I don’t want to give too much to superstitions or jinxes — and by saying that I’m doing just that — but whatever heeler Jake Minor is doing with Garrett Rogers these past few days, it’s working. Sure, they’re not winning everything in sight, but they won Sundrie, north of the border, a week and a half ago and then won Airdrie, Alberta, last weekend for $1,800 They split the first-round win in Ponoka earlier last week for another near $1,600 up there in Alberta.

Is it life changing money? Nope, but what it is doing is getting them consistent checks during the rigors of the Cowboy Christmas run. The travel in July and August is intense, but the two-week Christmas — last week through this coming weekend — is definitely no rest for the wicked, so any positive news like a paycheck is much welcomed.

Beyond the couple of checks Jake and Garrett earned, the Minor brothers — team ropers Brady and Riley — placed second in the Prineville average for nearly $3,500. Jason Minor won the first round before placing second for $2,700 in Prineville’s tie-down roping. His team roping partner, Jordan Tye, earned $1,289 in Prineville, but the duo didn’t make a check in team roping.

Fellow tie-down roper Jake Pratt did pretty well in Ponoka, winning the first round and placing in the average for $4,258.

So, what’s next? Well, the Oregon trifecta — St. Paul, Molalla and Eugene — are priorities for many. Greeley, Colo., Cody, Wyo., Prescott, Ariz., and Livingston, Mont. are a few of the top rodeos around the West. It makes my head spin trying to keep up with these athletes’ travel schedules but reading about them really puts me in a cowboys’ boots, so to speak. Head over to Cowboy Journal. I’ve enjoyed this site as it’s the cowboys and cowgirls shedding light on their struggles, their successes and their reality. These past days, there have been plenty of entries from those taking time to discuss Cowboy Christmas: the logistics, the all-nighters and how they deal with it either with a laid-back approach or with the anxiety of a newcomer. The reads are fun. It gives another appreciation to the commitment of professional rodeo.

The commitment starts early, for many earlier than junior high, however, two Ellensburg girls just got back from South Dakota after the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. Kassidy Bremner and Audrey Wolfenbarger both participated in South Dakota last week, with Bremner tying for 10th in the rookie girl All-Around. Not bad for the incoming seventh-grader.

We’ll talk more about that down the road as I haven’t been able to talk to the girls yet.

Safe travels for the cowboys and cowgirls this week, can’t wait to see how Cowboy Christmas continues to take shape.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.

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