Cowboys and barrel racers have plenty of rodeo left these next two weeks, but this past weekend was the last “big” weekend of the regular season as Pendleton’s $541,000 in riches, along with Albuquerque’s $163,000 and Abilene’s $107,000 were all paid out within the last couple of days.

If you’re going to talk about Pendleton, then you’ve got to tip your hat to the All-Around winner. It was his seventh time winning the All-Around in Pendleton and he’s already a member of their Hall of Fame. His name? Trevor … something. Brazile I think it was (that’s a joke, people). The 24-time world champion won more than $14,100 between tie-down and steer roping. He came in high call in the tripping but had a 21.3-second steer in the short round to move him to third in the average. Brazile’s $7,932 keeps the Texas cowboy at the top of the steer roping standings with $67,242 earned this year. That’s a $9,150 cushion over Vin Fisher, Jr., and $17,000 ahead of Tuf Cooper.

To my knowledge, there are three more steer roping events on the PRCA calendar that count toward 2019 standings — Amarillo, Texas, this weekend; Stephenville, Texas, next weekend and a little something we like to call the National Finals Steer Roping in late November in Mulvane, Kan. Like the NFR, the NFSR payout is so great that really no lead is safe until round 10 in Kansas. With go-rounds paying $9,200 for the round win and the average winner earning $27,300, a $17,000 lead is a cushion that can go away by the second round.

It’s too soon to tell what’s going to happen at the NFSR, but since 2005, it’s only been Brazile, Scott Snedecor or Rocky Patterson taking home the Gold Buckle in steer roping. All three will be there again, although Patterson and Snedecor about $28,000 behind Brazile’s pace. We’ll discuss again in November.

Let’s talk about a few who made some moves in the standings, getting them inside the top 15 or close to it.

Bulldogger Bridger Chambers won almost 10-grand in Pendleton to move to 12th in the steer wrestling standings. Tanner Brunner won a few hundred bucks to stay in the 15th and final position to get to the National Finals Rodeo. Are both safe? No way, not with two weeks to go in the regular season with seven guys within $10,000 of each other between 12th and 18th place. Both made their first trips to the NFR last year but had two different experiences. Brunner earned just $13,600 and finished 15th in the world. Chambers earned $135,500 and rocketed to second in the world.

Another two cowboys — Colt Gordon and Isaac Diaz — are fighting for positioning in saddle bronc. Gordon picked up $8,200 last weekend to move to 15th in the world. Diaz won a little bit in Pendleton and won Othello for a $3,200 week. Diaz is 17th in the world, about $4,800 behind Gordon.

Barrel racer Ericka Nelson might have sealed her fate. The Florida barrel racer cashed checks worth $4,900 in Pendleton and another $3,750 by winning Albuquerque. Those winnings pushed her to 11th in the world with a few bucks less than $93,000 on the season. She’s about $9,000 ahead of 15th place. A trip to the NFR would be the first for the barrel racer. Her previous high for single-season earnings was less than $57,000 in 2018.

Bull riders Daylon Swearingen and Trey Kimzey would appreciate a little bit of momentum this week. Swearingen’s $6,500 weekend came mostly from winning the first round at Pendleton. He’s 15th in the world this week with $105,000, just $1,400 ahead of Kimzey. Both have about a $14,000 lead over 17th place Ruger Piva, so it’s really going to come down to two guys — Swearingen and Kimzey — going for one spot. Stressful, maybe?

Pendleton and Othello ended the Northwest Run and ended the Columbia River Circuit regular season. Everyone has headed home or at least south to Amarillo and St. George this week, as those are the two biggest rodeos on the schedule. Things might die down a bit, but cowboys and barrel racers are 100 percent focused on the NFR once the season ends in two weeks.

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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