BY DAVID DICKEY
Tribune Sports Editor
Using the approach of taking one horse at a time, Powell's Jake Griffin was able to finish first in the average of the saddle bronc competition at the 2008 Mountain States Circuit Finals at the National Western Events Arena in Denver Nov. 21-22.
Griffin opened the event, which featured top money winners from Wyoming and Colorado, by finishing as the top rider in the first round with an 82-point ride on Burns Rodeo Company's Rim Rock. His effort was good for $966.
Griffin also notched a firstplace effort in the third round with an 85-point ride on Harry Vold Rodeo's Springboard. That performance also was good for $966 and helped Griffin claimed
the best average during the rodeo. Griffin ended the event with 239 points and earned more than $1449. In the process, he qualified for the 2009 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo,
which will be conducted at the Idaho State University Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho, April 8-11.
"It felt really good," Griffin said of his overall performance. "There really wasn't any pressure. I just took it one horse at a time, and rode as hard as I could."
Griffin edged Townsend Prince of Livermore, Colo, by one point in the overall average. Prince finished with 238 points and earned $1,086. A pair of Wyoming cowboys - Andy Clarys, Riverton, and Seth Glause, Rock Springs - rounded out the top for in the average. Glause also finished the event as the allaround cowboy for the finals and the year.
Griffin, who finished in the 32nd spot in the 2008 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, currently sits sixth in the PRCA's word standings for 2009. He has competed in four rodeos that have counted toward next year's standings.
"Now I've just got to hold onto that spot," Griffin said.
If Griffin can maintain his lofty standing throughout 2009, he'll reach his goal of finishing in the top 15 in the saddle bronc competition, which would translate into his first-ever appearance
in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
"The closest I got to making it to Vegas (for the WNFR) was in 2006," Griffin said. "I finished
22nd that year."
Griffin's mother, B.J. Griffin of Cody, also left her mark on this year's Mountain States Circuit Finals. B.J., who lives in Cody, donated a pair of pink toddler chaps for the Tuff Enuff to Wear Pink campaign. The chaps were auctioned during the final performance and sold for $900. All proceeds from the sale went to the Cancer Society.