There’s money to be made on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association this week.
Cowboys and cowgirls are criss-crossing the country as prize money is up for grabs at the 27 pro rodeos from July 16-20.
The 49th annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo is the lone PRCA event in South Dakota this week and it will benefit from competitors heading to other performances around the region.
The rodeo starts tonight and continues through Sunday, beginning at 8 p.m. each day. The stampede features bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing. Onida’s Sutton Rodeo Company will provide the stock for the event.
Here are five of the top participants to watch for this week at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo:
Ty Breuer, bareback riding, Mandan, North Dakota: Breuer is closing in on his fourth straight and fifth overall WNFR appearance. He’s currently sixth in the world standings with $86,112 and has 34 qualified rides on 38 attempts this season. Last season, he finished 12th in the world standings with $127,789. This season, Breuer pocketed $6,585 for winning the average at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Texas. Breuer has earned more than $670,000 since joining the PRCA in 2010. He’s scheduled to ride tonight.
J.J. Elshere, saddle bronc riding, Hereford: A four-time WNFR qualifier, recently moved from 18th to 12th in the world standings ($56,690) after netting $10,000 for winning the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He’s recorded 28 qualified rides in 31 attempts this season. He’s also leading the Badlands Circuit standings with $18,234. Elshere has won more than $916,000 since joining the PRCA since 2000. He won the 2006 WNFR saddle bronc riding average title. This season, he captured $3,912 for winning the PRCA Xtreme Broncs Match in Rapid City. He’s scheduled to ride on Sunday night.
Cole Elshere, saddle bronc riding, Faith: Elshere, who is cousins with J.J. Elshere, is sitting 30th in the world standings with $27,374 and is already a three-time WNFR qualifier. He’s currently third in the Badlands Circuit with $10,976. Elshere captured three first-place finishes during the Fourth of July stretch at rodeos in Belle Fourche, Mandan, North Dakota and Killdeer, North Dakota -- pocketing $15,228 for 24 seconds of work over three straight nights. Elshere has raked in more than $418,000 since going pro in 2010. Elshere is riding tonight.
Ardie Maier, bull riding, Timber Lake: A two-time WNFR qualifier, Maier has accumulated more than $676,000 since joining the PRCA in 2003. Maier’s best finish was in 2012 when he finished 11th in the world standings with $104,621. He’s currently 39th in the world standings with $23,680 and first in the Badlands Circuit with $10,214. He recently claimed $3,137 for winning the Newtown (North Dakota) Rodeo Days. Maier and his brother, Corey, are both set to ride tonight.
Jeff Bertus, bull riding, Avon: From nearby Avon, Bertus is 44th in the world standings with $21,365. He’s third in the Badlands Circuit with $7,171. Bertus earned $1,881 for finishing second at the Roughrider Rodeo Days in late June and hauled in $2,314 for taking third at the Mandan Rodeo Days on July 3. Bertus is scheduled to ride tonight.