The 2018 season is still fresh, but many cowboys are off to a running start in the yearlong marathon race to make the Top 15 and qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.
Since the season began Oct. 1, 2017, more than 50 rodeos have been held, but all it takes is one big win for a cowboy to jump from the bottom of the world standings into the Top 15.
Veteran and rookie cowboys know it’s easier to maintain a position at the top than it is to play catch-up when trying to qualify for the Wrangler NFR. Every dollar counts, and making the Top 15 early establishes a solid base and builds a cowboy’s confidence as the season heats up.
In the last week, 10 cowboys moved from outside the Top 50 and into the Top 15. Saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston won $10,934 at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. This single win moved Thurston, who was tied for last in the world standings with other cowboys who had yet to win money, to eighth.
The following cowboys saw their position in the world standings improve between Jan. 15-22.
PREVIOUSLY OUT OF THE TOP 50
• Tyler Pearson is fourth in steer wrestling.
• Aaron Tsinigine is fifth in team roping heading.
• Shane Hanchey is fifth in tie-down roping.
• Zeke Thurston is eighth in saddle bronc riding.
• Chason Floyd is 12th in steer wrestling.
• Cody Pearson is 12th in team roping heeling.
• Brody Yeary is 13th in bull riding.
• Taz Olson is 14th in steer wrestling.
• Shay Carroll is 14th in team roping heading.
• Chase Dougherty moved from 44th to eighth in bull riding.
• Kyle Lockett moved from 38th to fifth in team roping heeling.
• Jake Orman moved from 32nd to eighth in team roping heading.
• Joshua Torres moved from 28th to sixth in team roping heading.
• Jonathan Torres moved from 31st to 10th in team roping heeling.
• Luke Brown moved from 19th to third in team roping heading.
• Jake Long moved from 20th to fourth in team roping heeling.
• Clayton Hass moved from 25th to 11th in steer wrestling.
• Caleb Bennett moved from 17th to fourth in bareback riding.
• Jason Thomas moved from 19th to sixth in steer wrestling.
• Kyle Irwin moved from 22nd to 10th in steer wrestling.
• Tim O’Connell moved from 19th to eighth in bareback riding.
• Clayton Biglow moved from 15th to fifth in bareback riding.
• Shade Etbauer moved from 20th to 10th in saddle bronc riding.
• Ty Harris moved from 19th to 10th in tie-down roping.
• Eli Vastbinder moved from 23rd to 15th in bull riding.
• Cody Quaney moved from 21st to 14th in tie-down roping.
• Tanner Aus moved from 22nd to 15th in bareback riding.
• Trey Benton III moved from 18th to 12th in bull riding.
• Jake Pratt moved from 12th to sixth in tie-down roping.
• Jason Duby moved from 12th to eighth in team roping heeling.
• Keven Daniel moved from 14th to 10th in team roping heading.
• Blane Cox moved from 11th to eighth in tie-down roping.
• Paul David Tierney moved from 12th to ninth in team roping heading.
• Bradley Harter moved from 15th to 12th in saddle bronc riding.
• Brady Norman moved from 16th to 13th in team roping heeling.
• Riley Pruitt moved from fourth to second in tie-down roping.
• Isaac Diaz moved from fifth to third in saddle bronc riding.
• Brad Culpepper moved from 13th to 11th in team roping heeling.
• Jake Brown moved from second to first in bareback riding.
• Jacobs Crawley moved from second to first in saddle bronc riding.
• Cody Lee moved from third to second in steer roping.
• Tuf Cooper moved from fourth to third in steer roping.
• Tristan Mize moved from fifth to fourth in bull riding.
• Joe Frost moved from seventh to sixth in bull riding.
• Tom Lewis moved from 10th to ninth in steer wrestling.
• Scott Snedecor moved from 10th to ninth in steer roping.
• Mike Chase moved from 11th to 10th in steer roping.
• Corey Ross moved from 12th to 11th in steer roping.
• Dee Kyler Jr. moved from 16th to 15th in steer roping.
Cowboys on the bubble for a spot in the Top 15 can find themselves a few dollars short of making a Wrangler NFR qualification. Three cowboys climbed the standings to No. 16 this past week:
• Saddle bronc rider CoBurn Bradshaw wasn’t in the Top 50 but moved to 16th and is $48 away from breaking into the Top 15.
• Steer wrestler Olin Hannum moved from 40th to 16th and is $14 away from breaking into the Top 15.
• Steer roper Rocky Patterson moved from 18th to 16th and is $846 away from breaking into the Top 15.
With the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show underway in Fort Worth, Texas, and Rodeo Rapid City (S.D.) on the horizon, the outcomes of those rodeo and others are sure to impact the world standings.
Courtesy of PRCA