saturday’s contest with an aggregate time of 14.4 for two qualifying team roping events. The Minor family has rodeoed for four generations so it’s no surprise there’s another Minor, Jason, competing on Saturday as a heeler with header Jack Fischer, also from Ellensburg.
Brady, with 10 years in the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), has won over $750,000 in his career, following a stint of three years as Washington state high school roping champion. Brother Riley, eight years in the PRCA, has won nearly $650K with four qualifications for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, the final stop of the year for rodeo competitors looking to win a world title. Brady has been there five times.
They’ve competed several times in team roping at the Pendleton Round-Up but have yet to capture the title.
In all, Saturday’s competition will include the number 1, 5, 15th, and 20th world ranked headers and the #1, 5, 7, 12, 19, and 37th ranked heelers. A special place is reserved for local favorite Clayton Hansen, Pendleton, Oregon, teamed with heeler Garrett Jess, Coulee City, WA. Hansen hasn’t won many competitions yet but is ranked the #3 rookie header in professional rodeo. His team’s aggregate time of 14.4 seconds in two qualifying team roping events puts them at #8 on the list of 12 to compete tomorrow.
The best aggregate times on tomorrow’s list belong to the teams of Brady Tryan, 25, Huntley, MT/Tommy Zuniga, 30, Centerville, TX, 11.6 seconds; and Kaleb Driggers, 24, Albany, GA/Patrick Smith, 34, Lipan, TX, 13.1 seconds.
A third event with brothers competing on Saturday, saddle bronc, will feature the brothers Wright, haling from a renowned Milford, Utah rodeo family. Originally there were four lined up in this event, but Jesse and Cody were eliminated in the qualification events, leaving Jake and Spencer to continue into tomorrow.
However, there will be a Cody among the 12 finalists on Saturday. Cody DeMoss, 33, Heflin, LA, takes his highest score of the Round-Up’s qualifying rounds, an 85, with hopes it will be followed by a big number in the finals. DeMoss is #10 in the PRCA world standings in this event.
Jake, 25, had an 82, a tie with Cole Elshere, 24, Faith, SD, while the other Wright hope, Spencer, comes to the finals with a 79. In any case, since half the score is produced by the horse’s performance, their chances on Saturday will be heavily influenced by horses with names like “Lunatic from Hell” and “Lunatic Fringe”, which is probably the horse a competitor needs to ensure he’s riding the biggest, baddest horse. But if DeMoss’ horse, Timely Delivery, is accurately named, he could be the one.
Meanwhile, Taos Muncy, 27, Corona, NM, current world leader in the saddle bronc event, remains in competition on Saturday, after bringing in a score of 81.
Other possibilities from the bottom of the list of 12, all with 78: Rusty Allen, who turns 40 next week, Eagle Mountain, UT, will ride Shoshone Mountain on Saturday. He has competed professionally since 1995 with career earnings approaching $1 million and qualified five times for the NFR. Chet Johnson, 33, Sheridan, WY, a PRCA competitor since 2001 and with four NFR qualifications, will attempt to bring it all home on Wiggle Worm. Tucas War Song will carry CoBurn Bradshaw, 19, Beaver, UT, for a hoped-for eight seconds. The college freshman hasn’t amassed much of a rodeo record but is competing at both the collegiate and professional level after graduating last year from high school.
There’s a smack-down feel to the Saturday match between Pamela Capper and Christy Loflin. Of course there are nine other competitors, all with a chance at winning the Pendleton Round-Up championship in barrel racing. And they’re racing horses around barrels, not wrestling. But it feels as though it’s Capper vs. Loflin. Capper, 51, Cheney, WA, came in second at Pendleton last year to Loflin, 40, Franktown, CO, who had also won the title in 2012. This year they enter Saturday’s finals with Capper on top with a best qualifying time of 28.48 seconds to Loflin’s 28.54.
Behind those two are Kirstin Parvin, Lewiston, ID; Kim Schulze, 50, Larkspur, CO, and rookie barrel racer Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, UT. Despite her rookie status Wall has had an outstanding year, rising to 15th in world standings before slipping a bit mid-summer. Tied in the 10th position in the qualifying rounds is Jody Sheffield, Ogden, UT, who won the event here in 2010.
Of the group, Loflin at 12th ranks highest in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association standings, with nearly $72,000 in 2014 winnings.
Dallee Mason, Weiser, ID, has seemed like the bull rider to win it on Saturday, carrying the Round-Up’s best score in the event since Wednesday, an 87 that brings him to the finals. But bull riding is said to be difficult to predict and right behind him is Clayton Savage, Yoder, WY, with his qualifying score of 85. In fact, qualifying scores for the finalists range from 77 to 87 but who knows what Saturday’s best will look like?
Clayton Foltyn, Winnie, TX, in the middle of the pack with an 81 through Friday, received Thursday’s highest score on a day when only four of 17 bull riders managed a score. It takes eight non-stop seconds on a bull to become eligible for a score. So Saturday is unpredictable.
You could use the current world standings as a guide but it wouldn’t help. #1 Sage Kimzey, Strong City, OK, with $128,000 in 2014 winnings is competing Saturday, arriving with a qualifying score of 82. Mason is #29 while Savage is #45, so they have Kimzey, as well as #16, Campbell Cody, a local favorite from Summerville, OR, ahead of them. Campbell qualified with 79. Also #24 in the world standings, Wesley Silcox, Santaquin, UT, who comes to Saturday with an 81.
There may be a slight shift in the PRCA’s bull riding world standings after Saturday.
Another event with results proving its difficulty, in steer roping Friday, only two of 12 competitors had times, the rest either missing their steer or having a steer come lose of its bindings in less than six seconds.
But on Saturday 12 finalist cowboys will have a chance to rope and tie a steer and the winner will probably take under 15 seconds, which is a long way from the 79.5 seconds taken by Roy Ross who won this event in 1911. But times have dramatically decreased in the past 50 years, with cowboys increasingly aggressive if they want to win.
Rocky Patterson, 48, Pratt, KS, looks like a good possibility for Saturday’s steer roping title. He enters Saturday with the best aggregate time for two qualifying events, 26.5 seconds, he’s ranked #19 in the PRCA world standings and he’s won three world championships, the most recent in 2012.
But he competes with others, such as J.D. Yates, with their own cred. Yates, 54, Pueblo, CO, has won this event three times at the Pendleton Round-Up, as well as the All Around title, and currently stands 44th in world standings after a 39-year professional career.
Chance Kelton, 39, Mayer, AZ, currently #6 in the world, is 20 years into his pro career and recently won this event at the nearby Walla Walla Frontier Days rodeo.
And the youngest contender, 23-year-old Brodie Poppino, Big Cabin, OK, stands #11 in the world, straight off a great year when he was named the 2013 Steer Roping Rookie of the Year, in 2014 nearly tripling the earnings from his launch year. Like so many in this sport, Poppino was inspired by dad Marty, a professional steer roper and wrestler.
The 104th Pendleton Round-Up continues through championship finals on Saturday, beginning at 1:15 pm.