After clinching the tie-down roping title at the RAM National Circuit Finals in Kissimmee, Fla., Tuf Cooper is ranked No. 1 in the world all-around title race.
Cooper, the defending world all-around champion, earned $18,005 at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association National Circuit Finals.
During the four-man final round on April 8, Cooper, a Childress native who has residences in Decatur and Weatherford, paced the field with a time of 7.0 seconds. Tyson Durfey, the PRCA’s 2016 champion tie-down roper from Weatherford, finished second with a 9.3. He earned $16,016.
After clinching the title, Cooper was ranked No. 1 in last week’s PRCA 2018 world all-around standings with $83,672. Ryle Smith was ranked No. 2 with $50,275.
Cooper also was ranked No. 1 last week in the PRCA’s 2018 tie-down roping standings with $52,969. Durfey was ranked No. 2 with $48,903.
The April 5-8 National Circuit Finals featured both world class and weekend competitors who qualified by clinching a regional title. Cooper and Durfey represented the Texas Circuit, which is among 12 geographic regions that determine champions each year.
In saddle bronc riding at the NCFR, five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Isaac Diaz of Desdemona, clinched the title after turning in an 86 on a bronc named Low Bucks, which is owned by the Rafter G Rodeo Co (owned by Neal and Jim Gay of Terrell, Texas, who also are the senior producers of the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo). Diaz pocketed $14,594.
Former NFR qualifier Parker Breding clinched the bull riding title at the NCFR and earned $29,567, the most of all competitors. Other champions were bareback rider Mason Clements (86 points), team ropers Logan Olson and Matt Kasner (5.4 seconds), steer wrestler Chason Floyd (4.2 seconds) and barrel racer Taci Bettis (15.34 seconds).
Numerous accomplished Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association competitors were in Huntsville on the first weekend of April to compete in the Walker County Fair & Rodeo.
Tilden Hooper, a former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, clinched the bareback riding title with a score of 86 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos' Cactus Black. Bradley Harter, another competitor who has ridden in the Las Vegas-based NFR, finished No. 1 in saddle bronc riding with an 86.5 on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos' Cow Camp.
Stace Smith is an Athens businessman who has won the PRCA’s Stock Contractor of the Year award 11 times. Smith also had supplied the stock in recent years for the Tri-State Fair Rodeo in Amarillo.
The team roping title race at the Huntsville rodeo concluded with a tie between Tyler Wade/Ryan Motes and Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz. Each team turned in a time of 4.4 seconds.
Koontz is a former Sudan resident who currently is from Stephenville. He has earned 21 trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (1992-2007, 2010-12, 2015 and 2017).
After clinching the title in Huntsville, Koontz was ranked 11th in last week’s PRCA 2018 team roping heeling world title race with $21,728 in regular season earnings.
Other winners were steer wrestler Harley Cole (3.6 seconds on one run), tie-down roper Chase Williams (7.3 seconds), barrel racer Cheyenne Kelly (17.05 seconds), bull rider Reid Barker (87 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeos' Kill Switch) and steer roper Chet Herren (36.5 seconds on three runs).
The 2018 Huntsville rodeo was April 6-7.
College rodeo update
On the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association circuit, South Plains College’s women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the NIRA’s Southwest Region 2017-2018 women’s team title race after finishing eighth at the April 12-14 Howard County Junior College Rodeo in Big Spring.
The Lady Texans will enter into the final week of the regular season leading the NIRA’s Southwest Region women’s 2107-2018 team title race with 1,636 points. Tarleton State, which finished seventh at the Howard Rodeo, is second in the region with 1,534 points. Texas Tech is ranked third with 1,528 points.
The Howard County Junior College Rodeo was the ninth of 10 regional rodeos of the 2017-2018 regular season. The season closing show is the Tarleton State Rodeo, which is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, April 19-21, in Stephenville.
Paducah rodeo scheduled
The annual spring rodeo in Paducah is this weekend. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 20-21.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.