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Tuf Cooper ranked No. 1 in world all-around race

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Tuf Cooper ranked No. 1 in world all-around race

Brett Hoffman

Defending world all-around champion Tuf Cooper clinched the tie-down roping title and earned $18,005 at the April 5-8 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association/Women’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla.

During the four-man final round, Cooper paced the field with a time of 7.0 seconds. Tyson Durfey, the PRCA’s 2016 champion tie-down roper, finished second with a 9.3. He earned $16,016.

After clinching the title, Cooper is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2018 world all-around race with $83,672. Ryle Smith is ranked No. 2 with $50,275.

Cooper also is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2018 tie-down roping world title race with $52,969. Durfey is ranked No. 2 with $48,903.

Cooper is a son of eight-time world champion Roy Cooper, a Hobbs, N.M., native who lives in Decatur, Texas. He’s also a grandson of the late Tuffy Cooper of Monument, N.M., who was a longtime pro rodeo competitor.

The National Circuit Finals featured both world class and weekend competitors who qualified by clinching a regional title. Cooper and Durfey represented the Texas Circuit, which is among 12 geographic regions that determine champions each year.

In saddle bronc riding at the NCFR, five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Isaac Diaz of Desdemona, Texas, clinched the title after turning in an 86 on a bronc named Low Bucks, which is owned by the Terrell-based Rafter G Rodeo Co (Neal and Jim Gay). Diaz pocketed $14,594.

Former NFR qualifier Parker Breding clinched the bull riding title at the NCFR and earned $29,567, the most of all competitors. Other champions were bareback rider Mason Clements (86 points), team ropers Logan Olson and Matt Kasner (5.4 seconds), steer wrestler Chason Floyd (4.2 seconds) and barrel racer Taci Bettis (15.34 seconds).

Three tough rides

As the result of making the only qualified ride during the final round of the Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge last weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, former world champion bull rider Mike Lee finished No. 1 in the title race.

When the title was at stake on Saturday night at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Lee turned in a short round score of 87.5. The other three finalists—Cody Jesus, Mickey Andrews and Cole Melancon—were bucked off.

Lee, 34, reached the four-man final, which was called the Shootout, after turning in an 88.5 in the first round and an 87.5 in the second round.

“For me, I just had to enjoy the talent [to ride bulls] that God has given me,” Lee said. “I just had to relax and trust it.”

Lee, who is from Alvord, Texas, earned $21,000 at the 26th annual Hedeman event.

The Fort Worth competition was a stop on the new Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour that has been launched by the four-time world champion from Morgan Mill, Texas.

Hedeman applauded Lee for clinching the title.

“When you win this, you have to earn it by making three good rides,” Hedeman said. “All you know about Mike Lee is he loves to ride.”

Lee snared the Professional Bull Riders world title in 2004.

PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders tour, defending world champion Jess Lockwood clinched the title at last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Montana cowboy earned $41,830.

Lockwood finished No. 1 in the title race after turning in a score of 91 on a bovine named Big Dutch (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) during the final round. Lockwood earned 760 world points throughout the three-day show, which moved him from No. 13 to No. 7 in the world title race.

Lockwood is ranked seventh with 1,525 points. Ramon de Lima, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, Texas, is ranked No. 1 with 1,740. Luciano De Castro, another Brazilian who has a Decatur residence, is ranked No.2 with 1,700.

This weekend, the Ford Series, which is the PBR’s top tier tour, stops in Tacoma, Wash. The 2018 PBR World Finals is Nov. 7-11 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

College rodeo update

On the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association circuit, South Plains College’s women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the NIRA’s Southwest Region 2017-2018 women’s team title race after competing in last weekend’s Western Texas College Rodeo in Snyder, Texas. Tarleton State is ranked No.1 in the region’s men’s team standings. The Western Texas Rodeo was the eighth of 10 regional shows scheduled for the 2017-2018 regular season.

Brett Hoffman , a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. His column is featured each week in the News-Sun.

Burkett Shaw
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