Arnie Jackson WNFR Radio Reports
Round 7 Results
Braden wins second go-round at WNFR
LAS VEGAS – Hardy Braden is making the most of his first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.
Coming into the 2017 Finals, Braden was just hoping to compete and maybe place a few times.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, Braden won his second go-round at the Thomas & Mack Center, scoring 88 points on Hi Lo ProRodeo’s Garden City Gal for the Round 7 win.
“That’s pretty unbelievable,” Braden said. “I came in with the mindset of being happy to place in some rounds, let alone win two of them. Two out of seven is good compared to what I said I’d be happy with. I treat it like any rodeo, and show up with a level head and do the best with what you got and block out the pressure of so much money in a perf.”
Braden had never been on Garden City Gal before, but rode her like she was old hat.
“I had never actually seen her,” Braden said, “but Jacobs (Crawley) had been on her before and some of my friends too, and they all said she had some moves and tricks, and to try to stay back on her – and that’s what I did, and she had an outstanding trip today.”
Crawley is still leading the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $226,927. Crawley placed fifth in Round 7.
Aus notches second win of 2017 WNFR
After tying for first in the second round, bareback rider Tanner Aus hit a cold spell, placing just once over the next three rounds. But a night after breaking that streak with a tie for fifth, Aus scored 87 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Jr. Bonner.
“It’s nice,” Aus said. “That’s just part of the competition being so tough here, sometimes you’re going to split round wins. To be able to head out there tonight on my own, this is basically the culmination of a long season and a lot of preparation. It’s a dream come true to be on that stage again, and I’m very thankful that I get to go out there.”
Aus had to wait for a re-ride from Orin Larsen before he could truly celebrate his win.
“Well, I knew that Orin (Larsen) had a good shot (on his re-ride) – Orin’s been riding great all week, he had a great horse, this is a tough pen,” said Aus, from Minnesota. “I was just waiting with bated breath, I guess, but thankful to have the round win for sure.”
World standings leader Tim O’Connell tied for second in the go-round and heads into Round 8 with $289,762, more than $80,000 ahead of Aus, his closest competitor.
Eldridge goes 3.3 seconds to win steer wrestling
Dakota Eldridge posted the fastest time of the 2017 WNFR in the steer wrestling competition when he stopped the clock at 3.3 seconds. That was plenty fast to win Round 7 and take home $26,231.
Eldridge entered the seventh round with the fourth best average time. His time in Round 7 kept him in fourth and has him in seventh place in the world standings with $144,006.
The quick victory had Eldridge pumped.
“The feeling when you win is something you never want to get rid of,” said Eldridge, a 26-year-old Nevadan. “The crowd goes crazy and it’s incredible. They had not done anything on that steer, but you have to have a good attitude no matter what and stay positive.
Eldridge changed his approach and watched it work.
“I finally got close to the barrier tonight,” he said. “I’ve been giving them a head start. I’m done being nice, I’m going to get greedy.”
Being from Elko, Nev., gave Eldridge a special feeling to win in his home state.
“I have a bunch of people down here today and it’s just unbelievable to have this rodeo in your home state, six hours from my house,” Eldridge said. “You get down here, and sometimes you get caught up and get tired, and man, you just have to crave it and realize how much money you’re running for. It doesn’t get any better than having your home state crowd cheering for you. That really pumps you up.”
Ty Erickson, who leads the aggregate, is on top of the world standings with $230,267 heading into the final three rounds of the WNFR.
Egusquiza/Koontz pair up for another round win
Dustin Egusquiza might be in the middle of his first trip to the WNFR, but he’s not roping like it.
Egusquiza, a team roping header, paired with Kory Koontz to win their second go-round in the Finals, clocking a time of 3.5 seconds, the fastest time of the 2017 Finals.
“It makes me feel good to be able to get him going in his career and to be the first guy to rope with him at the NFR,” said Koontz, in his 21st trip to the WNFR. “When I get old and I’m in my rocking chair, I can sit back and watch him do great things. I get a really good feeling in seeing guys that I was able to help move forward in their career and get them going.”
Egusquiza was ecstatic with his first win. Wednesday’s win felt just as good.
“I don’t think there could have been a greater feeling than winning the first round, but 3.5 (seconds) in the seventh go-round heading for Kory Koontz, it’s pretty crazy,” said Egusquiza, 22.
The time also tied for the second fastest in Round 7 history. Egusquiza’s confidence continues to grow.
“Man, I know that I can turn him wherever,” Egusquiza said. “When the gate opens, I can turn him and he (Koontz) is always going to be ready. I’m not ever going to catch him off guard.”
Egusquiza and Koontz have pocketed $70,712 each.
Team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira have moved back into first place in the world standings in their respective events, where they started when the Finals opened. Driggers has $196,086, while Nogueira has $196,816.
Frost capitalizes on Heavens Basement to win bull riding
Joe Frost knew he was getting a good bull. Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Heavens Basement had bucked off Tim Bingham in Round 2 of the Finals.
He didn’t buck off Frost.
Frost rode Heavens Basement for 87 points and the win in Round 7.
