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Memorial Day might have different meanings for many. For some in D.C., it might signal a long weekend. For others, it symbolizes the sacrifices made for our great country. From a rodeo perspective, it is the patriotic kickoff to a summer full of rodeo.

We saw plenty of rodeo in Central Washington. For the younger crew, the high school and junior high state finals descended upon Okanogan, while Coulee City hosted the PRCA’s Last Stand Rodeo.

We’ll discuss the high school and junior high finals in a later week as those results become available, but Coulee’s paychecks are already out.

As always, there were plenty of locals in the arena — a circuit rodeo barely two hours away will lead to that — and a few of them left with a bit of green in their pocket. Jordan Minor won the most of the Kittitas County representatives, as she split the breakaway roping win four ways with a 2.5-second calf for $1,183.

Jordan’s husband, Riley — roping with his brother Brady Minor — placed third in the team roping with a 6.2-second steer, good for $1,049. They were a half second behind fellow Central Washington ropers Jason Stewart and Jason Duby’s 5.7 seconds (for $1,602). Stewart also won some coin in the steer tripping for another $317. By my count, that made him the All-Around winner.

Calf ropers Tucker Braa (10.1 seconds, $398) and Kass Kayser (10.3, $221) each earned a paycheck in tie-down roping.

All this money counts toward the circuit standings, but for full-time professional ropers like the Minor brothers, they find themselves making the decision to official or unofficial a smaller rodeo such as Coulee’s Last Stand Rodeo. Meaning, does a cowboy “count” this toward his limit of rodeos?

Coulee is an important payday — they all are — but if you’re trying to get to bigger rodeos down the road — say a Cody Stampede or a Sikeston Rodeo — you want to make sure a potential $5,000 to $10,000 payday counts versus a $500-$1,500 haul. Again, not taking anything away from Coulee, because the Minors are there every year, but timed event cowboys have limits on the number of rodeos they can count, so they must at times be picky and choosy.

What else made headlines this past week? Well, how about the Northern Most Bull Riding in America, hosted by Palmer, Alaska, which is north of Anchorage. It’s the first Xtreme Bulls tour stop ever in Alaska and Roscoe Jarboe picked up the one-head win for $5,330. When you think of Alaska, you might not think of rodeo — I don’t — but Palmer paid out $18,000 over eight places, including six-time world champion Sage Kimzey making $533 in the final hole.

Thanks to the power of social media, it looks like the Kimzey family made a vacation out of the trip to Alaska, lots of bundled up exploring for the two of them. However, both Kimzey and Jarboe were busy also in Texas as they both picked up good money in Del Rio. Jarboe earned $3,418 and Kimzey picked up $5,032. TJ Gray was bucked off in Alaska but won Del Rio for $9,542.

Will Alaska add more rodeos to entice professional cowboys to make that trip? Not sure if it’s going to be anything but bull riding as the logistics of getting timed event horses up to Alaska via ferry or a four-day drive doesn’t make sense. But taking a flight for a 5-grand payday? Bull riders call that “just a normal Wednesday.”

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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