The 2017 World Champion Erich Rogers and the 2019 Resistol Rookie of the Year Paden Bray weren't taking any chances this Cowboy Christmas. With limited rodeos left on the schedule and the fate of the season up in the air, they made nearly every steer they drew count over the Fourth-of-July run.
At the start of Cowboy Christmas, Rogers and Bray were in the top 20 of the PRCA world standings with $14,346.71. After the week of back to back rodeos, they pocketed $17,143 each, moving them to 10th and eighth, respectively, in the world standings with $31,480.46 per roper in ProRodeo earnings.
"I wouldn’t say that it’s a relief because obviously it’s not over yet, but it is," Bray said. "I’ve never been inside the Top 15 before. To get over the hump and be sitting in a really good spot—I know I don’t have it made yet but I’m really excited that we had a good for considering the circumstances that rodeos are shutting down and it was never more of a crucial time to win it now. It takes a little bit off you but we’re going to try and stay relentless and stay on them—not really back off. I’m going to keep doing my job."
Rogers and Bray won the majority of their money with a big win at the Cody (Wyoming) Stampede where they made a 4.8-second run to add $8,671 each to their earnings.
"We got lucky to get a trade over there because we got popped," Bray noted. "We got traded to Wednesday, second out. The ground was pretty good that day. They worked on it, and they dried it out quite a bit and it was pretty good. The steers I thought were better on the first run than they were on the second run because they were a little hesitant at first. They never really had a neck rope on them before and then that second run they really got to running. I think the ground helped because we got up on the good ground and that first run and our steer was pretty good so that helped."
With significantly fewer rodeos to attend during this year's Cowboy Christmas run, Rogers and Bray found themselves just a few hundred-dollars shy of what they had won this time last year over the Fourth.
"We won $17,000 last year over the Fourth and this year we did the same thing and won $17,000 again, but I would say it was more crucial and harder to do that this year because there were less rodeos," Bray said. "It felt like we were amateur rodeoing because there were only six to eight rodeos and everyone went to those same six or eight rodeos. Everyone was crisscrossing through the Dakotas and going to Oakley (Utah) and Prescott (Arizona) and Cody. Everyone was up at different times, but everyone was trying to make them all."
The rest of their earnings came from splitting third with Derrick Begay and Ty Romo in the first round at the World's Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Arizona, with a 5.6-second run, worth $1,617, and tying Charly Crawford and Logan Medlin for third in the average with a time of 12.2 seconds on two head, adding $2,426 each to their earnings.
Rogers and Bray also tied Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor, Britt and Jake Smith and Pedra Egurrola and Trevor Nowlin for fourth at Mandan (North Dakota) Rodeo Days with a 4.7-second run, worth $3,154 a man, split seventh with Aaron Tsinigine and Kyle Lockett at the Sitting Bull Stampede in Mobridge, South Dakota with a 5.4-second run, worth $1,275 a man.
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Rogers rode his horses Boogie Man and Hot Shot, while Bray rode Slider and Hugh Hefner over the Fourth.
"Slider—I’ve had him ever since he was a weanling, and he’s been super awesome," Bray said. "He’s so solid and in any setup that horse lets me win. The dun horse, I like him more for the shorter score. Even then, without getting to go that much they’ve been super solid. I know that I can get on either one of them in any situation and catch on them so that’s pretty important to me. The dun is a little better in the buildings. He shuts down the run a little faster and frames up better. Slider is better for the longer scores because he can really run and he always puts me in a good spot."
As the season slowly continues Rogers and Bray are anticipating entering everywhere they can in hopes of getting Rogers back to the Finals and Bray to his first NFR.