“Well, I talked to my dad and brother when they found what I had, and last time they watched when Bingham had him and they said he was to the right,” Frost said. “But I put that out of my mind. If I know, I will get ahead of myself, and I would rather ride in the center; and if they turn, I can catch up and play defense – that’s the best way to do it.”
It was the fifth time Frost has placed in the Finals this year, giving him $88,692 for the rodeo and $217,835 in season earnings.
“It always helps anytime you win a round,” Frost said. “It’s been two years since I won a round (at the Wrangler NFR). It’s the most fun thing – you are the star of the show and it pays well, too.”
With $340,229, Sage Kimzey continues to dominate the world standings. He’s also first in the aggregate with 513.5 points on six head.
Carlisle snaps streak to win tie-down roping round
It had been a long time since Randall Carlisle had won a round at the WNFR. That streak is over.
Carlisle won the Round 7 tie-down roping in 7.5 seconds to get his first go-round win at the Finals since his last appearance in 2013, when he won Round 2.
“I’m just thankful that things are turning around,” Carlisle said. “I started off bad and I’m trying to overcome everything.”
Carlisle said the encouragement he received from family and friends earlier in the day gave him a jolt heading into the round.
“I had text messages all day today saying that tonight was going to be my night, and I broke the ice,” he said. “Now, there are three rounds left and I’m going to keep going after it each night.”
Carlisle switched horses after the first two rounds, getting on Fletch for Round 3, and was riding him again for Wednesday’s win.
“He’s been very good,” Carlisle said. “I started using him in Round 3 and he has done the same thing every night. I used my horse, Cat, the first two rounds, and he’s a great horse that’s real strong and he was a little too strong here, so I decided to switch to (Fletch) because he’s smaller and easier (to handle).”
Regular-season leader Tuf Cooper continues to be at the top of the world standings, stretching his lead after a second-place finish Wednesday. He has $247,406.
Murray wins first go-round at WNFR
WNFR newcomer Tillar Murray rode out last in the barrel racing on Wednesday.
She finished first.
Murray finished in 13.40 seconds, the second fastest time for any Round 7.
Murray is in her first trip to the Finals. Through her first six rounds she had placed twice. Then came the win.
“I can’t believe that I won a go-round,” she said. “I am just so happy to be here. I’ve wanted to be at the NFR ever since I was a little kid. Just being here is cool. I really had no expectation of winning a round. There is just no way to describe it. It is the coolest feeling.”
Her horse, Commander, is adjusting to the arena.
“I am so excited,” she said. “I was nervous being last out on the ground, but Commander really handled it well. I couldn’t have asked him to work any better. He exceeded all expectations and I am so proud of him.”
Tiany Schuster has $285,339 in season earnings to continue to lead the way toward the barrel racing world championship.
Cooper gains ground in all-around race
Trevor Brazile continues to lead in the race for the coveted all-around gold buckle, but his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, gained some ground in Round 7.
Brazile did not place in the money in the tie-down roping, while Cooper took second to win $20,731. Brazile leads the all-around race with $313,837. Cooper is second with $286,983.
Ryder Wright atop RAM Top Gun race
In his second trip to the WNFR, 19-year-old Ryder Wright is leading the RAM Top Gun Award standings.
Wright finished second in the saddle bronc riding go-round Wednesday and earned $20,731 to move into first place in the Top Gun chase with $121,692.
He passed barrel racer Hailey Kinsel, who is second with $120,423.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Layton Green - Drawing Well and Riding For the Money
Las Vegas, NV - December 13, 2017
It’s all about the draw in the saddle bronc riding and that was certainly the case again tonight as cowboys faced the rank pen for the second and last time of this Finals. Reigning Canadian Champion, Layton Green, placed for the third round in a row. The Meeting Creek, AB cowboy was a solid 83 on Korkow Rodeo’s Meat Cracker to cash a 4th place cheque of $11,000 to go over $45,000 for the week.
“Everybody here has been riding so amazing,” Green acknowledged. “The horse that can get you even one more point is the one you want. My horse tonight was dang sure some work but he was a good draw in this pen.” The first time WNFR cowboy struggled through the early rounds as he drew a series of horses it was really tough to win money on. “I just told myself I’ve worked my whole life to get here and to just slow down and enjoy it. Now that I’ve been here once, I can’t wait for next year and I can’t wait for the next three days this year.”
The battle at the top of the bronc riding still has Jacobs Crawley in first place with Ryder Wright in second spot and brother-in-law CoBurn Bradshaw right behind him. But as the average becomes a bigger and bigger factor as we move to the final three rounds, Bradshaw is second, Wright is fifth and Crawley is back in eighth. Big Valley, Alberta’s defending world champion, Zeke Thurston was 75.5 on Dakota Rodeo’s Chirrkawa, did not place in the round and fell to 4th place in the average. And the dry spell continued for Clay Elliott as the 2016 Canadian Champion was bucked off Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Faded Away. Elliott, at his second WNFR, has yet to place through the first seven rounds. And the Calgary Stampede’s electric Tiger Warrior was the Rank Horse of the Night as he dispatched Heith DeMoss in spectacular fashion.
Dirty rotten steer.
