Cowboys descend on Walla Walla for Fair rodeo

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WALLA WALLA — Timed events cowboys descend on Walla Walla with a force bright

and early Tuesday morning at 7 when the Frontier Days Rodeo commences at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds.

The best the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has to offer will be in the fairgrounds arena for riding and roping action in four events: Tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and steer roping.

The first round of all four events plus the entire second round of steer roping will be completed during Tuesday’s slack, which is free of charge and open to the public. The second round of tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling will also begin on Tuesday and will be completed during the three Frontier Days’ nightly performances that begin Friday.

The Friday-through-Sunday performances begin at 7 p.m. and will also include competition in the three rough stock events — saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding and bull riding — as well as women’s barrel racing.

Growney Brothers Rodeo Company of Red Bluff, Calif., is once again providing the stock for all of the events.

The PRCA’s leading money winners in all four of the timed events have entered Frontier Days. Likewise, all-around leader Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, will also be on hand as he attempts to add to the $159,313 already in his bank account.

Brazile, who is the richest cowboy in PRCA history — $1,852,631 in career earnings through 2012 — and a 10-time all-around champion, has proved to be an equal opportunity winner in 2013. He’s the third-ranked steer roper on the PRCA circuit with earnings of $49,021, ranks ninth in calf roping where he has pocketed $56,104 and is ninth in team roping with a bankroll of $54,189.

Coming into the week, Brazile held a comfortable $53,000 advantage over another Decatur cowboy, Tuf Cooper of the famed Cooper rodeo family, in the battle for the all-around championship.

Cooper thus far has cashed in checks for $105,834, the bulk of it coming in tie-down roping where he leads the way with $102,095.

In fact, nine of the top 10 cowboys in the current all-around standings will be on hand for this year’s Frontier Days. The only missing face will be that of No. 10 JoJo LeMond of Andrews, Texas, the 2009 Walla Walla champion in the team roping event when he teamed up with Randon Adams of Logandale, Nev.

LeMond has earned $41,439 of his 2013 all-around total of $50,948 in the steer roping.

The week’s strongest field appears to be steer wrestling where you have to scan the winnings list all the way to No. 34 Stockton Graves of Alva, Okla., before you find an absentee bulldogger.

Leading the way will be Casey Martin of Sulphur, La., the Frontier Days defending champion bulldogger. Martin entered the week with earnings of $83,676 in the steer wrestling event and leads Trevor Knowles of Mount Vernon, Ore., by about nine grand.

Knowles is the son of Jeff Knowles and the nephew of Butch Knowles, former Walla Walla Community College standouts who went to PRCA success. Cousin Blake Knowles, Butch’s son and a former Warrior himself, is ranked 19th in steer wrestling and is also entered here this week.

Cooper leads a field of calf ropers that features nine of the top 10 in the current PRCA standings. Defending Frontier Days champion EJ Roberts of Stephenville, Texas, ranks 25th and is in the field of this year’s tie-down ropers.

Rocky Patterson is the No. 1 steer roper in the world with a bank account of $62,933. Nine of the top 10 steer trippers are in town.

And in team roping, the top 13 heelers and all but one of the top 12 headers will compete this week in the fairgrounds arena. Kaleb Driggers of Albany, Ga., and Travis Graves of Jay, Okla., lead the way.

Driggers is the header of the duo and has won $90,799 so far in 2013. Graves, the heeler, exceeds his partner with $93,906.

Clay O’Brien Cooper, another of the Cooper family, and Chad Masters are the defending Frontier Days champs in the team-roping event. O’Brien, who is from Gardenville, Nev., and Masters, from Cedar Hills, Tenn., are ranked 15th and 26th, respectively in the PRCA standings.

Cooper, who has so far cashed checks for $$46,976, is the duo’s heeler while Masters, sidelined for a time with an injury, has earned $38,918 and is the header.

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