by Tracy Renck | Sep 30, 2016
PASADENA, Texas – Tyson Durfey waited until the 11th hour to qualify for his ninth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
By winning the second round and the average at the Sept. 24-29 Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo, Durfey jumped from 17th position in the WEATHER GUARD PRCA World Standings all the way to Las Vegas, leapfrogging Adam Gray, J.C. Malone and Marty Yates.
Durfey will enter the Dec. 1 WNFR presented by Polaris RANGER in the No. 14 spot with Yates holding down the 15th and final position in the tie-down roping.
It took a big-time performance to get the job done. Durfey tied for ninth in the first round to earn just $82, so the pressure was really on for round two. He responded with a 7.5-second run that was the fastest of the rodeo.
The team of Zac Small and Wesley Thorp finished second in the team roping at the Ross Kelly Arena and that allowed Thorp to clinch his first berth in the WNFR, eliminating Justin Wade Davis and Logan Medlin. Small was already safely in the field, so this assures they can rope together on the sport’s biggest stage.
Coleman Proctor secured the final spot on the heading side by finishing sixth in the team roping average with Billie Jack Saebens, quashing the challenge of Billy Bob Brown and Logan Medlin.
British Columbia’s Jake Watson finished sixth in the saddle bronc riding in Pasadena while Tyrell Smith failed to place, assuring that Watson will make his WNFR debut this December, one of three Canadians to qualify in the bronc riding, along with Zeke Thurston and Clay Elliott.
Bull rider Trevor Kastner’s nice late-season surge fell short in Pasadena, leaving the 15th position to 2011 World Champion Shane Proctor.
It was the same story for Jake Rinehart in steer wrestling when he failed to earn checks in either Pasadena or Mona, Utah, so the 15th WNFR spot will likely go to Cody Cabral, making him the first Hawaiian bulldogger to ever make the field and the first Hawaiian in any event since bull rider Myron Duarte made the last of his eight appearances in 2004.
Rinehart, Joshua Clark, Dean Gorsuch and Clayton Moore were all within striking distance at the start of the week, but have spent their last bullet in this tightly-bunched steer wrestling field and the only guy left with a mathematical chance is Sterling Lambert of Fallon, Nev., who is $2,010 back of Cabral entering his run tonight in Mona.
The only other WNFR berth still open for discussion entering the final night of the PRCA season, is in the bareback riding. After a fourth-place finish in Pasadena, Bill Tutor moved to within $1,857 of Wyatt Denny in 15th place and both of them ride tonight in Mona where first place is expected to pay more than $2,000.
Tutor is scheduled to get on Bar T Rodeo’s Red Ears and Denny has drawn Bar T Rodeo’s War Widow.
Courtesy of PRCA