COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With one week remaining in the PRCA regular season, veteran team ropers Colby Lovell and Martin Lucero were on the outside looking in at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That’s not the case anymore.
Lovell, a header, and Lucero, a heeler, each collected $4,767 in winnings in the season’s final week to move into the 15th spots in their respective standings and qualify for the Dec. 5-14 WNFR in Las Vegas.
“We didn’t do any good at Kansas City and then we won Poway (Calif.) and that paid $1,945,” Lovell said. “Then we were up at San Bernardino (Calif.) and I knew if I won $1,800 or $2,000 we would get in. I spun a good steer there and Martin got a leg, so it came down to the last rodeo at (Stephenville, Texas) and it worked out good.”
Lovell actually had far more ground to make up than Lucero as he trailed No. 15 Travis Tryan in the standings by $3,759. Lucero trailed No. 15 Jake Long by $186 heading into the final week.
Thanks to winning in Poway and collecting a $2,822 check for splitting first in Stephenville, Lovell punched his WNFR ticket for the fourth consecutive year. Lovell also benefitted from Tryan failing to win any money the final week.
Lovell and Lucero clocked a 4.0-second run at the Cowboy Capital Pro Rodeo in Stephenville to share the title with Luke Brown and Travis Graves.
“It was exciting, and it was kind of like everybody was on the edge of their seat,” Lovell said about the drama of their Stephenville run.
Lucero was thrilled to come through for Lovell on their biggest run of the season.
“We flew from Kansas City to California and we had a good steer and made a good run and we won Poway,” said Lucero, who has now qualified for the WNFR 16 times. “Before we ran our steer at San Bernardino Saturday night, we heard that Travis and Jake didn’t have any luck at Stephenville Friday night, so I knew I was in (the WNFR) at that point.
“The goal was to try to get Colby in and he turned a really good steer (in San Bernardino) and dang if I don’t get a leg. I felt horrible because it was on me right there. We had one bullet left and it was my hometown rodeo (in Stephenville). We had to be fast just to get to third or fourth and we were the second team out. Colby did an awesome job and I was able to get around him and heel him fast and we ended up being 4-flat and split the rodeo. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
* While Lovell and Lucero were the only men to jump into the top 15, bareback rider Caleb Bennett made sure he would stay on the right side of the bubble over the weekend. Bennett, who entered the final weekend only $2,806 ahead of 16th place R.C. Landingham, ensured his spot at the WNFR by placing second at both the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo., and the Cowboy Capital Pro Rodeo in Stephenville, Texas. The pair of second-place finishes earned Bennett $3,278, and an additional $828 from San Bernardino pushed his weekend earnings to $4,106.
* The Fisher clan of Andrews, Texas, will go into the Nov. 8-9 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Guthrie, Okla., with a couple of records next to their names. Dan Fisher, the father, has broken his own record for being the oldest competitor to qualify for a National Finals event (62 years, 4 months) and with his sons, Vin and J. Tom, they become the first father-and-two-son combination to qualify for a National Finals in the same year twice. Only James, Guy and Gip Allen (also steer ropers, 1983) had managed it before the three Fishers qualified for the 2010 NFSR in Guthrie.
* With the $224 he earned in steer wrestling at the Cowtown Rodeo in Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J., on Sept. 28, Clovis Crane became the third man in 2013 to qualify for the Linderman Award. To be eligible for the award, a cowboy must earn at least $1,000 in three events, including at least one roughstock and one timed event. Crane joined Trell Etbauer and Kyle Whitaker as the only three men to accomplish that feat this season. Etbauer collected his fourth Linderman Award with earnings of over $43,000 in 2013; he also won it three consecutive times from 2008-10.
* The Bugenig family had a successful outing at the Sheriff’s PRCA Rodeo in San Bernardino, Calif., over the weekend. Billy Bugenig won the steer wrestling title with a time of 4.8 seconds, earning $1,763, while cousin Ad Bugenig took the saddle bronc riding win with an 80-point ride on Diamond G Rodeo’s Marla’s Rose, earning $1,693.