Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:
Tim O’Connell has been on a winning streak unlike any other. The bareback rider won a rodeo seven weeks in a row. That streak ended July 11th , but he has still been adding to his earnings and has $106,188 so far this year. He is the second contestant to surpass $100,000 in regular season earnings. The first one was reigning world champion saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley, who is also competing today.
O’Connell always dreamed of being a rodeo cowboy and has had his sights set on a gold buckle for some time. He has qualified for the NFR the past two years. He joined the PRCA in 2013, qualified for his first NFR in 2014 and finished eighth. Last year he finished fourth and this year he has his eye on that number one spot.
World champion Kelly Timberman has come out of retirement to try to qualify for the NFR again. He won the gold buckle in 2004 and is currently 29th in the standings. A win in his home state of Wyoming would be very sentimental.
Jacobs Crawley will be competing with his best friend, traveling partner and brother Sterling Crawley who is 11th in the standings. The duo qualified for the NFR together in 2012 – 13. Sterling has struggled since then, but is having a great year now. He suffered a groin injury last year and had to restart his career this year. He has been using Jacob’s world title as motivation.
Today’s bull riding will see reigning and two-time world champion Sage Kimzey among the competitors. Kimzey is definitely among the best bull riders of our time and is riding three-quarters of the bulls he gets on this year. Today he is getting on Tar Baby from Smith Harper and Morgan and we expect him to keep that riding percentage going. Tar Baby is hard to ride. The only time he has been ridden this year was by Kimzey at Springdale, Ark.
Kimzey’s traveling partner Brennon Eldred is also on the roster. He is ranked fourth in the world and looking for his third NFR qualification. Also keep a look out for 2012 world champion Cody Teel and NFR qualifier Trevor Kastner to make some moves here. Teel is 13th in the world and Kastner is 12th.
Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing:
Last year, Nick Guy left Cheyenne with a new saddle and one of the most coveted buckles in rodeo when he won the “Daddy of ‘em All.” That was a pivotal moment for the Sparta, Wis., resident. He won $14,248 and qualified for his third NFR. The former hockey player didn’t have the finals that he had hoped for and finished the year in 14th place.
The number one steer wrestler in the standings, Jason Thomas, will be hoping to add some cash to his pockets here. The former college champion is headed to his first NFR this year regardless of what happens here, but every steer wrestler’s goal is to get two down here and make it to the finals. Thomas is absolutely no different and would love to add a CFD championship to his rodeo resume and increase his lead over the man in second place, Ty Erickson, who had absolutely no luck here.
Michael Otero will be competing with a gray ribbon embroidered on the sleeve of his shirt today. He has one on each of his shirts to honor his mother, Linda Otero, who died from brain cancer. Otero joined the PRCA in 2003 and competed actively until 2010. He took time off and stayed home to care for his mother who passed on June 6, 2013. Now he carries her memory with him and honors her every time he competes.
Aaron Tsinigine made history last year winning the world championship in team roping heading representing the Navajo nation. He is the first Navajo to win a world championship. Tsinigine is from Tuba City, Ariz., and is now heading for Kinney Harrell, a three-time NFR qualifier who has a reputation for having fun no matter what is going on.
They are 10th and 13th in the world standings and having a good year in spite of not having roped together at the big winter rodeos.
Clay Smith and Paul Eaves started off their season with a bang winning the Denver and Fort Worth stock show rodeos. They enter here in second place in the world. The world standings leaders, Luke Brown and Jake Long are in first place in the world and are also among today’s competitors.
In today’s barrel race, Alexa Lake and Nellie Miller have the biggest advantage with a first round time of 17.83. Then there are three women who stopped the clock in 17.92 seconds including the Reno Rodeo champion Stevi Hillman, who is 12th in the world, Taylor Langdon who is 16th, and Carley Richardson who is 9th.