FLASH STAFF REPORT
(June 1, 2015) — Area athletes made the most of the latest in the limited Champion Challenge series that by nature typically features the strongest fields in all of pro rodeo’s regular season.
World champions Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill added to their lead atop the current world standings, roping first place and $5,440 each in 4.6 seconds in the Spanish Fork (Utah) Champions Challenge last Friday. The electric duo that is fresh off their second straight world title together – each has three total world titles – beat Jake Barnes and Junior Nogueira by half a second.
Jake Cooper and Travis Woodard each made $2,080 with a fourth-place time of 5.9, while Lipan heeler and 2005 world champ Patrick Smith joined the legendary Trevor Brazile in a fifth-place effort of 6.3, earning $1,280 each.
Tryan leads the header standings by more than $19,000 and Corkill tops the heelers list by almost $14,000. Brazile is fourth and Cooper fifth in heading. In heeling, Woodard is third and Smith fifth.
World-leading Stephenville bareback rider Bobby Mote tied Luke Casey for second with identical scores of 84.5, earning $3,600 each. Mote was just 1.5 points behind Seth Hardwick, who won with 86 on Bar T Rodeo’s Rocking Ruby.
Mote, in pursuit of a fifth world title, has a lead of just more than $3,700 in the world standings, with Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa in second. Hardwick, from Laramie, Wyoming, is fourth.
Marty Yates continues to shine in the tie-down roping, where he was sixth in the world last year and won both the RAM National Circuit Finals and the Logandale (Nev.) Champions Challenge earlier this year. Yates, still more than a month shy of his 21st birthday, took second at Spanish Fork, earning $4,160 in 7.9 seconds. The Stephenville cowboy missed first by literally the blink of an eye, trailing only the 7.8 posted by Hunter Herrin.
The tie-down featured a star-studded field with three-time world champ Tuf Cooper finishing third, Brazile fourth and Cade Swor fifth.
Yates is fifth in the tight world standings that are led by Cory Solomon of Prairie View. Each of the top five are within $5,600 the lead. Of the top 14 ropers, 11 are from Texas, including Stephenville’s Sterling Smith in 10th and Chase Williams in 12th. Cooper is currently ninth as he pursues a fourth world title in five years.
Desdemona husband-wife duo Isaac and Britany Diaz each earned paychecks in the talented Spanish Fork field.
Britany, currently 18th in the world standings, finished the barrel race in 17.42 seconds for fifth place and $1,280. She finished fifth in the world in 2014, when she reached the NFR for the second time.
Isaac, a four-time NFR qualifier currently ranked 12th in the world, split fifth-place money in the saddle bronc riding, scoring 79.5 points to pick up $464.