- Ann Bleiker
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The "Daddy of 'em All" wraps up this weekend and it should be full of fireworks until the end on Sunday, July 30. The Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo, the PRCA's richest regular-season rodeo with a purse of nearly $800,000, marks the fifth stop on the Wrangler ProRodeo Summer Tour.
Action commenced July 22, and daily performances at 1 p.m. MT continue through the culminating Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round on July 30.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days is giving cowboys and cowgirls their fifth of 12 opportunities to earn Wrangler Tour points in hopes of qualifying for the ProRodeo Summer Tour Finale, Sept. 28-30 in Omaha, Neb. Only the top 12 contestants in each event's Wrangler Tour standings following the final Wrangler Tour stop in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 23 qualify for the Tour Finale.
Several world champion names can be found in the top 12 of each event's average races. In the bareback riding, two-time and reigning World Champion Will Lowe, who is tied with traveling partner Wes Stevenson in the average with a two-head total of 158 points, is looking to add a buckle from the "Daddy of 'em All" to his trophy case but will have some stiff competition to battle.
Lowe's toughest competition will be world standings leader Andy Martinez. The two have been battling it out all year for the top spot and Martinez is looking to continue his summer dominance with yet another win. Martinez (Pavillion, Wyo.) tied for the win at the 2005 edition of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is coming off a big win at the California Rodeo Salinas last weekend in which he shared the average title with Paul Jones. Twelve-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Larry Sandvick also finds himself in the mix at Cheyenne. Sandvick (Worden, Mont.) last won the title in Cheyenne in 2002.
Five-time world champion tie-down roper Cody Ohl is in the middle of the pack in Cheyenne and a big win could move him closer to the No. 1 slot in the world standings as well as the $2 million in career earnings mark. Ohl (Hico, Texas) last won the "Daddy" in 2001 and is just about $20,000 away from the $2 million mark. Three-time world champion all-around cowboy and tie-down roping world standings leader Trevor Brazile became just the seventh PRCA cowboy to cross the $2 million mark during the Fourth of July weekend and was the youngest to achieve this milestone.
Clint Cooper, son of eight-time world champion Roy Cooper, leads the tie-down roping field with a two-head total of 27.3 seconds following the Thursday, July 27 performance. Mike Johnson, who has qualified for the Wrangler NFR a total of 20 times in his career, is in the middle of the pack that will be returning for the final round on Sunday.
Linn Churchill (Valentine, Neb.) is nearly four seconds ahead of the rest of the steer wrestling field. Churchill has turfed his two steers in a combined time of 12.9 seconds, while his closest competitor, K.C. Jones (Decatur, Texas), has a two-head total of 16.8 seconds.
It is a team of brothers that sits atop the team roping leaderboard heading into the final weekend. Jay and Randon Adams (Logandale, Nev.) have nearly a two second lead over B.J. Campbell and Riley Minor. The Adams' two-head time is 14.6, while Campbell and Minor's average time is 16.5 seconds.
Bradley Harter's traveling partner Cody DeMoss has been getting all the headlines this year and leads the saddle bronc riding world standings. However, Harter is making headlines of his own in Cheyenne. Harter (Weatherford, Texas) leads the first round with an 87-point score and leads the average with a two-head score of 163 points. Wes Burns, who made a name for himself in the college ranks, is looking to score big in Cheyenne. Burns (Sedan, N.M.) is currently tied for second with Chad Ferley (Oelrichs, S.D.) with a total score of 157 points. Reigning world champion Jeff Willert is tied for seventh with 153.
Two-time and reigning world champion barrel racer Kelly Kaminski and her standout horse Rocky will be looking to pick up their first buckle from the 110th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo on Sunday. Kaminski (Bellville, Texas) is currently in a tie for first in the second round with a time of 17.45 seconds and is ranked third in the average with a two-run total of 35.28 seconds. Terri Kaye Kirkland (Billings, Mont.) tops the average list as of press time with a total time of 35.02 seconds. In 2005, Kirkland and her horse, Ali, won the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round and average title in Cheyenne.
The 2004 World Champion Bull Rider, Dustin Elliott, is looking to add the "Daddy of 'em All" title to his already impressive resume. Elliott (North Platte, Neb.) has posted a two-head score of 165 points and is second in the average behind B.J. Schumacher (Hillsboro, Wis.) with 167 points. Reigning world champion Matt Austin is fourth with 160 points. Austin (Wills Point, Texas) used his win last year in Cheyenne to break the all-time single-season earnings record with $320,766 en route to his first world title. Austin leads the 2006 world standings with $103,102, while Schumacher is ranked eighth with $55,331 and Elliott is 11th with $48,388.
The competition has been heating up in Cheyenne all week and the names of some of ProRodeo's best can be found at the top of the leaderboards.