PUYALLUP, WASH. – Kaycee Feild has turned the Washington State Fair arena and the Justin Boots Playoffs into his personal playground. The four-time reigning World Champion Bareback Rider claimed his fourth win in the last five years here Sept. 13.
“I’ve had a lot of luck here, and I draw really well here,” Feild said moments after taking his victory lap around the arena.
Feild claimed the title here last season, but it appeared his successful streak was in jeopardy this year. He’d won every year since 2011 except 2013 – when his traveling partner Jessy Davis took the title.
Feild was the final qualifier from the 38-man bareback field to get into the eight-man semifinal round. He rode for 87 points in the semis – good for second place behind Austin Foss’ 87.5. Feild won the four-man final round with another ride for 87 points, on Calgary Stampede’s Reckless Margie.
“I had a good ride, and I knew it would take that to win here,” Feild said.
Tanner Aus had taken the lead in the bareback riding four-man final with a ride for 84.5 points, topping the first score of 77 posted by Davis. Feild was up third and went for 87 points, then survived as Austin Foss scored 81.5 on a re-ride.
Feild earned $9,350 in Puyallup and extended his lead in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings over second-place Evan Jayne, who trailed Feild by about $8,500 entering the week.
“It’s always great to win here, and I’m really lucky at this place,” Feild insisted again. “It’s toward the end of the season and being in the No. 1 spot, I wanted to have more of a spread by the end of the season. I’m being pushed harder than I’ve ever been pushed, with so many good bareback riders out here.”
Feild missed about seven weeks of the spring season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. His health is good, Feild said, but he could use some more time off so he can be 100 percent going into the Dec. 3-12 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“My hip is all right, but I need time where I can get it strong,” he said. “I just need time off from riding.”
He’s gone to more rodeos than usual late in the season, he said, as his traveling partners – Davis, Richmond Champion and Mason Clements, who is third in the Resistol Rookie bareback riding standings – are on the bubble trying to qualify for the WNFR.
“Expenses go up another third for those guys if I go home,” Feild said. “When the season’s over, I’ll go home and rest some.”
Not totally, though, not this goal-oriented athlete.
“I need to prove myself tougher than the rest of the guys,” Feild said. “I need to go home and ride the spur board more than them. I need to go to the gym more than them.”
Through the years, the 28-year-old cowboy from Spanish Fork, Utah, said he’s won “probably $70,000” at the Justin Boots Playoffs.
“It’s exciting, very exciting, to win again,” he said.
Other winners at the $248,575 rodeo were rookie steer wrestler J.D. Struxness (4.7 seconds), team ropers Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill (4.9 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley (88.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s Stampede Warrior), tie-down roper Timber Moore (9.2 seconds), barrel racer Cassidy Kruse (14.61 seconds) and bull rider Ty Wallace (87 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s What A Ball).
PUYALLUP, WASH. – J.D. Struxness had barely finished his steer wrestling run and climbed out of the dirt when a big smile appeared on his face. The rookie bulldogger knew he’d made a good run.
It was as good as the Appleton, Minn., cowboy figured and he jumped into a tie for the lead after round one of the Justin Boots Playoffs was completed Sept. 12 at the Washington State Fair arena. Struxness’ time of 4.2 seconds equaled the time of Tanner Milan, and they’ll take that advantage into Sunday’s final performance.
“It’s exciting to be here, and it was fun to make that kind of run,” Struxness said. “Any time you can go to a rodeo this big, it’s great. Only the top 48 are invited here.”
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Struxness, who won’t turn 21 until Nov. 16, leads the Resistol Rookie of the Year steer wrestling standings with $41,517. That’s $11,761 ahead of runnerup Jace Melvin of Pierre, S.D.
Saturday night’s performance was the fourth of the rodeo, each of those featuring 12 of the top 48 contestants in each event. The top eight qualifiers from round one advance to Sunday’s semifinal, with the top four from the semis moving on to a final round shootout to determine each event winner.
“I’ll just see which steer I get and make the best run I can,” Struxness said. “I want to win all I can, that’s for sure.”
He sat 24th in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, two spots behind his traveling partner, Stockton Graves, who had $44,377. They’re both hoping to make the top 15 when the regular season ends Sept. 30 and qualify for the Dec. 3-12 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
That means they’re chasing Tyler Pearson, who is 15th with $56,684.
“We’re just playing it week to week and see what happens,” Struxness said of the attitude he shares with Graves. “We both had a real good month of July and we’re trying to finish good.”
Both are among the 24 qualifiers for the Justin Boots Championships Sept. 24-25 in Omaha, Neb.
Struxness is a junior at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (Alva), where Graves is the head coach. Struxness, an agricultural business major, learned to bulldog from his father, who was a steer wrestler in high school.
Graves has fine-tuned Struxness’ talent and taught him about the rodeo road.
“He’s taught me how to enter, and how to win,” Struxness said.
Struxness was third in the Permit Standings in 2014 and qualified for the Permit Challenge in Las Vegas.
“That was a cool experience,” he said. “It was good to be in that atmosphere. It made me crave it even more to get back there for the NFR.”
Struxness and Milan each earned $4,362 for splitting the bulldogging win in round one.
The other six qualifiers for the semifinals in steer wrestling are Clayton Haas (4.4), Kyle Irwin (4.4), Baylor Roche (4.5), Bray Armes (4.6), Dean Gorsuch (4.8) and Dirk Tavenner (4.8).
The bareback riding leaders are Kash Wilson and Austin Foss with 83 points, followed at 81 each by Will Lowe, Jessy Davis, Tim O’Connell, Tanner Aus and David Peebles, with Kaycee Feild at 79.5.
Team roping leaders are Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor at 4.0 seconds, followed by Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza (4.1). At 4.2 seconds are Colby Lovell and Kory Koontz, Spencer Mitchell and B.J. Campbell, and Clayton Hansen Chase Hansen. At 4.3 are Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill along with Clay Smith and Paul Eaves. Kolton Schmidt and Dustin Searcy are at 4.5.
Rusty Wright leads the saddle bronc riders with 83 points while Jacobs Crawley and Chuck Schmidt are at 82.5. Wade Sundell has 82 points, followed by the trio of Alex Wright, Allen Boore and CoBurn Bradshaw at 81. Jake Wright also made the semifinal round with 80.5 points.
Timber Moore’s run of 7.7 seconds leads tie-down ropers, followed by Trevor Brazile (8.4), Tuf Cooper (8.4), Herrin Hunter (8.7), Logan Hofer (8.9), Marcos Costa (8.9), Reese Riemer (9.6) and Josh Peek (9.7).
A dozen barrel racers will return for one final round Sunday. Those 12 are Cassidy Kruse (14.57 seconds), Deb Guelly (14.74), Rachel Dice (14.78), Michele McLeod (14.81), Brittany Kelly (14.81), Ivy Conrado (14.84), Callie DuPerier (14.87), Carmel Wright (14.88), Andrea Busby (14.90), Sarah Rose McDonald (14.91), Kimmie Wall (14.96) and Vickie Carter (14.97).
Chandler Bownds and Parker Breding each rode for 85 points in the fourth performance to share the bull riding lead. Others to advance to the semifinals are Tim Bingham (83.5), Kody DeShon (82.5), Bryce Barrios (82.5), Ty Wallace (82), Dallee Mason (81.5) and Pistol Robinson (81).
Read more about the Justin Boots Playoffs in the Sept. 25 ProRodeo Sports News.