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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Desperation turns into paydays

There are many reasons for desperation, and Sunday’s conclusion of the Spokane Interstate Fair and Rodeo showcased several.

One reason is the fast approaching end of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association season.

Cimmaron Gerke, who missed the first five months of competition because of an injury, is desperately trying to make the top 15 to qualify for a return trip to the National Finals Rodeo.

Rod Lyman, one of the strongest cowboys around, had to be fast to make a check in steer wrestling, so he threw form out the window and simply muscled his steer to the ground.

And Pat Boyle, the header stuck with a bad steer, threw caution to the wind and his loop farther than usual so he and Brady Minor would have a chance for a payday.

They all came through in style, bringing the three-day rodeo to a successful finish before a sparse and chilled crowd at the Fairgrounds.

“I’m on the bubble for the NFR,” said Gerke, who was third in the final bareback standings last year. “I’m entering everything trying to catch up.”

The 23-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, cowboy is making a heck of a run, getting a break when he drew Ruby Red. Gerke scored an 84 to pick up first-place money of $1,128.60 and then gave all the credit to the Corey and Horst Rodeo Co. horse.

“I’ve seen him a couple times this year and everybody said he was good,” Gerke said. “He had a hell of a day today. He surprised me. Usually he angles across the arena, today he stayed close. He almost got me down. Usually, I don’t get in that bad of shape too many times. I thought, ‘What the heck am I doing here?’ “

Gerke avoided the trouble to pull out the win, edging former world champion Bobby Mote of Redmond, Ore., who had an 81 on Fox Fire.

Gerke came within one ride of winning the world title last year. Despite a severe injury to his right elbow late in the season, he kept riding and had a healthy lead heading into the 10th and final ride at the NFR. But his ninth ride, though successful, finally wore out his riding arm and he fell off.

After the season, Gerke had surgery to have a ligament reattached in his elbow and bone chips cleaned out. Now he’s desperately trying to make up for lost time.

Lyman isn’t trying to make up for lost time, just trying to make a check.

The Victor, Mont., steer wrestler, who one time came within throwing his last steer at the NFR of winning the world title, is just looking to make the Montana Circuit Finals. He entered Spokane since it was co-approved for Montana as well as the Columbia River Circuit.

The last steer wrestler to go, he quickly caught his steer, but it almost slipped away before he muscled it down.

“Just years and years of finesse,” he joked after his time of 3.7 seconds was good for a third-place tie and $861.18. “He was a good steer. That’s where brute strength comes in. It wasn’t any technique at all.”

Boyle, who is from Simi Valley, Calif., just hooked up with Minor, who is from Ellensburg, and they’re just starting to win. But to get a check in Spokane they had to be real fast and the steer they had didn’t give much reason for optimism.

When the steer broke out of the chute, Boyle let fly with a long loop, capturing the steer and getting it turned so Minor could snap up the heels.

“We didn’t draw very good, that steer runs real hard,” Boyle said. “If we wanted a fast time, we knew what we had to do. I throw it a ways, but we weren’t going to win nothing if we ran him down (the arena) anyway.”

They finished in 4.9 seconds, not only placing but winning, picking up checks for $1,117.15. That sent Saturday’s 5.1 by former NFR qualifiers Richard Eiguren of Jordan Valley, Ore., and Bucky Campbell of Benton City, Wash., to second.

The other winners came out of earlier performances.

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