Branquinho Tops Cal CircuitBy Jim Bainbridge October 22, 2012
Already assured of his record eighth year-end title as the biggest winner on the 43-rodeo California Circuit, steer wrestler Luke Branquinho took top honors at the Oct. 19-21 Lancaster rodeo that was also the Ram California Circuit Finals Championship.
He is among five Cali cowboys, and one cowgirl, that made the cut to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Dec. 6-15 at the Thomas & Mack Center and South Point Equestrian Center.
Branquinho heads to Vegas as the top money earner in the Golden State, with $98,695 in winnings. In Lancaster he also won the average with a time of 14.1 seconds on three head – adding some more buckles for his already-crowded trophy case.
“Any time you can win a buckle it’s special, whether it’s a small rodeo, circuit rodeo, circuit championship or world championship,” Branquinho said. “There are a lot of good cowboys out here in this circuit; what helped me win the title again was winning money at the bigger rodeos in California.”
Branquinho won titles at Redding, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Ramona, during the 2012 season.
He says that having the Ram California Circuit Finals before the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is a nice tune-up. “It’s always good to win some extra money before the NFR,” he said.
Ryle Smith of Oakdale, who won in tie-down roping, is also headed to Vegas to compete in the All Around category. Smith―a relative PRCA newcomer, who got his card in 2010 after graduating from college―also competes in steer wrestling. At Lancaster he notched 30.2 seconds on three head.
The 2012 NFR is a bittersweet one for team roper Spencer Mitchell, whose partner, heeler Broc Cresta, died tragically in July. Mitchell will compete in Vegas with Dugan Kelly of Paso Robles.
Glendora cowgirl Christina Richman made the cut in the ultra-competitive barrel racing class.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will be broadcast on Great American Country TV and GACTV.com, which will offer it live and also on rebroadcast. In most markets GACTV is available on DirecTV and Dish.
Coverage of the NFR will also be offered live via the radio/Internet on ProRodeoLive.com.
The site will offer coverage of all 10 nights of the Dec. 6-15 Wrangler NFR, as well as the awards banquet, beginning at 7 p.m. PT on Dec. 5.
ProRodeoLive is owned and operated by PRCA rodeo announcer Steve Kenyon. It will start the day with a live daily program from the PRCA’s booth at Cowboy Christmas every morning at 10 a.m. PT and move on to live nightly broadcasts from the Thomas & Mack Center at 6:30 p.m. PT.
For more info, visit www.ProRodeo.com.
California and the 2012 PRCA
Year-End World Standings
California riders, their rankings and year-end earnings on the 2012 PRCA list of the top 20 riders who made the cut for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Dec. 6-15.
19. Ryle Smith, Oakdale, CA (tie down roping, steer wrestling) $44,132
1. Ethen Thouvenell, Napa, CA $98,695
4. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, CA $85,345
12. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, CA $60,591
Team Roping (header)
14. Spencer Mitchell, Colusa, CA $66,868
Team Roping (heeler)
14. Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, CA $60,835
Barrel Racing *
13. Christina Richman, Glendora, CA $60,882
*Barrel racing standings, provided by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), are unofficial, subject to audit and may change.
2012 PRCA Ram California Year-End Circuit Finals
Ryle Smith (Oakdale, CA)
Tyson Thompson (Bradley, CA)
Bull Riding Champion
Sammy Matthews (Springville, CA)
Ladies Barrels Champion
Christina Richman (Glendora, CA)
Saddle Bronc Champion
Joaquin Real (Woody, CA)
Steer Wrestling Champion
Luke Branquinho (Los Alamos, CA)
Team Roping Champion Header
Blaine Linaweaver (Irvine, CA)
Team Roping Champion Heeler
Caleb Twisselman (Santa Margarita, CA)
Tie-Down Roping Champion
Ryle Smith – (Oakdale, CA)
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