By Mickey Winfield: PNT Sports Writer
Two Roosevelt County natives are racing and roping their way through the PRCA rodeo circuit and both are attending the opening event in the 2007 Wrangler Pro Rodeo Tour tonight.
The first event in the playoff series is the Caldwell Night Rodeo in Caldwell, Idaho this evening and Dora graduate and former Eastern New Mexico University Zia Brittany Hofstetter and Portales native J.D. Kibbe are competing.
Hofstetter sits 19th in the world in barrel racing, and she’s looking forward to advancing her rodeo career.
“We’re just going to keep rodeoing and hopefully make the NFR this year. We’ve got a shot at that and so I just need to keep winning money,” Hofstetter said.
Throughout the season, 21 events were held and the top 35 competitors in each event were invited to the playoff series. They are joined by event champions from the 2007 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo who were awarded berths in the playoff series as wild-cards.
Cowboys and cowgirls could also make the trip through amount of money won on the tour, and that is how Hofstetter made it, while Kibbe won first place in calf roping in the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
“I won around $9,500 in tour rodeos,” Hofstetter said. “This tour finale will be a great experience and a good opportunity to climb up further in the standings and hopefully have a shot at making the next tour finale. It’s been a really good summer so far.”
Brittany followed a disappointing run in the College National Finals Rodeo with a solid performance in Cowboy Christmas, a week-long series of rodeos all over the country in July that earned her $15,000.
“It was a little discouraging,” Hofstetter said. “But then whenever you go out and win $15,000 over a week during the Fourth of July, the Cowboy Christmas, that sort of lifts your spirits a little bit.”
Kibbe’s father Dwayne is proud of his son in advance of tonight’s rodeo.
“He’s doing real well,” Kibbe said. “He was doing real good this year, in fact, he was in the top 15 and then we’ve had a lot of horse problems.”
Kibbe was able to borrow a horse that he’s competed with in several events this year.
“He’s still got a chance, but it’s pretty slim to get to the finals,” Kibbe said. “If he can get through this Wrangler Tour, he’s got a chance to win a lot of money there.”
“If he can ever get his horse problem straightened out — that’s our number one setback right now,” Kibbe said.
Contestants are competing for a total of $1.62 million during the 16 performances of the playoff series.