The Puyallup (Wash.) Fair and Rodeo gave Spin to Win Rodeo readers and fans of Jake Barnes and Clay O'Brien Cooper something to smile about. Jake and Clay, who have by no means had a bad season, finally caught a serious gear at the second stop of the Ariat Playoffs of the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour in Puyallup. In the elimination-style format, Jake and Clay qualified into the semifinal round of eight in the last hole with an 11.7 on two.
Then, they 7-time world champions made it into the round of four-again in the last hole-with a 5.1-second run.
As the first men in out in the final round, they had to put the pressure on the rest of the field, and they did, turning in a 4.5-second time. Next out was Kevin Stewart and Brad Culpepper, who stopped the clock in 5.2. Then, Clay Tryan and Walt Woodard came close with a 4.7. Finally, it was Tommy Edens and Coby Jones, who looked to be fast, but were flagged out for crossfire.
"You can't count on what the guys after you do," Barnes said. "It might have forced the last guys to crossfire. He had to take a chance."
While the win and $6,974 paychecks were huge, it might be foreshadowing greater things.
"This is going to be good for our confidence," Cooper said. "We've been roping so-so, and you begin to wonder when it's going to come."
Interestingly, Clay Tryan and Walt Woodard won more money than any other team with $10,719 each.
In other events, there were interesting stories as well. In the bareback riding, Kelly Timberman and Jess Davis mistakenly rode the wrong horses in the final round. Timberman won the finals with a 90-point score aboard Sankey's Gus. However, Jess Davis should have been riding that horse. Davis, instead, rode Witch Doctor for 82 points. Meanwhile, Justin McDaniel scored 90 points in the final round, aboard Grated Coconut, but lost the overall title in a tiebreaker with Timberman. Timberman won $7,490 while McDaniel took home $13,689.
In the barrel racing, Sherrylynn Johnson and her borrowed horse Jet, swept the event despite less-than-perfect footing in Puyallup. She won both long rounds, the semifinal round and the final round, hauling in $18,596.
Two-event hand Josh Peek won the calf roping and qualified to the final round in the steer wrestling. Peek won $5,501 steer wrestling and $8,265 calf roping while Brazile won $10,977 in the calf roping. While making a run at Trevor Brazile's grip on the all-around is unlikely, both men should qualify to the NFR in two events and Peek could mount a charge reminiscent of Ryan Jarrett once there.
Rounding out the champs were Billy Bugenig with a 4.2 in the steer wrestling to earn $15,187, Justin Arnold in the saddle bronc riding with an 89-point ride aboard Sankey's Blazing Saddle to win $7,748 and Dave Samsel, who rode Korkow's Red Neck for 90 points and $10,460 in the bull riding.