When it came to Cowboy Christmas this year, bareback rider Kaycee Feild certainly was on the rodeo Santa’s nice list.
Feild won $34,483 during the Fourth of July week, the fourth-highest total ever, and the second-best ever among cowboys competing in a single event, behind bull rider Kanin Asay’s $36,031 in 2007.
All-around cowboy Trevor Brazile set the record for winnings with $39,993 in 2011; all-around hand Ty Murray ranks second at $37,630, in 1999.
“It feels awesome,” Feild said. “It was my most enjoyable, relaxed Fourth of July ever.”
Feild won money at five of the seven rodeos in which he competed. He won the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede, the Livingston (Mont.) Roundup, the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, S.D., and the Molalla (Ore.) Buckeroo Rodeo, while also finishing second at the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge (Mont.).
He is the seventh cowboy to eclipse $30,000 in winnings during the July 4 run, and leads the July 7 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings with $118,426 – $36,631 ahead of second-place Austin Foss, representing the largest lead in any individual event.
“This was huge for me,” said Feild, who also won $10,642 while taking the bareback riding title at the June 20-28 Reno (Nev.) Rodeo. “I’ve never capitalized and done nearly this well in June and July as I did this year. The most I’d won before was probably around $15,000. To start off the summer like this is just amazing.”
On the timed-event side, two-time World Champion Tie-down Roper Tuf Cooper was the top cowboy, pocketing $26,082 last week – a career-high for the Fourth of July run.
“It’s a blessing, and all the glory and honor goes to God,” said Cooper, who was taking part in his seventh Cowboy Christmas run. “I’m grateful, and this was just awesome. It’s so exhausting. You’re going 24-7. You have to stay completely positive, and mentally you have to make sure you have the energy to compete. Everybody is going to be tired and you have to have as much energy as possible.”
Cooper’s Cowboy Christmas was highlighted by his stellar performance in Ponoka, June 25 through July 1, where he won $14,822.
Cooper collected the majority of his Ponoka money – $7,500 – when he won the showdown round by recording a 7.3-second time. Cooper also won the Ponoka Stampede in 2010.
“We put everything in pretty tight, and a big thanks to my friend Jeremy Walker for helping us get around over the Fourth (of July),” Cooper said. “He let my brother-in-law, Trevor Brazile, and I borrow his plane and he went with us. I also have to thank all the great rodeo committees who put on such great rodeos over the Fourth of July for us.”
His big week allowed the Coopers – Clint, Tuf and Clif – to hold bragging rights as the family champions of Cowboy Christmas. Their total earnings of $48,045 were more than twice as much as the Tryan brothers (Clay, Travis and Brady) in team roping and the Wright brothers (Cody, Jesse, Jake and Spencer) in saddle bronc riding.
Tyler Corrington was tops among saddle bronc riders, and third overall behind Feild and barrel racer Kaley Bass in total Cowboy Christmas earnings. The Hastings, Minn., cowboy won $28,707, including earning three checks of more than $8,700 during the week.
He won the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo with an 87-point ride on Korkow Rodeos’ Paint Chip, earning $9,066, and also won the title at the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede with 86 points on J Bar J’s Smart Guy for another $8,714. He would also grab $9,153 for his performance in Ponoka early in the week.
“If you draw well, and you come into it on a bit of a roll, your confidence goes up and riding is that much easier,” Corrington said of Cowboy Christmas. “Having this bump in the standings at this time of the year is really nice because it takes the stress off and allows you to have fun with rodeo, instead of having to worry about the standings later in the season.”
Here are the top 15 money earners from Cowboy Christmas:
1. Kaycee Feild, BB, $34,483
2. Kaley Bass, GB, $28,814
3. Tyler Corrington, SB, $28,707
4. Tuf Cooper, TD, $26,082
5. Nick Guy, SW, $22,209
6. Cody Teel, BR, $22,099
7. Marty Yates, TD, $20,978
8. Carley Richardson, GB, $20,294
9. Bobby Mote, BB, $19,475
10. Hunter Herrin, TD, $19,407
11. Taos Muncy, SB, $18,475
12. Matt Shiozawa, TD, $18,212
13. Jake Pratt, TD, $18,195
14. Trevor Brazile, TR/TD, $17,698
15. Ty Pozzobon, BR, $17,616
- BEST BULLDOGGER: Nick Guy – who finished 17th and 21st in the world standings the last two seasons – has been on the precipice of his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification (2010 was his first) the past two years, and after this year’s Fourth of July run, he is on target to make another trip to Las Vegas. The Sparta, Wis., steer wrestler won the most money of anyone in his event last week, earning $22,209, and moved from 44th to fourth in the July 7 world standings. “I’ve just been in the groove lately,” Guy said. “To win $22,000 in four days doesn’t happen for most guys, and I sure never thought it would happen for me. I just went into it with the mindset that I wanted to win first everywhere, and it worked out.” The 29-year-old earned a total of $9,475 en route to winning the average in St. Paul (Ore.), and also picked up large checks in Cody (Wyo.) and at the Molalla (Ore.) Buckeroo Rodeo and the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge (Mont.). Guy wasn’t the only bulldogger to make a large leap in the standings. Dru Melvin moved from 59th to 19th, and Dirk Tavenner went from 40th to 17th.
