Cowboys and cowgirls had to go up north to Red Deer, Alberta, to chase the big money and for some it was definitely worth the trip. Sunday ended six days of competition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo and many notable names — including a local guy — picked up some cash to help get them through the cold winter.

Team roper Jake Minor won some money, but I’m pretty sure he had more in mind. The heeler teamed up with partner Garrett Rogers and initially had success in the first round, roping a 4-second steer to place second for $7,830 Canadian dollars — a bit less than six grand for us south of the border.

No times in the second, fourth and fifth rounds took them out of contention for big average money, but the ropers split third in the third round for another few thousand. They were sixth in the final round — the rounds paid five deep — and sixth in an average that also paid five deep. Still $8,150 in US dollars is better than nothing, but a few breaks going in their favor certainly would’ve been welcomed.

Who had a great CFR? Well, you’ve got to tip your hat to guys like tie-down roper Shane Hanchey ($30,700 USD), saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston ($41,000 USD) or bareback rider Orin Larsen ($46,000 USD). All three of those guys won their respective season-ending titles for Pro Rodeo Canada.

We now have to think about the PBR finals, which begin Wednesday and run through Sunday in Las Vegas. I don’t talk about the PBR nearly as much as I do with the PRCA, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pay any attention to it. I’m definitely a fan and we are in the thick of the postseason in this time of the year.

As everyone knows the PBR certainly puts more money on the line than its bull riding counterpart in the PRCA as the year-end champion gets a million-dollar bonus on top of the few hundred thousand they’ve already won. Given the fact that four of the top 10 in the PBR world standings have more than $200,000 in the bank and another four have more than $470,000 tallied, there will be some bull riders sitting just fine in terms of money won by this time next week.

I see three current or former PRCA guys in the top 11 (2012 world champion Cody Teel), Derek Kolbaba and 2019 NFR qualifier Daylon Swearingen. All of those guys are within shouting distance to make it interesting if they got on a tear, but I think Teel is the only rider who has a shot at jumping to first from his current spot of sixth place.

Plenty of attention has been given to two-time champion J.B. Mauney, whose right arm is in a sling. But the PBR’s 28th-ranked bull rider will ride on Wednesday. Let’s be honest, is anyone surprised that an arm in a sling ain’t keeping Mauney off the back of a bull?

So, who do you have winning it all?

Me? I can’t seem to take my eyes off of second-ranked Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, but my money is on Joao Ricardo Vieira.

He’s got a 53 percent riding percentage (which is behind Lockwood and top ranked Jose Vitor Leme) and ranked fourth in the world.

Who knows if I’m right? Thankfully it’ll be decided in the arena dirt rather than by some red headed, armchair bull rider sitting behind the chutes.

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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