Where were you last Saturday? If you caravanned with me, you were behind the chutes at the Moses Lake Roundup. The Guddat Family just might make the hour-long trip to the Roundup an annual pilgrimage as we’ve gone to that rodeo three out of the last six years. It’s an easy drive to make to see some great competition. I saw very few open seats there. It was a great crowd.

The Roundup includes extra added money to bull riding, which attracts the attention of big names. This year’s winner — Derek Kolbaba — picked up a check worth six-grand. I’d say that’s worth the trip. Every other event winner earned between $3,500 and $4,500 depending on the expertise. Local tie-down ropers Jake Pratt and Jordan Tye picked up go-round money there.

Beyond going to Moses Lake to enjoy the rodeo, I also use it to talk to cowboys and barrel racers as we get closer to the Ellensburg Rodeo. I have an idea on how interviews will go as I’m usually prepared with a handful of questions. However, I quickly turn into a fan and after a few questions are asked, the conversation leads to a different path.

Take Sterling Crawley. The No. 3 saddle bronc rider in the world placed in Moses Lake and earned $1,400 to push him to $105,000 in season earnings, about $2,000 more than his brother, Jacobs, sitting in fourth place. He discussed his 2019 focus on his health and the business of rodeo: Is he making the right traveling decisions and is he physically ready to ride? He tipped his hat to his older brother — Jacobs is 31, Sterling is 28 — watching how Jacobs adapts to age and the constantly changing landscape of rodeo.

That’s when the interview turned into conversation. Sterling mentioned how he enjoys late August and early September. They’re still rodeoing hard, but they might find a day or two of down time. So, what does he do? Fish and golf. Well, the Kittitas Valley happens to have options in both of those areas. I’m thinking about challenging Sterling and his traveling buddies to a round of nine while they’re here. If Daily Record sports editor Luke Olson joins me, I’m good. Luke is a far better golfer than I am. There, I said it. Shoot, most people are better golfers than me.

But Sterling was clear that he can’t wait to get home to Stephenville, Texas. The Northwest Run is a great time to make money in great weather, but once Pendleton finishes in mid-September the miles going south can’t go by quick enough.

We’ve got basically five weeks before the end of the regular season. There are huge paydays that loom: Kennewick and San Juan this weekend, Ellensburg during Labor Day weekend, Puyallup and Lewiston the week after and of course Pendleton, Albuquerque and Stephenville toward the end of September. For some, that’s ample opportunity to bridge the gap from where they presently sit and the top 15 to make the NFR.

Locally, Jake Minor and Oregon header Garrett Rogers (who rejoined forces earlier this year) need to get on a heater. Jake is $6,000 out; Garrett is $16,000 away. They earned about $5,300 between Caldwell, Idaho, Canby, Ore., and Pincher Creek, AB. What about Jake Pratt? The calf roper is $8,000 behind the curve and earned about $1,400 last week. He could make that up with a win this weekend in San Juan. Don’t believe me? Ask Minor, who with former partner Jeff Flenniken, picked up more than $9,200 for the win there last year.

I had a great time in Moses Lake and if you join me and the family in Kennewick this weekend, I’ll let y’all buy me a cold one.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.

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