Less than four weeks remain in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s regular season.
That means it’s a scramble for all the top players in the game to position themselves for the postseason. Only the top 15 cowboys in each event advance to ProRodeo’s grand finale, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
For the cowboys “Riding for the Brand” of Tate Branch Auto Group, only a few rodeos remain for them to cash in. Success is vital if they want to play for the biggest pay in the game, especially for heeler Jim Ross Cooper of Monument, N.M.; tie-down roper Clint Cooper, who is originally from Lovington, N.M.; and Marty Jones, a steer roper from Hobbs, N.M.
Jim Ross Cooper sits 24th in the world standings with a little more than $42,000 in season earnings. He needs to move up nine spots in the standings to secure his sixth NFR qualification. He is $14,000 behind Quinn Kesler, who sits 15th; but Jim Ross Cooper knows he’ll need to earn $20,000 in the final month to make a serious run for Las Vegas.
Jones is 27th on the steer roping money list. He needs to at least double his 2015 money if he wants a shot at qualifying for his 15th Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Clint Cooper is a little further down the standings, sitting 34th with a little more than $28,700. Like Jones, he’ll need to at least double his earnings if he has any hope to return to Sin City for the sixth time.
The outlook is considerably different for heeler Jake Cooper of Monument and saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M. Both sit inside the top 15 in their respective standings: Jake Cooper has pocketed $65,692 this season and is 11th, while Muncy has $91,732 and is fourth.
Still, there is plenty of money left on the table to help them improve their places in the world standings. The reality for Jake Cooper is that he’s less than $7,000 from moving into the top five. There are several big-money rodeos in which he could catch that kind of money in one fell swoop. The higher the cowboy is in the standings, the better the chances are to make a run at that elusive world title.
Muncy knows that well. Not only is he a two-time titlist, he’s heading to the NFR for the eighth time in his career. He is more than $20,000 behind the No. 1 bronc rider, Cody DeMoss of Heflin, La., but he can make up ground over the next few weeks.
Not only that, but NFR go-round winners will earn more than $26,000 a night. Over 10 Las Vegas nights, it all will make a difference.