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I’ve got to hand it to Moses Lake. Just three years ago they were paying out $110,000, but last weekend’s payout of $166,000 was well received. What’s great is seeing Moses Lake’s committee follow a national trend I’m seeing amongst sponsors who help fund that payout: Payouts are incredible this year, even after COVID has strapped the bank accounts of thousands of rodeo supporters.

What happened around the Northwest last week? Well, former Ellensburg roper Bailey Patterson won breakaway money in both Gooding, Idaho, and Baker, Montana. Check out those payouts. Gooding had nearly $30,000 in total money for breakaway and Baker had nearly $40,000. Patterson split eighth three ways and still made $1,185 in Gooding. She split second in the first round at Baker and pocketed $1,700. It was nearly a $2,900 week for pro rodeo earnings.

Keeping on with breakaway in mind, Annie Minor picked up the win in Canby, Oregon, for a $927 trip, with Jordan Minor placing third $607.

Let’s move from breakaway but stay in Canby. Jake Pratt continues to inch closer to the top 15 in tie-down roping with his second go-round win for $2,200. He also placed third in Billings for $2,045, while picking up money in Caldwell, Idaho’s second round for another $1,125. That’s a good weekend.

Ellensburg’s team roping brothers, Brady and Riley Minor, started this week with a couple of paychecks from the weekend. They left Baker with $1,246 for eighth place in the one-header and split fourth in Canby’s second round for another $801. They’re solidly in 11th in both the header and heeler standings with $55,000 earned on the year.

Where is everyone this week? Well, the big one on the schedule is Kennewick. Kennewick has really done wonders to its added money. Three years ago, they were a shade under $300,000 in total purse. Two years ago, they hit $325,000. Five years ago, they were mid $200s. Don’t get me wrong, mid $200s is a great rodeo, but the committee there at the Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo have made Kennewick a can’t-miss rodeo. I have no dog in the fight, but we’ll be there too this weekend.

Bremerton dots the schedule as well as Coeur d’Alene. New to the circuit schedule this year (well, I guess it was last year before COVID wiped out the Columbia River Circuit’s schedule) is Waterville’s Big Bend Roundup. It won’t attract the top 15 in the world, but it will attract circuit cowboys and cowgirls looking to strengthen their circuit earnings.

You know what’s not on the schedule this week? San Juan Capistrano. The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo is one of the more difficult rodeos to get to logistically speaking. Everybody is in the Northwest for Kennewick, Bremerton and Coeur d’Alene for example. Maybe a cowboy is in Pueblo, Colo., or Tremonton, Utah, but San Juan requires flying and having someone haul horses ahead of time. Without San Juan on the schedule (a COVID California cancellation), a cowboy’s schedule is slightly easier this year. However, without San Juan on the schedule, a cowboy or cowgirl’s ability to make a $6,000 to $8,000 winning payday goes away. Double-edged sword there. Given the choice, everyone who would make San Juan would gladly “suffer” through the logistic nightmare of that trip for the chance at huge money.

There will be even more money available in Ellensburg next week. Stay tuned to discuss it then.

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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