August 25, 2014

Rodeo Insider: Top cowboys compete in Champions Challenge

The single-performance rodeo series features the PRCA’s best competitors.

Over the past two years, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has offered fans the Wrangler Champions Challenge, a series of single-performance rodeos that feature the sport’s elite.

Last week, the tour stopped in Kennewick, Wash. Each Champions Challenge features 10 credentialed competitors in each event such as 19-time world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, who finished second in team roping ($4,160) and third in tie-down roping ($3,040).

“The Champions Challenge is a nice, tight, National Finals Rodeo type of show where fans can see the very best cowboys and the very best stock,” said Jim Bainbridge, a PRCA spokesman. “You can count on that. You can show up at 7 o’clock and you know that you are going to see 10 of the best in every event.”

The Kennewick show was Aug. 19 and it was the fifth of seven tour stops scheduled in 2014. The next show is Sept. 17 in Amarillo, and the tour will conclude Sept. 27 with a finale in Omaha, Neb.

In Kennewick, two-time world champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur pocketed $4,800 after tying for first in tie-down roping with a blistering time of 7.8 seconds.

Former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bray Armes, who is from Ponder, clinched the steer wrestling title with a 4.7 and earned $5,440.

Carlee Pierce, another former NFR qualifier who lives in Stephenville, finished No. l in barrel racing.

The Kennewick show is scheduled to be broadcast Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.

PBR update

The Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series is scheduled to stop in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday (7:50 p.m.) and Saturday (8 p.m.) for the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational.

As the world’s top bull riding tour heads into the final stretch of the regular season, Brazilian Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 world champion, is ranked No. 1 with 7,257.81 points. Fabiano Vieira is No. 2 with 6,960.87.

The PBR’s 21st World Finals is scheduled for Oct. 22-26 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Rodeo organizer dies

Cecil Jones, a high-profile rodeo organizer, died Aug. 14 in Placerville, Calif. He was 97.

According to the PRCA, Jones was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2000, and he had been the Hall’s oldest living member. He was the secretary at the first National Finals Rodeo in 1959 (in Dallas), and he coordinated the Grand National at San Francisco’s Cow Palace for 33 years.

Jones’ rodeo career began at age 17, when he chose to earn $1 per ride rather than pick potatoes. He was a bareback rider, saddle bronc rider and bull rider.

In the money

Clint Cooper of Decatur, who has qualified for the National Finals four times, earned $6,608 after winning the tie-down roping title last weekend at the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

He is ranked 12th in the PRCA’s tie-down roping race with $55,377.

High school update

The North Texas High School Rodeo Association begins its 2014-2015 regular season Sept. 5-7 at the NTHSRA’s arena in north Fort Worth. For more information, call 817-232-2855 or visit

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