Shank Edwards put a few dollars in his pocket last week, but no rodeo has given him the kind of payday he had last year at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo.
Edwards, 28, earned $8,035 last year in Hermiston, winning the tie-down title and a rare all-around title for one of the biggest checks of his career.
"It was a dang good day for sure," said Edwards, who won $1,155 last week at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. "It was one of my best wins."
The Roswell, N.M., cowboy will be in Hermiston this week, roping Satur-day night in the tie-down only. He said his all-around title was somewhat of a fluke.
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"Last year in Hermiston, (Monty Joe Petska's) partner didn't show, so I helped him out," Edwards said of taking the head side in the team roping event. "I think we finished in the top five.
"I sure don't mind going back to where I've won. I like that rodeo. I'd be back whether I won anything last year or not."
The Farm-City Pro Rodeo kicks off tonight and runs through Saturday. Mutton bustin' will start at 7:25 p.m. each day, with the rodeo action getting under way at 7:45 p.m.
Tonight is family night at the rodeo, where children 12 and under can get a ticket for $5.
And, if bucking broncs and nasty bulls aren't enough, Metal Mulisha -- a 'bad ass motocross team,' according to its web site -- will perform at 6:15 p.m. today and Thursday before the rodeo.
Edwards has been on the PRCA circuit since 2003, winning $75,492 last year, but he has won just $104,835 in that time, not including this year's $22,542. It's not that he hasn't been on the road or trussed up his calves -- it's that the competition is that good.
"I don't think anything is as competitive as calf roping," said Edwards, who is up against the likes of Trevor Brazile, Tuf Cooper, Clint Cooper, Tyson Durfey, Cody Ohl and Fred Whitfield most weeks during the season.
Tuf Cooper, 21, who leads the tie-down standings with $80,737, agreed with Edwards.
"Our event is extremely hard to win in," said Cooper, who will compete Thursday at the FCPR. "It's not an easy task. You have to step up and make a name for yourself."
The Cooper brothers, Tuf, Clint and Clif, have raked in a combined $199,538 this year. All three are in the top 13 in the PRCA standings.
"We've been blessed to have a great year so far," said Tuf, the youngest of the three. "The important thing is to finish strong."
As close as all the cowboys are, Edwards travels alone with his horse Dot, a 9-year-old mare. It makes it a lot easier if he's needed back in New Mexico to help tend his 200 head of cattle.
"I try to get back home every couple of weeks and look after things at the house," Edwards said. "It's been real dry here this year. Right now, my wife, Chelsi, is taking care of things. I couldn't do this without her support."
Before he gets to Hermiston, Edwards will ply his trade in Lovington, N.M., Sikeston, Mo., and Lawton, Okla.
"I just try to win enough to keep the truck going," Edwards said.