LAS VEGAS – Millions of people come to the Nevada desert every year in search of Lady Luck.
Sometimes she’s a bit fickle. Through the first six rounds the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center, Lady Luck had turned her back on Tyson Durfey, the Missouri-born tie-down roper who lives in Colbert, Wash. But things look to be changing, starting with Durfey’s 8.5-second run Wednesday night.
That was good enough to tie for third place in the seventh go-round, and the son of a tie-down roper earned a check worth $8,897. It was the first time in the 10-day championship Durfey has finished in the money by placing in the top six in a go-round. While consistency is key, each go-round winner earns $17,512.
Durfey entered the NFR No. 7 in the world standings after best regular season of his career. There have been high hopes for the four-time qualifier to ProRodeo’s grandest stage, but each contestant will tell you that talent alone can only go so far. Sometimes luck must play into it.
Whether it’s a kicking calf or roping issues, Durfey was blanked through the first six nights, including the second round, where his fastest run of the week, an 8.3, didn’t finish in the money.
Durfey is a two-time Canadian champion who was born to tie-down roping family near Savannah, Mo. He knows the breaks that come in rodeo, but he was also expecting a lot more from this fourth straight December in Las Vegas. A season ago, he earned more than $85,000 at the NFR; so far, he’s earned about 10 percent of that.
The slight tip isn’t sitting well with Durfey, who sits seventh in the average standings with a cumulative time of 83.4 seconds on seven runs, but who has dropped to 13th in the world standings. He realizes the importance of the final three nights of this year’s championship.