#NFR16 Round 9 Highlights

Eldred lights up Vegas with career-best ride

LAS VEGAS - Brennon Eldred made a statement Friday night, and it was loud and clear.

The 22-year-old from Purcell, Okla., won Round 9 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER with an eye-popping 94.5-point trip on D&H Cattle's SweetPro's Bruiser.

"It's something I knew was possible with the bull I had tonight, because he is a champion bucking bull (the top bucking bull of the 2015 WNFR)," Eldred said. "That's the greatest bucking bull in the world. I was happier than a gopher in fresh dirt when I drew him."

The ride tied for the seventh-highest score ever at the WNFR, and the highest at the Thomas & Mack Center since J.W. Harris' 94.5 in 2010.

"It's the greatest feeling I have ever felt," Eldred said. "Two days ago, I rode in one of the fighter combat planes, and that was intense. But tonight was something I'd never felt before - there's no way to describe it."Eldred has planted himself firmly in the mix for the gold buckle tomorrow night. He trails good friend and fellow Oklahoman Sage Kimzey by less than $20,000, and Eldred is second in the WNFR average behind Shane Proctor (Kimzey is third)."I'm not going to worry about it, and just let chips fall where they may and do my best," Eldred said. "I'm just having fun and trying not to overthink it."He won't change his approach for the 10th round."Just the same as today, aim for first - do the same thing I've been doing," Eldred said. "I wore my green shirt today because it's my money shirt. I might wear it tomorrow, too."

Ryder Wright has been a home run or a strikeout at his first WNFR. The 18-year-old saddle bronc rider won the first four rounds, but then didn't earn a check the next four nights.

He hit another homer Friday night when he rode for 88.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo's Alpha Dog to win Round 9.

He made WNFR history by becoming the first rookie to win five WNFR rounds.
            "It's awesome to come in my rookie year and win my first four, and win Round 9," Wright said. "I try to stay positive and keep everything together - to just remember that I didn't get here off of luck, and I deserve to be here."

Ryder had watched his father, two-time World Champ Cody Wright, on the horse before, and knew what to expect.
            "I knew what this horse was like, and my dad gave me pointers," Ryder said. "He said he is flat, so stay back and spur more."      

Jacobs Crawley, who split fifth in Round 9, still has a stranglehold on what would be his second straight gold buckle. He has the world standings lead, and sits second in the WNFR average.

Marty Yates needed a win in Round 9 to keep his hopes at a world tie-down roping title alive. He got just that - splitting the round with Ryan Jarrett after both men stopped the clock in 7.4 seconds.

Yates has now won Rounds 4 and 9, and only trails world standings leader Marcos Costa by $1,388. However, both he and Costa are out of the average money right now.

"I'm going to go at all of them just like I started," Yates said. "We don't live a very long life, so we better just do what we want to do, and have fun at what we do. That's the way I live, and that's the way I go about it every time I nod my head. Yeah, sometimes I wish I was a little different, but I'm not going to change now. Most people don't have a chance when they come in 15th to win a gold buckle on the 10th day."

It was Jarrett's fifth career WNFR round win in tie-down roping; he also was the 2005 world all-around champion.

"I had a good calf, and I knew it," he said. "I put a good wrap and a hooey on him - I was fast, and it worked. It's good for sure to get this win. This money is awesome. We've been needing this for a long time."

Cade Swor took control of his own destiny when it comes to the tie-down roping world title. Swor placed third in Round 9, and is now second in the WNFR average, and would've been the world champion if things ended after Round 9. He holds all the cards entering Round 10.

Steer wrestler Riley Duvall isn't going to win a gold buckle at his first WNFR, but he has won two rounds.

He split the Round-6 win with Tyler Waguespack and Billy Bugenig, and took his first solo victory lap Friday night.

"To tell you the truth, I had no idea how fast I was," Duvall said. "When I looked up and saw the clock was a 3.6, I was kind of shocked. It just felt like a good, smooth run, but it didn't feel that fast. That's kind of how it is when you make a good run. It's just reaction. It didn't feel like a 3.6, but I was glad it was."

