As I see it from the road by Butch Knowles

There are nine bull riders that have qualified for the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo that competed at some point in 2011 on the Cinch CBR Tour. Tate Stratton goes in at 15th,Steve Woolsey 12th,Chandler Bownds 11th,Seth Glause 8th,Trevor Kastner 6th,Clayton Foltyn 5th, Jacob O'mara 4th,Wesley Silcox 3rd,and JW Harris 2nd. It is an impressive group of athletes when you line them up, and there is a good chance one of them could win the PRCA World Championship.

The task looks to be very difficult as Shane Proctor has had a dominating year and goes in number one with $171,778. Shane is a tough and Gritty Bull rider from Grand Coulee, Wa.  Like so many great champions he grew up around the sport. He actually worked every event before finally settling into Bull Riding. Can he be caught? Letís take a look at three Bull riders that finished in the top 12 in the CBR world standings:  Bownds finished #12, Harris finished #7, and the 2011 CBR Champion Clayton Foltyn. I also think we better throw Wesley Silcox in there because he already has one World Championship under his belt.

Clayton Foltyn-Foltyn had some lofty goals set early this year. One was to win the $100,000 bonus given to the CBR Champion. Clayton, in my opinion, was more consistent and aggressive than anyone else on the Cinch CBR Tour. That style of riding that earned him the CBR Championship, also carried over to the PRCA. Finishing fifth in the regular PRCA season, Foltyn is in great shape. He went to Vegas in 2005 finishing #11. This is a different Foltyn than we saw six years ago, he has matured into a bull riding machine. I look for big things from him.

Chandler Bownds- When you look at what Bownds has accomplished this year itís been nothing short of impressive. He is the only PRCA rookie that is also going to Vegas. One of his goals at the start of 2011 was to win the PRCA Rookie of the Year. I think he pulled that off, he had a great summer and fall. As far as catching Proctor, Bownds trails by $100,000Ö definitely going to be a long shot. Also TEN bulls in TEN days may take its toll, but Bownds isnít your every day kid. Remember he used to go out to Lyndal Hurstís place and get on four or five bulls per night, three and four nights a week, every week! He will be fun to watch.

Wesley Silcox- Even though Silcox struggled some on the Cinch CBR Tour, how can you over look the former PRCA World Champion? I feel that in the second half of the rodeo season Silcox may have been riding better than anyone. The best bull ride I witnessed all year was Silcox at Cody Wy., he set a new arena record, and he hasnít looked back since then. It depends on what kind of a start Wesley gets off to at the Finals. But if he starts as strong as heís been this fall look out!

JW Harris-Three World Titles says it all. I talked about Shane Proctorís grit and toughness, Harris has it as well. He trails Proctor by about two go round wins. Thatís not much when you think of JW. Remember this is Proctorís first trip to the Finals, that may come into play. There are many outside distractions and pressures, especially coming in number one. There is a bulls eye on Proctors back. (Sorry for the politically incorrect use of the phrase, but thatís the way people still talk in the West. Everyone knows what I mean.) JW did have a few nagging bumps and bruises at the end of the regular season, but he has eight weeks to work on those.  If he gets to Vegas close to 100%, look out. As they say so often in the sporting world- GAME ON!!!