Well, we’re getting to that point of the season where rodeo after rodeo generates attention. Rodeo is a year-round sport, but once Memorial Day weekend rolls around, it gets crazy all around the western United States. We’ll talk about that in a moment, but let’s talk about what happened last week.

Tie-down roper Jake Pratt earned nearly $5,500 over the weekend, though just $3,500 counted toward the PRCA standings. He won Redding, California’s second round and placed in the average for $2,516. He headed a bit south to Hayward and made another $974. He also picked up two-grand in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s WCRA rodeo, though that doesn’t affect PRCA money. The World Champions Rodeo Alliance is another professional association which uses a points-based system to rank athletes rather than money. While Pratt made $2,000 last weekend in Guthrie, he didn’t have enough points on the season to qualify for the million-dollar Titletown Stampede in Green Bay, Wisc., on June 1.

Beyond Pratt, the Minor brothers placed in Redding’s first round and average for $1,923 and kept ahold of fourth place in the world standings.

Let’s talk about more championships, as the Washington State Junior High and High School Finals Rodeo descends upon Walla Walla this weekend. I’ve been chatting about our secondary school athletes over the past month and we have a few who are the ones to beat or have an eye on a state title in their respective events. Junior high’s Kassidy Bremner leads the state in breakaway roping and barrels, while high schooler Annie Minor (and partner Guy Ring) are tops in team roping. Minor also leads the high school’s breakaway event. Brennan Maletzke is second in saddle bronc and needs a good weekend to jump up to No. 1. Cynthia Johnson is fifth in girls cutting. Kaylee Winter is ninth in breakaway and by my count, a solid weekend can get her into the coveted top four to make the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Finally, let’s chat about last weekend here in Ellensburg. Thrilled to see the Bares & Broncs not only continue for its 12th year but expand. With two days of action and double the added money, Northwest-area roughstock riders were obviously more than willing to make the trip to Ellensburg. Young stock, good money and a unique futurity garners attention.

I like hanging out behind the chutes anytime and last weekend was no exception. I like watching roughstock and cowboys getting ready for their rides. With that comes plenty of conversations and most of the time it’s me talking as a fan rather than an on-the-record reporter.

I asked one kid last week what got him into saddle bronc riding.

“I just really love the sport. I didn’t have a horse to bulldog and my mom wouldn’t let me ride bulls and I got talked out of bareback, so I just progressed to saddle bronc.”

I get it man. At 42-years old, I make a lot of my own decisions, but I still listen to my mom.

Speaking of listening, you’ve got to listen to me: It’s coming up on Memorial Day weekend. While you’re taking time to honor those who have protected our freedoms, plan a trip to Coulee City this weekend. The Last Stand Rodeo is an easy drive from the Kittitas Valley and a family favorite. Get in some swimming and boating on Banks Lake. Get the “Big Sevy Burger” or “JW-er Burger” in town. Once full, go cheer on the many Kittitas Valley locals who compete in Coulee’s Ted Rice Arena.

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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