Well, it’s come down to this. The Northwest Run is over, and you’ve got a few different tribes on the road at this point of the season. You’ve got the bubble cowboys who are going anywhere and everywhere in search of a payday. They’re scrambling and hoping to get just enough by Sept. 30 to make the top 15 and the National Finals. You’ve got another group of them who live in the south and Midwest who will hit up all those southern rodeos because it’s an easy drive. And you’ve got the people who have it made and might pick and choose where they want to go, and some might simply choose to stay home.

The big one on the map this week is Amarillo, Texas. Besides steer roping, it’s a one-header and will pay out $130,000. For event winners, that’s a couple of thousand, which can mean the world to a guy like bulldogger Cole Edge who is $1,500 out of the top 15 or bronc rider Chase Brooks who is $1,000 out.

After Amarillo is a few $1,500 to $3,000 paydays to end the regular season. You’re going to see chartered planes, trades and guys borrowing horses big time next week. Whatever it takes to get to the top 15.

Can we discuss Pendleton’s riches? The Round Up paid more than $523,000 last week and some dude named Trevor Brazile won $13,705 on his way to winning the All-Around title there. Brazile and Patrick Smith won the second round of team roping and Brazile also won a pile in the steer tripping. Brazile and Smith are on the outside looking in for team roping, about $10,000 out of the top 15. That’s a steep deficit with two weeks to go, but it can be done. We’ve seen it happen.

One of those teams Brazile and Smith are chasing is Jeff Flenniken and Jake Minor. Those guys helped their cause by earning $5,406 by placing at Pendleton and winning Othello. With $59,552 won this year Flenniken is 17th as a header, but Minor is 15th as a heeler. If the regular season ended today, Minor would be in and Flenniken would be out. Although he’s No. 15, ain’t no way Minor is comfortable.

We’ll talk about what’s up next for the teams, but we’re not done talking about last week.

Let’s discuss CWU’s Jordan Tye, shall we? Anyone who has followed Tye’s career at Central knows the guy can rope, finishing fourth in the All-Around, fifth in tie-down and 11th (with teammate Trey Recanzone) at the College National Finals Rodeo this summer. Tye teamed up with Jason Minor to place sixth in Othello’s team roping while winning the tie-down. The $1,287 earned him the All-Around title as well.

Tye has earned a few thousand in PRCA earnings in each event this summer but he’s not a factor in the season permit standings. However, the dude made money and that helps pays the bills.

You know who else is making money? Kimzey, and I’m not talking about Sage. Trey Kimzey won Albuquerque last weekend and is the No. 1 bull rider in the permit standings with $50,100. Permit holders can compete at many PRCA rodeos, but haven’t applied to be full, card-carrying members of the organization. Some do it as soon as they earn their first $1,000, but some chose to stay a permit holder.

Trey’s brother, Sage, was a permit holder, winning a then-record $47,726 before he became a full-fledged member. Sage has dominated the PRCA bull riding landscape since then, winning four gold buckles in a row and has a $101,000 lead over Parker Breding in this year’s standings.

What about bull rider Jordan Spears? The California cowboy just won Pendleton and Othello, has almost $86,000 in the bank, but is 19th in the world and is $4,400 out of the top 15? Committees increase the money year after year. It’s amazing that just a few years ago that $80,000 guaranteed a spot at the NFR for a bull rider. Now it doesn’t even guarantee the top 25.

We’ll see how the standings changed in a week.

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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