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For the Record: Tucson

by Matt Naber | Feb 19, 2019

Since 1944, cowboys have had a lot to celebrate at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz. This iconic, Southwestern rodeo has featured some of ProRodeo’s biggest names as they compete for one of the biggest payouts of the year.

In 2018, Tucson tied with three rodeos for the 22nd-highest committee purse of the season at $160,000. The others that equaled Tucson were Dodge City, Kan., Puyallup, Wash., and San Angelo, Texas. 

With such a large payout, it’s not uncommon for cowboys to leave Tucson with more than $10,000, but only the best make the rodeo record book. 

In 2006, bull rider Dustin Elliott set two records at Tucson. He set both the rodeo record with his 93-point ride on Western Rodeos’ Cow Pix and the two-head average record with 181 points. The win added up to a $7,678 payday for the North Platte, Neb., cowboy.

Elliott qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo four times (2004-06, 2010) and won the world title in 2004. All told, his PRCA bull riding career added up to $706,198 – plus bragging rights as the top-scored bull rider at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. 

Cowboys have from Feb. 16-24 to top Elliott’s records, and the rest, while claiming their share of the 2019 prize money. 

Rodeo records

Total payout: $331,218, 2017
All-around: $14,025, Cody DeMers, 2007
Bareback riding: 93 points, Devan Reilly, 2018 (178 points on two head, Jessy Davis, 2006)
Steer wrestling: 3.8 seconds, Lynn Nieveen, Brian Bauerle and Cash Myers, 2002; Travis Carnine, 2011; Curtis Cassidy, 2017 (13.6/3, Josh Peek, 2011; Casey McMillen, 2013)
Team roping: 4.9 seconds, Matt Sherwood/Randon Adams and Derrick Begay/Victor Aros, 2008; Spencer Mitchell/Broc Cresta, 2011; Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 2018 (17.1/3, Travis Tryan/Matt Zancanella, 2003)
Saddle bronc riding: 90 points, Zeke Thurston, 2015 (176/2, Billy Etbauer, 2004)
Tie-down roping: 7.7 seconds, Jim C. Smith, 1993 (26.6/3, Rusty Sewalt, 1993)
Barrel racing: 16.97 seconds, Barbara Merrill, 2004 (51.66/3, Charmayne James, 1997)
Bull riding: 93 points, Dustin Elliott, 2006 (181/2, Elliott, 2006)

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