It's been a special week for Duvall, who has had his father, Sam - a two-time WNFR qualifier in 1987-88 - hazing for him this week.

"He tries so hard to do good for me, and to see it work out again tonight is a really good feeling," Riley said. "My dad has done really good for me all week. I haven't done my job very good to help him, but we got things lined out tonight, and I'm glad I won. I really wanted him to haze for me, and Matt Reeves was nice enough to let us use his hazing horse Beamer."

The world title is Tyler Waguespack's to lose, as he is first in the world and in the WNFR average heading into Round 10. His advantage in the average is 7.4 seconds over second-place Jason Thomas.

Tanner Aus loves his job, and he's really loving the WNFR he's put together.

The Granite Falls, Minn., native has won three rounds, and eclipsed the six-figure mark in earnings in Las Vegas after winning Round 9 with an 88-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Good Time Charlie.

"I have a lot to look forward to the last night of the Finals and next season, and I'm excited to be doing what I'm doing," Aus said. "Riding bucking horses is the best way to make a living that I can think of, and I'm thankful to do it. I'm swinging for the fences every night."

Aus won Round 1 and split the third-round title, but then missed his horse out in Round 4, taking him out of the average. However, he's remained upbeat, and cashed another big check in a ninth round that featured several big scores.

"It's fun to watch, because I'm friends with all those guys and I'm back behind the chutes hootin' and hollerin'," Aus said. "It's electric, and it makes you feel good. If I would've gone out there tonight and not placed, it still would've been a great night of watching bucking horses. To stand out among this field of competition is incredible."

 Tim O'Connell failed to earn a check in Round 9, but is still very much the favorite to win his first gold buckle tomorrow. He leads the field by nearly $85,000, and is tops in the WNFR average race. O'Connell can clinch the world simply by riding for eight seconds tomorrow.

Team ropers Kolton Schmidt and Shay Carroll experienced a nightmarish WNFR through the first eight nights.

They had only clocked two times, and had no money won. But that all changed in Round 9. The duo put together a blazing-fast run of 3.6 seconds to each earn $26,231, and put a smile on both of their faces. It was the fastest run of this WNFR.

"All we have left is to try to win first in the last go-round," Schmidt said. "I'll try to score good, throw my rope as fast as I can, and handle the steer good."

"I'll keep preparing like I have all week - I'll rope the Heel-O-Matic tomorrow morning and make sure my horse is prepared," Carroll added. "It's important to stay ready, because I know my partner will give me looks and a chance to win."

The team roping world title race got even tighter, and more interesting, in Round 9, when Luke Brown and Jake Long - who led the world and average entering the night - missed their steer. The gold buckles will be decided in a pressure-packed Round 10 tomorrow night, as there are a handful of teams who could leave with the titles.

Barrel racer Amberleigh Moore is making a late charge at the gold buckle.

A night after Moore and horse Paige tied the arena record with a time of 13.37 seconds, the pair did it again in Round 9, winning with a time of 13.49.

"In the holding area, she was a bit cocky tonight," Moore said of her horse. "I told my handler, 'Here we go again.' Paige is getting pretty cocky, and more and more confident with every run. Now that she knows where her feet are, and is confident that the ground is holding, she is more than ready to put it all out there. Last night, running first and not having any tracks I felt she could get the win. Tonight, running 14th I knew I had to push her just a little bit harder in the turns."

Moore is second in the world and in the WNFR average, and appears to be the biggest threat to Mary Burger with one night remaining. If Moore can win the final round, and get a bit of help, she could be the world champion.

The 58th annual Wrangler NFR concludes Saturday with the 10th round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. PT.



Ninth Performance Results, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016

Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.


All-around world standings: 1. Dustin Bird, $214,181; 2. Clayton Hass, $211,608; 3. Russell Cardoza, $204,720; 4. Junior Nogueira, $195,767; 5. Clay Smith, $161,347; 6. Caleb Smidt, $159,623; 7. Josh Peek, $148,603; 8. Ryan Jarrett, $143,570; 9. Shay Carroll, $120,306; 10. JoJo LeMond, $112,623; 11. Ryle Smith, $99,862; 12. Rhen Richard, $81,497.


