PRCA Photo by Greg Westfal
OMAHA, Neb. – Bareback rider Austin Foss didn’t need to worry about his spot in the world standings Saturday night, so he put his focus toward earning as much money as possible.
The 23-year-old from Terrebonne, Ore., made himself at home in the CenturyLink Arena, scoring 86 points on J Bar J’s Smart Guy to win the Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale, presented by Justin Boots.
“I had never been on that horse before, but I had heard a lot of good things about him from the guys in the locker room,” said Foss, who was competing for Team Texas Landmen. “They said he was a stronger horse, and he sure was tonight. After about the third jump I had quite a challenge on my hands.”
Foss earned $6,800 for the ride, which will move him firmly into second place in the final regular-season standings – behind only four-time World Champion Kaycee Feild.
This is a familiar spot for Foss, who finished second in the world to Feild last season after finishing fifth in the WNFR average. He knows the challenge that lies ahead in Las Vegas Dec. 3-12, and is ready for it.
“You know who you have to beat in Vegas, and the goal is always to win first no matter who you are,” he said. “This year, the Finals pays a lot more, and it’s anybody’s game and something to look forward to. There’s always a job that has to be done, and in this case somebody has to do it. It’s not only my job, it’s my dream, so I’m here to hunt it down and go get it.”
Foss was happy to end the regular season with a win in Omaha, and already has his sights set on competing for his first gold buckle at his third straight WNFR.
“It’s a good thing to end the season on this note,” he said of the big check. “I’ve done well at the Champions Challenge events this year, and it’s nice to be able to compete against nine other guys for this kind of money. Every dollar helps when you’re gunning for a world title.
“I’m so excited for December 3. The regular season is over, and now I have two months to wait before the NFR starts, so I’ll be lying in bed each night thinking about it.”
The other winners of the WCC Finale Saturday night were steer wrestler Nick Guy of Team Texas Landmen (3.9 seconds), team ropers Jake Cooper and Kollin VonAhn of Team Experience Kissimmee (4.1 seconds), saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy of Team Pendleton (85 points on J Bar J’s Bulletproof), tie-down roper Tuf Cooper of Team Justin Boots (7.2 seconds), barrel racer Callie DuPerier of Team Aksarben Rodeo (14.93 seconds) and bull rider Sage Kimzey of Team B&W Trailer Hitches (86 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Shrimp).
The winning team of the Wrangler Champions Challenge year-end standings was Team Wrangler. The winning team’s roster includes bareback rider Feild, steer wrestler Ty Erickson, team ropers Coleman Proctor and Jake Long, saddle bronc rider Jake Wright, tie-down roper Adam Gray, barrel racer Michele McLeod and bull rider Joe Frost.
Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale
Omaha, Neb., Sept. 26
Bareback riding: 1. Austin Foss, 86 points on J Bar J's Smart Guy, $6,800; 2. Jake Vold, 83, $5,200; 3. Kaycee Feild, 82, $3,800; 4. (tie) Will Lowe, and Richmond Champion, 81.5, $2,100 each.
Steer wrestling: 1. Nick Guy, 3.9 seconds, $6,800; 2. Clayton Hass, 4.1, $5,200; 3. Kyle Irwin, 4.3, $3,800; 4. (tie) Seth Brockman, and Ty Erickson, 4.4, $2,100 each.
Team roping: 1. Jake Cooper/Kollin VonAhn, 4.1 seconds, $6,800 each; 2. Erich Rogers/Ryan Motes, 9.8, $5,200; 3. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 10.4, $3,800; no other qualified runs.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Taos Muncy, 85 points on J Bar J's Bulletproof, $5,304; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 82, $4,056; 3. Zeke Thurston, 80, $2,964; 4. Tyrel Larsen, 78, $2,028; 5. Isaac Diaz, 75, $1,248.
Tie-down roping: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.2 seconds, $6,800; 2. (tie) Matt Shiozawa, and Timber Moore, 7.5, $4,500 each; 4. Monty Lewis, 7.6, $2,600; 5. Caleb Smidt, 8.0, $1,600.
Barrel racing: 1. Callie DuPerier, 14.93 seconds, $6,800; 2. Taylor Jacob, 14.96, $5,200; 3. Sarah Rose McDonald, 15.03, $3,800; 4. Michele McLeod, 15.05, $2,600; 5. Sherry Cervi, 15.33, $1,600.
Bull riding: 1. Sage Kimzey, 86 points on Summit Pro Rodeo's Shrimp, $6,800; 2. Brett Stall, 81, $5,200; no other qualified rides.
Total payoff: $155,600. Stock contractor: Various PRCA Stock Contractors.
For complete coverage of the Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale, check out the Oct. 9 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.