Those were the words, or words very similar to that, that every Canadian rodeo fan used after Tanner Milan’s go-round seven steer wrestling run at the Thomas and Mack Arena. The steer ran hard, wouldn’t take the fall and finally escaped the desperate effort of the two-time Canadian Champion to get a time to stay in the average.
When that didn’t happen, Milan’s no time dropped the Cochrane cowboy from 4th in the average to 10th and his world championship aspirations took a major hit. Provost, Alberta bulldogger Scott Guenthner had a 4.8 run but finished out of the money as Dakota Eldridge was a sizzling 3.3 on a steer that as good as Milan’s was bad. Helena, Montana dogger, Ty Erickson, continues to lead both the average and the world standings with three rounds remaining.
The team roping pairing of Tom Richards and Canadian Jeremy Buhler continued to struggle as they took a no time on Wednesday night. At the top end of the standings, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira went back to the lead in their back and forth battle with Cory Petska and Erich Rogers but Petska and Rogers, the Arizona pairing, lead the average while Driggers and Nogueira, the defending All-Around titleist, had a couple of no times earlier in the week and are well out of average contention.
In the bareback riding, Jake Vold battled a tough Wayne Vold bucker called The Ritz for 83.5 points and a 4/5/6 split in the round. Vold continues to lead the average by a half point over Tim O’Connell who is on cruise control atop the world standings with a commanding $88,000 lead over second place cowboy, Tanner Aus. And for the second of the Canadians in the bareback riding, Orin Larsen, it was even more of a battle as Kesler Rodeo’s Candy Smile was a handful with the Manitoba cowboy managing to stay on but able to garner only 66.5 points for the effort. ?Minnesota cowboy Tanner Aus won the go round with an 87 score on Three Hills Rodeos Jr Bonner.
2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jordan Hansen, improved to three of seven and has ridden two in a row as tonight the Calgary cowboy, also at his first WNFR, rode Silver Creek Pro Rodeo’s Sudden Debt to 83 points and a 4/5 split for an $8883 payday. Hansen now has over $41,000 in earnings to date. Utah bull rider, Joe Frost, won the round with a terrific 87 point ride on Wayne Vold’s Heaven’s Basement, the Rank Bull of the Night earlier in the week.
“I didn’t know that bull but I was happy to have him, Frost noted. “I do better on big strong bulls like that. I made a point not to ask anybody about him. I prefer to trust myself. I ride better that way.”
And there was a big change in the barrel racing tonight. Season leader Tiany Schuster likely breathed a sigh of relief when rookie sensation Hailey Kinsel hit a barrel to put the brakes on what had been an amazing Finals that saw her closing fast on the leader through the first six rounds. Schuster finished 6th in the go-round and sits 4th in the aggregate. Fort Worth, Texas cowgirl, Tillar Murray, was on the bottom of the ground, but nevertheless put together a speedy 13.40 for her first ever WNFR go round win.
The tie down roping race continues to be very tight although season leader Tuf Cooper put a little more distance between himself and the rest of the field as he posted an 8.0 second run, second only to Randall Carlisle’s 7.5 (which was achieved on Canadian roper, Kyle Lucas' horse). Cooper's world standings lead over Brazilian Marcos Costa now stands at $35,000 but Costas leads the average with 56.6 seconds on seven runs with Cooper nipping at his heels with 59.3 over the seven days.
With several races still much too close to call, the final three days of Las Vegas action promise both jubilation and heartbreak.
Round Six Results
Benton chalks up win No. 3 at 2017 WNFR
LAS VEGAS – Trey Benton III continues to be the talk of the bull riding competition.
Benton became the first competitor across any event to win three rounds at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER in 2017 after scoring 92.5 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Bomb Pop at the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
The win gives him $115,346 won at the 2017 WNFR, the second most of any competitor.
He’s first in the bull riding average with 442.5 points on five head and third in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $236,747.
Benton trails three-time defending World Champion Sage Kimzey, who placed second on Tuesday and has $340,229.
“I have a plan in my head, and I hope to go out there and show it,” Benton said. “I’m planning on winning every round the rest of the way, and if I do that, my plan will work. I know what needs to be done.”
Benton also won Rounds 1 and 4. He has covered every bull except the one he faced in the fifth round. He has also placed third in one round and fourth in the other.
Benton had not ridden Bomb Pop, but was familiar with the bull. He watched good friend Cody Teel ride the bull for 89 points at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days in July.
“Cody and I were actually up in the same set that day in Cheyenne, so I pulled his bull rope and watched the ride up close,” Benton said. “I remember that ride like it was yesterday, and it was awesome. Cody rode the mess out of that bull, and seeing my buddy get on him that day really helped me be prepared for my ride tonight.”
Ryder Wright notches second round win in saddle bronc riding
At age 19, Ryder Wright will be back plenty of times to the WNFR. And at the pace he’s on, he likely to set plenty of records.
Wright won the saddle bronc riding for the second time at the 2017 WNFR with a score of 89 points on The Cervi Brothers Rodeo’s 2 Cookies, giving him his seventh career round win in 16 rounds at the WNFR, a winning percentage of 43.8 percent.