Bareback riding: 1. Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., 88.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Good Time Charlie, $26,231; 2. Wyatt Denny, Minden, Nev., 87, $20,731; 3. Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 86.5, $15,654; 4. Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta, 86, $11,000; 5. R.C. Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif., 85.5, $6,769; 6. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 83.5, $4,231; 7. (tie) Evan Jayne, Marseille, France; Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif.; and J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 82.5; 10. Tim O'Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, 82; 11. Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 81.5; 12. Jessy Davis, Power, Mont., 80.5; 13. Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah, 76.5; 14. Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La., NS; 15. Jake Brown, Hillsboro, Texas, INJ. Average standings:1. Tim O'Connell, 757 points on nine head; 2. J.R. Vezain, 731; 3. Jake Vold, 730.5; 4. Clayton Biglow, 729; 5. Caleb Bennett, 727; 6. Richmond Champion,  724.5. World standings: 1. Tim O'Connell, $298,118; 2. Tanner Aus, $213,152; 3. Orin Larsen, $210,488; 4. Jake Vold, $187,065; 5. Caleb Bennett, $185,436; 6. R.C. Landingham, $174,332; 7. Clayton Biglow, $154,564; 8. Winn Ratliff, $153,680; 9. Wyatt Denny, $128,131; 10. Jake Brown, $120,282; 11. Ty Breuer, $114,330; 12. J.R. Vezain, $110,643; 13. Richmond Champion, $106,246; 14. Evan Jayne, $97,081; 15. Jessy Davis, $79,916.


Steer wrestling: 1. Riley Duvall, Checotah, Okla., 3.6 seconds, $26,231; 2. Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La., 4.2, $20,731; 3. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas, 4.4, $15,654; 4. J.D. Struxness, Appleton, Minn., 4.5, $11,000; 5. Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 4.6, $6,769; 6. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.7, $4,231; 7. (tie) Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colo., and Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La., 4.9; 9. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 5.3; 10. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 5.7; 11. Baylor Roche, Tremonton, Utah, 6.0; 12. Jason Thomas, Benton, Ark., 6.4; 13. Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 7.2; 14. Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas, 12.6; 15. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., NT. Average standings: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 37.5 seconds on nine head; 2. Jason Thomas, 44.9; 3. Matt Reeves, 46.0; 4. Dakota Eldridge, 51.4; 5. Nick Guy, 55.5; 6. Clayton Hass, 38.4 on eight. World standings: 1. Tyler Waguespack, $231,406; 2. Clayton Hass, $196,611; 3. J.D. Struxness, $186,877; 4. Matt Reeves, $162,658; 5. Jason Thomas, $150,560; 6. Ty Erickson, $145,673; 7. Dakota Eldridge, $135,528; 8. Riley Duvall, $119,690; 9. Billy Bugenig, $109,330; 10. Josh Peek, $103,397; 11. Jacob Talley, $96,686; 12. Nick Guy, $95,462; 13. Baylor Roche, $93,636; 14. Trevor Knowles, $91,923; 15. Cody Cabral, $89,908.


