It doesn’t matter the day, something big happens at each performance at the Ellensburg Rodeo.

As good as the barrel racing has been at this year’s rodeo, Teri Bangart and her horse Peak felt like it should be better.

Bangart and Peak ran the second-fastest run ever made at the Ellensburg Rodeo arena, blistering the clock in 16.97 seconds, just .06 off Sydni Blanchard’s arena record.

“It felt good,” Bangart said. “Peak has a way of making everything easy and I felt like he was snappy coming out of the turns.”

The run couldn’t get much better for a horse that has come into his own this year.

“My horse is probably the only thing I will brag on besides my kids,” she said with a laugh. “He is an amazing 12-year old gelding and just has so much heart. He’s just come on this year so well. I just love him. He’s easy to ride. He just never ceases to amaze me.”

What’s amazing is Tracy Nowlin’s incredible 34.66 on two runs is now second place to Bangart’s 34.44 coming into today’s short round. Bangart won fourth-place money ($1,444) for her 17.47-second run during Wednesday’s slack and will also pick up $2,332 for winning the second go-round. The money is good for a lady who is 22nd in the world standings, some $15,000 behind 15th place, the cutoff to make the National Finals Rodeo at the end of the year.

Two-time defending Ellensburg champion (and 2017 world champion) Nellie Miller also picked up two checks ($1,296) for placing in both rounds. The California cowgirl is fourth in the average with a 34.85 on two.

Two cowboys who are just out of the top spot in the average is the Ellensburg team roping duo of Riley and Brady Minor. The team roping brothers have been nothing if not consistent here. Their first-round steer in slack went for 5.2 seconds, then they stopped the clock with a solid 5.3-second run in front of many friends and family on Sunday. Their 10.5 on two head is third in the average, but just a tenth of a second off the pace set by Matt Sherwood/Blaine Vick and Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz. Egusquiza and Koontz are the leaders in this week’s world standings and won Kennewick for nearly $10,000 just last week. The Minors have won two small go-round checks totaling $1,054, with potential short round and average paydays still to come.

One cowboy out of the running for the average is Tuf Cooper in tie-down roping, however, that doesn’t mean the defending world All-Around champion is leaving Ellensburg empty handed. Cooper suffered a no-time in the first round, but his 7.9-second run on Sunday won the second round and put $2,937 in his pocket. Missing his first calf didn’t faze him coming into Sunday.

“That’s the best for me. Whenever you have nothing to lose that’s when I don’t back off,” he said. “I don’t second guess myself and you just get a good feel in the corner and whenever you nod your head and give it your all and try to be the best you can be. That’s what draws the best out of me. That’s my favorite scenario.”

Ryan Jarrett is still the man to beat in the event. Jarrett’s 16.4 on two is more than a half-second ahead of Cooper Martin, who is second (17.0) in the average after his 8.3 (for $1,788) on Sunday.

While it’s unofficial, Tuf Cooper’s go-round payday is probably all he needs to wrap up his second straight All-Around award here, as he’s earned $5,905 in tie-down and steer roping, which is more than any other cowboy entered in two-plus events.

Cooper has won plenty here in Ellensburg the past couple of years, as has Richmond Champion. The Texas bareback rider is trying to repeat as champion here (and earn his third overall Ellensburg title) and his 88 on Friday night remained the top score after the long go concluded Sunday afternoon. Champion picked up $3,868 and Mason Clements earned $2,965 for finishing a half-point behind Champion. Five points behind Champion is two-time defending world champion Tim O’Connell, whose 83 on Calgary’s Zombie Margie finished fourth for $1,418.

“It’ll be tough to catch Richie and Mason, but the thing about Ellensburg is it’s known for having a really tough short round where guys have to be on their A-game. So, anything can happen when you have this caliber of horses,” O’Connell said. “A guy can be in the 90’s-plus. I don’t count myself out by no means.”

Neither does Ryder Wright. The defending world saddle bronc champion hasn’t had much luck here in his short career, but that changed a bit. The 20-year old rode Korkow Rodeo’s Redemption for 80.5 points and split sixth four ways for $361. More important for Wright is the fact that he’s back today for the lucrative short round and average.

“Yeah, it’s always nice to make the short round. I’ve never had any luck here, so it’s good to get that turned around.”

Like Champion in the bareback riding, Isaac Diaz’s Friday night score withheld the challenges of the weekend. His 85 earned the defending Ellensburg champion $3,607. Ryder’s brother Rusty Wright, picked up second-place money for $2,405, splitting with Sterling Crawley.

Bull rider Jeff Askey put the finishing touches on the final pen of bulls in the long go by equaling Chase Dougherty’s 86.5 to split the go-round win. Askey’s ride on Flying 5’s Drive By netted the cowboy $3,161.

“That bull’s been around for a while. They’ve won some good checks on him at a lot of big events,” Askey said. “I rodeo him one time in California, Redding I believe, and he was good there. He sure enough tried to buck hard today and it worked out.”

In the big man’s event, KC Jones and Bear Pascoe remain 1-2 in the steer wrestling average (8.3 and 8.4 seconds) as no one on Sunday could match their two-run time.

Today’s short round begins at 11:45 where go-round and average paydays will be paid. Unofficially, Ellensburg will pay out just shy of $340,000,which will be a new record for the rodeo.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.