Blake Knowles

Heppner steer wrestler Blake Knowles, seen here at the 2018 NFR in Las Vegas, has benefitted from an extended ProRodeo Tour schedule this year.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Veteran steer wrestler Blake Knowles is experiencing the benefits of the expanded 2019 ProRodeo Tour with more than $20,000 won at three Tour stops this season.

The Heppner cowboy is fourth in the ProRodeo Tour standings, which has helped push him to 21st in the PRCA-RAM World Standings with $30,389.

“This year, the Tour became more of an inclusive thing than an exclusive thing,” Knowles said. “We went from having 24 Tour rodeos over the course of last season to 55 this season. When you’re rodeoing out here and trying to get to the NFR, your schedule will get you to most of those Tour events because we’re trying to go to the biggest and best rodeos every single week. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have good luck at Tour rodeos.”

Knowles won the average at the Santa Maria (Calif.) Elks Rodeo, June 2, which was a Tour stop, earning $3,170. He also earned $10,375 at RodeoHouston in March and $9,023 at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver in January, both Tour stops.

The Tour features 55 rodeos showcasing the top cowboys and rodeos. It began in Denver, Jan. 17-27, and concludes with the Tour Finale on Sept. 5-8 in Puyallup, Wash. A year ago, the ProRodeo Tour featured 24 rodeos.

All cowboys eligible to compete in Tour rodeos have the opportunity to earn Tour points and qualify for the Tour Finale in Puyallup, which will take the top 24 contestants in each event.

The 24 competitors who reach the Washington State Fair Rodeo in Puyallup will have a chance at big money by advancing to the eight-man semifinals and a four-man finals Sept. 8. Those outside the top 24 will try to make up the difference elsewhere.

The ProRodeo Tour is heating up in the coming weeks with stops in Reno, Nev. (June 21-29), Greeley, Colo. (June 26-July 7), Pecos, Texas (June 26-29), and Springdale, Ark. (June 26-29). The Reno Rodeo is the 18th Tovur stop this season, marking the one-third point in the 2019 Tour season.

“I’ve looked at my win percentage as far as how many rodeos I’ve attended and how many I’ve placed at, and it’s not really where I want it,” Knowles said. “But good for me, I’ve done well at big Tour rodeos. That’s helped in a couple ways: No. 1, it has helped in the world standings because when I have won, I’ve won good amounts, and secondly, going along with that is getting some Tour points racked up.

“The Tour finale in Puyallup is always a great rodeo and a tremendous opportunity that time of year to make good money. If they go head to head, a Tour event and not a Tour event, I’m going to go to the Tour event and try and secure my spot in Puyallup because I understand how important that’s going to be.”

Knowles has qualified for the Wrangler NFR four times — 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2018.

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