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Eldridge caps season as circuit champion
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Eldridge caps season as circuit champion

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Dakota Eldridge

Shown is a photo illustration of Dakota Eldridge overlaid in front of the Reno arch from Eldridge's average-clinching, 4.3-second short-round run from the 2017 Reno Rodeo for a three-head time of 13.4 seconds. From Oct. 9-10, 2020, Eldridge claimed the average title of the California Circuit Finals Rodeo, in Red Buff, with a two-steer total of 10.8 seconds. In two days, he pocketed $3,260 in earnings.

RED BLUFF, California — After cinching up his seventh berth to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in late September, there was still work to be done for Elko’s Dakota Eldridge.

Currently living in Reedley, California, Eldridge competed in the California Circuit of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and slammed both his steers and the door shut on Oct. 9 and 10, in Red Bluff.

At the California Circuit Finals Rodeo — mounted on the tried and true 21-year-old sorrel gelding, “Rusty” — Eldridge made two solid runs and claimed the average championship.

In the first round, Eldridge placed fourth with a time of 6.2 seconds — earning $326 — stepping up his game significantly on his second steer with a second-place 4.6-second run for $978.

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Eldridge easily cruised to the average win with a two-head tally of 10.8 seconds, holding a 1.8-second advantage over second place.

For the average title, he pocketed the big prize of $1,956 — totaling $3,260 at the rodeo.

Not bad for two days, or 10.8 seconds of work.

While the money does not count toward his fourth-place total of $50,084.76 in earnings for the 2020 season — more than half of which came in March at the American — it still gives him some nice spending money and momentum as he prepares to compete at the WNFR from Dec. 3-12, 2020, at Globe Life Stadium — the home of the Texas Rangers — in Arlington, Texas, which is currently hosting the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directives for COVID-19 — mainly his then-limit on gatherings of no more than 50 people — forced the PRCA to look away from Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, which has been the home of the National Finals Rodeo since 1985.

According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the loss of the iconic rodeo event will be a $175.8 million hit (2019 figures) to Nevada’s economy.

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