Bubble Battle

Pre-Puyallup Playoff Standings have Major Bubble Implications
The Playoff Series Finale in Puyallup has the potential to shake up the world standings, especially for the teams on the bubble.
Clay Smith coming out of the box in Nampa, Idaho, 2023.
Clay Smith is one of many guys on the bubble fighting for a 2023 NFR appearance. | 2023 Nampa, Hailey Rae photo

There’s a herd of bubble teams fighting day in and day out to stay in OR get into that Top 15 and see the bright lights of Vegas. And with the Playoff Series Finale in Puyallup, Washington, kicking off today, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, it’s about to get interesting.

Southeast boys Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry have steadily been working their way to their first NFR appearances. They recently pocketed $4,787 a man for third in the average in Ellensburg, Washington, and Theriot is No. 11 with $91,657.45 on the year, and Curry is No. 10 with $88,681.17. Theriot is currently $11,574.01 ahead of No. 15, and Curry is $11,132.70 ahead of No. 15 on the heel side. Theriot and Curry have a fair shot at the Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls (and the NFR), considering they’re entered in Puyallup and are also currently in the top eight of the playoff standings at No. 6 and No. 5.

Need a refresher? The PRCA Playoff Series? What’s that?

Dawson and Dillon Graham have also been clawing their way to their first appearance in the Thomas & Mack, recently hitting in Ellensburg. They both have $85,944.52 won on the year, putting Dawson at No. 12 on the head side and Dillon at No. 11 on the heel side. BUT will it be enough to make the cut? Because neither is going to Puyallup. They also both sit No. 19 in the Playoff standings, which means they’ll need to fight tooth and nail in Pendleton and Abilene if they want to get in the top eight for Sioux Falls. 

Coy Rahlmann and Jonathan Torres were on another level Labor Day weekend, both raking in $11,500 between their win in Walla Walla, Washington, and placing in Ellensburg and Filer, Idaho. Labor Day weekend bumped Rahlmann and Torres to No. 20 with $69,688.54 won on the year for Rahlmann and $73,495.26 for Torres. Rahlmann is now outside the Top 15 by $10,394.9 and Torres by $4,053.21, which can easily be made up in Puyallup this weekend. Labor Day weekend also pushed them higher in the Playoff standings, Rahlmann at No. 11 and Torres No. 9. With Pendleton and Abilene left, they could potentially make their way into the top eight to secure a spot in Sioux Falls the standings route. 

NFR switchender Clint Summers has done some impressive climbing to reach No. 22 on the head side of the world standings. With $68,974.66 won on the year, Summers is $11,108.78 out of the Top 15 and is fighting to join his partner Jake Long in that NFR territory. Entered in Puyallup and sitting only 107.13 points outside the top eight of the Playoff standings, Summers still has a shot to be heading in the Thomas & Mack for Long.

Puyallup Rundown: Field for Puyallup Set with Big NFR Implications

World Champion header Clay Smith may be No. 16 in the world with $79,085.86 won on the year, BUT he’s sitting pretty in the Playoff standings, where he’s ranked No. 5. His partner, Coleby Payne, is also still alive. Though he’s No. 19 on the heel side in the world standings with $74,150.56, he’s roping in Puyallup with Smith, and he’s No. 8 in the Playoff standings. Right now, Smith and Payne have two chances to make Sioux Falls, bettering their odds at the bright lights of Vegas.

Regular season partners Jr. Dees and Ross Ashford find themselves at No. 18 and No. 17 with $76,513.34 won on the year. The two young guns may not be paired up in Puyallup, Dees heading for Caleb Hendrix and Ashford heeling for Snow, but they’re still fighting for the common goal of seeing Vegas again. They also both sit No. 12 in the Playoff standings, meaning the top eight isn’t out of the question yet either.

Lone Wolves?

Nelson Wyatt sits. No. 2 on the head side with $137,746.44 and is technically locked in for his second NFR. He’s also No. 8 in the Playoff standings and entered up in Puyallup, meaning he has even more chances to solidify that Vegas trip. His partner, however, didn’t quite make the cut. Chase Tryan was outside the top 23 when the Aug. 28 cutoff came for Puyallup. Currently No. 19 in the world with $73,955.75, the question is whether or not Wyatt and Tryan will see the bright lights together.

Cody Snow is also making the trip to Puyallup by himself. Snow sits No. 13 in the world with $84,241.78 and snuck in the cutoff for Puyallup, where he’ll be roping with Ross Ashford because his regular season partner, Jade Corkill, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut. 

Justin Davis is No. 15 on the heel side with $77,548.47. The problem: Davis didn’t make the cut for Puyallup, and he is No. 44 in the Playoff standings. Without a Puyallup or Sioux Falls appearance, Davis is going to be fighting for his life to make his second NFR appearance.

Trey Yates is in the same position as Wyatt and Snow. Yates qualified to rope in Puyallup, but Chad Masters was right on the bubble when the cutoff came. Puyallup would have been crucial for both Yates and Masters, who are both on the bubble: Masters is No. 19 and Yates is No. 22, both with $71,416.91. 