"This is what we do and we’re excited to get to do it. Anywhere that they’re having a rodeo we’re going to try and put our name down and go," Bray said. TRJ
Big Fork, Mont. 1. Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves, 4.7 seconds, $2,605 each; 2. Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord, 5.1, $2,265; 3. Luke Brown/Patrick Smith, 5.3, $1,926; 4. (tie) Kal Fuller/Reagan Ward and Jaguar Terrill/Tyler Whitlow, 5.4, $1,416 each; 6. Pace Freed/Dustin Searcy, 5.6, $906; 7. Cody Tew/Zachary Schweigert, 5.7, $566; 8. Ian Austiguy/Sam Levine, 6.4, $227.
Prescott, Ariz. First round: 1. Aaron Tsinigine/Kyle Lockett, 5.0 seconds, $2,400 each; 2. Curry Kirchner/Chad Mathes, 5.5, $2,087; 3. (tie) Erich Rogers/Paden Bray and Derrick Begay/Ty Romo, 5.6, $1,617 each; 5. Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin, 5.7, $1,148; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Cory Petska, 5.8, $835; 7. Nick Sartain/Blaine Vick, 5.9, $522; 8. Clay Tryan/Jake Long, 6.0, $209. Second round: 1. Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 5.0 seconds, $2,400 each; 2. Levi Simpson/Shay Dixon Carroll, 5.5, $2,087; 3. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.6, $1,774; 4. (tie) Tanner Baldwin/Nano Garza and J.D. Yates/Cullen Teller, 5.7, $1,304 each; 6. (tie) Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, Edward Hawley Jr./Myles John and Pedro Egurrola/Trevor Nowlin, 5.8, $522 each. Average: 1. Clay Tryan/Jake Long, 11.9 seconds on two head, $3,600 each; 2. Edward Hawley Jr./Myles John, 12.0, $3,130; 3. (tie) Erich Rogers/Paden Bray and Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin, 12.2, $2,426 each; 5. J.D. Yates/Cullen Teller, 12.3, $1,722; 6. Tanner Baldwin/Nano Garza, 12.6, $1,252; 7. Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord, 13.0, $783; 8. Cody Snow/Junior Nogueira, 13.4, $313.
Salem, Ark. 1. Payden Emmett/Cody Andrews, 5.6 seconds, $564 each; 2. Brody Braden/Trent Vaught, 6.6, $423; 3. Dilan Rucker/Kolby Krieger, 7.6, $282; 4. Cody Reed/Jace McDaniel, 8.6, $141.
Woodstown Pilesgrove, N.J. 1. Eric Fabian/Derek Carey, 6.9 seconds, $1,048 each; 2. Colby Clement/Robbie Erck, 7.0, $786; 3. Troy Musser/Chris Soto, 8.0, $524; 4. Zane Kilgus/Ryan Whetham, 8.5, $262.
Mesquite, Texas 1. (tie) Ty Arnold/Eddie Medina and Jake Clay/Martin Lucero, 6.2 seconds, $611 each; 3. J.D. Bacon/John O'Connor, 6.7, $349; 4. Zane Murphy/Cole Rogers, 9.5, $175.
Roundup, Mont. 1. Shawn Bessette/Matt Robertson, 4.6 seconds, $1,363 each; 2. Dustin Bird/Sid Sporer, 4.8, $1,128; 3. Taylor Winn/Kycen Winn, 5.1, $893; 4. Radley Day/Taylor Williams, 5.3, $658; 5. Miles Kobold/Chase Gauger, 5.7, $423; 6. Clay Ullery/Tyce McLeod, 5.8, $235.
Killdeer, N.D. 1. Dustin Egusquiza/Travis Graves, 4.3 seconds, $4,571 each; 2. Nick Sartain/Blaine Vick, 4.5, $4,090; 3. Clay Smith/Jade Corkill, 4.7, $3,608; 4. Rhett Anderson/Austin Rogers, 4.8, $3,127; 5. (tie) Cooper White/Tucker White, Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin and Cyle Denison/Lane Mitchell, 4.9, $2,165 each; 8. Ty Blasingame/Cody Hintz, 5.0, $1,203; 9. Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes, 5.1, $722; 10. Kaleb Driggers/Cory Petska, 5.2, $241.
