Saving the best for last, Tyson Durfey put together his best run Sunday afternoon to win the tie-down roping championship at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.
The four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, who lives in Colbert, had a final round time of 7.2 seconds to win his event at the rodeo that brings together the top two in each event among the dozen circuits that comprise the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Durfey went 9.1 seconds to finish third in the first go-round and was 8.6 in the second to place fifth, which was good for second in the average and move him into the semifinal round. His 11.5 was third in the semis, which set him up for the big payoff.
By placing in every round, plus the average, Durfey won $14,533.
With bareback rider Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore., the reigning world champion; bull rider Allen Helmuth of Ellensburg; and steer wrestler Trevor Knowles of Mount Vernon, Ore., all winning their events, the Columbia River Circuit won the team title for the first time in 20 years. The Northwest cowboys and cowgirls combined to win $80,000, $12,000 more than runner-up Mountain States Circuit.
It is the first time in the 25 years of this event one circuit captured four individual titles. In fact, the Columbia River went 1-3 in bareback riding with Brian Bain, also from Culver, and 1-2 in steer wrestling with Casey McMillen of Redmond, Ore.
Bain was competing because circuit champion Ryan Gray remains sidelined. The Cheney cowboy was leading the world in bareback riding entering the NFR but suffered a lacerated liver in the second round.
Gray, who has been to five straight Finals, returned to action at RodeoHouston but on his second ride separated his ribs. He tried to ride in Austin last month and reinjured his ribs. He hopes to return to action in Clovis, Calif., at the end of the month.
Gonzaga University, coming off a three-game weekend sweep of New Mexico at home and 11-1-1 in its last 13 games, moved into the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Top 30 poll on Monday for the first time this season.
The Bulldogs (16-8-1), who went 2-1 against then-26th ranked UC Irvine during its current streak, are ranked 24th. Irvine dropped to 27th.
Chris Williams, a Washington sophomore from Moscow, Idaho, was named the Pac-10 men’s golfer of the month for March after producing first- and second-place finishes during the month.
Williams won the Oregon Duck Invitational with birdies on the last two holes to break a tie at the top and claim medalist honors by two strokes.
He was second at the Bandon Dunes Championship as UW won the team championship.