Meanwhile, Tyler Worley is currently No. 16 on the heel side with $76,568.64 won on the year, and he’s headed to Puyallup, thanks to his NFR Open win; however, he’s No. 47 in the Playoff standings. This means Worley needs to finish in the top four in Puyallup to move on to Sioux Falls and capitalize at the regular season rodeos, as well. He is also split from his regular season partner, Jeff Flenniken. Flenniken didn’t make the cut for Puyallup, and he’s No. 36 in the world. If Worley sees his third NFR trip, it’s likely it will be without Flenniken, unfortunately.

2023 Playoff Series Finale Draw

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023

1Cole Thomas Clay Green 
2Rhen Richard Jeremy Buhler 
3Coy Rahlmann Jonathan Torres 
4Andrew Ward Buddy Hawkins 
5Jr Dees Caleb Hendrix 
6Cody Snow Ross Ashford 
7Coleman Proctor Logan Medlin 
8Cash Duty Sid Sporer 
9Nelson Wyatt Trey Yates 
10Clinton Summers Jake Long 
11Tyler Wade Wesley Thorp 
12Tanner Tomlinson Patrick Smith

Friday, Sept. 8, 2023

1Tanner Tomlinson Patrick Smith 
2Tyler Wade Wesley Thorp 
3Clinton Summers Jake Long 
4Nelson Wyatt Trey Yates 
5Cash Duty Sid Sporer 
6Coleman Proctor Logan Medlin 
7Cody Snow Ross Ashford 
8Jr Dees Caleb Hendrix 
9Andrew Ward Buddy Hawkins 
10Coy Rahlmann Jonathan Torres 
11Rhen Richard Jeremy Buhler 
12Cole Thomas Clay Green

Saturday Matinee, Sept. 9, 2023

1Joshua Siggins Corey Hendrick 
2Jake Smith Douglas Rich 
3Erich Rogers Paul Eaves 
4Luke Brown Hunter Koch 
5Keven Daniel Travis Graves 
6Jake Clay Tyler Worley 
7Brenten Hall Paden Bray 
8Marcus Theriot Cole Curry 
9Dustin Egusquiza Levi Lord 
10Clay Smith Coleby Payne 
11Derrick Begay Colter Todd 
12Kaleb Driggers Junior Nogueira

Saturday Night, Sept. 9, 2023

1Kaleb Driggers Junior Nogueira
2Derrick Begay Colter Todd 
3Clay Smith Coleby Payne 
4Dustin Egusquiza Levi Lord 
5Marcus Theriot Cole Curry 
6Brenten Hall Paden Bray 
7Jake Clay Tyler Worley 
8Keven Daniel Travis Graves 
9Luke Brown Hunter Koch 
10Erich Rogers Paul Eaves 
11Jake Smith Douglas Rich 
12Joshua Siggins Corey Hendrick 

PRCA Playoff Series Standings

AS OF SEPT. 7, 2023. *NOTE: The cutoff for Puyallup was Aug. 28, meaning these standings do not reflect who got into Puyallup and who didn’t.


1Kaleb Driggers1243.33 pts
2Tanner Tomlinson1085.48 pts
3Derrick Begay993.81 pts
4Tyler Wade985.33 pts
5Clay Smith824.18 pts
6Marcus Theriot792.46 pts
7Coleman Proctor789.66 pts
8Nelson Wyatt757.13 pts
9Dustin Egusquiza723.25 pts
10Cash Duty705.19 pts
11Coy Rahlmann696 pts
12Jr. Dees689.55 pts
13Luke Brown684.73 pts
14Brenten Hall653.33 pts
15Clint Summers650 pts
16Andrew Ward605.75 pts
17Erich Rogers597.68 pts
18Cody Snow575.05 pts
19Dawson Graham572.83 pts
20Jake Clay571.38 pts
21Keven Daniel570 pts
22Cole Thomas562.85 pts
23Jake Smith559.73 pts
24J.C. Yeahquo544.62 pts


1Junior Nogueira1243.33 pts
2Patrick Smith1085.48 pts
3Wesley Thorp1068.5 pts
4Colter Todd993.81 pts
5Cole Curry792.46 pts
6Logan Medlin789.66 pts
7Jake Long767.44 pts
8Coleby Payne749.74 pts
9Jonathan Torres749 pts
10Levi Lord723.25 pts
11Sid Sporer705.19 pts
12Ross Ashford689.55 pts
13Hunter Koch684.73 pts
14Paden Bray653.33 pts
15Travis Graves635.33 pts
16Buddy Hawkins605.75 pts
17Paul Eaves597.68 pts
18Douglas Rich581.48 pts
19Dillon Graham572.83 pts
20Caleb Hendrix572.79 pts
21Clay Green568.25 pts
22Jeremy Buhler562.87 pts
23L.J. Yeahquo544.62 pts
24Trey Yates530.18 pts
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