Steamboat Springs For the past seven weeks, the best cowboys and cowgirls in the region have battled for the top paycheck at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series.
"For some of them the money is more important, but I think they all would like to win the season title," rodeo administrator Char Mighton said.
So while some of the leading cowboys have opted to head to some higher-paying rodeos in the past few weeks, Mighton said most of them will try to stop by Steamboat if it means holding onto a season title in the next few weeks.
With just three weeks left, the battle for those all-important end-of-season titles and the belt buckles that go with them is starting heat up.
"They are really nice belt buckles," Mighton said.
Steamboat Springs is represented by saddle bronc rider Bryan Costner, who is leading his event by a comfortable margin heading into the final stretch. He was in Missouri at rodeos this week but will return this weekend to compete in Steamboat.
Other series leaders include Cory Zion of Idalia in the calf roping event, Cody Fox of Chivington in the bareback and Mick Duncombe of Mountain View, Wyo., in the bull riding.
Wade Corliss of Kersey is setting the pace in steer wrestling, and Wyoming's Skye Holman holds a narrow advantage over Larkspur's Judy McCaughey in the barrel race.
Tim and Troy Kreutzer hold the lead in the team roping and Pake Younger is on top of the No. 7 roping event.
The season leaders were absent from last week's rodeo results.
Mo Forbes won the saddle bronc event with a 78-point ride on the back of Copenhagen Casino. He was followed by Mitch Walz in second with a 77-point ride. Chet Johnson and Tyler Greer tied for third with 73 points each.
Boe Krick won the bareback riding event with an 81-point ride over Travis Carlson, who scored 79 points on his ride.
The bull riding event came down to Ryan Greenlee and Kevin Collins, who tied for first with 75-point rides.
Phy Lord won the calf roping with an 11.7-second run, Paul Scnadegg topped the steer wrestling with an effort of 5.2 seconds and Bonnie Wheatley won the girls barrels with a time of 17.71.
The team roping event was won by Jay and Ryan Tittle with a run of 7.4 seconds, and Scott Brennise and Lonnie Shoemaker won the No. 7 roping event with a time of 7.3. Casey barns topped the Peewee barrel event in week No. 7.