“Just lucky I guess, I draw pretty good and I don’t know that I’ve ever drawn bad here,” Wright said. “I try to just do my own thing and let the other riders do theirs.”
The win gives Wright his second round win in his last three rides and puts him over the $100,000 mark for the 2017 Finals. It also has him in second place in the world standings.
“It definitely helps and gets you fired up and there’s no way to explain the feeling,” Wright said. “There’s nothing better than winning at the Thomas and Mack. I’ve wanted to ride at this rodeo my whole life, and to be here and fortunate to draw good horses and ride good is just awesome.”
Wright got the win on a re-ride. Waiting to get on 2 Cookies, he used his time to prepare mentally.
“You don’t want to think about it too much and psych yourself out,” Wright said. “I wanted to keep my cool and I had every move and jump figured out before I nodded my head.”
Jacobs Crawley continues to reign at the top of the world standings, perched atop the chart with $220,158. Wright is behind by less than $20,000.
Yates making run at average with back-to-back round wins
Marty Yates is making a run.
A night after winning in 7.0 seconds, Yates was even better, winning the tie-down roping by tying a Round 6 record in 6.9 seconds.
After coming into this year’s WNFR in seventh place in the world standings, Yates has climbed to third place with $83,192 won at the Finals for a total of $180,366.
“When I found out the calf I had tonight, I knew it was going to be good,” Yates said. “I just stuck to my game plan and I didn’t back off and kept going forward. I got an amazing start. Sometimes when you’re here and you come through that barrier you don’t know whether you are for sure out or not and that’s when you make the fastest runs. Everything came together tonight, and it felt awesome. I knew if I just did my job, I was going to win the round.”
Yates tied the round record he set in 2014 with Matt Shiozawa that same year.
“When you make those kinds of runs, everything has to go perfect and it did just that tonight. I don’t care if you’re 6.5 or 6.9, everything has to go perfect,” the Texas cowboy said. “When you’re out here doing good, there’s not a better feeling in the world, and I’m just looking forward to the remaining rounds and hoping that everything goes my way.”
Tuf Cooper is still at the top of the tie-down roping standings with $226,675.
Vezain, Biglow split bareback riding win
It was a pair of firsts for co-winners J.R. Vezain and Clayton Biglow in the bareback riding competition.
Vezain scored 88 points on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet Belle, while Biglow scored 88 on Frontier Rodeo’s Night Fist.
For Vezain, it was just his second win in five trips to the WNFR. But it was his first victory lap he’d ever taken, since his first win came in the 10th round of the 2012 WNFR.
“I’ve been here five times and I’ve only won one round so far in five years,” Vezain said. “And the round I did win was the 10th round, and the average winner gets to take the victory lap that time. So, I had never gotten to take the victory lap yet. It’s amazing, it’s awesome.”
Biglow, who entered the WNFR in third place in the world standings, had yet to place through the first five rounds.
“No, I wasn’t upset with my riding,” Biglow said. “I just couldn’t get the ball rolling. I was never upset with myself and you never want to do that because you start fighting with your head, and that’s bad to do here. I just put all the nights behind me and come in with a fresh mind like it’s the first round. Do your job.”
Tim O’Connell, the world standings leader, is atop the competition with $271,570.
Horse change helps Roche win steer wrestling
The first five rounds hadn’t gone according to plan for steer wrestler Baylor Roche.
But Roche changed that script by switching horses to ride Maverick, resulting in winning Round 6 in 3.6 seconds on Tuesday night.
“This week had been slow,” said Roche, who is in fifth place in the world standings. “Now by getting this win, there’s some pressure off me. I’ve been here three times and I don’t feel like I’ve done what I was supposed to do. So, this feels good to get something rolling and I still have four rounds left. I’m just going to keep the pressure up and try and win all the remaining rounds.”
Roche changed horses and it seemed to pay dividends immediately.
“I was riding Tom Lewis’ horse, Maverick,” Roche said. “This is Maverick’s first time to the Thomas & Mack and he sure shined. I was riding Hunter Cure’s horse, Charlie, and that’s an amazing horse and he just wasn’t working for me here, so I just needed to try something else.”
Tanner Milan rode Maverick to wins in Rounds 2 and 5 this year.
World standings leader Ty Erickson took second place on Tuesday to pad his lead and up his season earnings to $230,267.
Split for first in team roping with Minor/Minor, Snow/Thorp
Team ropers Riley Minor and Brady Minor tied with Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp to stop the clock in 3.7 seconds and tie for the second-fastest Round 6 time ever.
For the Minors, it’s another consistent performance. They’ve caught all six steers through the first six rounds to sit second in the race for the average title. They are sixth in the world standings in their respective events.
“It’s a longshot, but we have to win the go-rounds for a chance at the end, but we’re here to win as much money as possible, and there are still quite a few rounds,” heeler Brady Minor said. “The average plays a part, but there’s big money at the end if we can knock a few more down.”
Header Riley Minor isn’t trying to push too hard.
“I’m trying to be smart and take a good shot,” Riley Minor said. “Horses feel pretty good, and when it gets fast, sometimes you try to go too fast and make mistakes, so I try to tell myself to just slow down and be fast.”
