When Brian Curtis scored a 92-point ride Sunday on Tokyo Drift, the Belle Fourche, S.D., cowboy knew he was in good shape at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros bull riding competition.
Curtis’ ride was one point shy of the arena record set by Dustin Elliott in 2006. Combined with his 84-point ride Saturday, Curtis’ aggregate score of 176 gave him a first-place check for $6,278.
“I felt pretty good and any time you get a 92, it’s always good,” Curtis said. “There are a lot of great guys here in the short round, best in the world, and anyone one of them is capable of doing it and fortunately it works out for me and I’m happy.”
Entering Sunday, Curtis sat 25th in the PRCA’s world standings with $8,500 earned so far this year.
Steve Woolsey finished second overall in the bull riding with a 169 score.
Davey Shields Jr.’s 90-point ride Sunday in bareback riding gave him the overall win and a check for $5,880.
“I’ve seen that horse for quite a few years now and I’ve seen him here last Sunday and he was fantastic,” said Shields of the horse South Point. “I was one of the ones who wanted him and I drew him.”
Everett Ashurst was hoping his score of 83 was going be good enough to win the overall in the saddle bronc riding event.
But Wade Sundell’s 84-point ride and Jesse Kruse’s 81 knocked the Douglas cowboy to a third-place finish.
“I knew that there was chance that I could hold on for a good check,” said Ashurst who collected $2,841.
Sundell, of Boxholm, Iowa, was first in the event.
Despite the economic recession, attendance at this year’s rodeo was up 31 percent from 2008, with sellout crowds of 11,000-plus Saturday and Sunday.
Tucson Rodeo spokeswoman Joan Liess said that one of the major factors in the attendance was the weather.
Every day of the rodeo this year had sunny skies and temperature from the high 70s to the low 90s.
“We reminded people what a great tradition this event is,” Liess said. “I think a lot of new Tucsonans and longtime Tucsonans discovered the rodeo for the first time this year, which is fantastic.”
Next year the Match Play golf tournament will move up a weekend, giving the rodeo a weekend of its own.
“Next year will be interesting to see if there is a major shift in the attendance for the rodeo based on the Match Play,” Liess said. “That will be the true test. but we’ve always felt having two great events here complement each other.”
• Other winners were Cole Edge (steer wrestling), Jeff Chapman (tie-down roping), Kelsey Parchman and York Gill (team roping) and Brittany Pozzi (barrel racing).