National Finals Rodeo – Round Seven Highlights
It could come down to a Canadian versus Canadian showdown in the bronc riding at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. In go-round number seven, rookie finalist Logan Hay won his third go round in a row, this one courtesy of a 90-point ride on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Garden City Gal. Two-time world champion, Zeke Thurston was 88.5 for second place on Corey and Lange’s Monster while the younger Hay brother, Dawson, picked up a 5/6 split with a solid 86-point effort as the six-man Canadian contingent continues to make a whole lot of noise at the Thomas and Mack Arena. In the world race Thurston sits 4thwith Logan Hay just a thousand dollars back. But the key is the average because the three men ahead of them in the standings, Lefty Holman, Stetson Wright and leader, Sage Newman, are sixth, seventh and twelfth respectively in that all-important, and very lucrative average. The other three Canadians in the bronc riding were out of the money on Wednesday night with Kole Ashbacher, who has been riding with a knee injury, bucking off for the first time in the seven rounds to date.
It was all about Jess Pope in the bareback riding. The man who has won the average at the last two NFR’s, but came up short in his title quest, matched up with Big Stone Rodeo’s Mayhem and the result was electric. The Waverly, Kansas cowboy posted a sensational 89 on the nine-year-old ranch-raised bay. And with three rounds remaining, Pope sits number one in the average and number one in the world standings as well with a $73,000 lead over the second-place man—six time and reigning champ, Kaycee Field. Canada’s Orin Larsen is out of the Finals with an injured thumb that will require surgery.
The 2019 World Champion steer wrestler, Ty Erickson, was a very rapid 3.7 to capture the first-place cheque in the bulldogging. Neither of the top two men ion the world standings, Stetson Jorgensen and Will Lummus hit the pay window, so Jorgensen remains on top with a slender $28,000 lead. But the advantage might be with Lummus as he sits in 4thplace in the average with Jorgensen back in sixth spot. It may well come down to who can be mistake-free in the final three rounds.
The team roping duo of Tyler Wade and Trey Yates showed the way in round seven with a 3.9 second run. Meanwhile the world standings leaders, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira had trouble for the third night in a row and could manage only an 18.4 but most importantly stayed solidly in second spot in the average behind Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith. Driggers and Nogueira still enjoy a large margin over the rest of the field as we move into the final critical rounds.
Another rookie who has enjoyed a terrific first trip to Las Vegas is tie-down roper, Kincaid Henry. The talented Texan has topped the $100,000 mark in NFR earnings with two go-round wins, a couple of second place finishes and a sixth. The overall leader, Caleb Smidt, played it safe in a night when more than half the ropers had trouble and settled for a fourth place run that keeps the three-time world champion first overall and first in the average as well.
Round seven saw big changes in the barrel racing leaderboard. Oklahoma cowgirl, Wenda Johnson and her gelding, Mo, made a move as they clocked an impressive 13.60 to win the round and add $28,914 to their overall earnings. The three time NFR qualifier moved to third overall and first in the average. Veteran barrel racer, Lisa Lockhart, had a disappointing performance as the the 16 time qualifier, who had six clean rounds on her resume, hit a barrel to move from first to fifth in the all important average and fourth overall, opening the door for Johnson to move into the driver’s seat. Defending Champion, Jordan Briggs leads the World standings but sits sixth in the average, while three time champion, Hailey Kinsel is second overall but is out of the average with only three rounds remaining.
In the bull riding event, it was the eliminator pen of bulls and they… well… eliminated. Only three men rode and only one, Trevor Kastner, made a really solid ride, posting a 90.5 in mastering Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Midnight Rider. Stetson Wright hung on for second and continues to completely dominate the event with the gold buckle now a formality and the only question remaining is what will be the margin of victory. Right now, Wright’s lead is a remarkable $141,000. And he is also leading the average. Canada’s Jared Parsonage was not able to make the horn in this round, as he fell victim to Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Center Fold.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association(CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the official sanctioning body for Professional Rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves 55 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.7 million. The organization oversees the SMS Equipment Pro Tour Finals each fall in Armstrong, BC, holds their premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB in early November and endorses the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals as part of Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, SK. Follow the CPRA on Twitter @prorodeocanada and Instagram @prorodeocanadaofficial, ‘Like’ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook or online at RodeoCanada.com.
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