Mandan, N.D. 1. Tyler Wade/Billie Jack Saebens, 4.2 seconds, $5,992 each; 2. (tie) Curry Kirchner/Chad Mathes and Jaguar Terrill/Tyler Whitlow, 4.4, $5,046 each; 4. (tie) Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, Erich Rogers/Paden Bray, Britt Smith/Jake Smith and Pedro Egurrola/Trevor Nowlin, 4.7, $3,154 each; 8. Doyle Hoskins/Monty Joe Petska, 4.9, $1,577; 9. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 5.0, $946; 10. (tie) Coy Rahlmann/Ryan Von Ahn, Cooper White/Tucker White and Wyatt Imus/Joseph Harrison, 5.1, $105 each.
Mobridge, S.D. 1. Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord, 4.5 seconds, $4,036 each; 2. Rhett Anderson/Austin Rogers, 4.7, $3,611; 3. Tanner Baldwin/Nano Garza, 4.8, $3,186; 4. Cory Kidd V/Clay Futrell, 5.1, $2,762; 5. Colby Lovell/Paul Eaves, 5.2, $2,337; 6. Levi Simpson/Shay Dixon Carroll, 5.3, $1,912; 7. (tie) Aaron Tsinigine/Kyle Lockett and Erich Rogers/Paden Bray, 5.4, $1,275 each; 9. Lane Goebel/J.W. Beck, 5.7, $637; 10. Jase Staudt/Clancey Kreutzer, 5.9, $212.
Belton, Texas 1. Ty Arnold/Eddie Medina, 4.8 seconds, $1,159 each; 2. Jake Clay/Martin Lucero, 5.3, $869; 3. Cody McCluskey/Tyler Magnus, 5.9, $580; 4. Shane Philipp/John Philipp, 6.1, $290.
Oakley City, Utah 1. Charly Crawford/Logan Medlin, 4.0 seconds, $5,599 each; 2. Colby Lovell/Paul Eaves, 4.2, $5,010; 3. (tie) Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson and Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.5, $4,126 each; 5. (tie) Hagen Peterson/Jace Nielsen and Kolton Schmidt/Hunter Koch, 4.6, $2,947 each; 7. Levi Simpson/Shay Dixon Carroll, 4.8, $2,063; 8. (tie) Chad Masters/Wesley Thorp, Tanner Tomlinson/Brady Norman, Cory Smothers/Brandon Gonzales and Steven Duby/Jason Duby, 5.0, $663 each.
Belle Fourche, S.D. 1. Levi Simpson/Shay Dixon Carroll, 4.5 seconds, $6,354 each; 2. (tie) Kolton Schmidt/Hunter Koch and Lane Ivy/Dillon Wingereid, 4.9, $5,350 each; 4. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 5.0, $4,347; 5. (tie) Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord and Clay Tryan/Jake Long, 5.1, $3,344 each; 7. (tie) Tanner Tomlinson/Brady Norman and Cody Snow/Junior Nogueira, 5.2, $2,006 each; 9. Nick Sartain/Blaine Vick, 5.3, $1,003; 10. (tie) Tyler Waters/Thomas Smith and Clint Summers/Douglas Rich, 5.5, $167 each.
Cody, Wyo. 1. Erich Rogers/Paden Bray, 4.8 seconds, $8,671 each; 2. Chase Massengill/Lane Siggins, 4.9, $7,758; 3. (tie) Clay Tryan/Jake Long, Nelson Wyatt/Levi Lord and Cory Kidd V/Clay Futrell, 5.1, $5,933 each; 6. (tie) Tate Kirchenschlager/Ross Ashford and Jeff Flenniken/Tyler Worley, 5.3, $3,651 each; 8. (tie) Chase Wiley/Joel Galvan Jr, Chad Masters/Wesley Thorp and Cory Clark/Wyatt Cox, 5.4, $1,369 each.