Blair Burk moves into position for RNCFR title

Ted Harbin

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sometimes karma works out quite well; just ask Blair Burk.

The Oklahoma cowboy returned to his old stomping grounds at Jim Norick Arena and found it to his liking on Saturday afternoon. Burk, of Durant, Okla., roped and tied his calf in 8.5 seconds to take the second-round lead in tie-down roping and move closer to his goal of winning the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“Competing here at the State Fair Arena is really a special feeling for me,” said Burk, a 14-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo whose father, Barry, was a 16-time NFR qualifier who was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1994. “My dad and them all competed here. My Uncle Roy is in the stands. They’ve all competed here in the National Finals.

“It’s been a great arena for me. I’ve won the world championship horse show here on the horse Sweetness. I’ve roped a lot in this arena.”

Being able to compete in the historic arena is just one of the motivating factors for Burk to compete in his home region, the Columbia River Circuit – even though he lives in southeastern Oklahoma, Burk claims the region in the Northwest because it’s close to his in-laws and because he spends so much time in that part of the country.
He earned the right to be in this weekend’s field by doing well.

“My wife is from Oregon, and we go up there and stay all summer,” he said. “I made it a priority to do well in my circuit because I wanted to be right here in Oklahoma City this day and competing for this prize money right here in front of my hometown fans. They moved the circuit finals here, and that’s why I told my wife I wanted to make it a priority.”

Burk’s two-run total of 19.6 seconds has him third in the aggregate. He needs to remain near the top if he wants to continue to battle for his first national championship on Sunday – only the top eight in each event advance to the semifinals.

“I rode a young horse in the first round,” Burk said. “The stress the noise and everything and the competition here was a little bit too much for him. I had to get on an old veteran today, TC. He’s been here and done it all. He’s just what I needed to tie one fast.”

He’ll wait through Saturday night’s fourth performance to complete the second go-round to see how he finishes in the round payout and if he can move into the round of eight. It helps that TC is one of the best horses in the business, voted as such last year by the ProRodoe tie-down ropers.

“He’s just a winner,” Burk said of TC. “He’s just a horse that lets you win. He does his job and lets you go fast.”

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo
Third Performance
Second-round leaders
Saturday, March 31

Bareback riding: 1. Tyson Thompson, Bradley, Calif., 82 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Lights; 2. Mac Erickson, Sundance, Wyo., 81; 3. Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., 78; 4. Troy Vaira, Richey, Mont., 77; 5. Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 75; 6. (tie) Bo Casper, Fort Scott, Kan., and Cody DeMers, Kimberly, Idaho, 74. Average leaders: 1. Tyson Thompson, Bradley, Calif., 156 points on two head; 2. Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 155; 3. Cody DeMers, Kimberly, Idaho, 154; 4. Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., 153; 5. Bo Casper, Fort Scott, Kan., 149; 6. Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., 145; 7. Wyatt Hancock, Taylor, Ariz., 144; 8. Troy Vaira, Richey, Mont., 137

Steer wrestling: 1. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 4.4 seconds; 2. Clay Cowan, Highmore, S.D., 4.6; 3. JBD Davis, Argyle, Texas, 4.8; 4. Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah, 4.9; 5. Juan Alcazar Jr, Kissimmee, Fla., 5.4; 6. Shane Henderson, Winfield, Kan., 5.6 Average leaders: 1. Clay Cowan, Highmore, S.D., 9.0 seconds on two head; 2. Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah, 9.1; 3. Shane Henderson, Winfield, Kan., 10.2; 4. Juan Alcazar Jr, Kissimmee, Fla., 10.4; 5. JBD Davis, Argyle, Texas, 10.8; 6. Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, Calif., 18.5; 7. Adam Strahan, Vonfield, Ill., 19.0 8. Clayton Tuchscherer, Dona Ana, N.M., 19.6

