ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For many contestants the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo in Albuquerque was a last-ditch effort to qualify for the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Summer Tour Finale in Omaha, Neb., that starts Sept. 28. For bareback rider Royce Ford, who had already locked up a berth in the $396,000 Finale, it was simply a chance to stay on top of his game.
Ford (Briggsdale, Colo.) turned in a rodeo-best 92-point ride on Bar T Rodeo's Eight Ball to win the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round en route to the average title with a three-head total of 258 points. In the first round, Ford finished in a tie with two-time world champion Will Lowe after scoring 85 points on Cervi and Guidry's Blood Bath, but did not finish in the money in the second round. Ford left Albuquerque with $4,829.
Bareback riders Jess Davis and Scotty Drennan were on the other side of the coin and needed a successful outing to earn a spot in the Tour Finale. Davis (Payson, Utah) collected 17 points to move to eighth in the Tour standings. He placed in two out of three rounds, including a share of the second-round victory with an 88-point ride on Cervi Championship's Baby Doll, and finished second in the average with 253 points on three head. Drennan (Buffalo, Texas) didn't place in the first two rounds, so he entered the Tour Round needing to pick up some valuable points to have a shot at the Finale. The 34-year old rode Cervi Championship Rodeo's War Horse for 85 points to finish in a tie for second with Tom McFarland and picked up 10.5 points, enough to move to 12th in the Tour standings with a total of 58 points.
The New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo marked the 12th and final stop on the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Summer Tour. Contestants not only competed for money at the Tour rodeos, but for valuable Tour points that earned them a berth in the ProRodeo Tour Summer Finale upon the conclusion of the Summer Tour. The ProRodeo Tour Summer Finale will be held Sept. 28-30 in Omaha, Neb.
Steer wrestler Chad Hagan needed an impressive showing in Albuquerque to have a shot at qualifying for the Tour Finale in Omaha. Hagan (Leesville, La.) came in, competed and hoped for the best. Fortunately for him, the chips fell in his favor and he picked up 26 Tour points to finish eighth in the Tour standings after picking up points at just three Tour rodeos.
The 32-year old finished third in the first round with a time of 3.6 seconds, won the Tour Round in a time of 3.5 and won the three-head average with a total time of 11.2 seconds. This marked Hagan's second Tour and average title wins on the 2006 Summer Tour. He previously won the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colo., in July. Hagan not only punched his ticket to Omaha, but added $5,617 to his 2006 earnings. Jule Hazen (Protection, Kan.) also made a move in the standings picking up 19 points to finish ninth in the Tour standings. Hazen finished in a tie for second with Josh Peek in the Tour Round after stopping the clock in 3.6 seconds.
Team ropers Logan Olson and Cody Hintz used an 11th-hour effort in Albuquerque to earn their first trip to the Summer Tour Finale. Olson (Flandreau, S.D.) and Hintz (Spring Creek, Nev.) won the Tour Round in a time of 5.7 seconds en route to the average title of 15.6 seconds on three head. In the first round, the duo stopped the clock in 5.1 seconds to finish fourth, but returned in the second round to record a time of 4.8 seconds to finish third in the round. They rolled to the average title with a quick run in the Tour Round, edging out David Key and Kory Koontz, who had already secured a spot in Omaha. Key (Caldwell, Texas) and Koontz (Sudan, Texas) finished second in the Tour Round, stopping the clock in 6.1 seconds, and were second in the average with a three-head time of 16.8 seconds. Olson and Hintz collected checks totaling $6,115 each, while Key and Koontz, picked up $4,595 each.
The past two weeks, saddle bronc rider Rod Hay shared the average title at the Puyallup (Wash.) Rodeo and the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-up, but on Saturday night at the New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo, his name set alone atop the leaderboard after racking up 246 points on three head. Hay (Wildwood, Alberta) won the first round after posting an 85-point ride on Bar T Rodeo's Second Hand, and finished in a tie for sixth in the second round with a 79 aboard Bar T Rodeo's Bluebelle. Hay was fourth in the Tour Round with an 82 on Cervi and Guidry's Boot Scootin Boogie. Hay picked up an additional 21.5 Tour points to move to second in the Tour standings with 110 points, behind Bradley Harter, who tallied 112.2 points during the Summer Tour. Hay also collected checks totaling $4,990. Bryce Miller (Buffalo, S.D.) won the Tour Round with an 86-point ride aboard Bar T Rodeo's Deliver Me. Miller, who had already qualified for Omaha, added 20 more points to finish fourth in the standings with 104.5 points.
Despite a 20-point effort in Albuquerque, tie-down roper Ricky Canton finished two points shy of a top 12 finish in the Tour standings. Canton (Navasota, Texas) won the Tour Round with an 8.4-second run, en route to the average title with a three-head time of 26.0 seconds. He finished just head of eight-time world champion Joe Beaver, who turned in a time of 26.8 seconds on three head. Canton pocketed $3,654 for his efforts.
Tie-down ropers who used Albuquerque as a springboard into the Finale where rookie Randall Carlisle and reigning all-around champion Ryan Jarrett. Carlisle (Lipan, Texas) picked up 11.5 points to move to eighth in the standings, while Jarrett (Summerville, Ga.) added three points to move into a tie for 11th with three-time all-around champion Trevor Brazile.
Terra Bynum cruised to the average title in the barrel racing after winning the first round in a time of 15.53 seconds and the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round in 15.68 seconds. Bynum (Lubbock, Texas) finished with a three-run total of 47.15 seconds and picked up checks totaling $5,885. Unfortunately for Bynum, it was too little to late to qualify for Omaha, but fellow barrel racer Kelly Maben, who finished in a tie for second in the average, collected 26 points in Albuquerque to move to 11th in the Tour standings. Maben (Spur, Texas) remained consistent throughout the three rounds finishing, fourth in the first round with a time of 15.79 seconds, ninth in the second round in 15.85 and was fifth in the Tour Round with a time of 15.88. She finished with a three-run total of 47.52 seconds.
Bull rider Shawn Proctor took advantage of his Tour Round draw on Cervi Championship's Dirty Blanket to earn a berth in the ProRodeo Tour Finale in Omaha. Proctor (Tooele, Utah) was the only bull rider to last the required eight seconds in the Tour Round, where he posted a score of 80 points, which was good for 12 Tour points. He went on to easily win the average with a two-head score of 172 points after winning the first round with a score of 92 on Cervi & Guidry's XS Energy. When the curtain fell on the 2006 Summer Tour, Proctor was ranked fifth in the standings with 54 points after picking up 28 at the final Tour stop in Albuquerque. He also pocketed a total of $8,154.