With less than $10,000 separating 20th to 12th, the NFR race is proving to be a tight one. Back on the bubble is 20x NFR Qualifier and 8x World Champion Rich Skelton and his partner Nick Sartain. Skelton suffered severe injuries due to a tractor accident this spring and has made a remarkable recovery. It’s a hard spot being on the bubble with only 7 weeks left in the regular season, but the rodeos left will make all the difference. Some of the cowboys were lucky enough to get a few days off with several relatively smaller rodeos located close together across the states such as Lovington, NM and Dalhart, TX to just name a couple. They will now head toward the Pacific for the “Northwest Run” that consists of Walla Walla, Ellensburg, and the infamous Pendleton.
One could easily argue the hardest part about the National Finals Rodeo is simply getting there. These cowboys have traveled thousands of miles by planes, trains, and automobiles, rode several horses, and wore out several tires, pick-ups, and trailers. If they can get the stars to align and secure their spot in the Top 15, anyone has a shot at the world title with each of the 10 rounds paying well over $20,000. The Road to the NFR ’15 is continuing to be one to watch.
The rodeo trail is starting to wind down with eight short weeks left in the rodeo season. It’s a pivotal point in the season when some are faced making the difficult decision to head home and regroup for 2016 or stay on the road and head to the Northwest for hopes of a NFR qualification. The majority of the rodeos this past weekend were saturated in Kansas, with Dodge City and Phillipsburg being a couple of the big name events. David Key and Martin Lucero fared well winning 1st at Dodge City and 2nd at Phillipsburg winning nearly $6,000 in the weekend. Luke Brown and Kollin VonAhn are roping with their momentum from Cheyenne and Salt Lake and won third at Dodge City and are climbing their way into a secure spot in the Top 15.
Aside from Kansas, the “Beef Captial of the World” was the topic of conversation this weekend as Hereford, TX hosted the 21st annual Spicer Gripp Memorial Youth Foundation Roping. Being one of the biggest jackpots of the year, cowboys came to rope for big money and take a small hiatus from the rodeo trail. Jake Barnes and Junior Nogueira roped in their habitual consistent fashion and took the win. They currently are sitting fourth in the world standings looking to punch their second ticket to the NFR as a team.