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92nd Annual Tucson Rodeo comes to a close

Posted at 9:09 PM, Feb 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-26 23:09:57-05

Another Tucson rodeo, down in the books.

The champions were crowned Sunday afternoon as the 92nd annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros came to a close. Nearly half a million dollars -- $460,000 -- was awarded to the various champions. A sold out final weekend as well, with more than 22,000 people showing up over the two days.

Some of the champions were first time winners, like Cory Petska. He's competed in events at the Tucson Rodeo every year since 2003. He and his partner were crowned the Team Roping competition champions. 

This first-time victory, extra special for Petska -- because this rodeo takes place right in his backyard: he's from Marana.

"It's awesome," he said. "You know, getting to do it in front of the crowd, the hometown crowd. It's a great feeling."

Team Roping, also known as "heading and heeling," is a rodeo event where two partners riding horses try and lasso a steer together -- first by the head, then by the heels.

Petska and his teammate, competing together in rodeos for half a decade.

"He's a great one, he's a good one," Petska said. "We've been roping together for five years now and we're like brothers more than partners, so it works out really nice."

Petska wasn't the only first-time winner to take home some of the prize money. Dave Mason took home a chunk as well. It was his first time competing in La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, and his first time winning first place in his competition as well: bull riding.

"This is one of the biggest rodeos I've ever been to," Mason said. "So, I can't explain it. I'm just happy I get to do what I do, and I got it done."

Bull riding, the last competition of the day and one of the most anticipated ones as well. Not an easy one either -- riders have to stay up on the bull for 8 seconds, holding onto a rope with one hand, the other hand in the air.

"Oh man, for me, it's the best fun anyone could ever have," Mason said. "I wake up every morning just wanting to get on em. I love doing what I do."

Both Mason and Petska, already looking forward to their next rodeos.