Tie-down roping: 1. Blair Burk, Durant, Okla., 8.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Joseph Parsons, Marana, Ariz., and Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif., 9.0; 4. Nate Baldwin, Blackfoot, Idaho, 9.2; 5. Brad Hartt, Sebring, Fla., 12.6; 6. Tim Naylor, Hancock, Md., 14.7 Average leaders: 1. Joseph Parsons, Marana, Ariz., 18.4 seconds on two head; 2. Nate Baldwin, Blackfoot, Idaho, 18.6; 3. Blair Burk, Durant, Okla., 19.6; 4. Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif., 21.0; 5. Brad Hartt, Sebring, Fla., 21.8; 6. Tim Naylor, Hancock, Md., 30.0; 7. Seth Hall, Albuquerque, N.M., 8.9 on one; 8. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 9.0

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Josh Reynolds, Ekalaka, Mont., 81.0 points on Western Rodeos’ Hippy; 2. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 80; 3. (tie) Doug Aldridge, Carthage, Mo., and Ryan MacKenzie, Jordan Valley, Ore., 78; 5. Jess Williams, Paso Robles, Calif., 77; 6. (tie) Justin Browning, Sulphur, La., Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 75, Lyle Welling, Crawford, Neb., 75. Average leaders: 1. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 157 points on two head
2. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 154; 3. Ryan Elshere, Elm Springs, S.D., 153; 4. (tie) Justin Browning, Sulphur, La., and Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, 150; 6. Doug Aldridge, Carthage, Mo., 135; 7. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 82 on one; 8. (tie) Travis Sheets, Hyannis, Neb., and Josh Reynolds, Ekalaka, Mont., 81

Team roping: 1.Cody Graham, Everton, Mo./Jason Thompson, Ozark, Mo., 4.8 seconds; 2. Blaine Linaweaver, Leavenworth, Kan./Jake Twisselman, Santa Margarita, Calif., 5.0; 3. Miles Kobold, Shepherd, Mont./Matt Robertson, Augusta, Mont., 5.2; 4. Tyler Schnaufer, Pueblo, Colo./Cole Cooper, Grand Junction, Colo., 7.3; 5. Kaden Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah, 10.3; 6. Nathan McWhorter, Telephone, Texas/York Gill, Memphis, Tenn., 11.1. Average leaders: 1.Tyler Schnaufer, Pueblo, Colo./Cole Cooper, Grand Junction, Colo., 12.3 seconds on two head; 2. Blaine Linaweaver, Leavenworth, Kan./Jake Twisselman, Santa Margarita, Calif., 13.8; 3. Kaden Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah, 15.9; 4. Manny Egusquiza Jr., Madison, Ga./Clint Summers, Lake City, Fla., 17.3; 5. Cody Graham, Everton, Mo./Jason Thompson, Ozark, Mo., 19.8; 6. Nathan McWhorter, Telephone, Texas/York Gill, Memphis, Tenn., 21.0; 7. Preston Billadeau, Parshall, N.D./Jared Bilby, Bridgeport, Neb., 5.1 on one; 8. Miles Kobold, Shepherd, Mont./Matt Robertson, Augusta, Mont., 5.2

Barrel racing: 1. (tie) Sabra O’Quinn, Ocala, Fla., and Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 15.39 seconds; 3. Theresa Walter, Billings, Mont., 15.52; 4. Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 15.55; 5. Briana Reynolds, Ellsinore, Mo., 15.70; 6. Linda Vick, Hesperia, Calif., 15.75. Average leaders: 1. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 30.82 seconds on two runs; 2. Sabra O’Quinn, Ocala, Fla., 30.92; 3. Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., 30.93; 4. Linda Vick, Hesperia, Calif., 31.28; 5. Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 31.63; 6. Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah, 35.85; 7. Theresa Walter, Billings, Mont., 36.17; 8. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan., 36.58

Bull riding: 1. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 82 points on Burns Rodeo’s Break Dance; 2. Dustin Hall, Republic, Mo., 77; 3. Sunshine Schwartz, Anoka, Minn., 76; 4. A.J. Hamre, Chico, Calif., 75. Average leaders: 1. Sunshine Schwartz, Anoka, Minn., 157 points on two head; 2. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 82 on one; 3. Dustin Hall, Republic, Mo., 77; 4. A.J. Hamre, Chico, Calif., 75; 5. Paul Coppini, Kuna, Idaho, 68.

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