It’s an exciting time in rodeo and western sports. We’re in the midst of championship finales — the PBR crowned its champion earlier this month as did the PRCA with its steer roping finals, while the NFR is fast approaching next week.

However, one athlete won’t be with us in Las Vegas as tie-down roper Tyson Durfey lost his horse Nikko over the weekend. Tyson’s posts on various social media platforms over the past couple of days showed that Nikko was family first. It’s tough to watch from afar someone lose a horse that has provided so much for them. Can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a horse that’s more than just an animal.

Tyson has other horses of his own and has options with horses from other ropers, but Nikko and Tyson were in sync, so it’s going to be difficult to even try and replicate that at the Thomas and Mack.

Speaking of Vegas, the Professional Bull Riders crowned a first-time champion, but really, it was only a matter of time before we saw Kaique Pacheco earn the coveted title. The Brazilian has two second places and a fifth-place finish on his resume already and now the 24-year old is the reigning world champion. Like many bull riders Pacheco was hurt, but not only was he hurt, he couldn’t even limp without pain, having torn the PCL and MCL in his left knee a week prior to the PBR World Finals, that’s in addition to every other bump and bruise he developed from a long season. Reading a story on, potential surgery probably knocks Pacheco out of competition for at least six months, so who knows what’s in store for him in 2019.

Beyond Pacheco’s million-dollar bonus for winning the overall championship (and $1.5 million on the year), Marco Eguchi won the average payday of $300,000 and Jose Victor Leme was second in the six-round standings. Last year’s world champion, Jess Lockwood, finished seventh in the average and 12th in the standings. The PRCA’s 2012 world champion, Cody Teel, finished sixth in the average and third overall in the standings.

Pacheco’s earnings over the past four years? Nearly $2.8 million.

I’m sure fans also saw the results of the Columbia River Circuit’s steer roping finals. The circuit finals moved from November to January going into the 2018 season, but the steer tripping finale stayed put for early November. Pendleton’s Tom Sorey had a solid day earlier this month, winning the first two rounds with an 11.7-second steer in round one and a 13.5 in round two, winning a $995 check for each go-round. He had difficulties with his third-round steer — a 17.7-second run for no money — but he got it caught with a qualified time and his 42.9 on three earned him the winning average check of $1,493 for a $3,483 weekend. Sorey won the year-end championship as well.

Soap Lake’s Caleb McMillan also had a great day, placing in all three rounds – including winning the third go with an event-best 11.4 – and earning second-place money in the average. McMillan’s 43.6 and go-round checks totaled $3,110.

Ellensburg’s Wade Kane placed third in the first round with a 16.1 for $498.

We’ve got another six weeks before the circuit finals dots the schedule in mid-January. The good thing is we don’t have to wait that long for rodeo. I’ve heard of a big rodeo in Las Vegas – you might’ve heard of it, the National Finals Rodeo – which starts Dec. 6th. I can’t wait for that. I also can’t wait for the much-anticipated “Guddat Family predictions” column next week. You’ll just have to wait and see who we armchair cowboys and cowgirls picked as champions.

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


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