Cory Petska – Marana, Ariz. ($91,294)
15-time WNFR qualifier
When Cory Petska left last year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as the newly-crowned world champion heeler, there was a lot of talk about how 2018 would be different for him.
He didn’t exactly plan to ride off into the sunset, but he wanted to limit his rodeo schedule and pursue other enterprises with his wife, Sherry Cervi’s, family. And trying to win a gold buckle for 14 years didn’t give much time for that.
Cory roped with Erich Rogers in 2013. They had qualified for San Antonio, so went there and got some money. Then it was time for those other enterprises. He did go to other rodeos with several different partners but was still planning to take the summer off.
He did go to Reno in June and roped at the BFI and the rodeo, but he didn’t enter another rodeo until Sheridan and Casper in Wyoming in mid-July. That was when he and Derrick Begay joined forces with a simple goal in mind – win enough to qualify for the 2019 winter rodeos.
When they accomplished that goal, Cory and Sherry were headed to Wisconsin to help take care of cattle. He wasn’t entered at another rodeo, until he realized he was 13th in the world standings.
So, the last two months of the season saw Cory and Derrick entering more rodeos and adding to their earnings. Cory will enter his 15th NFR in seventh place with $91,294 in season earnings.
To celebrate his success this year, Cory bought Sherry’s PRCA permit and entered them in the rodeo in Ladysmith, Wisconsin in August. They were one spot out of the money.
Last year, Sherry got to see her husband accomplish a life-long goal and get a gold buckle. This year she has helped him with a hail-Mary qualification and spun some steers for him as well. Now she will be cheering for him once again in the Thomas and Mack Center as he and Derrick try to keep that momentum going.