For Snow and Thorp, the win marked their first placing of the WNFR.
“It feels good to win some money, and especially to win the round,” said Snow, the header. “It feels pretty awesome.”
Heeler Thorp said they are staying on task.
“We had a couple fluke deals that happened the first few rounds,” Thorp said. “We had to try to look over it. I mean, as frustrating as it was, we just want to stick to the game plan. It made us loosen up a little bit because we had nothing to lose.”
Erich Rogers leads the team roping heading standings with $190,744, while Cory Petska leads the team roping heeling standings with $190,744. They tied with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira and the team of Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor for a three-way split of fifth and six place.
Kinsel gains more ground in world title chase
In six rounds, barrel racer Hailey Kinsel has yet to finish worse than fourth.
On Tuesday, Kinsel notched her second round win of the Finals, finishing in 13.49 seconds and adding to her already impressive total of the 2017 WNFR.
“There are a lot of good runs out there,” Kinsel said. “I didn’t have a lot of expectation coming into the NFR and our game plan is to take one run at a time. This is just like 10 separate rodeos for me.”
Kinsel has won two of the last four rounds, placed third three times and took fourth in Round 4. She has won $120,423, putting her on top of the RAM Top Gun Award standings. She’s also second in the world standings with $219,130.
“I don’t keep track of numbers at all,” Kinsel said. “As far as I’m concerned, those last six runs haven’t happened, and I just have four more runs left to go this week.”
Tiany Schuster continues to lead the world standings with $281,108.
Brazile remains in lead for all-around buckle
Trevor Brazile continues to lead all cowboys in the race for the all-around title.
Brazile is on top with $313,837, while his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, is second with $266,253.
Canadian Professional Rodeo Association FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WNFR Round 6 - Good Start - Strong Finish For Canada
December 12, 2017
Jordan Hansen capped off a solid night by the Canadian contestants at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2016 Canadian Champion conquered Beutler and Son Rodeo’s El Diablo to the tune of 84.5 points to finish third in the round and cash his second cheque of the week, this one for $15,653. Coupled with his fifth place finish for $6769 in round two, the young man - who as a kid dreamed of the yellow chutes of Las Vegas - now has just over $22,000 in his first appearance at the Thomas and Mack arena.
“I cracked out a new rope and just tried to stop thinking about things,” the twenty four year-old Hansen com- mented. “I needed that one tonight. I just got sick of falling off and got a little angry at myself. Now I’m excited for the rest of the week.”
But the story of the night in the bull riding was Trey Benton lll who made it five of six with a spectacular 92.5 ride on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Bomb Pop. The Rock Island, Texas cowboy is first in the average with 442 points on five rides. The only other man to ride five so far is the man who is quickly turning the bull riding into a coronation. Sage Steele Kimzey keeps adding to his earnings record and did it again tonight with a second place finish and now sits at $340,000, almost $90,000 ahead of 2017 Canadian Champion Garrett Smith who has been giving it a gritty effort but is battling a series of injuries including a torn ACL suffered in an earlier round. Kimzey looks more and more like a lock to take his fourth consecutive gold buckle back to Strong City, Oklahoma four nights from now.
Layton Green is another Canadian who appears to have found his mojo after a slow start at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2017 Canadian Champion rode the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo bronc Cool Runnings for 85.5 and a 4/5 split that earned him $8884. That followed his 87.5 point ride twenty-four hours ago that gave him a 2/3/4 split and the back to back successes have boosted his WNFR earnings to just over $24,500. The other two members of the talented trio of Canadian bronc riders finished just out of the money. Reigning World Champion, Zeke Thurston and 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott posted identical 83.5 scores as did 2015 World Champion and 2017 season leader Jacobs Crawley who continues to lead the world with $220,000 won, just $20,000 ahead of Thurston in second spot.
What was a good night for Canada actually started early for the guys representing the Canadian Maple Leaf. In the night’s first event, Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen rode J Bar J Rodeo’s Beyond Bugs to a solid 85.5 to win third in the round and $15,653. The talented 26 year-old, competing at his third WNFR has placed in five of six rounds and has won over $71,000. Larsen sits 5th in the average after six go rounds.
And not to be outdone, Jake Vold, the Ponoka raised, Airdrie, Alberta resident, was just a half point back of his countryman to finish 4th and pick up a tidy $11,000 on Summit Rodeo’s Revolving Door. Vold’s solid perform- ance gives him $76,211 in money won so far and, more importantly, puts him in first in the average with 515 points on six head. The payoff to win the average is a whopping $67,269.
Tanner Milan maintained his momentum from last night’s go round win, his second of this Finals, with a sixth place 4.0 run on a rapid night of steer wrestling. The $4230 payday gives the two time Canadian Champion a total of $66,692 WNFR dollars and he is now third in the average and 4th in the world standings, about $80,000 back of the leader. The round was won by Tremonton, Utah bulldogger Baylor Roche with a 3.6 while Helena, Montana’s Ty Erickson continues to lead both the average and the world standings.
