BILLINGS — By all accounts, Jessy Davis didn’t have a bad year in 2017.

The Power cowboy earned more than $66,000 in bareback riding and finished 18th in the final PRCA world standings.

However, by previous Davis standards, it wasn’t a great year either.

He missed qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo by $19,000.

“It was good and bad,” said the seven-time NFR qualifier. “I still made a little money.”

But when December came, Davis could only watch as others rode for season-changing money during the NFR.

“It’s frustrating for a little bit,” he added. “But after a while you get over it. Then it motivates you.”

Davis did ride in Las Vegas, competing in the Cinch Chute-Out Challenge and returned home to win the Chase Hawks Memorial Roughstock Rodeo in Billings for a second time.

He will try to jump-start his 2018 when he returns to defend his title at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals this weekend in Great Falls.

The event, which features the top 12 competitors in each event, will determine the 2017 year-end champions. The Finals and year-end winners qualify for the high-paying National Circuit Finals Rodeo, April 5-8 in Kissimmee, Florida.

Like last year, money won at the circuit finals will count in the world standings.

Davis enters the weekend second to J.R. Vezain of Melstone in the standings. Vezain, who competed at the NFR this past December, last won the Montana circuit title in 2010. He was the Mountain States Circuit Finals champion in 2016.

Davis knows success at the Four Seasons Arena. He swept the average and year-end titles a year ago by winning the first and second rounds. He also added wins at Wolf Point, Augusta, Bozeman and Kalispell during his summer.

And at 36, Davis understands the infusion of young talent will just keep coming.

“I’d like to retire, but my wife (Cassidy) is tough on me,” said Davis with a smile. “We’ll go at it again in 2018.”

And if Davis needed another reason, or reasons, to keep competing, his twin daughters Cru and Quincee turn two on Jan. 30.

“Those two little girls are a blessing. That’s another reason to keep going,” he said.

Hollenbeck leads

Of all the event races, Hank Hollebeck appears to have the year-end all-around title sewn up.

The multi-event Molt cowboy has a lead of almost $12,000 on second place Kory Mytty of Lolo. However, Hollenbeck will be competing in both tie-down roping and steer wrestling this weekend while Mytty is entered in team roping.

Hollenbeck, a former MPRC Finals all-around winner, has already won the year-end steer roping title. He is second in the tie-down roping standings and 10th for steer wrestling. Hollenbeck trails former MPRC champion Chad Johnson of Cut Bank by $658 in the tie-down roping standings.

Parker Breding of Edgar also has a lead of $8,200 on Browning’s Dakota Louis in the bull riding standings.

Breding won the National Circuit Finals Rodeo bull riding titles in 2014 and 2016.

Close races

While most events will be determined in the final round, one of the closest races is in saddle bronc riding.

Only $901 separates the top four in the standings and the event could feature a passing of the torch.

The leader is 2009 world champion of Jesse Kruse, while only $374 behind is former national high school champion Sage Newman of Melstone. Also in close pursuit are Josh Davison of Miles City and Deer Lodge’s Chase Brooks, who won the average a year ago.

Kruse already started his 2018 with a record-setting 90-point ride to win the PRCA NILE Rodeo in Billings this past October.

In barrel racing, Shepherd's Shelly Anzick has a lead of $345 on Rene Cloninger of Helena. Anzick is a former NFR qualifier.

Generation next

The Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals will again feature the Montana High School Roughstock Challenge.

Four saddle bronc riders and two bareback riders will compete on Friday and Saturday, with the top three given the opportunity to compete in the final round on Sunday.

Competing Friday are: Bo Vocu, Ashland, saddle bronc; Cole Patterson, Bozeman, saddle bronc; Tate Harmon, Powderville, saddle bronc; Dauson Fruit, Broadus, saddle bronc; Bo Vocu, Ashland, bareback; Brice Patterson, Bozeman, bareback.

Competing Saturday are: Brand Morgan, McAllister, saddle bronc; Calab Meeks, Geraldine, saddle bronc; Grant Finkbeiner, Grass Range; Garrett Cunningham, Broadus, saddle bronc; Sebastian Hotalen, Belgrade, bareback; Ethan Frasier, Ashland, bareback.

Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe