LAS VEGAS – After the greatest regular season of his career, tie-down roper Tyson Durfey had grand plans for the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
He had a gold buckle on his mind, and he was battling every round as if it were his last shot at rodeo’s most elusive, yet most sought after, championship.
Sometimes, though, the best plans don’t quite work as well as one would like, and such was the case of Durfey’s trip to Las Vegas for ProRodeo’s championship event, which took place Dec. 5-14 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
In fact, the Missouri-born cowboy who calls Colbert, Wash., home didn’t collect a paycheck at the sport’s most lucrative rodeo until the fourth go-round, when his 8.5-second run earned him a fifth-place check valued at $4,808. With more than $240,000 on the line in tie-down roping alone, Durfey finished the 10-night NFR with nearly $27,000.
He placed in just four go-rounds, with his biggest paycheck coming on the eighth night, when he stopped the clock in 6.9 seconds to finish in a two-way tie for second place in the round; for that, the cowboy who spends much of his season in Weatherford, Texas, earned $12,921. He also placed fifth in the sixth round and finished in a three-way tie for third on the final night, earning $7,913.
Nonetheless, that’s the way it goes in the world of competition. Tie-down roping takes great horsemanship, a roper with marksman-like skills and all the other variables to come into place at the same time. Durfey knows that as well as anyone.
He left Las Vegas shortly after the finale for Bora Bora, where he spent his honeymoon with bride Shea Fisher, an Australian-born recording artist.
No matter how things went over the final 10 days of his 2013 season, Tyson Durfey has his priorities in place. He knows the work it takes to earn the coveted gold buckle, and he’ll put the greatest effort into claiming it very soon.