By Matt Naber
Starting in 1944, the Santa Maria (Calif.) Elks Rodeo has grown into a hot spot for world champion competitors with a payout in excess of $120,000. Many cowboys who notch a win in Santa Maria often find themselves competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo six months later.
The extra “E” in Cody Jessee’s last name must stand for excellence, since the bareback rider’s Santa Maria Elks Rodeo record of 88 points has remained untouched since 2001.
Jessee was a two-time qualifier for the Wrangler NFR (2002-03) with a perfect streak at the Thomas & Mack Center. Covering all 10 broncs both years, he placed second in the average in 2002 with 835 points and won the average in 2003 with 839 points.
The Oregon cowboy’s PRCA career spanned from 1997 through 2004 and was worth nearly $500,000. He racked up wins at some of the biggest PRCA competitions, including the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo in 2003 and the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev., in 2004.
Although the Santa Maria rodeo has been ongoing since 1944, its records with the PRCA begin in 1954. ProRodeo athletes will have their chance to top Jessee’s records and the rest May 30 through June 2 while winning their share of the Santa Maria prize money.
• Total payout: $146,911 in 1993
• All-around: $7,119, Daniel Green, 1994
• Bareback riding: 88 points, Cody Jessee, 2001
• Steer wrestling: 3.7 seconds, Anson Thurman, 1965
• Team roping: 4.5 seconds, Justin Hampton/Jared Hixon, 2006; Cody Mora/Josh Wineman, 2008
• Saddle bronc riding: 87 points, Rusty Allen, 2007
• Tie-down roping: 7.2 seconds, Ryle Smith, 2017
• Barrel racing: 16.80 seconds, Terri Tackitt, 1993
• Bull riding: 93 points, Cody Lambert, 1989; Wesley Silcox, 2010
Courtesy of PRCA