Jule Hazen of Ashland finally has a return engagement to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).
The 39-year-old Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association steer wrestler was 14th in the 2020 regular rodeo season winning $39,730.
There’ll be more bulldoggers at Arlington, Texas, December 3-12, than in Hazen’s Protection, Kansas, High School graduating class of twelve.
The Top 15 money-winning steer wrestlers from October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020, qualified for the NFR.
It’s been six years since Hazen has been to the NFR, with qualifications there also in 2007, 2010, and 2013.
The 6-foot-three, 245-pound cowboy made close to one-third of his money this season at the San Antonio, Texas, Rodeo.
Hazen had three times in a row of 3.9-seconds or less and won checks in five of the six go-rounds there.
Overall, Hazen won $10,891 in San Antonio with his biggest one-night total being $4,153 for his 3.6-seconds run in the semifinals.
Although he didn’t win giant paychecks after San Antonio, Hazen strung together a solid summer rodeo collection.
In July, he won $2,448 in Mandan, North Dakota, and collected $2,961 in Vernal, Utah. Hazen concluded the month by winning checks in Deadwood, South Dakota; Peterson, Iowa: and Fredonia, Kansas, in the same weekend.
In September, Hazen won the Elk City, Oklahoma, Rodeo and finished second at Evanston, Wyoming, collecting $4,358 during the weekend. He added $970 to his earnings at the Abilene, Texas, Rodeo, later in the month.
Hazen’s total of 17 runs in less than 4.2-seconds is the most he has had since 2016.
Sometimes referred to as “Wholay,” nickname coming from amateur rodeo days, he started competing in 1984.
“I started rodeoing young. I grew up with it. It’s always been something I do,” Wholay said. “When I’m not rodeoing, I’m ranching. If I wasn’t rodeoing, I’d be ranching.
“My favorite part about rodeo is the way of life and the community of it,” Hazen insisted. “My friends are all here and we are all around each other all the time. We all love doing this and love getting to be together.”
Due to coronavirus concerns, the National Finals Rodeo besides being in Texas instead of Las Vegas will be considerably different.
All fans are required to wear face coverings inside the rodeo pavilion except when eating or drinking at their seats. However, no food or beverage can be brought into the NFR and no tailgating is being allowed in parking lots.
Pre-packaged food and beverages will be available for purchase at concession stands, but no cash will be accepted
Hand-sanitation areas are to be provided. However, everybody is expected to maintain six feet separation from fans who are not a part of their ticketed pod. Re-entry into the rodeo pavilion will not be permitted.
Tanner Brunner of Ramona also qualified for the NFR steer wrestling ranked sixth in the world with $46,885 season winnings.