Andy Martinez arrived in Waco, Texas, hoping to close the gap between himself and Cody DeMers in the Dodge Rodeo Series Standings.
While Martinez rode well, he didn't make up any ground. He finished in a tie with DeMers for the bareback riding aggregate title at the Heart 'O Texas Fair & Rodeo. Both cowboys finished with three-head totals of 241 points.
The way Martinez figures it that all but locked up the Dodge Series title for DeMers and the Dodge truck that goes along with it. So, Martinez has set his sights on other goals that will help him improve upon what already has been the best season of his ProRodeo career.
"I've been going to a bunch of these little Dodge Rodeos because Cody and I are running pretty close together in the race for the Dodge pickup," said Martinez, 23, of Roggen, Colo. "But I think Cody's got me beat pretty good now, so after this week I think I'll slow down a little."
That doesn't mean Martinez won't be busy as 2004 winds down. He's set to compete in his first trip to the Pace Picante ProRodeo Classic, presented by The Interstate Batteries Texas Stampede, in Dallas (Nov. 12-14). Martinez also has qualified for his first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (Dec. 3-12) in Las Vegas.
"At Dallas, I'm just going to go there and have fun and try to win money," Martinez said. "That is all I can do. The fact that I'm going to the Finals is starting to sink in, and once the Finals week rolls around, it really will sink in.
"Right now, I'm still rodeoing and trying to win money, but when that Finals week gets here, I'm sure it will hit me harder."
Martinez, who sits No. 7 in the Jack Daniel's World Bareback Riding Standings with $84,643, won the first round in Waco with an 83-point score on Cervi's Warrior and tied for fourth in the final round. He earned $3,139.
DeMers, 25 (Twin Falls, Idaho), sits No. 8 in the world standings with $74,846 and has qualified for his second trip to the Wrangler NFR. He picked up $3,061 in Waco after placing second in the first round and third in the final round with an 83.
While Martinez apparently has conceded the battle for the Dodge Series title, DeMers isn't taking anything for granted, despite holding a lead of 454 points to 353.
"When we get to the Finals and they invite me up to the hotel room where we go to order them trucks, then I'll say I got it," DeMers said. "Andy isn't a very good person to have chasing you. He can come from anywhere."
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