So many storylines. So many interviews. There’s always so much stuff I see and hear that never gets told.

I talked with K.C. Jones on Sunday and he was just thrilled to be here. The 47-year old hasn’t been rodeoing hard this year – he’s not even in the top 50 in the world standings – but he was high call coming into the average before finishing seventh. I asked him how he did in Walla Walla.

“I was pretty consistent,” he said. “I broke the barrier both times.”

Good one-liner from a good cowboy.

Richmond Champion – now a three-time winner here – had a good quote as well, when we were talking about his month before Monday’s win.

“I had a dry month coming into this. One week I won more at a gas station slot machine than I did at the five rodeos I went to.”

I’ve never competed. I can’t throw a rope worth a darn, but I still like to ask guys about strategy and breaking down a run or ride. Here’s what Tim O’Connell told me about his 83-point bareback ride on Sunday.

“She dropped her shoulder about the third jump and started circling tight to the left,” he said. “The problem with that is I’m a left-handed guy. So, I have to make a move, and shift my weight to kind of stay in the middle of her. When she’s doing that she’s shifting her shoulder. I actually start lifting harder to stay square, which in turn it traps my left foot, so my left foot wasn’t getting exposed as much as my right foot and it probably cost me two or three points on the left side because I had to just come up and get back down. I couldn’t get my exposure point to what I needed. You just work with what the horse gives you.”

Got it? He broke down an eight-second ride in 30 seconds. Go ahead and time it. I did.

Sage Kimzey broke down his eight-second ride during the Xtreme Bulls short go in similar fashion.

“When we were in the box he had all his weight on my right leg, so I knew there was a pretty good chance he was going to go left. Those bulls are plenty smart, they know the game just as well as we do. With all my weight being on my right leg I knew I just had to back over there on the left. It was just me trying to play catch up with him the entire ride.”

These guys simplify things while confusing me at the same time.

We saw the best of the best this week. We listened to the best of the best this week as well. We’re blessed with the comedy of JJ Harrison and the golden voice of Justin McKee. We’ve got a rodeo board, posse and Top Hand crew that are second to none. We’ve got volunteers who might not belong to any one organization, but are here day after day, year after year. I’m glad to be a part of that team. It’s a reunion of sorts. I already miss the action and camaraderie but am so appreciative of it all. My 19th Ellensburg Rodeo is in the books. Bring on No. 20.

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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