This last week marked the final week of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s 2016 season and brings to an end the excitement of the final push. Every cowboy knows what sits at the end of the rainbow for them once the trip to Las Vegas begins and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo opens the first round of competition. To be invited to the prestigious event you must be placed within the top 15 of the WEATHERGUARD PRCA World Standings and all that came to a dramatic conclusion this past week with the regular season ending on September 30th!
As the week progressed there were many story lines that were beginning to unfold and the anticipation would haveto carry through to the very last day of the regular season. Many cowboys were within striking distance and were sitting back and watching the action very carefully waiting for the answer to their questions. Would they make it to the Thomas & Mack or would they fall just a few dollars short was the one thing that was on everyone’s minds as the last few events began to fade in the rear view mirror.
PRCA Tie-Down Roper Tyson Durfey
One of those cowboys that was sitting on the bubble in 17th place after a huge win at the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas was the pink beast himself, Tyson Durfey. Always known for sporting his pink shirts in support of his family’s fight against breast cancer he has become one that is expected to be competing for the world championship title in Las Vegas. This year was crazy year for himself and his wife Shea as they welcomed their first child together which gave him the extra strength he needed to make a run back to the WNFR.
The last week of the regular season was good to Tyson Durfey with huge wins in both Stephenville and Pasadena that left him just inside of the top 15 in the world standings. Heading into the short-go at the Pasadena (Texas) Livestock Show & Rodeo Durfey was sitting in 17th place and needed a win to secure a spot at the 2016 WNFR. Later that night he did just that which gave him the number 15 spot just squeaking into the contestant roster of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
He talked about his ninth trip to Las Vegas saying, “”There’s a lot of pressure coming into the last week, but we were lucky enough to have some blessings from the Lord and lucky enough to get in there. Now I just want to be home with my newborn baby and my wife and work on the ranch. It’s about as good of a finish as I could’ve asked for.” I think it is safe to say that he may not win the world title but will leave Las Vegas with a huge chunk of money for him and his wonderful family.
PRCA Rookie Saddle Bronc Rider Ryder Wright
Photo Credit: HJ News.com
When there are seasoned veterans there are also some outstanding rookie PRCA cowboys as well. This year’s attention would be focused on a young 18 year-old phenom that has a last name that holds a strong legacy within the sport of professional rodeo and the saddle bronc riding event. The young superstar’s name is Ryder Wright and after a sensational rookie season has qualified for his very first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Wright, who turned 18 March 12th, bought his PRCA permit later that month and has been on a terror ever since.
The cowboy from Milford, Utah knows what the WNFR life is all about without even competing in his first time under the lights at the Thomas & Mack. There is a long bloodline that runs true and he has grown up watching his very own family members take home world title after world title. This year he will come in holding down the number 13 spot in the WEATHERGUARD PRCA World Standings and will surely take home a pocket full of earnings over the ten days that lie ahead of him.
Along with his first ever WNFR bid Wright has also locked down the rookie of the year title to follow in the footsteps, once again, of his very own family members. He talked about this special award stating, “It has been a long, stressful year, especially trying to get to the NFR. When we started the year, we weren’t sure if I was going to get my card this year. After I filled my permit, we thought I had a good shot at Rookie of the Year, so I took off after that.”
Now that the 2016 season is in the books it is time for the home office of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association to sit down and double check the all of the year long record books. After they complete the agonizing yearly routine they will officially announce the participants that will make their way over to the Thomas & Mack in December for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Along with the announcement will come the much anticipated back tag number reveal that will begin the parties and congratulations across the United States.
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