LAS VEGAS – Ryan Jarrett’s engine was just getting revved up, just in time to put the brakes on the 2016 ProRodeo season.
The tie-down roper from Comanche, Okla., closed out his campaign by placing in the final two nights of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. It was a needed experience for Jarrett, who struggled through a good portion of the 10-round championship in the Nevada desert.
He shared the ninth-round victory with Texan Marty Yates, then put the wraps on his NFR with a 7.6-second run Saturday night, finishing tied for fifth. He pocketed $5,500 for that, but more importantly, moved up to eighth in the average with a nine-run cumulative time of 94.1 seconds; that was worth an additional $6,346.
“I had a pretty good calf,” said Jarrett, who was raised in Summerville, Ga., and competed in Las Vegas for the eighth time in his career. “I would be excited if there was another 10 rounds.”
Instead, he earned $70,284 in Sin City, nearly doubling his season earnings in the process. He finished with $143,688, which put him 11th on the year-end money list.
Though his dreams of walking away from Las Vegas with a world title were dashed fairly early in the NFR, he continued to battle. In all, he placed in four go-rounds, including three of the last four. That might be the perfect bit of momentum he needs as he rolls toward next season, but he has some unfinished business he has to care for first.
“I’m going to get a little late start,” said Jarrett, the 2005 all-around world champion. “I’m probably going to have surgery on my left wrist when I get home to repair a fracture I got back in the early spring. I never did anything about it, because I was trying to hold that off so I could rodeo and make the finals.
“I’ll get that tended to, and hopefully I’ll be ready for Fort Worth (Texas) and Denver and hopefully start cashing checks.”
Though he’s dealt with the nagging injury most of the season, Jarrett sees the surgery as an opportunity to heal. The timeline puts him back into competition in about a month. He doesn’t want to take too much time off, because the race for the next world championship has already begun.
“It’s going to be a lot different for us next year,” he said, pointing out that tie-down ropers will be able to compete at 100 rodeos starting in 2017 after years of being limited to 75. “I’m going to go to a lot of small rodeos and quite a few circuit rodeos that I probably wouldn’t go to before. It’s going to change this up.
“I’m going to try to make more money when I show up and rope.”
Since dollars equal championship points, he knows every penny counts if he wants to take home more gold buckles.