Idaho, California, Utah and Wyoming are the places to be in mid-July. Big money in big places and for some, July’s paydays might be just the thing for NFR needs.

I’m not a team roper (I am of course a free agent entertaining offers for wild cow milking this year… hint, hint) but I think the Minor brothers just sealed the deal for the NFR. With basically $69,000 won at this point last week, they were certainly well ahead of the pace to make their 10th Finals together this December. Then of course, Brady and Riley won both Vernal, Utah, and Sheridan, Wyo., for eight-grand total last weekend putting them at 77-grand and change and third in both the header and heeler world standings. They’ve already won $1,009 this week in Nampa’s first round and will be back for the short round this weekend. Pack your bags guys. Vegas sounds nice.

Salinas, Calif., and Nampa, Idaho, are the big ones this week. Slack already started at The Daddy in Cheyenne of course, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Both Salinas and Nampa are $400,000 rodeos, but you can’t forget about $300,000 Spanish Fork and $200,000 Ogden in Utah. The Utah duo begins this week and ends the middle of next week, which probably helps a guy trying to make sure he’s where he needs to be this weekend. Nampa’s short round is Saturday. Salinas hosts its finale on Sunday. Then maybe a truck and trailer heads to Utah.

There will be a noticeable difference in the day sheets in Cheyenne, however. The Daddy is paying out more than ever this year — last year’s purse was $834,000, this July’s checks will total $910,000 — but the format has changed. Through social media, online stories and the basic face to face conversation, I’ve learned there are plenty of bulldoggers and calf ropers who decided not to enter Cheyenne this year. Why? It’s a tournament style format that requires more travel to get back and forth to go-rounds and pays less in the preliminary rounds while paying out heavier dollars for the finale. By my unscientific count, of the top 50 bulldoggers and calf ropers, at least 30 in each event won’t be in Cheyenne.

You didn’t ask for my opinion, but here it comes. Conventional wisdom says that Cheyenne is trying to make rodeo more fan friendly for the casual fan or to generate new fans who might not understand averages and an all-or-nothing style tournament might attract a new ticket or two.

However, you don’t get called The Daddy because you’re a no-name rodeo. I don’t know Cheyenne’s ticket sales and I’ve never been to a board meeting there, but Cheyenne is one of the biggest rodeos year after year. I understand the need to adapt with the times, but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If you have a payout that starts scratching at seven figures and this year’s concert lineup includes Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban, I think it’s safe to say you’re already a trendsetter.

We’ll see if the protest in the form of a lack of entries changes things for 2020.

Let’s finish up with a circuit update as a few locals won cash in Elgin, Ore., and Cheney last weekend. Kass Kayser split fourth in Cheney’s tie-down roping for $1,034 and local team ropers Jack Fischer/Joey Bergevin also picked up fourth-place money of $856. In Elgin, Jason Minor (fourth, $737) and Tucker Braa (sixth, $263) both earned a few bucks in tie-down, while Wade Kane left with $399 in steer roping earnings. Nothing going on in the circuit this weekend, but next weekend includes Joseph, Ore., and the Cle Elum Roundup. Cle Elum? Yep, I’ll see you there.

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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