Team roping: 1. Kolton Schmidt, Barrhead, Alberta/Shay Carroll, Prineville, Ore., 3.6 seconds, $26,231; 2. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Junior Nogueira, Burleson, Texas, 3.8, $20,731; 3. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 4.5, $15,654; 4. Levi Simpson, Ponoka, Alberta/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta, 4.6, $11,000; 5. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla./Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 5.0, $6,769; 6. Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 5.1, $4,231; 7. Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, Texas, 5.6; 8. Zac Small, Welch, Okla./Wesley Thorp, Stephenville, Texas, 9.0; 9. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 9.4; 10. Garrett Rogers, Baker City, Ore./Jake Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 10.0; 11. Matt Sherwood, Pima, Ariz./Quinn Kesler, Holden, Utah, 12.1; 12. (tie) Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont./Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore.; Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan.; Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla.; and Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif./Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif., NT. Average standings: 1. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla./Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 48.3 seconds on eight head; 2. Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, 49.9; 3. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 51.7; 4. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 66.4; 5. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 37.5 on seven; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 42.2. World standings (headers): 1. Luke Brown, $211,936; 2. Dustin Bird, $200,102; 3. Kaleb Driggers, $194,322; 4. Riley Minor, $170,243; 5. Erich Rogers, $166,339; 6. Clay Smith, $164,034; 7. Levi Simpson, $158,383; 8. Matt Sherwood, $139,561; 9. Kolton Schmidt, $132,378; 10. Garrett Rogers, $109,731; 11. Zac Small, $108,883; 12. Colby Lovell, $106,591; 13. Tyler Wade, $103,529; 14. Cody Snow, $100,718; 15. Coleman Proctor, $92,049. World standings (heelers): 1. Jake Long, $208,591; 2. Junior Nogueira, $194,322; 3. Russell Cardoza, $193,441; 4. Brady Minor, $168,735; 5. Cory Petska, $167,565; 6. Jeremy Buhler, $167,561; 7. Paul Eaves, $165,323; 8. Quinn Kesler, $139,530; 9. Shay Carroll, $110,968; 10. Dakota Kirchenschlager, $109,755; 11. Jake Minor, $109,152; 12. Dugan Kelly, $106,510; 13. Wesley Thorp, $103,317; 14. Billie Jack Saebens, $98,834; 15. Travis Graves, $90,796.


Saddle bronc riding: 1. Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah, 88.5 points on Cervi Championship Rodeos' Vitalix Alpha Dog, $26,231; 2. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 85.5, $20,731; 3. Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, 85, $15,654; 4. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 83.5, $11,000; 5. (tie) Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, 83, $5,500; CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, 83, $5,500; 7. Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, 80.5; 8. Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 77.5; 9. Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, 73.5; 10. (tie) Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah; Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.; Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La.; Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta; Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D.; Jake Watson, Hudson's Hope, British Columbia. Average standings: 1. Jake Watson, Hudson's Hope, British Columbia, 663 points on eight head; 2. Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, 662; 3. Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 661.5; 4. (tie) CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, 649; Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, 649; 6. Jake Wright, Milford, Utah, 578.5 on seven. World standings: 1. Jacobs Crawley, $242,945; 2. Ryder Wright, $211,758; 3. CoBurn Bradshaw, $188,136; 4. Zeke Thurston, $184,853; 5. Rusty Wright, $163,904; 6. Jake Wright, $160,472; 7. Cody Wright, $151,023; 8. Jake Watson, $147,409; 9. Allen Boore, $141,232; 10. Clay Elliott, $132,991; 11. Sterling Crawley, $132,376; 12. Jesse Wright, $125,674; 13. Cody DeMoss, $118,037; 14. Heith DeMoss, $110,987; 15. Chuck Schmidt, $81,129.


Tie-down roping: 1. (tie) Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., and Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, 7.4 seconds, $23,481 each; 3. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 7.5, $15,654; 4. (tie) Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, and Blane Cox, Cameron, Texas, 8.0, $8,885 each; 6. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 8.7, $4,231; 7. Riley Pruitt, Gering, Neb., 8.9; 8. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 10.0; 9. Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, 10.1; 10. Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Texas, 10.2; 11. Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif., 12.6; 12. Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 17.9; 13. (tie) Marcos Costa, Childress, Texas; Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La.; and Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, NT. Average standings: 1. Riley Pruitt, 76.3 seconds on nine head; 2. Cade Swor, 84.8; 3. Tyson Durfey, 86.6; 4. Hunter Herrin, 87.0; 5. Cory Solomon, 101.6; 6. Blane Cox, 70.4 on eight. World standings: 1. Marcos Costa, $195,600; 2. Marty Yates, $194,212; 3. Hunter Herrin, $162,419; 4. Matt Shiozawa, $161,281; 5. Shane Hanchey, $159,394; 6. Cade Swor, $155,835; 7. Caleb Smidt, $146,123; 8. Tyson Durfey, $144,542; 9. Cory Solomon, $132,507; 10. Ryan Jarrett, $131,842; 11. Blane Cox, $124,973; 12. Timber Moore, $118,539; 13. Riley Pruitt, $113,317; 14. Reese Riemer, $99,641; 15. Ryle Smith, $94,386.


