Country's best ride, rope into Thunderbird Arena

When the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede rodeo kicks off tonight, some of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top riders will be in attendance, trying to make their marks and vault themselves closer to a trip to the National Finals Rodeo.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the rodeo will include leaders from across the board on the Jack Daniels World Standings (JDWS) in every event.

Bull riding should be highly competitive this year, with JDWS leader Matt Austin taking on the likes of Dustin Elliott (JDWS No. 2) and Bryan Richardson (JDWS No. 3).

Zack Oakes will be the state’s top hope, as the rider from Tonasket is ranked eighth overall. Auburn’s Myron Duarte, unranked, will also compete.

In bareback riding, the No. 1 and 2 riders, Andy Martinez and Kyle Bowers, will try to hold off No. 4 Ryan Gray, No. 5 Bobby Mote and No. 6 Cody Demers. Gray is from Cheney.

Blair Burk will try to remain on top in the tie-down roping standings, as No. 2 competitor Stran Smith will also be in attendance.

Steer wrestling will also bring the top three leaders in Jason Lahr (JDWS No. 1), Shawn Greenfield (No. 2) and Ronnie Fields (No. 3).

The saddle bronc will offer a chance for shifting in the standings, with No. 2 Cody Demoss, No. 3 Bryce Miller, No. 4 Rod Hay and No. 5 Ryan Mapston all competing without the threat of leader Jeffery Willert.

Team roping will bring together the best headers and heelers in the country, with No. 1 header Clay Tryan trying to hold off No. 3 Charly Crawford, No. 4 Jake Barnes and No. 5 Tee Woolman. Wenatchee’s Matt Funk (No. 15) will be the top Washington representative.

Patrick Smith, the top heeler, will also try to hold off Nos. 3-5, Kory Koontz, Richard Durham and Cory Petska, respectively.

Three Washington natives will compete as heelers, with Benton City’s BJ Campbell leading the way (JDWS No. 9). Ellensburg’s Brady Minor (No. 26) and Bucky Campbell (No. 39), BJ’s brother, will also rope.

On the women’s side, Linda Vick will try to remain No. 1 in barrel racing against No. 3 Brittany Ponzi.

Several other ranked participants will be in attendance, as will other Northwest representatives.

On the line? Points needed for a trip to National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 2 in Las Vegas.

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