Champions Challenge Successes Propel Cowboys To the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo


This past week things have quieted down on the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association trail after the summer run pretty much comes to a close after this next holiday weekend.  All the athletes have been tracing across the country for the last four months on their quest to make it back to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas, Nevada this December.  Although there will be some rodeos that these premiere athletes will travel to their schedules will really wind down very shortly and the list of those qualifiers will begin to shape up just a quick.  With that being said, this last week was a mad dash for some much needed money to move these contestants up into the top fifteen in the Windham Weaponry World Standings with a Champions Challenge event held in Kennewick, Washington.


PRCA Steer Wrestler Kyle Irwin

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After securing his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification last year steer wrestler Kyle Irwin has his sights on never missing out on another opportunity to make it back to the Thomas & Mack again.  Irwin, a 25 year-old cowboy from Robertsdale, Alabama, made good on his promise to himself this last week after winning his very first Champions Challenge event held in Kennewick, Washington adding another $5,440 to his season winnings.  His win in Washington moved him up four spots to 10th in the World Standings and gives him $59,382 in season earnings.  Irwin talked about his win and his aspirations of making it back to Vegas again by saying,  “I knew it would help me out a bunch. I try not to look at the standings too much, but I knew how much I’d won. I’d like to get in my safe spot at about $65,000 and I’d feel good about getting back to Las Vegas.”

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PRCA Saddle Bronc Rider Isaac Diaz

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The last name Diaz has been a staple at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for many years.  Isaac Diaz was at the Thomas & Mack last year but was not an athlete that was being showcased but another Diaz was taking the spotlight.  Brittany Diaz, Isaac’s wife, made it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year as part of the barrel racing contingent from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.  Although Isaac was happy for his wife you could tell the look of disappointment on his face that he was not competing as well.  He set his sights on changing that for the 2015 season and he has been on a terror ever since.

The Champions Challenge event, once again in Kennewick, was great to this Texas cowboy as he took home yet another win to notch up in his outstanding 2015 season.  Ever since Diaz had a big week winning about $7,000 a couple of months ago he has never looked back and has continued to bank big weeks skyrocketing him to the third spot in the World Standings.  Diaz talked about his big win and his historic season saying, “It was dang sure pretty cool. I’ve never won (the) Kennewick (rodeo) before, so that’s cool as well. A couple of months ago, I had a really big week and won $6,000 or $7,000 and I was hoping I would have a couple more of those, and it seems like every week I’ve won between $5,000 to $9,000. It has been surreal for me, and I hope it doesn’t end.”

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