In the barrel race, season leader Tiany Schuster had been okay through the first five go-rounds. But ‘okay’ has- n’t really been her M.O throughout the 2017 season. The Krum, Texas cowgirl who has been the dominant force all season long, looked more like that Tiany Schuster as her 13.52 second run was second only to Hailey Kinsel’s 13.49. However, the barrel race is no longer the runaway it has been throughout the season. Kinsel, a first time qualifier, leads the average and trails Schuster by just $62,000 - no longer the seemingly insurmount- able obstacle that faced everyone in the field not named Schuster when the Finals kicked off six days ago.
The plot has definitely thickened in the tie down roping race as well. What had been a three man race between Tuf Cooper, Marcos Costa and Trevor Brazile is still a three man race. Except that the third man in that battle is now Marty Yates, as Brazile may have taken himself out of contention with a no time in round six. Yates, the Stephenville, Texas man, tied the go round record with a 6.9 second run for his second go round win in a row; he now sits third in the world behind Cooper and Costa.
And in the team roping, the round was split between Riley and Brady Minor and the duo of Cody Snow and Wesley Thorpe, both teams posting blazing 3.7 second runs. The hands-across-the-border team of American Tom Richards and Canadian Jeremy Buhler took a no time as the defending world champion missed his shot on the back side. Arizona cowboys Cory Petska and Erich Rogers continue to cling to a narrow lead with just four rounds remaining.
The drama wil continue to unfold in Round 7 tomorrow evening.
Round Five Results
Rogers and Petska climb into world lead in team roping
LAS VEGAS – Team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska tried to remain consistent throughout the first four rounds of the Wrangler Nationals Final Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.
On Monday night, they punctuated that consistent run by tying for first place in the team roping competition with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill in 3.9 seconds at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The win moved Rogers into first place in the team roping header standings and Petska into the same spot in the team roping heeler standings, the first changing of leaders in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings at the 2017 WNFR.
“Good horses and drawing good steers,” Rogers said. “That’s what we do. That’s what Cory and my run is. We make good runs and we try to make sure we don’t make any mistakes, so that’s how we like to do it.”
For Tryan and Corkill, it was their first time placing this WNFR.
“It always feels good to get off the schneid,” Tryan said. “When you win here, if you can win first, it adds up, so I feel pretty good now. My roping feels a little bit better, I was a little off at the beginning of the week, but the last two I turned ’em good.”
Tryan and Corkill knew to push their slow start aside and refocus.
“Everything happens so fast here,” Corkill said. “You’re kind of in that mode either way. Whether you win the average or not, there’s too much money here not to try to win something.”
Rogers and Petska are trying to keep roping like they do at any rodeo.
“We make that run all the time,” Petska said. “Here, anywhere else we go, we pretty much have our run and we stick to it no matter where we’re at or what the setting is. We’re comfortable doing it and it makes it what’s easiest for us.”
Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, who entered the WNFR in first, are both second place in their respective events.
Sterling Crawley notches first WNFR round win
In four-plus trips to the WNFR, Sterling Crawley had yet to win a round.
He snapped that streak in Round 5 on Monday night.
Crawley scored 89 points on four-time Saddle Bronc of the Year award-winner Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman.
The score was Crawley’s highest of his 35 rides at the WNFR.
“I drew really good and stuck to the basics and kept it simple – just let my mark-out come instead of hanging and then lifting on my rein,” he said, “and she wants your feet in the seat so it’s all the stuff you go over the first couple days of rodeo school.”
For Crawley, the win carried a little extra meaning.
“It’s just awesome, but it’s even cooler that my brother (Jacobs) won this round on this horse last year,” Sterling Crawley said. “We agreed on what it was, and to not make it complicated out here.”
Sterling Crawley is sitting third in the average and seventh in the world standings.
“I was just happy the way it went with the history we had (with Medicine Woman), and tomorrow will be another horse and another story, and I’ll try to do my best on each one.”
Jacobs Crawley continues to lead the field in the world standings with $220,158.
Kimzey cashes in with 89-point bull ride
After seeing just three bull riders cover a night earlier and earn some big checks, three-time defending World Champion Sage Kimzey got right back into the action.
Kimzey, on the final bull ride of the night, scored 89 points on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Record Rack’s Shootin’ Stars.
“Each year is different because there’s the same trials and tribulations,” Kimzey said. “Round 4 was rough, but getting the win tonight stretches the lead a bit and maybe I’ll get some sleep tonight. It’s great bulls, great guys and a ton of money up for grabs – so you’ve got to do your job when you put your hand in your rope.”
Kimzey netted $27,077 after only five riders placed. The win gives him $318,652 and has him in the lead of his closest competitor (Garrett Smith) by more than $60,000.
Kimzey watched Cole Melancon ride Rafter G Rodeo’s Johnny Cash for 86.5 points on the second ride of the round. It looked like it might hold up until Kimzey climbed on board.
“Cole (Melancon) was 86.5, and coming down to the last few guys the pressure starts building, but you have to block it out because you are getting on an 1,800-pound athlete,” Kimzey said. “There’s no gimmes in bull riding, so just block it out and compete to the best of your ability.”
Kimzey knows he’s not out of the woods yet.
