Tana Poppino is quite busy this week getting ready for next week.
It’s time to chase the big dollars at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the Big Cabin, Okla., cowgirl is excited to be back in the race where go-round winners earn $17,512 each of the 10 nights in Las Vegas.
But the reality is she’s played the dicey game of hold-on for several months. Horse injuries have put her on the sideline through the late part of the season. She needed to rest her trusty mounts so they would be able to handle the rigors of ProRodeo’s grand finale.
She’s been in Texas getting her horses prepared, then will return home for a few days before heading to the Nevada desert. But she’s excited to find the pay window again.
Poppino hasn’t earned a paycheck in a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel race since the end of July. In fact, the $55,582 she’s earned this season is good enough for 12th in the world standings, which is why she’ll be competing in Vegas for the third time in her career.
Still, she trails standings leader Sherry Cervi by more than $124,000. It will take a miracle for Poppino to walk away from the Thomas & Mack Center with the Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.
But I’m sure she’ll do what she can to earn her fair share of the $735,375 purse that’s available at the NFR. That’s why she’s there.