The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is not a study of trickle down economics. The rich usually get richer and the poor just get, well, poorer. Take tie-down roping for instance: the first four rounds went to the top four ropers in the world.
The numbers reveal some interesting trends as we reach the midway point of this 10-day event. Only seven of the 120 contestants have failed to reach the pay window. That's incredible! The richest include Rod Lyman, Fred Whitfield, Cody Wright, and Kelly Kaminski. Those four have earned more than $40,000 each.
The bareback riders have been the most consistent in the roughstock events. Twelve of the 15 have ridden all five horses. On the flip side, only three saddle bronc riders have covered their first five broncs. Greg Potter is the only bull rider to make the whistle on four of five bulls.
On the other side of the arena just nine tie-down ropers have caught all five head. Twelve teams in team roping and 12 steer wrestlers are still on pace with five steers in the bag. In barrel racing just four ladies have left all the barrels standing. First and No. 15 in the aggregate are separated by more than 20 seconds.
Five rounds have done little to clear up the world championship picture in most events. The all-around, bareback riding and team roping world championships may be out of reach. Everything else is TBD.
The leaders in every event have earned more than $100,000. Glen O'Neill is the richest with $179,428 already banked. The top six in saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping all are in the 100K club.
Now get ready for Double Jeopardy. Over the last five rounds the pressure of staying in the average race doubles with every performance. Some contestants do the math — they have to know exactly where they stand. Others will just let the chips fall where they may, literally living out the old cliché "one round at a time."
Now let's get back on the field … halftime is over!