“I’m feeling good, but I feel bad that Garrett (Smith) got hurt,” Kimzey said. “I know he’s not at 100 percent, it’s not good for him or the sport of bull riding, but there’s a bunch of dark horses behind him like Trey (Benton III) and Ty (Wallace) and they are all riding good and will keep riding good.”
WNFR rookie Mason Clements wins first round win
Bareback rider Mason Clements is at the WNFR for the first time. The 25-year-old Utah cowboy who grew up in Las Vegas had dreamed of competing in the Thomas & Mack.
Not only has that dream become reality, but now Clements has his first round victory.
Clements rode Korkow Rodeos’ Onion Ring for 88.5 points, winning Round 5 and a check for $26,231.
“Man, I’ve been dreaming of that, replaying every scenario over in my head just to be at the Thomas & Mack and making sure I’ve got everything perfect – exactly the way I want to ride, exactly the way I need to ride,” Clements said. “There’s a lot going on. You can’t let your nerves and your fears get you when you get to this point. … Seriously, when I asked my buddies and friends, ‘What’s it like to get to the NFR – from world champions to multiple qualifiers – they said, ‘It’s indescribable.’ I have that indescribable feeling now. It’s the coolest feeling right now.”
With the win, Clements has upped his season earnings to $135,672, putting him ninth in the world standings.
World standings leader Tim O’Connell is atop the standings with $271,570.
Steer wrestler Milan nabs second round win of 2017
After not winning a round in 2015 – the last time he reached the WNFR – Tanner Milan doubled his steer wrestling round wins in Round 5.
Milan won the steer wrestling competition in the fifth round in 3.8 seconds, giving him $62,462 at the 2017 WNFR.
“In 2015, I didn’t win a round when I was here at the NFR, so this feels absolutely awesome,” said the Canadian cowboy. “I’ve won a crazy amount of money here, and I can’t have a better feeling than I’m feeling right now.”
Milan came into the WNFR in eighth place, but has climbed to fourth in the world standings with $146,535.
“I can’t back off at all,” Milan said. “I have to keep taking a real good start at the barrier and try and catch up as fast as I can and throw them down as fast as I can.”
After the draw was posted Monday morning, Milan knew he would have a chance to win a check because the steer he drew was the same one Tyler Pearson had wrestled in 4.0 seconds in Round 2.
“I was really happy with that draw,” Milan said. “Tyler Pearson made a really good run on that steer and the steer didn’t run quite as hard as some of them in the pen, and I knew if I could get the start I would catch up quick and give myself some time to get one thrown down.”
Standings leader Ty Erickson is still out front after his fifth-place finish. He’s holding the lead for the world title with $209,537.
It’s lucky No. 7 for Yates
Marty Yates won six rounds over the course of his first three WNFR trips, but had yet to win through the first four rounds of the 2017 WNFR.
He thought his luck might change on Monday. His premonition was right.
Yates won Round 5 of the tie-down roping in 7.0 seconds.
“You come to Vegas and you can have some bad luck, but if you stick to what you know how to do, it will all turn out good,” Yates said. “I was a little down about it (not winning a round before Monday night), but I knew I had a really good calf tonight that he (Trevor Brazile) won Round 2 with, and things turned around for me.”
Yates turned to a familiar horse to ride at this WNFR.
“I’m riding Buster,” the Texas cowboy said. “This is the horse I rode here last year, and he worked great tonight. The best part about my run was the start that I got. They won a round on that calf, but she was known to jump at you when you got to her, and I got a great start at her and got her to come around, and she was a little easier for me to flank when I got to her.”
He also tried something a little different in Round 5.
“I wanted to come out here this year and get a check in the average, and I backed off the first couple of nights and I came out tonight and I knew I made a good run,” Yates said. “I got a great start, and when you get a good start, it ends up good for you.”
As he’s been since the end of the regular season, Tuf Cooper is still at the top of the tie-down roping standings, increasing his 2017 total to $226,675 after placing second Monday.
Conrado, Lockhart split barrel racing title
Ivy Conrado shared the spotlight on Monday. She was ecstatic to do that with one of her barrel racing heroes.
Conrado and Lisa Lockhart split the Round 5 win, as both finished in 16.59 seconds.
“I never would have dreamed I’d be back here (as a round winner) with Lisa Lockhart,” Conrado said. “She’s everybody’s hero. I don’t even know what to say, I’m so excited.”
Lockhart and Conrado each took home $23,481. Both of them are in the top five in the aggregate standings, with Conrado sitting second and Lockhart fourth.
“We were definitely trying to capitalize that we were on the top of the ground,” Lockhart said. “Louie has gotten stronger and stronger all week, and that is what he has done in the past. So, I was trying not to panic earlier in the week, so we just stuck with it and had faith that it was going to get stronger, and he finally has.”
Tiany Schuster is still sitting at the top of the standings with $260,378.
Hailey Kinsel finished third to cash a check for $15,654. The money moved Kinsel into first place in the race for the RAM Top Gun Award.
Cooper cuts into Brazile’s all-around lead
The battle between brothers-in-law continues.
