2011 WNFR Average Winner - Sometimes Partnerships Pay Off in Big Way
Sometimes partnerships pay off in big ways as was the case for Tom Davies, Brooks, Alberta, Canada, when he partnered with co-worker Brad Veno to play the 2011 version of Pro Fantasy Rodeo and won the 2011 Dodge Ram given in Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. Along with thousands of other players, Tom and Brad were challenged to pick the top money winners during the 10-day "super bowl of rodeo" where the top 15 PRCA contestants compete in 10 go-arounds at the Thomas and Mack Arena each December. By employing a winning strategy of using the $550,000 salary cap, the duo's team consisted of bareback rider Kaycee Field, steer wrestler Mickey Gee, team roping header Turtle Powell, team roping heeler Jhett Johnson, saddle bronc rider Jesse Wright, tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa, barrel racer Lindsay Sears and bull rider L.J. Jenkins that won a combined total of $966,682.
When asked about their winning strategy, Davies laughingly replied, "We had already bought several teams, so in forming this team we picked different top leaders. We went with Kaycee Field and we knew that Jesse Wright had been riding well. Of course, we picked the Canadian barrel racer, Lindsay Sears, then went with Powell and Johnson and they are the ones that really paid off for us. I was really proud of them to win it - you know, with them being seasoned veterans and all. With the bull riding, you know that it is always kind of a crap shoot but we knew L.J. was also riding good. Mickey Gee came from 15th place several years ago to win the championship, so we hoped he would do that again and he did come through for us there at the end with Matt winning the average in the tie down. It was just a great team that came through for us."
Davies was actually in Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo and quickly made a trip to the MGM Grand Hotel to look over the Dodge Ram on display when Veno back in Canada texted him that the team was doing so well. Beginning in Round 1, they ranked 23rd, slipped to 930th, moved back to up 40th, then to 5th at one time and always stayed in the top 800s throughout the 10 rounds except for Round 6. During Round 10, Veno in Canada was keeping track of it on the website and knew they'd won the truck before the telecast was finished. Davies said he was sure excited about it and kept hoping that the official results would prove correct when indeed he received the phone call from Pro fantasy Rodeo Sunday morning.
Davies as a heavy machinery operator in the oil business in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, works with Veno and they took the cash option rather than trying to split the ownership of a truck. Like most Pro Fantasy Rodeo winners, Davies plans to pay off some bills, but also wants to put some money toward an SUV for his wife. As a team roper in his area of Canada who occasionally ventures to Montana to rope, Davies was formerly a bull rider. With a son who was a collegiate standout in Montana and has qualified for the Canadian National Finals Rodeo in team roping and a daughter who competes at all-girl rodeos in calf, breakaway, and team roping, Davies's immersion into the rodeo world has paid off with his Pro Fantasy Rodeo team this year. He said he found out about it on the link on the PRCA website.
When asked if he knew of other Canadians who played Pro Fantasy Rodeo, he mentioned that more and more people had been talking about it at the jackpots, etc. One lady, he said, was pretty steamed at him for winning it when since her team ended up 35th in the rankings and she thought she had a chance. Interest in the game has grown and he's had several teams for the last several years, but also predicts there will significantly more of his fellow countrymen who will take their chances at a big win next year. "It sure makes the finals more exciting," he concluded, and added "Life is good!"
Pro Fantasy Rodeo has paid out over a million dollars to the top eight average winners and the top six go-around daily winners since its inception in 2003. A new feature to the game this year was the awarding of a new Polaris 2012 Sportsman H.0. to the Daily Game Winner, J.P. Giesen, Adams, Oregon whose teams had the highest daily earnings of all daily single go-around entries. In addition to rodeo fans who played the game on their home computers, many who were in attendance at the national finals in Las Vegas used their personal computers or found the Pro Fantasy Rodeo Booth at the Sands or MGM Grand to enter the daily events. By constantly keeping up-to-date on rodeo results of the individual contestants, the strategies of PFR players reflected their changing attitudes and odds of each winner by choosing who was on their daily teams.<<< Back