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Another August week, another round of great opportunities to get six or seven rodeos checked off the schedule this week.

Pick your poison: The Columbia River Circuit is loaded with options, and more importantly will provide a worthwhile payday without an all-night drive … at least, within the confines of our circuit borders. Lynden ends Wednesday — the first performance is tonight — whereas Canby, Ore., and Moses Lake are later this week.

For us fans, Moses Lake is an easy one for Kittitas Valley residents to get to, it’s just an hour away for us. For cowboys — especially bull riders — it’s a good one-header payday. A cowboy or barrel racer will earn $2,500 to three-grand for their work, but bull riding features significantly more added money. Last year’s champ, Tyler Bingham, won more than $6,200. Because of that money, Moses is on most bull riders’ list. I hung out behind the chutes last year and besides Bingham, I chatted up five-time world champ Sage Kimzey and five-time NFR qualifier Trey Benton. Notable names and fun interviews? You betcha.

Not far beyond the circuit borders, however, are great options. In southern Idaho’s Wilderness Circuit, you’ve got Caldwell, Gooding and Burley. Caldwell is the biggest of the three and will pay out around $280,000. Yet Gooding ($90,000) and Burley ($70,000) are great one-headers within a couple of hours of Caldwell. Further north is Kalispell, Billings and Baker in Montana. Those three combine for more than $400,000.

Those aforementioned rodeos are nine deep. Not sure if that’s possible for a guy or gal to get to, but you dang sure know they’ll get to more than half of that list.

Where were guys winning last week? Well, our biggest local winners were Jake Pratt winning more than five-grand between Hermiston, Ore., and Omak. Pratt placed in Omak’s tie-down roping but split the win three ways in Oregon. Jason Minor didn’t win anything in Hermiston, but he did come away with Omak’s All-Around award. Minor and header Jordan Tye picked up a few bucks in the team roping, but Minor then placed second in tie-down for $2,237. He won more than $2,400 in Omak. Ellensburg bareback rider Kevin Lusk placed at Omak for $1,028.

I’m always watching standings and who’s on a hot streak. As we get closer to Ellensburg, you start to really pay attention to the guys that are on the bubble. Once Ellensburg arrives, cowboys and barrel racers have a month to get into and stay in that top 15 before the regular season ends. So, let’s go beyond our local borders and see who’s doing well.

One of those guys is saddle bronc rider Bradley Harter. The soon-to-be 38-year old is a 10-time NFR qualifier but hasn’t seen Vegas since his last qualification in 2015. He’s 11th in the standings this week and looks like he’s got a decent cushion ($16,000) over No. 15. He won Lovington, N.M. for $4,600, but it’s his quote that hit home for me.

“I’m old and I get a little sore, so I just rested up and waited for today,” Harter told the PRCA of his win. “(Traveling partner) Lefty is 20-years old, and when we get out of the rig after a long drive, he bounces and I’m stiff and sore. It takes lots of ibuprofen. They know not to talk to me in the morning until I’m two cups of coffee in.”

Bradley, I’m in my early 40s and am sore as heck after pulling up a bathroom floor, before suffering through strenuous yard work and wrapping things up under the hood of my car these past handful of days. Life is good, but I hear ya, buddy. Of course, I don’t get kicked around by a bronc after a 20-hour drive day after day. Nevertheless, we’ll swap bruises and battle scar stories behind the chutes in Ellensburg. You’ll win the argument, but we can laugh about it together.

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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