By taking second place in tie-down roping, Tuf Cooper earned $20,731 to inch closer to Trevor Brazile in the race to become the 2017 all-around cowboy.
Brazile is still in the lead with $313,837. Cooper is second with $266,253.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bounce Back Night for Canadian Cowboys December 11, 2017
After a couple of sub-par nights, Team Canada bounced back with a strong performance in the fifth go-round of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Five members of the nine-man Canadian contingent cashed cheques, making this easily their best night to date.
It was a case of saving the best for the last as two-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion, Tanner Milan, was 3.8 seconds on the last steer in the round to pick up his second go-round win and the $26,320 first place cheque. The win moved the Cochrane, Alberta man to 4th place in both the average and the world standings.
“I just have to keep running at it every night,” Milan noted. “I can’t back off. The horse I’m riding, Maverick who belongs to Tom Lewis, has been getting my feet on the ground really fast and I just have to stay aggressive.”
Ty Erickson, the Montana cowboy, continues to lead the world standings but Milan has moved to within $63,000 of the leader with five rounds and the all-important average still to be decided. Provost, Alberta bull- dogger, Scott Guenthner checked in with a 6.6 second run and was out of the money. Guenthner sits in 10th place on the world leaderboard.
You know the pen of bareback horses is pretty sweet when 87.5 is good for only a 5/6 split. That was the case in go-round number five of the 2017 WNFR. Canadian cowboy Orin Larsen was that guy on this night as he matched up with Wilson Sanchez from the Hi Lo ProRodeo Company. The horse, born and raised near Rocky Mountain House, actually came from the Hollingsworth family of Eckville and to add to the intrigue, Larsen’s sister is married to a Hollingsworth. You know Central Alberta was cheering for the Manitoba man who is at his third WNFR. Larsen has placed in four of five rounds for over $56,000 won and sits in fifth place in both the av- erage and the world standings.
Santaquin, Utah cowboy, Mason Clements, won the round with an 89 point ride while Tim O’Connell main- tained his big lead at the top of the standings. Jake Vold whose 85 score wasn’t quite enough to get into the money, has dropped back to fourth place in the world standings behind the seemingly unstoppable Tim O’Con- nell, Richmond Champion and Tanner Aus.
You knew it was just a matter of time for Jeremy Buhler. And tonight was the time. The defending world cham- pion and his WNFR partner, Arizona header, Tom Richards. posted a 4.0 to catch a 3/4 split in the round and a pair of $13,326 cheques. It was the first qualified time and the first payday for the duo that was thrown together when Buhler’s longtime partner Levi Simpson just missed qualifying for this year’s WNFR. Erich Rogers and Cory Petska split the round with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. The 3.9 second result took Rogers and Petska, the Arizona superstars, to a narrow lead in the world standings.
Things finally went the way Canadian saddle bronc riding fans thought they’d go right from the start as the reigning world champion, Zeke Thurston and 2017 Canadian Champion, Layton Green were part of a fifth go- round 2/3/4 split. Both cowboys cashed cheques for $15,794 and for Thurston it meant he was able to gain a little ground on the season leader, Jacobs Crawley.
The Big valley, Alberta 23 year-old’s ride on Wound Up, the 2017 Saddle Bronc of the Year, enabled him to climb back into second place in the world standings ahead of CoBurn Bradshaw, the third place man who leads the all-important average. For Green, the Meeting Creek, Alberta man, it was his first cheque of this - his first WNFR. The third Canadian, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott finished out of the money in the go round with an 80 point ride. C5 Rodeo’s Double D won the Rank Horse of the Night award as he parted company with Jake Wright before the eight second horn.
Tie Down Roper, Marty Yates, turned in the fastest run of this WNFR at 7.0 seconds flat for the go-round win with season leader Tuf Cooper just one tick back at 7.1. It was a critical run for Cooper as he was able to put some space between him and second place man, Marcos Costa, and Trevor Brazile who had been closing fast on the leader and now sits third. Costa, the Brazilian roper, leads the average with Trevor Brazile second and Cooper right behind. Cooper’s run tonight also tightened the race for the All-Around title where he and brother- in-law, Brazile, are duking it out as well with Brazile holding a $47,000 lead over Cooper.
And in the barrel race, Colorado cowgirl, Ivy Conrado and four time Canadian Champion, Lisa Lockhart of Oel- richs, South Dakota split the round, both with 13.59 runs. Season leader, Tiany Schuster, had her fastest run of the Finals with a 13.90 but for the fifth night in a row, was out of the money. Schuster who sits 6th in the aver- age has to be feeling the heat just a little as three or four cowgirls are all mounting a charge at the Krum, Texas cowgirl who was so dominant throughout the regular season.
2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jordan Hansen, of Calgary bucked off a tough outlaw called Crime Boss from Universal Rodeo. The result leaves Hansen at 1 for 5 at the midway point of the rodeo. Meanwhile Sage Steele Kimzey is starting to distance himself from the field as he pursues a fourth consecutive title. Kimzey, who hails from Strong City, Texas, rode Beutler and Son’s Shootin’ Stars to 89 points and the round win. He sits second in the average to fellow-Texan, Trey Benton lll who bucked off for the first time on Monday night.