- TEEL IS GOLDEN: Bull rider Cody Teel was tops in his event over Cowboy Christmas, earning $22,099 – $4,483 better than second-place Ty Pozzobon of Canada. The 2012 world champion won the majority of that money with a huge sum in Ponoka, as he placed sixth in the first round, second in the finals, third in the average and then won the showdown round with 88.5 points on Vold Rodeo’s True Blood. Teel’s total in Ponoka came to $13,433. He also collected checks at four other rodeos, most notably $3,716 in Molalla and $2,012 in Red Lodge. Teel moved from 10th to fourth in the July 7 world standings as a result of his big week. “Before this weekend, my goal was to just make it to the NFR, but now after winning all this money, my goal is to win another gold buckle,” he said. He didn’t, however, escape without some bumps and bruises. Teel – who returned at the beginning of June after three months on the sidelines with a broken ankle – was stepped on in both Greeley and Cody, but says he’s feeling just fine, other than being a little sore.
- TOP TEAM: Brooks Dahozy and Daxton Jim may not be the first names you’d think of when it comes to the top of the Cowboy Christmas team ropers list. However, the duo cashed in more than any other team ropers last week, each earning $15,720 – $1,403 better than second-place Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn. Incredibly, Dahozy and Jim only cashed checks at three rodeos, but they made all three count. Dahozy, 27, and Jim, a 23-year-old permit holder, placed in both rounds and were second in the average in St. Paul, winning $8,003 each. They also made $3,976 at the Oakley City (Utah) Independence Day Rodeo and $3,741 in Cody. Dahozy moved to 35th in the world standings as a result of the big week.
- BRAZILE WATCH: Trevor Brazile made a total of $17,698 over Cowboy Christmas, with the majority of that money coming in team roping, where he earned $11,089 and moved up to second place in the world standings. Brazile and partner Travis Graves placed second at the Livingston (Mont.) Roundup with a time of 4.1 seconds, earning $5,537 each. They also were fourth in the first round and third in the average at the World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz., each earning $3,910. The pair also tallied $1,642 in Ponoka. Brazile earned a total of $6,609 in tie-down roping, highlighted by a check of $2,929 at the Airdrie (Alberta) ProRodeo, and $2,323 in Ponoka. The $17,698 placed him 14th among all Cowboy Christmas competitors. Brazile’s current total money of $135,243 is more than $25,000 ahead of what his earnings were at this point a year ago, and is $47,054 better than brother-in-law Tuf Cooper in the all-around world standings.
- ALL WRIGHT: With the results of Cowboy Christmas, there are four Wright brothers in the top 17 of the saddle bronc riding world standings. These numbers suggest that, for the first time in history, four brothers could qualify for the same Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Cody Wright leads the pack in second place, while Spencer is 14th, Jesse is 15th and Jake is 17th. Jake is only $1,257 out of the 15th spot. Making matters even more interesting is Cody’s son, Rusty, is sitting in 36th place, just over $20,000 away from 15th.
- FINAL TALLY: There were 23 competitors who made $15,000 or more during Cowboy Christmas, and 73 who made $10,000 or more.
- INJURIES: While the focus of Cowboy Christmas was on the high-achievers, those contestants who performed at their highest level, there was also the other side of the coin: those who were laid low by injury and may have seen their last chance at qualifying for the WNFR drift a little further out of reach. Cody Ohl, Hunter Cure, Ryan Gray and Cody Campbell were all hurt in late June and never got out on the road for the Fourth of July. They were soon followed on the injured list by 2011 World Champion Shane Proctor, Ardie Maier, Dylan Vick Hice, Taygen Schuelke, Friday Wright II, Elliot Jacoby and Steve Woolsey – all bull riders – plus saddle bronc rider Colton Miller. After dislocating his shoulder, Proctor tweeted on Friday, “Well, my 4th is over. (Dr.) Tandy (Freeman) said I messed up a nerve in my riding shoulder. MRI this week. If all goes good, may be back in 2-6 weeks.” Maier was life-flighted from the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo with three broken ribs on his right side and a lung contusion (he was released on July 6), while Schuelke suffered a broken leg in St. Paul (he underwent surgery July 5 in Salem) and Vick Hice a broken foot (he is in a walking boot) there. Wright was hospitalized with multiple facial fractures from a wreck at the Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale, Ark., and was scheduled to see a specialist in Dallas today. A facial fracture and lacerated ear suffered at the Greeley (Colo.) Xtreme Bulls Division 2 caused WNFR qualifier Jacoby to miss six of his scheduled appearances over the Fourth of July week and Woolsey is out for at least 10 days with a sprained MCL in his left knee and strained abdominal muscles. Miller, the nephew of 2007 World Champion Steer Wrestler Jason Miller, who is currently second in the saddle bronc riding rookie standings, suffered a broken leg at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede and will have surgery this week. Bull rider Kanin Asay won the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Mont., with a 92-point ride on Brookman-Hyland Rodeo’s Damn It’s Good despite competing while laboring with a severe abdominal strain.
Courtesy of PRCA