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“There’s so much money that those guys are almost giving away, all you have to do is put your name down,” - Paden Bray.
“I’ll just look it up on my phone on the way to the rodeo which rodeos I’m going to and put in the dates,” said Paden Bray about nominating rodeos in the World Champion Rodeo Alliance’s (WCRA) Virtual Rodeo Qualifier app. “I’m going to this rodeo on Thursday, this rodeo on Friday and the next one on Saturday and just plan it out. Then it’s just an additional entry fee when you nominate whatever rodeos you want to nominate.”
Bray has been nominating up a storm this year, putting almost $3,000 into VRQ nominations in the final segment of the season alone – but it’s more than paying off for the up-and-coming heeler.
“The rodeo in Green Bay, I qualified with Erich and we won third at that rodeo against 11 teams and got 120 points [towards the next segment], they gave us $1,400 for showing up, and we won third at the rodeo and got $10,400,” said Bray.
And that was just the beginning.
|Paden Bray's Nominations|
|Event Name||Division||Points||Money Spent||Money Won|
|WCRA Major Title Town Stampede||Division 1||120||$ -||$10,399.97 (WCRA Major Earnings)|
|Last Chance Stampede||Division 2||0.75||$ 165.08||$0|
|Big Sky Rodeo||Division 2||0.75||$ 165.08||$0|
|Cheyenne Frontier Days||Division 1||15||$ 216.57||$558|
|That Famous Preston Night Rodeo||Division 2||45||$ 165.08||$1,440|
|Mountain Valley Stampede Rodeo||Division 2||45||$ 165.08||$1,925|
|Pile O Bones||Division 3||9||$ 113.58||$543|
|Strathmore Stampede||Division 2||0.75||$ 165.08||$0|
|Cascade Pro Rodeo||Division 3||6||$ 113.58||$259|
|Caldwell Night Rodeo||Division 1||1||$ 216.57||$0|
|Gooding Pro Rodeo||Division 2||0.75||$ 165.08||$0|
|Falcon County Fair & Pro Rodeo||Division 2||0.75||$ 165.08||$0|
|Horse Haven Kennewick Roundup||Division 1||397.5||$ 216.57||$7,539|
|Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo||Division 1||90||$ 216.57||$5,377|
|Ellensburg Rodeo||Division 1||1||$ 216.57||$0|
|Pendleton Roundup||Division 1||105||$ 216.57||$2,993|
|The Capitalist Team Roping||Division 1||7.5||$ 216.57||$0|
These nominations added up to a No. 1 position in the VRQ standings – which will have an added bonus at the end of the segment for all those that can stay in the top spot: an automatic spot in the next million-dollar major.
“I get a straight buy into the $50,000 round at Kansas City, just from nominating rodeos,” said Bray. “So for me, it’s enough to want to be at the top because I’m automatically in to go against 10 or 11 teams to go to for $50,000 and then second pays $25,000. So the odds for that are crazy good.”
On the other end of the spectrum, 2017 World Champion Steer Wrestler Tyler Pearson has only had to nominate two rodeos to get to the top of his event VRQ standings and potentially have a chance at going right through to the million-dollar major in Kansas City. Call it experience, call it a gut feeling, but that’s just how it worked out for Pearson this segment.
“I’ve rodeo’d long enough, I kind of know where I like to do good or where I have my gut feelings and I feel good about it,” said Pearson. “You just go on that website and all you have to do is scroll through there and find your rodeo because everything you go to is on there. So you find that rodeo, put it on there and if you have your credit card plugged in, you click on it and you’re ready to go.”
|Tyler Pearson Nominations|
|Event Name||Division||Points||Money Spent||PRCA Money Won|
|Horse Haven Kennewick Roundup||Division 1||150||$216.57||$4,838.00|
|Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo||Division 1||112.5||$216.57||$6,843.00|
“So I had those two rodeos in that same week and I ended up winning the short round and second in the average at Kennewick, and then flew straight to San Juan and won second/third/fourth there,” said Pearson. “That put me in the top 15 in the PRCA and No. 1 in the WCRA.”
While the number of nominations both of these competitors utilized to get to No. 1 varies, their advice for getting there is the same. Nominate at multi-round rodeos, with more money added, and the greatest chance at winning.
“Wherever you have the most opportunity – running more cattle and riding more horses – wherever you have the biggest chance at money, that’s where you need to start nominating,” – Tyler Pearson.
“If you make an amateur finals, nominate that finals. If there’s a two-header, even if it’s the Denver qualifier you get to go out there and run two steers, Odessa is a two-header too, wherever you can run more steers, there’s a chance at a lot of points,” said Pearson. “If you place in a round or two and do good in the average, that’s a lot of points.”
The current segment ends on December 1, with the No. 1 competitors in each event going straight to the Royal City Roundup in Kansas City, Missouri and the others will battle it out in the semi-finals to fill an additional 8 spots.
“A lot of people are worried about spending more money, well you’re already investing enough as it is to go there, why not put $200 more and try go win $50,000. Because even if you make it through just to the main event (A WCRA Major) you’re guaranteed $1,500,” said Pearson.
“It’s hard to not be there, I don’t know why guys even try to not be there.”