Barrel racing: 1. Amberleigh Moore, Keizer, Ore., 13.49 seconds, $26,231; 2. Cayla (Melby) Small, Burneyville, Okla., 13.54, $20,731; 3. Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 13.59, $15,654; 4. Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas, 13.66, $11,000; 5. Ivy Conrado, Hudson, Colo., 13.68, $6,769; 6. Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, Utah, 13.71, $4,231; 7. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 13.75; 8. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.76; 9. Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 13.77; 10. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.00; 11. Pamela Capper, Cheney, Wash., 18.80; 12. Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 18.86; 13. Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, 19.11; 14. Jana Bean, Ft. Hancock, Texas, 23.70; 15. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 26.60. Average standings: 1. Lisa Lockhart, 124.31 seconds on nine runs; 2. Amberleigh Moore, 127.83; 3. Sherry Cervi, 129.36; 4. Stevi Hillman, 130.27; 5. Kimmie Wall, 131.06; 6. Pamela Capper, 134.40. World standings: 1. Mary Burger, $271,207; 2. Amberleigh Moore, $212,183; 3. Kimmie Wall, $195,218; 4. Sherry Cervi, $181,679; 5. Lisa Lockhart, $179,206; 6. Ivy Conrado, $161,775; 7. Stevi Hillman, $156,528; 8. Jackie Ganter, $153,041; 9. Sarah Rose McDonald, $147,595; 10. Michele McLeod, $144,707; 11. Pamela Capper, $143,620; 12. Jana Bean, $135,605; 13. Mary Walker, $122,816; 14. Cayla (Melby) Small, $122,698; 15. Carley Richardson, $103,991.


Bull riding: 1. Brennon Eldred, Sulphur, Okla., 94.5 points on D & H Cattle's SweetPro's Bruiser, $26,231; 2. Tim Bingham, Honeyville, Utah, 90.5, $20,731; 3. Garrett Tribble, Bristow, Okla., 86, $15,654; 4. Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah, 71.5, $11,000; 5. (tie) Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla.; Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas; Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, Idaho; Garrett Smith, Rexburg, Idaho; Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash.; Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif.; Scottie Knapp, Albuquerque, N.M.; Cody Rostockyj, Lorena, Texas; Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo.; and Rorey Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.; NS; Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, INJ. Average standings: 1. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 590 points on seven head; 2. Brennon Eldred, 509.5 on six; 3. Sage Kimzey, 418 on five; 4. Joe Frost, 407.5; 5. Tyler Smith, 253 on three; 6. Jordan Spears, 252.5. World standings: 1. Sage Kimzey, $252,644; 2. Brennon Eldred, $233,226; 3. Shane Proctor, $205,095; 4. Joe Frost, $185,302; 5. Jordan Spears, $151,802; 6. Roscoe Jarboe, $149,765; 7. Scottie Knapp, $141,099; 8. Jeff Askey, $134,993; 9. Tyler Smith, $133,545; 10. Garrett Tribble, $129,118; 11. Rorey Maier, $127,594; 12. Cody Rostockyj, $125,787; 13. Garrett Smith, $122,621; 14. Cody Teel, $112,194; 15. Tim Bingham, $112,052.

Las Vegas, Nevada
December 9, 2016

How To Spell Relief... W-I-N

For Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and American partner, Shay Carroll, it took nine rounds to get the monkey off their backs and win their first cheque of this WNFR. But when they did it, they did it right, making that cheque a first place payoff ($26,239 per man) while recording the fastest time of the rodeo through nine rounds—a sensational 3.6 seconds.

Schmidt, riding the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year, Badger, and Carroll had come to the Finals with a legitimate shot at a world title but encountered a series of frustrations though the first eight days of the rodeo.

“It’s kind of funny,” Schmidt chuckled. “This was the fastest time of the week and the slowest I’ve gone in my mind. I think I’ve just been going too fast up until now. I knew with my horse and my heeler if I did my job, it would work out.”

