LAS VEGAS – Tyson Durfey is feeling fresh, ready and relaxed in his fifth straight qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
It showed Thursday night in the first go-round of ProRodeo’s championship event. Durfey, of Colbert, Wash., roped and tied his calf in 7.9 seconds, which was good enough for a tie for fifth place in a lightning quick opening night of tie-down roping.
Still, it earned him $3,750. That money is key for Durfey, who was raised near Savannah, Mo., and is now a three-time champion in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.
Durfey moved his annual earnings to $73,794. He remains seventh in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association calf roping world standings, but he’s off to a strong start. Last year, he placed in just two go-rounds, but he finished sixth in all-important average race by having a strong cumulative time through the rugged 10 rounds.
In rodeo, contestants’ money not only helps the cowboys pay bills, also it serves as championship points. The cowboys who earn the most when the annual income is tabulated at the conclusion of the NFR are crowned world champions in each event.
Durfey is in position to do that again, even though he trails world standings leader Tuf Cooper by more than $65,000. Go-round winners at the NFR earn nearly $18,000 each night for 10 rounds.