Jul 9, 2012 11:33 PM by Scott Breen - Q2 Sports
COLORADO SPRINGS - As a symbol of Cowboy Christmas 2012, Rhen Richard will do just fine.
The Fourth of July week was all about parity and Richard, a former all-state high school quarterback from Roosevelt, Utah, was the highest-paid timed-event cowboy because he was equally successful in his two events, team roping and tie-down roping.
That would be equal in the sense of $10,380 in the tie-down roping and $10,389 heeling for Jake Cooper for a total of $20,769 - just $663 ahead of tie-down roper Cory Solomon. Bareback rider Steven Dent was the top overall PRCA money-earner with $22,194, including wins at Greeley, Colo., and St. Paul, Ore.
"I had a horrible winter season," Richard said, "so this just kind of gets me to the point where maybe we can start talking about making a run at the (Wrangler) National Finals. I'm roping with a lot of confidence right now, and since Jake and I partnered at Reno, we've won more than $14,000.
"We know we've got to do a lot more winning over the next month to have a chance, but this was a good step. The weird thing about this week was that I didn't feel like I roped as well as I could have in the team roping. Jake did a great job of turning steers, and I felt like if I'd been better, we might have won $20,000."
This was a much different sort of Cowboy Christmas for Richard - and a lot of other cowboys - than a year ago when the narrative was driven by Trevor Brazile's record earnings of $39,993 and seven men surpassed the $20,000 mark. This time the money got spread around a little more equally.
There were 74 contestants with earnings of more than $10,000 this time, a 20 percent increase over 2011 when 59 made it to five figures. And all this parity had the effect of diminishing wholesale changes in the world standings.
There are only two newcomers to the top of leader board today, and both of them are future ProRodeo Hall of Famers who were well-positioned before the Fourth of July run and were steady through the course of it.
Three-time world champion Will Lowe earned checks at seven rodeos and his $10,424 total was enough to bump him ahead of "Wolf Pack" traveling partner Wes Stevenson for the bareback riding lead.
The other change came in the team roping header category, where Brazile, although having a quiet (for him) Cowboy Christmas, earned $13,403 roping with Patrick Smith. That moved Brazile past Kaleb Driggers into first place with season earnings of $58,205.
Brazile now leads the all-around, steer roping and team roping world standings, putting him in position for his third Triple Crown in six years - and also to break Guy Allen's all-time record of 18 world championships.
• There were three newly-minted Cowboy Millionaires to emerge from the Cowboy Christmas run. Steer wrestlers Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb. ($1,010,095) and Jason Miller of Lance Creek, Wyo. ($1,008,629) and team roping heeler Brad Culpepper of Poulan, Ga. ($1,006,925) bring the total number of PRCA cowboys who have surpassed $1 million in career earnings to 105.
COWBOY CHRISTMAS TOP 10
1. Steven Dent , Mullen, Neb. $22,194
2. Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah 20,769
3. Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas 20,106
4. Dusty LaValley, Bezanson, Alberta 18,559
5. Clay O'Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev. 18,514
Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn. 18,514
7. Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas 17,516
8. Brad Culpepper, Poulan, Ga. 17,018
Manny Egusquiza Jr., Madison, Ga. 17,018
10. Tanner Milan, Cochrane, Alberta 16,670
COWBOY CHRISTMAS LEADERS BY EVENT
BAREBACK RIDING: 1. Steven Dent, $22,194; 2. Dusty LaValley, $18,559; 3. Jessy Davis, Power, Mont., $16,410; 4. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., $16,144.
STEER WRESTLING: 1. Tanner Milan, $16,670; 2. Wade Sumpter, Fowler, Colo., $14,529; 3. Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, Calif., $14,240; 4. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., $14,013.
TEAM ROPING HEADERS: 1. Chad Masters, $18,514; 2. Manny Egusquiza Jr., $17,018; 3. Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont., $16,599; 4. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont., $13,974.
TEAM ROPING HEELERS: 1. Clay O'Brien Cooper, $18,514; 2. Brad Culpepper, $17,018; 3. Paul Eaves, Millsap, Texas, $16,559; 4. Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., $13,974.
SADDLE BRONC RIDING: 1. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, $15,263; 2. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, $14,388; 3. Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D., $13,618; 4. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., $13,604.
TIE-DOWN ROPING: 1. Cory Solomon, $20,106; 2. Clif Cooper, $17,516; 3. Bradley Bynum, Sterling City, Texas, $15,755; 4. Monty Lewis, Hereford, Texas, $15,672.
BULL RIDING: 1. Corey Maier, Timber Lake, S.D., $14,570; 2. Scott Schiffner, Strathmore, Alberta, $13,209; 3. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., $11,531; 4. Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, $11,340.
STEER ROPING: 1. Chet Herren, Pawhuska, Okla., $4,594; 2. Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas, $1,797; 3. Vin Fisher Jr., Andrews, Texas, $1,588.
BARREL RACING: 1. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, $27,789; 2. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, $25,790; 3. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, $19,628; 4. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, $15,314.
Information courtesy PRCA