Carroll agreed. “I picked this guy for a reason at the start of the year,” he said of his heading partner. “I’m not surprised at all. I knew he’d rope like he can and I just wanted to be ready.”

Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and his Arrowwood, Alberta partner Jeremy Buhler bounced back from their first no time of this Finals in the eighth round to post a 4.6 second run to place 4th on this night and move up a notch in the average race to second spot. The Alberta cowboys are 8 of 9 and just 1.6 seconds out of first place in the average and the $67,000 first place aggregate cheques. 

Leading the world standings heading into the final round are Luke Brown of Stephenville, Texas and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas.

The phenomenal comeback story of this WNFR, bareback rider, Orin Larsen, placed in the round for the 4th night in a row. He’s had to battle back from re-injuring the rib-tear he suffered back in September. After being blanked through the first five rounds, he made the statement, “I have no choice - I have to win.” Since making that pronouncement, winning is exactly what he’s done, including taking his first-ever victory lap at the Thomas and Mack Arena in go round number eight.

Tonight the Manitoba cowboy was 86.5 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s former world champion bareback horse, MGM Dirty Jacket, to collect a third place cheque of $15,653 and give him $62,190 over the last four rounds.

Three time Canadian champion Jake Vold continued his outstanding WNFR, placing 4th for an $11.000 payday. The Ponoka product has also climbed to 3rd place overall in the average at a finals that has seen him win three rounds and place in six overall.

Tanner Aus was the top gun in the round with an 88.5 score and Tim O’Connell continues to hold a comfortable lead in the world championship race heading to the final day. Wayne Vold Rodeo’s outstanding grey, True Grit, carried Ty Breuer to 83.5 and a sixth place cheque of $4230 to kick off the go round.

The saddle bronc riding wasn’t as good to the youthful Canadian trio as it had been in recent rounds that saw all three place on each of the previous three nights. In round nine, Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston was out of the money with a 77.5 score while both Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) and Jake Watson (Hudson’s Hope, BC) were bucked off. The silver lining in this cloud is that despite bucking off for the first time in nine rounds, Watson will go to the last go round in first place in the average, with 663 points on eight rides, just one point ahead of reigning world champion and overall leader, Jacobs Crawley. Thurston is another point back in third spot in the average.

Eighteen year-old Ryder Wright has ridden five horses at the 2016 WNFR. And he’s won all five of those go-rounds. This time around, the youngest of the remarkable Utah family, posted an 88.5 on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Alpha Dog for the win.

2012 World Champion (and Ryder’s uncle) Jesse Wright rode Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to an 85.5 for second place in the round.

A couple of races tightened up in this second last round of what cowboys call ‘the Marathon’. In the bull riding, Brennon Eldred posted the third highest score in the history of the WNFR - 94.5 points - to win the round and close to within shooting distance of two time champion Sage Kimzey for this year’s title. The Sulphur, Oklahoma man rode D and H Cattle’s SweetPro’s Bruiser for the $26,230 cheque and forces a showdown with Kimzey and third place man, Shane Proctor, on Saturday night.

In the barrel race, Mary Burger who brought a sizable lead to the Finals has seen that lead eroded by the amazing performance of Amberleigh Moore. Mary, the 68 year-old former champion hit a barrel in round nine while Moore, the Keizer, Oregon cowgirl, won the round with a 13.49 and like the bull riding, the barrel racing championship will come down to the final runs on the final night to determine the 2016 title holder.

The steer wrestling go round winner was Riley Duvall in 3.6 while Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana leads the average and the world standings heading to the final round. And in the tie down roping it was Marty Yates and former world All-Around champion Ryan Jarrett sharing the victory lap with a pair of 7.4 second runs. Brazilian Marcos Costa leads the world with Yates who started in 15th place now sitting second but neither man is in the average. That gives a bit of an edge to the third place man, Oklahoman Hunter Herrin, who is holding down 4th place in the all-important, and very lucrative, average. This race too will be decided in Saturday night’s tenth and final go-round.