With the hectic Fourth of July rodeo schedule now finished, the race for Las Vegas is officially heating up.
Last year’s bull riding Rookie of the Year, Colten Fritzlan, is currently in sixth place in the standings with nearly $67,000.
The top 15 in the prize money will qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, which will go from Dec. 2-11. The NFR returns to Las Vegas this year after a one-year stop in Arlington, Texas, because of COVID-19.
Fritzlan, who is from Rifle, made a huge splash at his first NFR in 2020. He won Round 3 at the NFR and placed in five other rounds to finish third in the overall world standings. His consistency in the 10 rounds at the NFR also earned him the average title that goes to the rider who has the highest average of all his rides.
In last year’s abbreviated schedule because of the pandemic, Fritzlan still finished with $241,00 in prize money, with $183,000 coming at the NFR.
This year, Fritzlan’s biggest win has been at the American Rodeo in Arlington.
Sage Kimzey is leading the bull riding standings right now with a little more than $120,000. Kimzey had his run of six straight world titles broke last year when Utah’s Stetson Wright won the title.
Wright, from Milford, Utah, who also won the all-around world title last year, is currently second in the bull riding standing with around $94,000.
Another Western Slope bull rider who had a spectacular season in 2020 has not competed in 2021 to this point.
Ty Wallace, who is from Collbran but now lives in Oklahoma, had his best season in 2020, finishing second in the world standings with $256,000, including $196,000 coming at the NFR. He won two rounds and was a co-winner in a third at last year’s NFR.
In 2019, Wallace placed third in the world standings.
The 2021 season runs through September, then the top 15 qualifiers in every category are determined.