Five event winners needed Ellensburg and Ellensburg definitely paid them for their work. When all was said and done, a handful of cowboys on the bubble (ranked 11th through 19th, when the top 15 get to the National Finals Rodeo) might have gotten the boost needed to get into the postseason with paydays here as the Ellensburg Rodeo came to a close on Monday afternoon.

But it was a California barrel racer who dominated Ellensburg.

First round … check. Second round … check. Short round … check. Well then, the average takes care of itself.

Escondido, California’s Destri Devenport and her horse Buddy Rose won all three rounds on their way to winning the average by a half second and the duo picked up $10,823 in the process.

Devenport came into the short round with a solid lead on two runs, 34.34 seconds, and her 17.33-second short round was the slowest of her three winning rounds, but it was the fastest on the day.

“My horse is just a beast. I have so much faith and confidence in that horse,” she said. “He’s my best friend, but he is a pain in the butt. He is arrogant and he knows how cool he is. I just let him be him.”

That method worked for the duo who didn’t start on the professional circuit until mid-spring this year. Devenport will surely jump into the high 20s of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association standings when they’re released this afternoon.

Another athlete who hasn’t rodeoed much this year — three-time defending world champion bareback rider Tim O’Connell — is making up for it in a big way since late June. Since coming back from rehabbing injuries O’Connell has won nearly $80,000 and sits in 11th in the world.

However, his 88-point ride on Calgary’s Zulu Warrior — and 172-point average on two — adds another $8,207 to his wallet.

“I was super excited about that draw. That horse has been so good for the last two years,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys really put it on her. I knew I had to be the aggressor today, especially with great guys and great horses. I knew I had to leave it all out there.”

O’Connell came into the short round third in the average behind Pascal Isabelle and Clayton Biglow. Both riders had sub-par rides and scores in the 70s, which allowed O’Connell to weather the storm of another two capable riders.

Like O’Connell, Utah saddle bronc rider CoBurn Bradshaw had to come from behind the take the Ellensburg buckle. Bradshaw had an 85.5 in the long go and came into the short round in fifth behind long go winner Isaac Diaz’s 90 points. Bradshaw danced with Flying 5’s Spring Planting for a 90 of his own, winning the short round and the average. His 175.5 on two netted him $6,151.

“I think she bucked harder today than she has with me,” Bradshaw said, bragging on the horse. “She stayed really close and got more powerful in the end. It was awesome. I love that horse. Everyone wants to draw her in the short round.”

Bradshaw — who is married into the Wright family — bested Stetson Wright, who finished second in the short round (88.5 on Flying 5’s Spring Tunes) and second in the average (173.5). Wright still booked $4,656. Both Wright and Bradshaw are well out of the top 15 in the world standings, but money helps no matter the day.

“Every check helps and this one especially,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t know if I still have a shot to make the Finals, but this’ll definitely help.”

Winning Ellensburg helps Jeff Askey. However, the bullrider needed three rides to achieve the win. Askey’s first bull on Monday fouled him and he was awarded a re-ride. When his second bull fell, that gave Askey and automatic re-ride, his third in 10 minutes. When he and Flying 5’s Whirlie Bird connected, it was an 88-point ride to win the short round and average with a 174 on two, narrowly edging seventh-ranked Trey Benton III by a point.

It could have been easy to give into head games after such bad luck, but Askey stayed focused between rides.

“It can if you let it,” he said of giving into pressure. “It’s one of them deals, bullriding is mostly mental. It’s a lot of focus. You’ve got to block it out. You’ve got to regroup, not worry about what the last one did or was supposed to do or not worry about what your re-ride is supposed to do, just go out there and let it happen.”

The 19th ranked Askey pocketed $6,961 for his work. Benton placed second in both round and the average and earned nearly the same amount as Askey, $6,802.

FAST VICTORY LAP

Another bubble cowboy, Tate Kirchenschlager, got a necessary win to get to the National Finals. Roping with 38th ranked heeler Buddy Hawkins II, the 16th-ranked Kirchenschlager got a huge payday from Ellensburg to not only get him into the top 15 — he’s 11th now — but propel him to probably the fastest victory lap in Ellensburg Rodeo history.

“That’s the most excited I’ve ever been. That was the biggest run of our whole year,” he said without hesitation.

The team won the first round for a big $3,300 payday and their 5-second run on Monday was the best on a day where there was six no-times and a leg penalty as guys were going for round money instead on their way to making up the gap in the average.

“It was important to watch what was going on today,” Hawkins II said. “I didn’t really know what it would take for us to win the rodeo or even win sixth. Our steer was a little bit better today.”

In all, Kirchenschlager and Hawkins II earned $9,417.

Another team roper, Rhen Richard earned second go money ($1,578) for his 4.5-second run with Dustin Searcy earlier in the week. But where Richard shined was in tie-down roping as the Roosevelt, Utah, cowboy placed in all three rounds to win the average and $8,342. The $9.921 catapulted him to Ellensburg’s All-Around title.

Richard was a model of consistency on the weekend. He roped 8.7-second calves in both the first and second rounds before his 9.0-second short round. His 26.4 on three runs was seven-tenths better than Lane Livingston, who jumped from 10th to second in the average.

“It was much needed,” the 14th-ranked Richard said. “It’s been kind of slow the last couple of weeks. I was needing a win right here. I drew three really good calves, you still have to go make your run. I was fortunate enough to do that.”

Richard didn’t move that much in the standings — he’ll be 13th when they come out this week — but he did put about $8,000 in distance between he and the 16th-ranked roper Westyn Hughes.

Tanner Milan was looking at the same predicament as Richard. Milan came into Ellensburg 19th in the world steer wrestling standings, and while his 8.6 seconds on two hadn’t earned him any go-round money, he was fifth in the average coming into Monday. His 3.8-second steer — Hunter Cure won the round with a 3.7 — earned the bulldogger $900 in short round money and another $4,425 in average payday for the $5,325 payday.

Along with the average buckle comes the realization that Milan is 15th in this week’s world standings.

“Oh man, it was excellent,” he said. “I’ve been kind of riding the bubble here for the last month, battling around for that 15th spot, I think I was 19th coming into here. This will dang sure help my cause.”

The Ellensburg Rodeo paid out a record $370,040 in winnings this year. Including the $101,520 paid out during Saturday’s Xtreme Bulls World Finals, some $471,560 in checks were written to cowboys and barrel racers.

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