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Rodeos cancelled. NFR changes the venue. A fraction of the usual money earned. Everything was different in 2020. Yet one thing is the same: The Guddat family makes its National Finals Rodeo picks and my three girls are embarrassingly quoted once again.

BAREBACK

Adelyn immediately had a sense of wonderment in picking her bareback winner, a four-time champ (2011-2014). “Kaycee Feild has a cute, child-like wonder.”

Really?

Delaney looked for advice.

“Who would you recommend?” I started mentioning Clayton Biglow, the defending world champion and she immediately went with him.

Brittany went with Richmond Champion. “That’s who I want.”

I think three-time world champ (2016-2018) Tim O’Connell gets his fourth Gold Buckle.

STEER WRESTLING

“I want the one who has the coolest name,” Brittany said of her bulldogger. Well, congratulations to Bridger Anderson, that’s you.

Delaney was slightly more calculated in her approach. “Tyler Waguespack, he’s really good, right?” I think a resume of six straight NFRs and two world titles supports that.

“I have no idea,” Adelyn said. “I want who Delaney said, it’s too difficult to choose anyone but T-Wags. I’m going gray by the minute.”

Tone it down, Addy. You’re 13 and this is supposed to be fun.

T-Wags gets my vote, too.

TEAM ROPING

Adelyn went unconventional, splitting her champions. “Clay Smith is No. 2 and he’s pretty,” she said of the two-time world champion header. “And I’ll split the champions and say Junior (Nogueira) as my heeler.”

Delaney chose the Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves combo. I could hear her saying Egusquiza over and over, clearly not a lot of calculations went into her pick, instead choosing the cool-sounding name.

Brittany thinks the 15th-place duo Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan will jump from 15th to 1st, saying, “I like the underdogs.”

I’ll go with Luke Brown and Joseph Harrison. Brown has finished in the top five many times, along with three NFR average wins during his 13 NFR qualifications. Harrison’s qualification makes it four straight NFRs.

SADDLE BRONC

The Guddat family mostly went with the Wright family in bronc riding.

Brittany chose Rusty Wright, who’s almost a 100-grand out of the lead. “It’s the NFR, anything can happen,” she said.

Delaney chose his brother, 2017 world champ, Ryder.

I reminded Adelyn that she called Rusty beautiful last year. “I stand by that comment. I’m sticking with Mr. Handsome.”

I’m tipping my hat toward Brody Cress. He’s won two out of the last three NFR averages.

TIE-DOWN ROPING

Apparently, a wonderful memory from 2019 swayed Delaney’s opinion for 2020. “Shad Mayfield. I remember him from last year. He has a fine backside. Dad, don’t print that.”

Adelyn kept it classy. “Tuf (Cooper). His smile makes me so happy.”

Brittany decided that defending world champion Haven Meged would get his second buckle in a row.

Me? I can’t pick against Shad. He’s got a $90,000 lead.

BARREL RACING

Adelyn leaned back on fond memories of the 2019 Ellensburg Rodeo when she met Stevi Hillman. “I’ve met her, she’s really nice and she’s the same height as Dee,” she said, comparing Hillman to her vertically challenged sister.

Brittany went with Brittany (Pozzi-Tonozzi). The two-time world champ (2007, 2009) has a slim lead over two-time defending champ Hailey Kinsel. Delaney echoed her mom’s choice.

I can’t wait for the Tonozzi-Kinsel matchup, which I think Kinsel will win championship No. 3.

BREAKAWAY

New to the NFR this year is breakaway roping, but none of the first qualifiers for the NFR’s breakaway event are new to roping.

Delaney went with world leader Cassie Bahe Latham (whose sister, Anna, also qualified for the NFR).

Adelyn nodded toward Jordan Fabrizio. “For some reason her name just jumps out to me.”

Brittany chose Jackie Crawford and I agree. Crawford is a 19-time WPRA world champion (nine All-Around, five calf roping, three team roping, two breakaway). She’ll get world title No. 20 this year.

BULL RIDING

Adelyn chose Sage Kimzey for world title No. 7. She has a picture I took of the two of them prominently displayed in her room. Actually, it was Delaney and Adelyn with Kimzey, but apparently, he is all hers.

Brittany apparently is also blinded by the starlight of Kimzey. “I’m picking my future son-in-law. Jon, make sure you don’t write that.”

Ladies, Mr. Kimzey has a Mrs. Kimzey named Alexis.

Delaney bucked the trend and chose Boudreaux Campbell, who won the PBR average last month. Strong choice.

I can’t choose against Kimzey, although I will acknowledge this is the slimmest lead he’s ever had going into the NFR.

ALL-AROUND

Just as soon as Adelyn got done drooling over Mr. Kimzey, she chose Tuf Cooper – “The love of my life,” she said – as the All-Around champion.

Delaney blissfully agreed. “Tuf…and you know why,” she said while gazing off into the distance.

Umm, again ladies, Mr. Cooper has a Mrs. Cooper named Tiffany.

Brittany went with Stetson Wright to get his second straight All-Around title.

Wright qualified for both saddle bronc and bull riding. Cooper made $24,903 at last month’s steer roping Finals and is also qualified in the calf roping. Team roper Clay Smith is also in the running. This was my most difficult choice. Does Tuf get his second All-Around buckle or are we seeing the beginning of a roughstock cowboy such as Wright dominate the All-Around like fellow roughstock cowboy Ty Murray did 25 to 30 years ago? It was a timed-event champion buckle for 20-plus years because of some dude named Trevor Brazile wining it 14 times, but I think Wright gets it.

There you have it. I can’t wait to declare myself champion.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo – from the kids to the kids at heart – with a rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com

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