Tuf Cooper mug

All-Around cowboy Tuf Cooper jump started his quest for a second straight Ellensburg Rodeo All-Around title with the average win in steer roping during slack Wednesday morning.

Cooper — who placed second to J. Tom Fisher in the event last year — earned $3,310 for his work on two steers.

The 29-year-old Texan opened his week in Ellensburg with a 9.9-second steer and $1,324 for the go-round win. That run was the fastest steer roping run of the day.

His second steer didn’t do him any favors, but Cooper played the hand he was dealt very well. The steer waited about five seconds to leave the chute and was in no hurry to run down the arena. Cooper and his horse stayed in the box to protect the barrier and 14.6 seconds later the steer was down. Cooper didn’t win any go-round money but cemented his place at the top of the average with a 24.5-second aggregate on two. Thomas Smith’s 10.5 won the second round.

Cooper was challenged a bit throughout the morning. Four-time world champion Rocky Patterson was 10.7 on his first steer but suffered a no-time in the second round. Kim Ziegelgruber’s second round steer of 13.0 seconds earned him go-round money but given the fact that his first round was 14.5 seconds, he needed to have the perfect steer to go along with the perfect run to supplant Cooper. Ziegelgruber finished second in the average with a 27.5 aggregate. He left Ellensburg with $1,758.

Cooper’s winnings keep him within reach of the standings leaders. Trevor Brazile — the 24-time world champ who retired last year from full-time rodeo competition and maintains and abbreviated travel schedule — did not compete in Ellensburg. Brazile leads the steer roping world standings with $59,200, followed closely by Vin Fisher, Jr. (who won $639 here on Wednesday) with $56,000. Cooper’s $45,000 in earnings puts him third and just a few hundred ahead of J. Tom Fisher (who picked up $1,096 in Ellensburg).

Cooper is also entered in tie-down roping. Timed event slack continued this morning at 7 a.m. Friday’s slack opens at 9 a.m. Slack is free admission and open to the public.

Devenport wins in barrel racing

Destri Devenport blistered the clover leaf pattern with a 17.10-second run to win Ellensburg’s first round of barrel racing during Wednesday’s slack.

Devenport — ranked 33rd in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association standings with $33,500 won this year — won $2,552 for her time. Given the fact that the arena record is 16.91 seconds, Devenport’s first-round time will most likely be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, on the week at the Ellensburg Rodeo arena.

The California cowgirl held off a quality time of 17.25 seconds from Carly Taylor, who finished second in the round with $2,188. Two-time Ellensburg champion, and 2017 world champion, Nellie Miller placed fourth with a 17.53 for $1,580. Miller leads the world standings with $149,600 in 2019 earnings.

Amberleigh Moore, sitting in the 15th and last spot to make her fourth straight National Finals Rodeo, split seventh with Ivy Hurst (17.63) for $608.

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